Category: Youth

Ignite Hope 2012

Really excited because today’s the day that Ignite Hope 2012 kicks off!

Ignite Hope is a youth-led initiative that runs from 4th-7th May. Essentially Ignite Hope is all about demonstrating and proclaiming hope to communities across South Wales in Cardiff, Newport, the valleys and the Vale.

What that’s going to look like on the ground is 800 young people putting the love of Jesus on display by dishing out an unfathomable amount of social action, acts of mercy, community outreach events and such like. But be in no doubt, the gospel is at the heart of it all, with Bible teaching sessions each morning and gospel preaching services in the mahoosive marquee located at the Hope village in Sophia Gardens. We are trusting that God is going to save mightily this weekend as many are exposed to the power of the gospel in both Word and deed.

You can find out more about Ignite Hope 2012 here.

I’m posting this to ask you to pray. My role this weekend is to teach all of the morning sessions at the Valley hub in Blackwood and also preaching the gospel at the main event in the marquee on Saturday evening. We’re also hoping to bring a couple of car-fulls of Trevethin Young People on the Monday evening too.

I’d be so grateful if you’d pray for all of this with us.

As you could probably imagine, an event like this is not cheap. If you would like to stand with Ignite and bless Ignite Hope financially, you can do so here. Your support would be gratefully received.

May God be glorified across South Wales this weekend!

Ignite the Gospel

There are several events coming up in the next few months that I’m involved in either speaking at or organising. I’ll be posting up information about each of them over the coming days for 2 reasons.

1. So that you can get them in your diary, should you wish to do so.

2. To ask you to pray and inform your prayers (as several weeks of kids not sleeping properly has rendered me exhausted and frankly – in need of prayer!)

Anyway the first is Ignite the Gospel – a youth event that attracts young people from across South Wales. As you may be aware I’ve been involved with Ignite for years and even though I no longer have a formal role with them I continue to work with and support as much as I can as I love what they’re about and I have a very strong friendship with the head honcho – Gary Smith. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to this next Ignite event and am grateful for the opportunity to both rap and also preach the gospel that night! Buzzin!!

The event takes place on Sunday 29th January and is held at the Solus Bar at Cardiff Uni. It’s £3 to get in.

Please pray that God would give me an epic message for that evening and that we would see God’s saving hand at work.

Blessinz.

BLACKOUT


This weekend, from 9pm Friday to 9pm Sunday I won’t be on Twitter – at all! In fact I won’t be blogging, watching films, surfing the internet or even playing Angry birds!!

Why?

I’ll be joining Open Doors as they BLACKOUT.

Eh? What’s BLACKOUT?

Glad you asked – find out more here.

So this weekend, rather than spending time tweeting, sharing and connecting online, I intend to express solidarity, raise support and spend time praying for The Secret Children.

Who are the Secret Children?

Glad you asked! Allow me to introduce them…

Truth is we forget about our suffering brothers and sisters too easily. If you injure part of your body the rest of your body will feel it acutely. Therefore as Christians a day shouldn’t pass without us being deeply aware that parts of our body are suffering.

Can I encourage you to join me as I BLACKOUT for the sake of the persecuted church.

Furthermore if you live in South Wales why not join us 7pm on Sunday Evening at Cold Barn Farm in Trevethin. We are hosting a worship evening but will also be spending some time in BLACKOUT as we pray for persecuted brothers and sisters, not least the Secret Children.

"if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it" (1Corinthians 12:26)

Urban Hymns

If you’re anywhere near Abergavenny this weekend, why not come along to a little gig I’m rapping at?

It’s called Urban Hymns, it’s going down at 7 Corners in Abergavenny.

All the info is on the flyer below.

Maybe see you there…

Souled Out

This afternoon (14th August) me and the family will be packing our car to the rafters and heading up the A470 to the wonderful world of North Wales.

North Wales is a very special part of the world to me. It’s where I was converted and it’s also where me and Michelle went on honeymoon. We’re really looking forward to an enjoyable, albeit short, break up there, although for me it’s more of a busman’s holiday as the main reason we’re going up is for me to preach at Souled Out Cymru.

