Category: Ignite

Ignite sign off with a final #NotOnMyWatch event #FREEDOMFRIDAY

Tonight my good friends at Ignite are holding their last ever Ignite event and I’m delighted that once again it’s aimed at shining a light on the injustice of human-trafficking and modern day slavery – #NotOnMyWatch.

I’m very excited to be going.

Check out the flyer below and join us if you can.

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#NotOnMyWatch – My Preach

photo-82For those who are interested, I have posted the mp3 of my preach from last Friday evening. It was an incredibly emotional evening, as I expected that it would be, yet I am in no doubt that God was present and people were deeply affected by the call to do justice in His Name. I really knew God’s help as I preached on the issue of trafficking for the first time. I don’t normally post my own sermons up here on the rant, but there has been so much interest in this particular message and this particulat issue that I thought I’d make an exception. Unfortunately the recording from the sound desk failed, but a mate of mine happened to record it from the floor. Therefore, it’s not studio quality, but it’s still a pretty decent sound (thanks Ian!)

You can listen online or right-click and download.

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Blessinz!

#NotOnMyWatch [#FREEDOMFRIDAY]

#NotOnMyWatch

My first Freedom Friday post is the announcement of the launch of an extremely exciting new initiative that my good friends at Ignite have launched this week. Here’s what it’s all about:

#NotOnMyWatch is the new initiative launched today by Ignite . This new project aims to raise the issue of people trafficking and slavery to young people, particularly those based in Wales.

It is a shocking statistic that there are more people being kept as slaves today than there was at the time of the abolution of slavery by the USA in 1865. It is estimated that over 27,000,000 people in slavery, bonded labour and being used as pawns (ie someone given held as security for a debt). That is almost the equivelent of 50% of the population of the United Kingdom.

Human trafficking is the 2nd fastest growing criminal industry in the world. This involves people moving others, often against their will to other countries for profit. We would naive to assume this does not happen into Wales. Indeed reports have suggested that there could be 600+ woman who have been smuggled into Wales who are now acting as sex workers. Evidence is very difficult to obtain as understandably not only the industry very secretive but victims themselves are reluctant to report their conditions as they fear not only their “masters” but also the authorities as they are most likely in the UK illegally.

#NotOnMyWatch seeks to engage young people with the issue so not only will they be informed but also so that they can become modern day abolistionists ensuring the Wales becomes a “traffic free” zone. This is not just a human rights issue it is a key discipleship issue.

Lots more information will follow……

(Excerpt from the blog of Gary Smith, CEO Ignite)

FREEDOM FRIDAY#NotOnMyWatch will be officially launched at an event in Cardiff in February, which I am privileged to preaching at. More details about that event will be released soon. I love the name #NotOnMyWatch to the extent that I have written and recorded an anti-trafficking track of the same name, that will feature on my new album (released soon!) Please pray for Ignite and this courageous initiative, and especially for the youth of South Wales who we trust will rise up against the injustice of modern day slavery.

Hope Unleashed

It’s Thursday afternoon and I’m chilling in Starbucks for the first time in ages. It’s also the first chance I’ve had to gather my thoughts and reflect on a weekend that was sensational on so many levels! Ignite Hope 2010 was a massive South-Wales-wide youth mission that saw around 800 young people hooking up in a huge tent in the Centre of Cardiff on the bank holiday weekend (30th April-3rd May). After a time of worship and teaching this righteous rabble charged out the doors to unleash hope in communities right across South Wales in the Name of Jesus, armed with nothing but the gospel!

My role during the week was to lead the teaching sessions each morning which was an awesome privilege. Using Philippians 2 as my text I taught 3 sessions on following Jesus example to Serve, Sacrifice and Shine. I have to confess that it was mentally, physically and spiritually demanding to get all the talks prepared and to get down to the tent by 9am each morning, but so worth it. By God’s grace the messages that God gave me seemed to resonate with many who were there and on Sunday morning I was filled with the presence and power of God in a very deep and very special way! As I literally preached my guts out that morning, I just knew that God was in the place, speaking loud and doing something significant in people’s lives (not least my own!) All glory to Him!

