Although the sales performance of the organization has been weak all year, and the board have kept us well informed, it nevertheless has come as a shock. November sales were worse than expected, and after an emergency board meeting some difficult decisions had to be taken, of which my redundancy is a part. I am quite confident from my discussions with Ian Carmichael and Tony Payne in particular that this was not a decision that anyone wanted to make, but in the providence of God this is a necessary result.
I can't help thinking about this as a very specific answer to prayer, indeed one way or another some of you may have been a part of this. As a direct consequence, despite the shock and surprise associated with the situation, one of my strongest responses to what has happened is a deep sense of thankfulness to God. That thankfulness extends beyond the immediate circumstances to include my 5 years of work at Matthias Media, where at every step of the way I've been treated with extraordinary grace and patience. Some of you know that I joined Matthias Media after some fairly major traumas to do with my previous employment, and at the time Matthias Media proved to be a direct instrument of God's grace to me and to our family. That has continued, up to and including the way my redundancy has been handled.
I am often struck by the fact that although human institutions and even friends may fall short, God never does. He has always shown grace, most especially through his Son Jesus Christ, but so also in the daily experiences of life, even the darkest moments. This moment now is not one of those, but it remains clear to me that God continues to shower his grace on us at this time.
Those of you who are in the habit of praying may like to ask God to continue to show his grace and reveal what he has in mind for us next. I haven't ruled out any obvious options, ranging from church planting through to parish ministry, perhaps even secular work. I teach a mean piano lesson I can tell you. But let me share a few Bible verses that I think God has been drawing to my attention recently, as I've worked through Romans. They are a theme of Matthias Media's ministry, and to some extent a theme of my life as well:
17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,  and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
So much of Christian ministry is tied up with the refutation and opposing of false teachers, together with the encouragement of Christians to be wise, and the expectation that the Lord Jesus will certainly return and show grace to his children, whilst at the same time crushing Satan under our feet in fiery judgement. It is a ministry of grace; one that Matthias Media is a part of, and one which, by the grace of God, I am also, together with all who love the Lord Jesus.
I have more brilliant insights along those lines—brilliant I tell you—but I will save them for the Sola Panel and give you a hoy via this blog when the relevant post appears.
In the meantime, thanks be to God and to my friends and fellow workers (note to the reader—understand what this means!) at Matthias Media.