Thursday, 7 August 2008

Newday musings

Yesterday saw, B, Nicola, Beckie Chard and I travel to Uttoxeter racecourse to visit the youth for the day. We arrived at about 12:00, just in time to wave the youth off as they went to serve in a park in Derby clearing paths for the local community. What I loved was seeing that our youth is made up not just of church kids but of children from the local estate here in Reading, who are regulars at our Friday night youth meetings. The way they had bonded was excellent and a joy to see.

As the afternoon unfolded there was a chance to shoot some hoops with Sitho and some lads who were far younger, fitter and more talented than we were. B and I spent some time meeting old friends and making new ones and I went for a walk with Andy Martin, a man I respect greatly. This was all wonderful stuff.

However the evening surpassed it all. The evening meeting started with high anticipation as to what God was going to do. 5000+ people jammed into the big top to worship God and hear the good news of Jesus preached. During the sung praise time, Adrian Holloway got 4 guys who were healed last year to bring their story and then he prayed a prayer of healing. Straight away people were healed, I could see one girl near us burst into tears and jump up and down controlably, seemingly any pain that she had had was eradicated by the miraculous healing power of the Holy Spirit.

Adrian then preached the gospel. He used many props and made it extremely relevant. He is an outstanding communicator and story teller. When he uncovered the full size guillotine there was a general hush over the crowd - his point being, this was the sort of instrument of death that Jesus died on, not what we now see as our gold and silver crosses that are worn whether you are a Christian or not. (He of course made the point that Jesus did die on a crucifix not a guillotine!!!) His presentation was powerful, and was then followed by the now slightly famous dance drama set to the music of Lighthouse (see here for a you tube version).

Once again an hush descended as people watched the dance and many were moved, including myself. Then Adrian made the call. Kids from all over the big top came streaming forward including two from our youth. They were going forward to accept the invitation to follow Christ, to make him the number one priority in their lives, to seek him for forgiveness, to look to him to be their confidence. It was an incredible sight. As I have read the Billy Graham book listed to the side, I have wondered what it would be like to be in a context like that of the New Testament where it's not just one or two committing their lives to follow Jesus but hundreds - last night I caught a glimpse of it and it was beautiful.

I am overwhelmed with joy at the fact that I am going to be a father. As Father God looked on last night he must have been elated to see so many new Christian births, people coming to him and saying daddy I want to follow you.

I want to see more of this; as I wept last night watching everyone flowing forward I realised that I wasn't just full of joy, but also of sadness at all those who didn't respond; I know now on reflection that my tears were also a stirring of hatred once more of sin and the Devil and knowing how some will never see the truth. My tears are to remind me again that the job is only just starting here in Reading. There is a town here who predominantly do not know Jesus and it is our responsibility, privilege and joy to be able to let them know, through friendship, Alpha's, marriage courses, cell social events, cell cluster events.

Jesus is alive, he will return and all will be judged. Let's find as many of God's elect as we possibly can, by telling as many people about the good news of Jesus as we can.

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