For me each of the afternoons involved whizzing back up to Trevethin to be involved in various community outreach events that my good friend Pete Evans had coordinated. This included a litter pick in the drizzle on Saturday with just a handful of local youth – heroes!

In the evening we then took 7 of them down to the gig in the tent where Mike Pilivachi preached the gospel. Being COMPLETELY unchurched – the service bit went over their heads, though I think they still appreciated it! After the event we set them loose in the Ignite Hope village and they loved it! The climbing wall was the most popular thing they were in to and I enjoyed a race to the top with one of the boys and was pleased to win (almost!!) The trip was definitely a success and strengthened relationships with the young people.

However, it was on the Sunday that things really started to kick off (in a God way!) We had organised a community fun day to follow on from our morning service at the Cold Barn Farm – and what a day it turned out to be! There must have been around 150 who turned out for the World Cup Footy tournament, the free BBQ and the face painting! The weather held and everyone had a fabulous time! It was great to meet loads of new people and introduce them to the love of Jesus and the life of Hill City Church. What blessed me most, however, was the phenomenal way in which the Hill City saints stepped up and just served their socks off! Literally EVERYONE was involved in serving, cooking, cleaning, face-painting, refereeing, befriending and testifying to God’s grace! As the pastor it was SO encouraging to see the church function like that. There was a real sense of passion, sacrifice and commitment to the mission that God has called us to.

It was beautiful!

So to all who got stuck in and served so passionately – thank you, you’re brilliant and I love doing the church adventure with you!


The real cherry on top of the day was that the love of Christ on display had made such an impression on one of the girls who was there that I later had the opportunity to share the gospel with her for 2 hours, amazed at the way that God had clearly used the love of His saints to soften her heart to His grace and how He was clearly now at work in her life!

Buzzin!!

Are we going to do another day like that?

DEFO!!!

After my last teaching session on the Monday morning it was back up to the estate for one last community project – the small matter of painting a mural in Central Park – a project that was being sponsored by Hill City Church. This was no small task for my old friend and graffiti legend, Bryce Davies of Peaceful Progress, as we had invited an army of high energy local young people to help out! The 3 hours that ensued were manic to say the least and I think I must have lost a few stone by the end of it, but the end product speaks for itself! The mural isn’t finished yet, but as the local councillor told me yesterday – what had once been a drab, weather-beaten wall now looks “a thousand times better!” Couldn’t agree more!

That evening I went back down the tent for the last time to see the pictures and hear the stories of grace, hope and salvation that had epitomised the weekend right across the region! It was great to just breathe out and let loose in worshipping God for all that He’s done! I have to say a huge, heart-felt “God bless you” to Gary Smith, John Lewis and all the Ignite crew for the vision, courage, commitment and excellency in coordinating and delivering a weekend that was both memorable and life-changing for so many! I pray you’ll know the pleasure of God’s smile over the coming days as you hear story after story of hope unleashed!

I then returned home to sleep soundly! The rest of this week has been all about recovering from the sheer intensity of it all and spending some long overdue quality time with my precious family who had so selflessly released me to do all that I had done that weekend! My family are awesome and I’m so grateful for the sacrifices they regularly make for the sake of the gospel. It’s been my joy to pour my life back into them this week!

Thank you Jesus for the hope of the gospel!

A Good Weekend

thumbs upJust a mega quick post to thank all of you who prayed for the 2 preaches I was involved in over the weekend.

The Logos Hope event was an immense evening. It’s such an inspiring ship and the main function hall is just breath-taking – so high tech! I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t visited. As planned I preached on Jonah’s prayer (The Gutsiest Prayer Ever Prayed) to a packed room of some 300 young people. I did go a bit nuts at some points (I always do when I speak to youth), but the response to the message was fantastic with at least 6 young people putting their faith in Jesus and shed-loads of youth recommitting their lives to Jesus and His mission. In short the sermon points were:

  1. Jonah Recognised (2v1-3)
  2. Jonah Repented (2v4)
  3. Jonah Rescued (2v6)
  4. Jonah Rejoiced (2v9)

I really felt God’s help on Sunday morning too as I tackled the issue of depression from Psalms 42+43. The sermon was well received by our largest ever congregation at Hill City. The main thrust of the sermon was to lay out 10 Weapons To Fight For Hope amidst depression. They are:

