Life has stepped to a whole new level of busyness for me at the moment. It's all nice things, but cumulatively has made me a little stressed - that's partly why I didn't write a prayer update last month. I'm aware, however, that with everything going on in the next few months I am more in need than ever (if you can be more in need than totally) of God's gracious provision and work over this time, so I'd really value your prayers.
On July 23rd this month Cathy and I are getting married in Hartlepool. We're really grateful to God for everything coming together, but nevertheless there's still lots more to be done. Please pray that all that needs organised would be organised, and that it would all run smoothly on the day.
The service is going to have a simple gospel message. Lots of our non-Christian friends and family are going to be there so please really pray that God would work powerfully! The gospel is the power of God for salvation!
As well as everything to do with the wedding, please pray that we would start marriage well. Please pray that we would, over our lives, be a powerful demonstration of the relationship between Christ and the church, by God's grace. Please pray that we'd put the interests of each other above our own, and please pray that we would have a God-centred marriage in all aspects, but particularly that we would learn from the beginning to be a spiritual support to one-another and that we'd establish vital times spent together in the Word and prayer.
I'm preaching on Sunday evening on Ephesians 5:15-21. Please pray that as I work on that over the next couple of days I'd understand what God is saying and be able to preach a faithful, clear and well-applied sermon. I'm not in great health at the moment and haven't got much of a voice (which I had begun to lose when I preached last Sunday), so please pray that I'd get that back before Sunday! I'm also in Belfast for a day and a half this week for Cathy's graduation, so please pray that I get it all done in time!
After the wedding, Cathy and I are going on honeymoon for a couple of weeks. We get back from that on the 7th of August, then on the 10th August we're going off to Switzerland. We're going to Switzerland as part of an Oak Hall trip, and I'm going to be doing the talks each evening. What that means is that before the wedding I need to prepare 7 talks. By this Sunday I'll have done 7 talks in Ephesians, however they were each around 35-40 minutes and they'll need to be around 20-25 minutes. That means that before the wedding I'll have to edit these 7 talks for Switzerland as we won't have time after honeymoon and I find it fairly difficult to remove material... I always end up adding more! I also won't be able to start on them until July 12th.
With all that in mind, this feels like a fair amount of pressure... with a stag do and then other wedding prep in the middle and leaving for Hartlepool on July 20th. I need to work quickly with them but want them to be helpful, encouraging and challenging to those on the holiday - please pray to that end!
End of August
The Sunday after getting back from Switzerland I'm leading and speaking at my first family service at Woody Road, so please pray for that. Cathy will also be starting Relay - going away for two weeks: one week for 'Relay 1' (a training course for her), and one week for Forum (a large conference for students from across the country involved in CU leadership). Please pray for us both in these.