The next step

stepping out and following where He leads
“…. this is the way; walk in it…” Isaiah 30:21

Leaving a denomination to become an independent church is never an easy or a painless process. Seven years down the line from that day the dust of that departure has, in God’s good grace, largely settled: the danger, though, is that we, too, now settle down – and from there it’s very easy simply to start to drift.

Over the past few months, therefore, the Leadership Team and the body of elders have been seeking the Lord’s clear direction.

The previous series of studies on the church at Antioch was full of both challenge and encouragement. Not the least of the lessons we learned was the importance of taking the ‘next step’ (as Barnabas did when he went and brought Saul to Antioch); and discovering what happened in the aftermath of that small step has surely instilled a confidence in our hearts that, however small the Lord’s ‘next step’ for us might seem, taking the step issues in significant growth, way beyond what we could ever really countenance.

This new series of studies will help us explore together ‘the next step’ which we believe the Lord has set before us. Stepping out into the Lord’s future for us is both daunting and dangerous – but it’s with an excitement born of expectancy that hopefully we will take that step.

On the surface the Lord’s ‘next step’ for us is simple and obvious, for He’s not suggesting anything new. Every so often, however, we need to be reminded (as Moses long since recognized – see Deut.31.10-13) just who we are, and what we’re about, and how we are to live.

As we work through the biblical basis of this ‘next step’ and think through its implications, it’ll become clear that however ‘simple it may seem to be, it’s also hugely stretching; and that however stretching it will be, it will also be highly significant.

May we together be very conscious of the Lord Himself saying again to us  in  these days and through these studies  –  ‘This is the way; walk  in it’:    and may we be given grace to take  this step  of  faith,  like Abraham of old, who boldly “obeyed and “went,  even  though he did  not know where he was going” (Heb.11.8).

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Back To The Future

Back to the Future

discerning God’s purpose for our life as His church

“.. and to the ends of the earth …” [Acts 1.8]

Welcome to a new decade! It’s appropriate (all the more so in the year 2020!) that we have a clear ‘vision’ going forward: some clarity, that is, as to what the Lord calls us to be and to be doing as a fellowship of His people here at Gilcomston. Otherwise we’ll simply drift.

So over these next weeks we’ll be seeking together to discern clearly what the Lord is intent on doing among us and through us – and how that will shape the pattern and priorities in our life as His people here.

Antioch is as good a place as any to start. It was one of the major cities in the ancient world, and, more significantly for our purposes, very rapidly became under God the launch-pad for the spread of the gospel into the Gentile world.

As such the lessons we can learn from the church at Antioch – the way the church came into being, the constituency which formed the church, the ethos of the church, and the missionary perspective of the church, etc – such lessons will hopefully stimulate our thinking and excite our hearts.

Given the changing context of the church’s life and work in Scotland today, the church at Antioch provides perhaps one of the most helpful ‘templates’ for church life which can be found in the New Testament. Hence our using the narrative relating to that church as our starting point for this important study.

May the Lord fire our hearts afresh and lead us forward into His future with a real expectancy and boldness!


One of the most helpful commentaries on the whole book of Acts is that by David Gooding, entitled ‘True to the Faith’. It’s published by Myrtlefield House, and the whole commentary is available on line:

click on ‘Download’, and then on ‘PDF’ when asked to ‘select format’.

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