Newsletter Episode 73, 11 December 2020

Instead of an article this week I’m going to give you the outline of a devotional I’m planning to share with the parents of the Watford church this coming Wednesday. You are getting an advanced sneak peak! Even if you are not a parent, I think you will find something helpful here. The compassion of God and the faithfulness of Joseph are an inspiration.

Subject: How to strengthen the spirituality of our children during the pandemic
Objective: Helping parents feel supported and equipped in an unprecedented situation


QUESTION: What has gone well with parenting your children during COVID-19?

A Family Under Threat

Matthew 2:13-15

“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”” (Matthew 2:13–15 NIV11)

  • Child under threat
  • Divine intervention – wisdom, guidance, compassion
  • Parental obedience
    • Though threat non-visible
    • Though solution inconvenient
    • Though destination problematic (Egypt symbolic of apostasy)
    • An inspiring example of faith

Matthew 2:19-21

“After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.” (Matthew 2:19–21 NIV11)

  • Action and attitude vindicated
  • ‘Freedom’ came at the right time
  • No harm done to the parents
  • No harm done to the child, spiritually – next time we see him he is 12 and loves God’s Word:

“When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.” (Luke 2:42 NIV11) 

“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:46–47 NIV11)

  • There is hope for us and our children
  • What is God saying to you and me through this example, and through the personal parenting circumstances we are experiencing at the moment?

Breakout rooms

Two or three couples with parents of similar-aged children.Suggested starter-questions:

  • Which part of the story about Jesus and his parents connected with you most directly?
  • What attitude or action could you adopt to enhance your child/children’s’ spiritual well-being?


Everyone back together

QUESTION: What did we find helpful in our conversations in the breakout rooms?

What do you think of this devotional? If you have any suggestions for me, I’d be glad to hear them. If you can send them to me between now and Wednesday evening that would be even better. Then I can incorporate them in the actual event.

Take a look at this flyer for a teaching conference coming up in March 2021. I registered this week. I heartily recommend anyone with an interest in these matters to do so.

Register here:

Penny and I have been asked to teach at the conference. More details coming soon. However, the focus will centre on the connection between theology, ecology and God’s vision for this earth. Please pray for us as we prepare. 

The week ahead

If you’d like to pray for me I’d be very grateful. Here are some of my plans:

  • Beginning the application process for a Masters in theological education. Please pray for me. I am somewhat form-phobic.
  • A new Tuesday teaching tip class – “How to connect with your audience – part 4”.
  • The next “What we are reading episode” – a summary of the book, “How to pray”
  • The final quiet time coaching episode from the series based on Pete Greig’s book, “How to pray”. We will be looking at “Amen!”.
  • Working on a teaching series for January and February 2021 on the character of Abraham and those connected with him in the Scriptures. I shall start recording the devotional podcasts next week.
  • Finalising the Carol services for the Watford and Thames Valley congregations.
  • Finishing the “UK/Ireland Unity Carol Project” – more on that next week
  • A joint service this Sunday with the Cambridge congregation.

Until the next time, 

God bless, Malcolm