Month: November 2012

We Need More Boring Testimonies!

So I’m sat on a train with a few hours to kill so I thought I’d seize the moment and write a blog post I’ve been wanting to write for a while. Here it is in a nut-shell:

We need more boring testimonies!

I guess I should probably clarify a few things from the get go. Firstly, by ‘testimony’ I am referring specifically to the story of salvation in someone’s life. Secondly, there is NO such thing as a boring testimony – for anyone to pass from death to life, to be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light, to go from God’s enemy to God’s family – requires a mind-blowing miracle of grace that only God can perform! Jesus didn’t just suffer, bleed and die for the overtly messed-up, He died for all because ALL are sinners in need of a Saviour. So no testimony is boring because at the heart of any true conversion story is the cross and resurrection of Jesus – which is anything but boring!

So what the dickens am I on about? (more…)

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The Christmas Chord

Christmas is coming (as if you needed reminding!) and my very good friend, Dai Woolridge, out of the kindness of his colourful and creative heart, has decided to team up with video genius, Andy Toovey, to bless us with this epic little festive flick:

I showed this to Michelle and she said, “so that’s our Christmas family service and outreach carol concert sorted then!” Erm…in a word, “YES!” This is a quality production and a fantastic tool for us to use to spread the message of grace this Christmas. So can I recommend you grab the video off Youtube, tweet it, blog it, Facebook it, use it at your Christmas events, use it to get the gospel out there!

Thanks Dai and thanks Tooves.

BLACKOUT Weekend

Don’t bother trying to contact me this weekend cos I won’t be available – I’m going BLACKOUT! You may recall that I did the same thing last year.

So what the dickens is BLACKOUT?

Glad you asked!

BLACKOUT is the brainchild of Open Doors Youth to help raise awareness, enhance empathy and express solidarity with the persecuted church. It’s so easy for us in our busy, relatively comfortable western world to forget about the plight of our brothers and sisters around the world who are being slaughtered, tortured, imprisoned, intimidated and marginalised on a daily basis, purely because of their faith in Jesus. Hebrews 13v3 says:

“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

This scripture convicts me so deeply that I have genuinely been contemplating getting the word “REMEMBER” tattooed on my hand to remind me to pray for the persecuted church each day. BLACKOUT is a less permanent, yet equally effective way of remembering my suffering church family. By blacking out I will be going without my technology for the whole weekend – from 9pm tonight to 9pm Sunday. In a tiny way this is what life is like for the Secret Church who have to meet discretely and worship in fear of their lives. More than that though, each time I’m tempted to hit refresh on my Twitter feed or bust a quick game of Angry Birds I will be reminded to pray. It’ll probably annoy some people that they can’t contact me and likewise it’ll probably be frustrating for me too – but these are minor inconveniences and pale into virtual insignificance next to the all-too-real discomfort of following Jesus in North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and numerous other nations across the world. The video below is just one shocking story among hundreds of thousands that will give you something more of an insight into the plight of the persecuted church and illustrate just how much they need our prayer, encouragement and financial support:

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AErz0uWc-e0&feature=related]

I’ll be back online by Sunday evening – the Secret Church will still very much in the dark. Why not join me in blacking out this weekend – it’s 48 hours that might just impact your heart and life forever! It’d also definitely be worth your while to check out Open Doors and get behind the awesome work that they do to give grace to those who desperately need it. If nothing else, please pray for the persecuted church – our prayers are powerful and effective and above all – they work!

See you next week.

Blessinz.

Gratitude In The Midst Of Grief

In September 1999 I set up a late-night drop-in centre in the basement of Highfields Church, Cardiff, called the Underground. It was an exciting, occasionally terrifying ministry that lasted over 3 years. In that time we ministered to some of the most messed-up and violent people I have ever worked with, yet we also saw God do incredible things. One of the most memorable things about the Underground was the team that I served alongside – a team that was predominantly made up of students and young adults. On my team were 2 wonderful students called Dan and Cat who stuck it out through thick and thin and who were a constant source of encouragement to me and became firm friends. Dan and Cat became very close, started going out and eventually got married and had 4 wonderful kids together.

Dan went on to become a much-loved member of the leadership team down at Christchurch, a church in nearby Newport that I enjoy an especially close relationship with. Consequently I have stayed in touch with him and Cat ever since our time together at Underground. So it was with great shock that I learned about him collapsing with a bleed on the brain just over a week ago, and with deep sadness to hear of his death yesterday, aged just 33. Dan’s death, and the events leading up to it, has hit me very hard. I’m an emotional bloke at the best of times, but his friendship, his age and his family situation all being so close has made it especially poignant. I can’t even begin to imagine what his wife, his precious kids and his friends at Christchurch must be feeling right now. And yet I know that there is grace. I have been aware of it, as I’m sure they have. Remarkably, almost bizarrely, in the midst of all of the emotional trauma that these last few weeks have brought, I have found myself feeling grateful. Profoundly grateful. Here’s why:

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