Reflections on a Fantastic First Sunday

87 people joined us for our very first Sunday service as Christ Church Fareham.  The room we’re using seats just over 100 people, so we were packed.  Friends and family came from York, Watford, Woking and Portsmouth to support us and we also had a good number of people from Fareham.  We also had some non-Christians in the room and have had some really good feedback from them.

There were a few things to iron out, but generally we had a really fantastic afternoon service.  I preached on Acts 2:22-41 and Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost.  It’s a sermon focused upon the work and person of Jesus Christ, concluding with this devasting declaration: “God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus, whom you crucified”.  The crowd despairs asking “What shall we do?”.  Peter and the disciples respond, saying “Repent and be baptized and you will receive forgiveness for your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  It’s remarkable to think that even those guilty of crucifying Jesus can receive forgiveness for their sins.

I later found out that many of our visitors from ChristCentral in Portsmouth had heard a sermon that morning on Matthew 16.  In Matthew 16, Peter says to Jesus that he is the Christ.  Then immediately afterwards, Jesus says he must suffer many things, be killed and rise on the third day and Peter says “Far be it from you Lord!”  Jesus responds “Get behind me Satan”.  Here, in Matthew 16, Peter is a man who cannot comprehend that the Christ, the Messiah, could possibly die.  That’s miles away from Peter’s understanding of the Messiah who was to be a conquering King.  The contrast with Acts 2 is remarkable.  Through Christ’s death, resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, Peter has been completely transformed.  Now, in Acts 2, Peter, who once could not possibly believe that the Christ could die, now argues that Jesus is the Christ on the basis of his death and resurrection.  That’s a real testament to how God renews our minds through the power of the Spirit.

After the service, we grabbed some tea, coffee and cupcakes and an hour passed really quickly as I met with as many people as possible.  At 6.30pm we had to kick everyone out and a few of headed to Slug and Lettuce for dinner and drinks.

We know we had some visitors on Sunday, but we also connected with some people who we are really hopeful will come back and be a part of our Church.  And we’re so thankful to everyone who helped, served and came.  Most of all, we’re thankful to God who surpassed our expectations in helping us deliver what I though was a really excellent service.

See you on Sunday for round 2!  I’ll be preaching on the end of Acts and chapter 2 and the vision and values for Christ Church Fareham.  Should be a really significant Sunday for the Church.

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