  1. Thirst For God (42v1-2)
  2. Preach To Yourself (42v5)
  3. Hope In God (42v5)
  4. Look Forwards With Faith (42v5-6)
  5. Trust The Sovereignty Of God (42v7)
  6. Rest In God’s Love (42v8)
  7. Sing Through The Darkness (42v8)
  8. Be Real With God (42v9-43v2)
  9. Pursue Light and Truth (43v3)
  10. Rejoice In God’s Grace (43v4)

You can listen to the Jonah sermon here and the Psalm 42+43 sermon here.

Thanks again for your prayers, I really do believe that they made the difference this weekend.

God bless you.

Still Alive

Just wanted to reassure those of you who regularly read this blog that I’m still alive and haven’t fallen down a manhole or anything. I just haven’t had a chance to post anything this week as I’ve been hectic preparing 2 sermons that I’d really appreciate your prayer for:

logos hope1. Friday Evening – Ignite onboard the Logos Hope (Evangelistic). I’m preaching the prayer of Jonah at a sold-out youth event onboard OM’s mahoossive floating mission station Logos Hope, currently moored in Cardiff Bay. Please pray that God’s gospel would take root in many young lives and that salvation would come.

2. Sunday Morning – Hill City Church (Pastoral). I’m preaching an important sermon on the subject of depression, based on Psalm 42&43. Depression is a huge problem in this valley (check out my earlier post). Please pray that God would speak through His Word to bring light and liberty into the lives of the people of Hill City (and beyond) who I love.

Thanks guys – Lessons I’ve Learned From My Little Girl series re-commencing soon.

To Thank A Thief

to catch a thiefSeveral years ago my mam bought me a book that she thought I’d enjoy in light of the ministries that I’m involved with in prisons and on the streets. The book was To Catch A Thief by Richard Taylor, and it tells the gripping story of Richard’s dramatic conversion from a life of crime and drug addiction to one of faith, hope and love. It was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down, finishing the whole thing in a few days. A cracking read!

When I heard that he was one of the speakers at this year’s Cardiff Men’s Convention I was buzzin as his is a story that will capture the attention of anyone. Anyway, he preached a blinder (or an un-blinder if we’re talking about spiritual eyes!) with many responding to the gospel appeal that day. God has clearly blessed him with a phenomenal gift in gospel proclamation. However, in speaking to him afterwards I also found him to also be incredibly down to earth and accessible, so we chatted for quite a while about my church (Hill City) in the Eastern Valley and Victory Outreach, of which he is the national director, based in the valley next door.

I caught up with Richard again on Monday evening as he was speaking at the Ignite event that I was hosting in Cardiff. Again he preached well and around 40 young people responded to the gospel. Afterwards he gave me a massive pile of his book for absolutely free, telling me to distribute them to as many ruffnecks as I could find to take them, with the promise of more if I needed! For a small church plant on a tight budget in a community like this – it was such a blessing to us! We’re more than up for the challenge of putting them in the hands of as many thirsty souls as we can find!

So I just want to say “Thanks and God bless you!” to Mr Taylor – a true trophy and ambassador of God’s amazing grace.

NB. You can keep up with Richard Taylor’s life and ministry by checking out his blog.

Offensive Little Rapper

Teaching at Offensive09A few weeks ago I had an email from a pastor in Newport saying that one of the young people I had taught to emcee at a youth camp last month, and who had done the Offensive course last year, wrote and performed a rap in church on Easter Sunday that was all about the cross. Apparently it brought the house down! Anyway, he did Offensive again on Saturday and I met his dad who was blown away by the depth and passion of the lyrics that his son had penned. When this boy rapped it for me, I was so impressed that I asked him to email the lyrics to me, so that I could post them up on my blog!

He willingly obliged so I’ve copied them below. I hope they’re a blessing to you! (Bear in mind this kid’s only 14!!!)

Stuff like this makes the Offensive course so worth doing…

V.1
I’ma follow him and I won’t give up / ‘cuz he took my place and he took the cup
He’d done nothing wrong yet he drank it up / so now I decided to lift him up
He was convicted to die, up on a hill / he was crucified like those who kill
He coulda backed down but he said your will / and he raised back up and he lives on still.

