Friday, 30 October 2009

A trip to Ascot

This weekend B, Rachel and I are off down to Ascot for church on Sunday. I shall be preaching and laying hands on the sick trusting that God will do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine by the power of His Spirit at work within me, in order to bring Him glory. It's as you go out on these adventures that you grow in your faith because you know that it's all about Jesus and nothing about you.

I know that Ascot Baptist are a great church who are working hard to share the gospel in it's purest form by being as relevant to the town that they live in. Phil Rogers who leads the church is a man who has trusted God for many years and is now seeing some breakthroughs in terms of salvation and healing. I love his faith and I love his zeal and I know that I have much to learn from men who have walked the walk for a lot longer than myself.

Sunday I trust will be an immense day once more, as God shows up and does what only He can - heal and save - and I know that we will once more look in in awe and wonder knowing that we do worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Please pray for me as over the next day or two that I will speak clearly and that I will hear from God with regards to words of knowledge.

I hope to bring news of what God has done when I return from holiday in a weeks time.

Friday, 23 October 2009

1 Kings 7 verse 23

I am currently reading through 1 Kings. Today I was mulling over chapter 7 and in particular wondering what 'the sea' is that is mentioned in verse 23. Of course wanting to study the passage well and understand I looked to the trusty(?) internet to get an idea. What I found astonished me.

There is a whole theory that the Bible has been proved to be false because when you look at the ratio of the seas diameter to it's circumference, the result is not pi but 3!!! Pi being calculated by dividing the circumference by the diameter.

To counter this there are several apologetic websites (the best of which I have linked here) that argue the fact that cubits were not precise readings, with decimal places, they were in fact the measurement between a man's elbow and his fingertips.

I couldn't help but find this a little amusing that people so want the bible to be objectionable that they will scour the words to find these sort of alleged imperfections.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Gift Day Video

We watched this as a church on Sunday - great story, great mission, great God!!!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

8 months in...

8 months ago, we had not met our beautiful daughter. As Valentines Day happened, we were totally unsure when BT would be born. There had been no signs and B was already 3 days late - if you know my B, she doesn't do late!!!

Within the next 24 hours our baby girl entered the world. 8 months on and I am totally blown away, on a daily basis, at the privilege and the responsibility and the joy it is to be a father. For sure, it is not all plain sailing. There is much about me as a person that has had to change - I have become more of a morning lark than a night owl for instance - why? because making precious time to spend with my little girl is priceless. I will get other sleep, these moments will go.

It is as I have pondered on this first 8 months that the wonder of being in God's family has once again excited me. I am His child and He looks on me with even more love than I do Rachel. I know that He takes joy in the fact that I am His son. I know that no matter what I do wrong He will love me anyway. I know that my love from Him is unconditional, unfading and unfailing; it is for now, for the future and for eternity; it is high and wide and deep; it is free, unmerited and without strings.

My Rachel knows that if she topples over and bangs her head, then i will come and gather her in my arms and although unable to take the physical pain away, I can carry her until she is once again ready to try and crawl again (most of the time that is a very short amount of time!) She knows that if she cries out for long enough I will come to her. Our God is the same. He picks us up and carries us when we fall, if we let him, and He hears us cry out and responds at the time that He considers right.

This time tomorrow I would have been a father for 8 months; I am so enjoying my relationship with Rachel, and I am so thankful that through this little girl I am also growing in my relationship with my Father in Heaven.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Gift Day

In Oct 1998 I started going along to a church which started me out on a journey of discovering who Jesus actually is and what he has done by his grace and mercy in my life. Before this 'journey' began I had spent 5 years in the student bubble and had come out of that with eye watering amounts of debt in loans and overdrafts.

Why do I record this? As I reflect on the gift days coming up at our church on the 8th and 15th Nov, I realise how far I have come in my understanding of God's grace. When I first started the journey in 1998 the very thought of putting even a handful of change in the offering basket was a bizarre concept. Why did the church need my money? (the emphasis being my money). I would get cross when I considered the pastor was speaking too much about giving, after all didn't he know that I was in debt and didn't he know that I needed to eat and didn't he know that I was only on an entry level teachers salary. I had so many reasons to be cross that I felt totally justified in not giving money.

Then God broke in and He impressed upon me an amount to give. I argued with Him and I tried to ignore this nagging amount that I should put in. In the end I relented. I put the cheque in the basket as it passed me by. It wasn't the easiest thing that I had ever done. I was a new Christian, just knowing that I wanted to follow Jesus. The money I had put in meant I went deeper into my overdraft by the end of the month and there was part of me that was totally reluctant, but deep down I knew that I would be okay - if Jesus died for me to take away my sin, and I had trusted him to do that, I could trust him in money, right!?!

Indeed I could. At the end of that very meeting, the pastor of the church invited people with debt problems to see him afterwards. I did so and I met with him the following Saturday. We went through my budget and agreed on various cuts and caps on spending and at the end of that meeting he graciously and mercifully offered to clear my overdraft. This amounted to just over 10 times what I had put into the offering. To this day I have not needed an overdraft and I know that that is because of God's grace and mercy, not the grace and mercy of one man.

It is stories like this one and countless others that have left me knowing that I can trust God in the financial areas of my families life. B and I now have one salary and a baby girl to look after and as a husband I am starting to increasingly feel the weight of this. When the weight sometimes feels too much, I need to remind myself of God's faithfulness and ask myself the question: Who's money is it anyway? It was this question that was answered as a result of the story I have told. I came to the awareness that all I had was his anyway and when I am full of faith, He is faithful. This is no way a prosperity article, I want to make that clear. My giving does not obligate God in any way, it's not a formula, but there is something in trusting God above and beyond our means that enables Him to work miraculous things into our lives.

I for one, am looking forward to the gift days - not because I enjoy saying no to all the other good things I can spend money on - but because I enjoy seeing God in me and amongst his people. As I joyfully drop my money in on 15th Nov, I know that I will be joining together with brothers and sisters whom God is also stirring to trust him. If you are part of RFC then join with my family and I as we continue our faith adventure in this area of giving.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Great Song

This song is excellent...

We need to remember:

We are rebels against God, literally sinners, living with us at the centre of the universe

God knows this but sent his son Jesus to die for that sin so we don't have to pay the price

He does this becasue he loves us

He then allows us to receive this great truth, not because we do anything that earns it but just because!

Jesus did it all, does it all and will do it all - by grace!

This song helps us see it again a fresh.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Alpha has started!!!

Two weeks on and Alpha is now in full flow. We have almost as many guests as we have team which is absolutley fantastic, and those that are there are asking excellent questions that keep our minds sharp and help keep our hearts open.

I have already had the joy of meeting with one of the guests on a one to one basis to just talk through some wider issues and am looking forward to meeting with another next week.

In all of this I know that my confidence is not in me but is the One who has called us into His mission of bringing a people to Himself. The Alpha course is not about making people Christians, but it is about helping people have a greater understanding of what Christianity really is.

I do however pray that we will once again, as a church, join with people as they celebrate accepting the invitation to follow Jesus and all that entails. Please join me in prayer that all those on the course will know something more of Jesus and that ultimately they would know the greatest joy of being a child of the living God.