Today was Hill City’s fifth birthday and it was phenomenal! We made space in our morning gathering for members of the church to share the various ways in which God has blessed them over the last 5 years. It took a LONG time and was literally just story after story of God’s saving grace, God’s transforming grace and God’s sustaining grace. At several points tears were streaming down many cheeks. The whole series of MP3’s will be posted online during the week. However, I thought I’d post one of the testimonies online. It was given by one of our closest friends and one of our longest standing church members, Lois Franks. It was delivered in the form of a simple poem and I believe it gives God a lot of glory!
Returning from a Gap Year in 2008,
I decided to join this church on a Valleys estate.
With a burden from God to see the Valleys transformed,
A vision for churches to be planted and lives given to the Lord,
We’d hooked up with Dai who had a similar heart,
And so Ben had been here right from the start.
Now, I’d been going to church for all of my life,
And it was at a young age that I accepted Christ.
I loved my Saviour and wanted to make His name known,
But honestly my love for the Gospel and the Bible was a little shallow and not always shown.
For me faith was often dependent on experiential things;
A sort of fluffy feeling I’d get sometimes when I’d sing.
I mean I definitely did love the Bible and the cross,
But if Jesus wasn’t preached clearly at church, I’m not sure I gave a toss.
The Gospel wasn’t central to all that I did,
Behind less important ‘churchy’ things it often hid.
I’m not saying experiencing God is bad or untrue,
The issue is when that’s more important than deep-rooted Gospel conviction through and through.
That’s a little bit of background, just to set the scene…
I’m now going to try and explain how my time here has been.
The best place to start is to give God the glory.
It’s Him who’s orchestrated each part of the story.
From a crazy amount squashed in the Hankey’s front room,
To Trevolution banter involving a spoon…
We’re in the Cold Barn now and have been a while
And thinking of our journey always brings me a smile.
Anyway, since being at Hill City, my eyes have been lifted,
it’s like the Gospel’s sunk deeper and my priorities have shifted.
Before, I loved Jesus and was definitely saved,
But through the faithful Gospel preaching and joyful passion here displayed,
A transformation has occurred and a new way has been paved.
I now love Jesus more than ever before,
My Bible is a life bringing sword of that I’m sure.
In the past if a Bible wasn’t opened I’m not sure I’d notice,
But now I just think that it’s a blatant diss!
If the Gospel isn’t preached I feel cross inside…
I really don’t think that the world should be denied!
So I’m grateful to our leaders and to all of you,
For helping the Gospel to sink all the way through.
You’ve pointed to Jesus in all that we’ve done,
It’s never been about Hill City but always about God’s Son.
The preaching each week has been centred around the cross,
Anything else has been counted as loss.
You’ve faithfully brought truth every single Sunday,
And sought to guide us along the narrow way.
As leaders you’ve been totally uncompromising,
Giving Jesus the glory with whatever you’d bring.
So I’m grateful for how you’ve helped the Gospel sink deep
And for how you have shepherded this little sheep.
I love you all for how you’ve realigned my vision,
To focus on Jesus, through whose death, new life was given.
I know that Ben and I won’t be here forever,
But we’re mega excited for our future Gospel adventures.
The thing that I’m sure of wherever we head,
What we’ve learned at Hill City will set us in good stead.
So my rhyme might have been simple, I’m sorry for that,
I just wanted to say thank you through this little spat.
It’s still all about Jesus I have to declare,
so thank you for giving me this time to share.