An update from the Cutforths

Note: At the special members’ meeting on Wednesday 7 October, HBC voted in favour of extending a call to Richard Cutforth to serve as our next Senior Pastor. He continues to serve as Interim Pastor 2 days a week. While the terms of his call will be finalised over the coming weeks, we anticipate having Richard serve at HBC full-time by January 2016.

Please pray that our gracious God would continue to refine us with the gospel, so that we would gather for Jesus, grow in Him, and go with Him into our community, bearing the good news of Christ crucified for sinners.


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To the people of Howick Baptist,

It is very humbling to both Donelda and myself that you should see fit to call us to be your pastor. It was never our intention when we first came as interim pastor to come full time here but over the months the Lord has laid on our hearts this strong sense of God’s call that we should come and serve here.

This has not come easily to us as we love the people of Papakura Baptist Church and had never intended to leave there and so feel sad in one way to be leaving them. However, we are excited about coming to Howick and we look forward to getting to know you all and serving you. Already you have left a good impression on our hearts and we are growing to love you all.

We hope together that we will grow in our relationship with the Lord and with one another. Our desire is to see this community of God’s people working together, caring for one another, reaching out into our neighbourhoods and work places and seeing God’s Kingdom grow.

Most of all we pray that we all will deepen our love for Jesus and that as we behold Him, so He will transform our lives so that we will be like Him. It is our desire that the gospel may become so precious to us that it would change us from within that we may live lives in keeping with it. I pray that our time here might be fruitful and that Donelda and I might be able to be examples of Christ-likeness. Please pray for us as we prepare to move.

Love from,

Richard and Donelda

 

Acts series: The Unstoppable Advance of the Gospel

Over the next few months we will be preaching from the book of Acts. As we will see, Acts is Luke’s second volume. In his first volume Luke shares with us what Jesus did and said while He was on earth.

Luke continues this theme into Acts, but this time we learn what Jesus did and said as the ascended risen Lord from heaven.

In order to do this, Jesus sends His Spirit to empower His people, the church to be His ambassadors and ministers on earth. In other words, the unstoppable advance of the gospel of Jesus through the words of His people, by the power of the Holy Spirit to the ends of the earth.

We see that despite attempts by the authorities to stop the gospel, even persecution and internal conflicts within the church, the gospel prospered.

Why Acts? An encouragement for today

You might ask: “What relevance has Acts for us today?”

In Acts, we see that the gospel advanced in an environment of pluralism and adversity, not too dissimilar to what we see in Auckland and New Zealand. The early church was accused of intolerance, it was misunderstood and characterised in all sorts of ways and yet the gospel continued to prosper seeing lives changed and even whole communities transformed.

Acts then becomes an encouragement to us in Auckland, that despite the difficulties, if we are faithful at proclaiming Jesus, we too will see the unstoppable advance of the gospel.

To quote from David Cook:

“Luke’s purpose is to show the gospel reaching out, carried by the Spirit-empowered messengers under God’s superintendence, to Jew, Samaritan and Gentile – this is the melody of Acts – the fulfilment of God’s plan to gather in His people from the far reaches of the earth. Christ is ascended but He continues to direct His church and empower them through His Spirit…”

Preparing for God to speak to us

Please read through Acts over the next few weeks, and note how many times the gospel is mentioned and how Jesus is proclaimed.

Please note the enthusiasm with which people embraced Jesus and how they devoted themselves to the study of the Word and to fellowship and to loving and caring for one another.

And please pray for the series that God would use it in the life of the church for the advance of the gospel.


Photo credit: tableatny

A message from Richard Cutforth

To my brothers and sisters in Christ at Howick Baptist,

Thank you so much for the warm welcome we have already had in your church. Donelda and myself already feel at home in this church and we look forward to meeting many of you and having fellowship with you.

As the interim pastor, I want to be able to provide some form of continuity over the next few months as you look for a new pastor. My prayer is that you will continue to be taught the Word of God well – that the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will be proclaimed and that you will continue to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

While I am here part-time, I want to be able to shepherd the flock and for people who want to come and have a chat, I will endeavour to be here on Tuesday and Thursdays.

One of my favourite verses is found in Colossians 1:28-29:

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

This I will endeavour to do while I am here.

Please pray for me and Donelda as we serve you. Please make yourself known to us for we love getting to know people. Even though Donelda is unable to speak, she can communicate and so would love you to come and talk to her.

We pray that God will bless our time with you –

Ministering together for the gospel,

Richard