David Ash
A Heart For The Nations

When did I feel God speak to me first about the nations?

I’ve always been aware that there is a world outside of my street, town, nation. My grandparents were based for 40+ years in SSA. This was the start of an adventure of faith. The church I was part of when I was growing up, was a place where people travelled to and from the nations and had a passion to see God’s heart reflected in the nations.  
I think the thing I really want to share is that today shouldn’t be it! It’s good we’ve thought about the nations, but it should be more than one weekend. It's an ongoing thing that should really shape and change us as a people. 
It’s not just about how we work with other churches in other nations but also how we show, how we demonstrate, how we love the nations on our doorstep and within our community. We should all be free to express our cultures, what God has shaped and crafted, the great things about our differences. 
We’ve got work to do on this but we’re learning and growing! Just because we have a nations Sunday doesn’t mean that next week we can forget or we've got it sorted. We want to tackle these things head on, discuss, reflect and learn from one another. 
God’s passion is for a people from every tribe and tongue, and that should be our desire to reflect His heart and the diversity of our nation / our city. Every tribe and tongue should be welcome and feel at home amongst us. 
We want to turn the contrast / the brightness up not wash it out. Not so that we can all, look, act and speak the same but see that God has made us all different in His wisdom and to display His glory, to a world that desperately needs real unity and peace!
The cross changes everything!
It Gives us power to change but there is an outworking to do! It’s easy to say we are one new humanity in Christ, but it’s hard to work that out. The problem most of us have is that we can believe something is true but find it harder to work out and walk out that truth in our day to day. This is especially true when all we’ve been taught, everything the world teaches us is at polar opposites to this teaching, this truth of who we are in Christ.
In much the same way we forget we are children of God and that changes who we are and how we live, we can forget we are one new humanity! We can forget that, that has implications, it deeply affects how we treat one another, how we love and prefer one another, how we care for those who are being discriminated against or suffering because of injustices, whether past or present.
Something I’m beginning to learn and see in these days is that the phrase the church is a mile wide but an inch thick (which has often in the past been used to be used to describe the church especially across Africa in a derogatory way) today, probably applies more to much of the church in the West. We say the right things, sing the right songs but can’t seem to live out the things we believe, there is a fundamental disconnect here!
I’m preaching to my own heart as much as to anyone else. I want to encourage us as a community to be those hands and feet which make peace and see that our brothers and sisters, no matter what nationality and culture they are from, feel at home and able to express who they are in the fullness of the beauty of our God given differences! Wherever we are whether in Derby or living in other nations!