Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The bell rung once more!!!

On Sunday morning a young lady who has been coming on a regular basis prayed a prayer of commitment. As I lead a prayer during a time of response she said it quietly under her breath. She then approached me before she left and she told me that she had said the prayer once before but had said it again this morning because she wants to follow Jesus.

This is wonderful news. Jesus came to die for us, to set us free and to make peace between us and the Father. He did this because of love. That is now two people for whom the bell hath tolled this year. My prayer is that many others will come to know the saving grace of Jesus and respond to him.

We must be those who are loving and compassionate - looking for the lost as the Father looks for the lost - and to fulfill this we must be those inviting people to meet Jesus out of relationship, by showing them the real Jesus of the bible, by telling our stories or simply by taking every opportunity that comes our way.

Being bell ringers is what we are about, let's be expectant that we will all have that thrill!!!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Life group and joy

We had a great life group meeting last night. Although it all felt a little relaxed and even dare I say, lethargic, I know we met with God. After a brief but enlightening welcome we delved into worship. B had organised paper and drawing materials for us to draw or write whatever our hearts were reminded about Jesus.

It resulted in some pictures, a poem and a page full of song lyrics that give honour to Him. There was a picture of an ocean; magnificent, enormous, full of life, with power in abundance, but the ability to soothe even the most troubled soul. A picture of dark and light, showing what we have been saved from and saved into, with a poem that said something similar. An easel with a picture being painted of the world reminding us that God did not create haphazardly, but he designed, he knew what it would look like; a picture of the cross already painted next to it, reminding us that the cross was always the plan. There was also a picture of lilies helping us to see that we should not worry but seek first the kingdom of God!

All these things helped us to concentrate and focus upon our wonderful Saviour. In the The Fruitful Life there is a chapter on joy and it reminds us that we are commanded to be joyful, not just be joyful when we feel like it. Jerry Bridges does unpack this and one of the ways that he says we can live this joy is to give thanks in all circumstances. When we consider all of the above, we know we have so much to be thankful for and it has challenged me to follow the command to be joyful - in all circumstances!!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Learning to be a better husband

With the biography of Spurgeon finished I am now taking up a book recommendation of Sean and delving into the mysteries of the opposite sex. I have just started 'For Men Only' by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. For me this is in an attempt to be a better husband to my wife. I know I have so much to learn and that I can never think that I have got it sorted.

God has given me my wife to love as Christ loved the church; to love as I love myself. I am committed to this and want to do all I can, to make sure that B stays the apple of my eye, continues to be the girl that I dream about and that I continue to be, and continue to develop into, the husband that meets her high expectations from scripture.

Friday, 20 March 2009

A quote from Spurgeon

As I have read through this biography of Charles Hadden Spurgeon I have been so encouraged challenged and wowed by a man who truly lived his life to bring glory to Gods name by seeing people saved. At the beginning of chapter 16 there was this quote from 'The Early Years':

"In Spurgeon's time London's streetlights burned gas but still had to be lit individually. It is to this practice that Spurgeon is referring in the following note:

Coming one Thursday in the late autumn from an engagement beyond Dulwich, my way led up to the top of Herne Hill ridge. I came along the level out of which rises the steep hill I had to ascend.

While I was on the lower ground, riding in the hansom cab, I saw a light before me, and when I came near the hill, I marked that light gradually go up the hill, leaving a train of stars behind it. This line of new-born stars remained in the form of one lamp, and then another and another. It reached from the foot of the hill to its summit.

I did not see the lamplighter. I do not know his name, his age, nor his residence; but I saw the lights which he had kindled, and these remained when he himself had gone his way.

As I rode I thought to myself, "How earnestly do I wish that my life may be spent in lighting one soul after another with the sacred flame of eternal life! I would myself be as much as possible unseen while at my work, and would vanish into eternal brilliance above when my work is done."

