From the vicarage (April 2014)
It’s here. A Passion for Life. May all glory and honour and praise be to Jesus.
Will you pray for every act of kindness, every word of encouragement, every thoughtful invitation, every person who walks with their friends or family or neighbour or colleague through events and beyond? Will you pray for every time the bible is opened, for God to speak? Please pray for the gospel to be proclaimed clearly and loudly, but humbly and with love. Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven and for his kingdom to come, in this generation.
Pray for wisdom and the will for all at Holy Trinity and the Calvary Church to see others share in the glory to be revealed. Pray for hell to be plundered and heaven to be populated. Pray for peace in our time in our community. Pray for gospel ripples to spread beyond West Bromwich to every nation represented at the mission. Pray for peace for the nations as Christ rules in individual hearts and minds.
Pray for Cake ‘n’ Make, An Impossible Mission, An Audience with Cyrille Regis, open air, prayer tables, open church, door to door, CrossTalk, The Passion of the Christ film evening and for A Feast for All Nations. Pray for the right number of people to come to each event and for the event to perfectly meet the needs of those who come.
Pray for our follow up as a whole church. Pray for a welcome to all who come to know Christ. Pray for generous hospitality and new fellowship. Pray for the SOUL course that many will come to know Christ as personal Saviour and Lord. Pray for all of us to grow in knowledge, godliness and love in Christ.
Bring in on.
From the Vicarage (May 2014)
Our Easter events are over and they have exceeded all expectations. All praise and glory to God! We have seen the expected fruit of mission appear at unexpected times. We have been strengthened in faith and fellowship by doing mission together with Calvary Church. We have held events to appeal to all sorts of people and so many have been blessed. There is a sense of God’s pleasure with us as we stepped out to proclaim the crucified and risen Christ to all peoples.
I said some things were unexpected. The mantra on the back of a leather jacket of a girl a few years above me at school said “Expect the unexpected.” This phrase has stuck with me all that time. We expected God to do unexpected things, and here’s some of the highlights people have shared with me.
There was the drunken trio of Polish men at our first day of open air, shouting to disrupt us. But one was handed a Polish tract “Me, a Christian?” and he immediately sat down to read it. He was so engrossed he failed to notice his two friends being moved on gently by the police. Holiday Bible Club had between 40 and 50 kids every day and it was fantastic. Helen pulled out all the stops to create a wonderful blend of fun, craft, games, song and bible teaching. Jon Evans led the warm up dance and his comic timing and posture won lots of fans. We had an unadvertised silent meditation service designed for church members on Good Friday to focus us on the cross. One lady made a sure profession of faith in Christ and two others were deeply moved and may also have been drawn to faith. We did not expect anything like that in that service!
Cake ‘n’ Make, An Audience with Cyrille Regis, Crosstalk (the youth led worship and testimony evening) and the Passion film night all attracted many visitors. Over 25 guests asked for “How can I know God?” booklets and “Believable” DVDs at the end of the sports quiz.
Some of our events were jointly planned and delivered by teams from Holy Trinity and Calvary Church. Our open air mission, Holiday Bible Club, Crosstalk and door to door have all served to strengthen ties and faith across the two congregations. We have seen what God can do when we work with brothers and sisters from different cultures. We did this in obedience to the word of God, as Paul wrote in Ephesians, God’s purpose is to unite all things under one head who is Christ.
One the greatest pleasures I have had, as we have moved through from prayerful planning to preparation and into this week, has been the way our various people in word ministry have carved out a mission event to suit their talent, our mission context and the resources we have of time, money and people. Everyone had a chance to be involved as there were so many very different opportunities to serve. Confidence in each other and the gospel has risen as a result.
As I write on Easter Sunday evening, we had the climax of the week, the Feast for All Nations, this morning. 142 adults and 44 children joined in heart and voice to praise the risen Christ. Around 40 of the adults were not regular members of church, but came as a result of the mission. The Lord provided a great blend of testimony, worship and word. The feast which followed had just enough food.
Now that the feast is over the hard work of follow up begins. New believers will need help to find their feet, to be nourished on the word of God so that his blessing can enter their lives and the gospel flourish in the next generation. As a church we must be prayerful and deliberate as we pick up and continue where Easter week ended. We hope to see small groups flourish, people step up to serve in church life and for our Frontlines, the places God has put us during the week, to be changed by our being faithful there.
Thank you for your part in the mission. May God bless us and may the good news of Christ as Saviour from sin and hell continue to spread through the work of our church and Calvary Church.
With love, Neil