Yo! Jesus took all my sin away / it went down with him on the cross that day
‘cuz he was and is life, truth and the way / but you can’t keep living your life in the grey
So think about just what I say / where you gonna go on judgement day?
I’ll say again Jesus took my sin away / but the choice is yours at the end of the day

Chorus
JESUS! It’s amazing what you did / JESUS! It’s amazing hope you give
JESUS! Your life’s how I want to live / JESUS! Assaulted now exalted
JESUS! It’s amazing what you did / JESUS! It’s amazing hope you give
JESUS! Your life’s how I want to live / JESUS! Assaulted now exalted

V.2
He carried the cross with his back ripped open / while all the people was laughin’ and joking
Roman soldiers threw lots for his clothin’ / stripped hung up on a hill in the open
Humiliated, up there he died / as he did “it is finished!” he cried
But, thing is he knew he would rise / and as a result I am purified

Yo it’s his salvation that I claim / it’s eternal life with him I gain
C’mon man you won’t ever be the same / I promise this in Jesus’ name
You won’t wanna turn your back again / you’ll just wanna give Jesus the praise
True man it means a massive change / but think it’s worth it in the end

V.3
Yeah it’s terrible how crucifixion killed / it’s hard to imagine it’s what God willed
But ‘cuz of the way Christ’s blood was spilled / the God shaped hole in my heart is filled
I just rapped a line about a God shaped hole / I believe it exists in every human soul
Without it filled life’s dark and cold / but get with God man he’ll make you whole

Something about salvation’s great / there ain’t like a point where he says “too late”
He’ll welcome you back in and he’ll call you “mate” / but that don’t mean you can say “I’ll wait”
‘cuz judgement day man it could be tomorrow / if that’s the case you’ll be filled with sorrow
Sorry pal but hell’s the place that ya go / unless Jesus Christ is a guy that ya know

Txt Worship

txtAfter the last Ignite event my boss and good friend Gary Smith asked me if I could think of any creative ways of encouraging our young people to engage more deeply during the worship time in the next event. For some reason I came up with the random idea of encouraging them to use their mobiles to text their personal expressions of worship to God, and for us to put them up on screen during the sung worship.

Fair play to Gary he was well up for it…so last night we went for it! And boy was it inspiring! Text messages flooded in all night and the tech team couldn’t type them out fast enough. It really did seem to capture the raw passion that so many young people feel towards their Saviour Jesus. There was a real buzz as they joyfully tapped away on their phones and read the heart cries that were being broadcast in the midst of corporate worship.

It was immense!

Texts were still being received long after the event had finished. This morning the guys at Ignite sent me an email with 6 pages of A4 that were crammed with beautiful, sincere txt worship! I’ve put 12 of them below though were plenty more to pick from. I hope they encourage you as much as they’ve encouraged us: 

  • Thank u for forgivin me for the bad sinful things I’ve dun in the past.
  • A broken heart fixed by the Almighty God – forever praise his name!
  • Lord God, Jesus my saviour, my provider, my redeemer, Thank you for counting me worth saving. I love you man! Amen amen amen!
  • U have never let me down. I luv u Jesus!
  • God I thank you for your mercy. Thank u for washing me clean and taking the pain away Lord I love u so much
  • Thank you God for loving a screw up like me
  • Amen, BY GRACE I WAS SET FREE FROM THE CHAINS OF SIN
  • I love u Jesus, with all my heart!
  • Jesus Christ, PRAISE YOUR BEAUTIFUL NAME FOR EVER, AND EVER AND EVER! You alone deserve our worship! May it be a sweet sounds in your ear! Be lifted high in this place tonight. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Take what little we can give you. We praise you. Let your Kingdom come! You alone can set us free.
  • Thank you God for being there
  • I LOVE YOU JESUS! My life my awesome God Thank you.
  • 160 letters & numbers is FAR TOO SMALL for what you deserve LORD! Thank you for saving us, sustaining us and being truly awesome & more faithful than I can dream of being! Holy Holy is the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY! Hallelujah