What do we do when we are at our wits end? One privilege of serving Christians who live under persecution is to see how they stay with the people they love, in their communities wherever possible, and entrust their future to the Lord.

We have now enjoyed 78.5 years of peace in Western Europe and the USA since the end of World War 2.

Another year has started with many uncertainties. But two scriptures have taken my attention.

The first is practical, advising us to invest what God has given us in a variety of ventures being brave in going forward despite difficulty - because we never know which part of our work will yield the best results.  

The world is becoming a different place. Even though there are serious conflicts in Myanmar, West Africa, North Africa, The Horn of Africa, Yemen and Syria ... these are not seen as 'our problems' by most in the West.

However, the wars in Ukraine and the Holy Land are much closer to our national consciousness. The media explodes them onto our screens. The raw anguish of people's suffering is in our faces and we all know that something is wrong.

The church is always only one generation from extinction! But because it is Jesus' church, it is still growing in each generation. But not everywhere or at the same rate.

Persecution has decimated the church in many places, particularly in the Middle East, and the church has become insecure wherever it has lost confidence in the gospel, which is especially true in the once-Christian West.

BeaconLight runs the 'Sharing Jesus Course' to equip believers to lead others to Christ.

The Sharing Jesus Course (SJC) is a mixture of "What is the Biblical gospel narrative?" and "How can you lead people through the narrative to receive Christ?" But it is prefaced by "What is the need for the gospel?" and "Why should every Christian be able to articulate the message ... as opposed to leaving it to the 'professionals'"?

Are hard-copy books redundant in our increasingly online Christian world?

Bibles and Christian literature have been critically important in evangelism and discipleship since the invention of the printing press in the 15thC. Now, despite so much information available online, and people worldwide being glued to their smartphones, paper-based learning is still a priority for most serious learners.

What is the church for? This is not a major public question in the UK these days but when it arises, the answers vary from interesting to concerning.

'Community benefit' is a key phrase - the church is to serve the needs of the community and to provide the space/facilities for what people want to do, irrespective of whether or not these are God's priorities.

'Social conscience' is another - the church is to be the voice of compassion in society and act as a political spur to government.

When there is not enough money, what do you do?

The war in Ukraine, energy prices, commodity shortages, and inflationary economic realities have all reduced the amount of personal disposable income.

As families tighten their belts to meet food, fuel and mortgage costs, what is happening to Christian giving?

Commenting on the Coronation of King Charles III, TV historian Professor David Olusoga from the University of Manchester said, "I think it's more difficult with a thousand-year-old [religious] ceremony to reflect the fact that we are one of the most secular nations in the world."

How can a service of worship to the Triune God, to whom the monarch professes his allegiance, find an Amen among the hearts of multi-faith and secular subjects?