I can add nothing to what he has said other than to say what wonderful imagery and a reminder to me that this should be my desire. To see as many lights lit in my life time for Jesus as I can and to say with John the Baptist - Less of me and more of Him!!!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

The countdown is on...

It is only 38 days to go (April 28th) until Alpha@CoffeeRepublic starts. I have already had 6 people tell me that they are coming. Three of those are people who are not yet connected with the church, three are from Sunday mornings. Out of those numbers 4 of them are on a journey of discovery concerning the Christian faith.

It has been a very exciting start considering it is only this Sunday coming that will see us publicly advertise the course. The following week there will be a flier available that members of the church will be able to place in peoples hands. I am trusting God and praying that this course will literally be a life changing course for many people, more than those who are already signed up. Lives that could be changed are the lives of our own friends, neighbours, housemates, gym buddies, course or work colleagues.

The onus is on us to invite and introduce people to Jesus just as Andrew did in bringing Peter to Jesus and as the woman at the well did when she went back to her village and said come and meet the man that told me all that ever did.

Friday, 13 March 2009


One of my favourite places in Reading is Coffee Republic. Their hot chocolate with marshmallows is excellent, in my humble opinion! This week I met the guy who run the place and he has agreed to let us use Coffee Republic as our Alpha venue. (Click here for more on Alpha)

Alpha@CoffeeRepublic starts on Tuesday 28th April at 8pm. It is now time to start inviting friends to come and hear what Christians believe, in an environment where they can also ask their questions without fear of upsetting anyone or having any pressure placed upon them.

This course is for your friends if they have been asking you questions about your faith, it's for them if they have some objections to what you believe and you haven't got the answers. This course may also be for you. If you are not sure if you are a Christian or not or you know you aren't but you are looking in here today; then please contact me by posting a comment. I will get back to you.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Last Wednesdays quiz night

As some of you may have read in an earlier post (click here to read), we were challenged by another life group to a quiz night. This took place last Wednesday evening. It was a great night of fun, friendship and facts!!! Keith and Leslie had done a great job in organising everything and their life group had also been busy inviting guests. (As had ours I hasten to add!)

The evening saw 45 of us gather with over half of those being guests. I have been told by members of our life group that the evening was greatly appreciated by their friends and that just the fact that people saw that Christians can have fun and can enjoy life was valuable. The other positive thing from the night was that a few have also shown an interest in coming to other events as and when they come along.

In short, the evening was a fantastic success and would be something I would recommend to any other life groups who wanted to use the idea.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Back and raring to go...

I have now returned from paternity leave and am looking forward to posting more regularly again. Over the past few weeks I have been slowly working through the Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges and Spurgeon: a New Biography by Arnold Dallimore. I have enjoyed both immensely and would highly recommend both as encouraging and challenging in living as a follower of Jesus.

However more encouraging still has been the fact that although only back in the chair for two days, I have already heard a couple of stories of conversations and opportunities people have had. I have just finished an informal chat with a student in our church. He was telling me about a housemate who is changing in her view of Christianity: she has come to realise that the philosophical questions that are often raised are nonsense when searching for a serious answer as to whether there is or is not a God. She is currently looking into the whole notion of Christianity because she doesn't just want to make broad weeping statements that cannot be backed up when sitting in a discussion arena, but she has also seen through this lad and others that Christianity is not a Sunday thing and is not a judgemental thing but is a lifestyle of love, acceptance and family, worked out through the loving parameters of the teaching of the bible.

Although this young lady is not yet a Christian, I greatly admire her for taking it seriously enough to at least explore what it actually means to live for Jesus and believe and trust in God. What ever the outcome, I know that this young lady will have good friends in the church who will love her and be part of her life for as long as she wants them to be.

I have also been invited to chat to another young lady on Friday morning with another student in our church. She has some questions around denominations and grace and law. I am so looking forward to this as I can talk about my favourite subject... Jesus, him crucified and resurrected!!!