Thursday, 26 February 2009

The joy of a father

I cannot stop speaking about my darling daughter. For some I guess I speak too much about her, but I want to tell the world about her. Every opportunity I get to tell some one and share my joy, I take it - and probably give more information than they are actually interested in.

As I realised this whilst standing in St Andrews bookshop a while ago, it made me think once more of Luke 15 and the parable of the lost sheep. It says that the shepherd lets people know about the finding of the sheep by calling to them and inviting them to rejoice with him. It then says that there will be more rejoicing over a sinner who repents - a person being born again.

The joy I feel about Rachel is only a shadow of the joy that our Father feels and expresses when someone gives their life to follow Jesus. When we rang the salvation bell for one 10 year old lad, we were just joining in that celebration. I long to hear that bell ring again or at least hear some stories of friends of our church moving closer to that time!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Our baby girl is here!!!

On Sunday 15th February 2009, Rachel Ruby Taylor was born into this world. It is an incredible feeling knowing that we are now mummy and daddy; the elation of meeting her married with the overwhelming sense of responsibility. Everything that I had expected from the length of labour to the first night were completely misunderstood.

My two girls are wonderful, beautiful and a gift from my Father in heaven. I know that over the coming weeks and months we shall start to develop as parents, but right now we are just loving the fact that she is here and that she is well. THANK YOU JESUS!!!

Off now to help change a nappy!!! How life has changed!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Stories from the field!

Coming in this morning I knew I would be blogging today to update on the challenge from last week laid down by the Holland cell group (catch the story here). That being that a poster arrived on our front door last night continuing the challenge and letting us know that they already have 12 signed up to come. As we went round our cell last night - we have 0 as of yet!!! So we prayed!!!

However, the bigger stories were awaiting me in my inbox. Jo, a girl in our cell, went home last night to invite her friends again to the quiz night. She ended up having an hour conversation about Jesus, where they ended up talking about the Alpha Course and expressing an interest in coming! This was an immediate answer to prayer as Jo had just prayed for them at cell!!! God is so good. She said:

"Am praying that we see that bell rung again!"

The second mail came from Tom Riches who was writing about the encouragement of his cell last night. Out of 11 of them almost all had a story to share about a conversation , an event or a new relationship that had been built. He said this:

"What was also really good about this was that some of the people seem to be getting close to accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, obviously we don't want to be complacent but peoples' friends look to be searching for and seeking something and the cell seems to be on hand and very willing to point people in the right direction."

I love being part of a church who are so eager to love the lost and who are becoming more accustomed to putting themselves on the front line. After hearing the bell ring for the first time yesterday, as Ben rang it for his friend, I couldn't help but be excited; not because of a bell, but because we really are on a mission with Jesus to find lost souls and he is starting to use us again as a church to do that!!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Quick update on BT

Still no sign of our little bundle of joy. I left B fast asleep this morning resting and letting God do His thing in growing our little one. Tomorrow is the due date, but as of yet there have been no signs of imminent arrival.

It's a bit like waiting for your birthday as a kid, only you don't actually know what day your birthday is you just know it's around this time.

I cannot wait to hold BT in my arms - please Lord, let it be soon!!!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Exciting developments...

News that has reached my ears over the last couple of days:

1) A text message came in on Sunday afternoon for Ben Butcher-Bigley to come and ring the bell. One of his friends who has been coming regularly on a Sunday morning and to youth on a Friday night prayed a prayer of commitment and repentance on Saturday. After speaking with Ben and hearing his excitement and zeal, I cannot wait to stand with him as he rejoices with Jesus as this one lost sheep turns to follow Jesus at such an early age!!!

2) We have our first guest confirmed for the Alpha course, although the venue is still TBC. This is fantastic as it doesn't start til Tuesday 28th April and we are only in mid Feb!!! We have a such great news to tell and Alpha is something that God has used mightily to save many, that we really need to get behind this in a fresh way.

3) We are seeing people who do not yet know Jesus come on a Sunday morning, which should not be a surprise as we have been praying for this, but is great because they get to see the people of God praising him, they experience His presence and they hear the bible preached. Keep praying for us to have unbelievers amongst on a Sunday morning.

