I love the hot, sunny weather but one downside is that I tend to live in a constant state of sweaty mess. It often doesn’t do to sniff too closely!

There is an altogether nicer smell wafting out from Grace Church at the moment. When the Apostle Paul was writing to the Corinthians he said this:

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  (2 Corinthians 2:15)

There have been numerous occasions through this year when I have been with the people of Grace Church and stood back for a moment and thought, “If I could bottle this moment, I would!” For example, when we have gathered to worship particularly on our Sunday evenings, or when we have listened to people’s testimony of salvation and baptised them.

A supreme example would be at our recent Screen on the Green event in Chichester. We were able to bless thousands of people with a tangible demonstration of the Grace of God. I was stood on the gate as people filed out at the end of the evening. The expressions of gratitude and favour from people with no prior connection to Grace Church were overwhelming. People were detecting the aroma of Christ.

My prayer for Grace Church as we go through the summer and into the Autumn is that we would be all the more smelly for Jesus. Wherever you find yourself over the coming weeks, give yourself a good squirt of Eau de Gospel! Look for ways to demonstrate the love of God in spoken and unspoken ways. Expect some people to turn their noses up. Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians that the aroma of Christ is offensive and brings death to those who are rejecting Jesus. But to others it is a beautiful, compelling fragrance that brings life as people are drawn to Jesus, the giver of life.

It has been a while since we have run any Alpha Courses, other than the excellent courses run by our team in Ford Prison. I am delighted to announce that from this coming September we will be running separate Alpha Courses in all four of our Grace Church sites. That will be quite a challenge, which will need everyone to be involved in some way. Here are three things you could do:

  1. Start spreading the word and begin conversations now with people that you could invite. To have four viable courses running at once, we need lots of guests!
  2. Offer to serve on the Alpha Course in some way. There are many different ways of serving.
  3. Commit to praying for our Alpha Courses from now.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. (v14)

I think you smell very nice!