Massive thank you to Ali Taylor for taking these photos. www.alitaylorphotography.co.uk
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Sunday was a day which I will remember for the rest of my life. I'm not very good at these occasions traditionally. I did not bother going to my graduation, I'm not one to have big birthday parties and I find events which I am involved with a difficult to enjoy. This was different.
Thank You Jesus
It felt like a great opportunity to reflect on what Jesus has done for me among all those who I love. Jesus has changed everything for me. Personal achievement was my main goal in life, following after people like Jonny Wilkinson, trying to make any talent I had go as far as it could. This was my greatest joy and my greatest cause of anxiety. Now my main goal is to know the giver of life himself, following Jesus, who gives me help and strength seeing where he wants to take me. I will go with all my might but I have have more of a sense of 'being alive' than I ever have been. Whatever vocation I have the goal will remain the same.
Family & Friends
I was deeply moved by the efforts of friends and family to travel to be with us for the service. School friends from Bristol, Uni friends from Birmingham, Guildford, Essex, Plymouth, and Andover made the journey. My sister and sister in law came down - both working hard at the moment but made the effort to come. Mum and Dad came down and so did my in-laws from Northampton. Chloe and I put on sandwiches for these guys who made such an effort - most of these would not normally go to Church but came to support me. These people being there made a huge contribution to making the day special for me. Thank you.
Brothers and Sisters
Our Church was amazing. Many volunteers put much effort in to make the service work. Music, Welcome, Sound, Visuals, Cupcakes. To all those who helped - thanks for making this day one of the best days of my life. :-) I was unable to chat to many people on the day. After the service we had a photo shoot for the paper and then I was mindful of friends who were leaving soon. I am so grateful for those who came to support Andy and I. 'Old boys' came from all over. People from Hailsham, Oxford, Bristol and Plymouth came up as well as many from Andy's family. Leaders from other Churches came to support us on the day. It really was very moving for all of us involved in Frontiers Church Exeter.
I have received many kind and encouraging messages from different people within our Church. People have mentioned how God seems to have used me to help them in life and faith etc. Others expressing there support for this new chapter together. There is nothing that I would rather do than lead and stand with those in my Church. I've had a few tears as I've read some of these messages. It's been emotional.
I'm looking forward now to gathering on Wednesday as we seek God and pray together. I know a few leaders from the region are planning on joining us for this evening. All this is quite overwhelming. Together on a Mission. X
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Last week was pumping
Last week we prayed, fasted and gathered in the evening for a time of worship and corporate prayer. I think it was the best prayer meeting I have been to in my life. Matt and the band were pumping, people were more passionate than Exeter City fans and people brought gifts of the Spirit as willingly as they gave gifts at Christmas! I praying for more of the same this evening. We are in a critical season of transition and it is vital that we stand together and ask God for grace for all He is calling us to.
God is Holy
I'm really looking forward to another gathering this evening. Our theme this week is God and his greatness. I preached Isaiah 6 this Sunday. Tonight we gather to make our requests to the God who made all things, including the stars in the sky. Our readings have been connected to this theme. We will focus part of our evening on asking God for greater revelation of who He is.
Let's do it
This is our last meeting before the leadership handover moment. On Sunday Matt Partridge and Andy Arscott will lay hands on me and pray for me as I'm recognised publicly as the leader of the Church. As this new season begins I feel hungry to play my part well, hungry to build teams, hungry to empower others and hungry to make an everlasting contribution in our city. There is nothing like being a Christian.
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Chloe and I read through the given text this morning. It's amazing how Paul was stoned, nearly died and then continued with all that God had called him to. No doubt he was quite a sight being so blooded and bruised.
In the context of extreme challenge after new leaders were appointed, the disciples, "with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord."
It was a moment of leadership transition and so the apostles spent a time of intense praying and seeking God. Richard Foster describes fasting as, "voluntary denial of an otherwise normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity."
I will be among many today enjoying 'intense' prayer by using fasting. As I become the new leader of this Church we are looking for God to help us in what he calls us to. Though we do not face the same opposition as Paul we face our own challenges which we will need his help with for sure! I'm looking forward to joining with the rest of the Church tonight to be together to worship, pray and celebrate together.
If you are part of our Church and don't yet have your booklet, you can find one here. Alternatively grab one tonight.
Today I'll be particularly praying for:
- For our Church family to 'own' this moment together.
- For God to re-ignite hearts towards Him and His mission.
- For a sense of His presence with us.
- For grace upon our Eldership team as we face many questions together.