All these things have been wonderful encouragements and I believe are just the first signs of something that God wants to do with us as individuals, as cells and as a church this year.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

STOP THE PRESS... Challenge issued!!!

After a great prayer meeting that saw us spending time praying for our nation and the lost, a gauntlet was thrown down, by Keith Holland and his cell group to our cell.

As the praying drew to an end, a bellowing voice cried out "Taylor Cell Group". Out stepped Keith backed closely by his cell group, quite an intimidating experience actually - Martin Craker, Tino Villa and Dave Simkin loomed large just behind the sturdy figure of Keith, as well as Joy, Leslie, Becca and Pamela. As he squared up in front of me I felt I had to call our cell over and so in the end we had a face off of the two cells.

What happened next was shocking but in line with gauntlets being thrown down through the ages. The leather glove in Keith's hand connected with first my right then my left check and was then thrown to the floor. Such scenes have never been seen in our offices!!! A reading of the challenge then followed, which in essence was to compete cell against cell in a quiz on March 4th.

The twist however was that 10 tickets had been printed up that were meant for our friends who are not yet Christians. Each ticket that was used would earn 10 extra points and each which was returned would see ten points deducted.

On hearing the challenge I turned to our cell and went to confer with them. Before I had the chance to even say a word, I faced a blanket of nodding faces with expressions such as 'bring it on' and 'we can do this' coming from their lips.

I stooped down and picked up the leather glove signalling our intention to accept the duel and the date is now set.

Why are we doing this? Is it because we are so competitive that we can't back down? Is it because we really enjoy doing quizzes? Well maybe a bit of the two, but mainly it's because we want to be a people who see building relationships with people as fun and entertaining. I want to invite someone (assuming everything is well with BT) because I enjoy spending time with my non-Christian friends and I know at least one of them who would really enjoy being a leading light on a quiz team.

Will we preach the gospel? Will there be an altar call? I don't think so, but we will have fun and we will be mixing with different people than we usually would and we will run the event in such a manner that will bring glory to God.

This seems like a good way to me of working together as cell groups to encourage, collect memories and stories and provoke each other to have a mindset that friends are friends and shouldn't be put in Christian and non-Christian boxes unhelpfully.

I shall tell the story of the evening in a few weeks, but until that time I shall be praying that this will be a door opening, fun filled, relationship building event, that all will enjoy and be encouraged by.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The last piece of the campanology jigsaw...

The church together is the last piece of the bell ringing picture. We will be concentrating on Sunday mornigs and Alpha:

What about Sunday mornings? We want to ensure that a regular Sunday is somewhere that people who don't yet know Jesus will be welcomed warmly and will not be baffled by jargon that Christians in our church will understand but others will not. We will also be putting on Sundays that will lend themselves to us a as a church inviting our friends along: this will include Easter Sunday, a healing meeting (Front Edge) on May 17th and other events like it, but in all that we would love to see those meetings in particular busy with friends and family of those of us in the church.

What about Alpha? We currently plan to hold Alpha at Starbucks in the centre of town. We want to build on the success of using the Glo as a venue and meet in places where people would usually go and would be seen as mainstream. I went in today to speak to someone but the manager was not around, but my efforts shall not be thwarted I shall be going back!!! Pray for that eh!! Anyway, Alpha only works if we invite our friends along.

Alpha starts on Tuesday 28th April. Let's be praying this week, as we join together in prayer and fasting, as to who God would want us to invite and then go out there and do it!!! The worst that can happen is they will say no, but it could still lead to some great conversations. It would be great to have a course of 50 people and as we are not running Alpha this term it gives us a chance to spend times with our friends and get to a point where the next step is to invite.

It is great being in a church where stories are just beginning to fly around about the encounters that we are having as individuals, in workplaces, on campus, with neighbours and with pizza delivery men. Please keep stories coming in of conversations and opportunities that you have had. I have heard of two this morning and will post them when I have a bit more detail.

Let's be a church who are growing in our love and compassion for people who don't yet know Jesus, and let's invite them to be in places where they will hear the good news of Jesus and let the Spirit do his work in their lives!!!