Souled Out Cymru is a week-long youth event that takes place in Bala and that attracts young people from all over the place. It’s a privilege to be invited to preach there. My reason for blogging about it is to ask for your prayers, both for my ministry to be fruitful and also for my family to be refreshed. If you’d be willing to pray, this is what the coming week is going to look like:

Sunday
Travel up to North Wales

Monday
Family Time

Tuesday
Family Time

Wednesday
am – First preaching session
pm – Rap/preach at outreach event

Thursday
am – Teaching Seminar
pm – Michelle giving testimony

Friday
am – Second preaching session
pm – travel home

Saturday
Family time

Thanks so much for your prayers.

You’ll be in mine.

Blessinz.

Prayer Week Day 1 – Trevolution

(Post by Lois Nelson, Trevolution Team Leader)

Trevolution is Hill City’s weekly youth group in Trevethin. It has been running for nearly two years now, and it’s been AMAZING to see God at work in the club! Since starting the club, we’ve seen strong relationships built and great relational platforms for the Gospel
established. Young people have heard the Gospel on a weekly basis as they’ve chosen to stay behind for our optional Gospel talk, and they’ve asked questions and begun seeking the truth for themselves. Youths that initially would leave as soon as the official club ended, acting hostile to the subsequent talk, have since chosen to stay and listened to what was being said. Many who thought Jesus was just a fictional character or a swear-word, have heard the Gospel and have become more receptive to hearing from God’s word and the truth that we, as leaders, live for. We’ve been able to support them through issues, offering prayer and show God’s love to them, when so many would just shout them down.

Over the last few months we’ve been running various workshops each week. The young people have really enjoyed the activities ranging from drum workshops to break dancing sessions and have engaged with those leading the sessions, hearing of how their lives have been transformed by Christ.

Although that’s been an INCREDIBLE journey, and a privilege to watch, we’re not happy to sit back and think that’s it. We don’t want a youth group of kids that are happy to hear some stuff, but not allow it to utterly transform their lives. We’re desperate to see God move in such a way that the young people we work with are eventually sent out, to make disciples for the kingdom across the world! So please would you join with us in prayer, asking that the seed sown on a weekly basis would take root and flourish…that the knowledge many of the young people have in their heads, would become heart knowledge and ultimately, that we would see disciples sold out for the Gospel, being raised up!

We also want to praise God for the team! At the moment we have a group of people from the church and students from Revive at Cardiff University who give up their Monday nights, free of charge- something that always shocks the young people!!- and sacrificially serve the youth of Trevethin. The club couldn’t run without these absolute LEGENDS, so please would you join with us in thanking God for them, and ask that He would bless them as they serve. Pray also that He would provide more team members as those with us now move on and that the team would always be unified and joyful as we work together. May the team always be faithful and true to the Gospel, giving Christ the supremacy in ALL things!

Finally, and I guess as two more specific prayers, would you please pray for the guys and girls? For the girls, please pray that they would learn of how precious they are in God’s eyes and not seek approval and acceptance from men and this world. Please pray that they would be able to stand against the men that take advantage and realise that the way that they are often treated is unacceptable and that they are worth so much more. May they each come to know the love their Father in heaven has for them, and learn of how they have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

And for the guys, please would you pray that they they too would realise that they don’t need to seek satisfaction from the things of this world, but that there is so much more to life. Pray that they’d realise how they should treat the girls and that they wouldn’t feel they had to conform to the negative attitudes and examples often set by those older than them but realise that God wants to offer them true life, abundantly better than the emptiness this world can offer.

So there you go. In short, please pray for:

  • Salvation
  • The team
  • The young people: Guys and Girls

Thanks so much!

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!

Answered Prayer And A Dream Fulfilled

I AM SERIOUSLY, EXTREMELY, VERY, CRAZILY, RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED!!!

Perhaps I just need to calm down a minute and take a few deep breaths…

Right that’s better. So what am I on about? Let me explain…

As some of you may know, I have been part of a group up here in Trevethin that was formed specifically to see the regeneration of the derelict playground that literally lies less than 10metres from my front door. When we moved here in 2007 there hadn’t been a playground here for over 12 years. The two-tier site where it used to be was essentially a desolate dumping ground for kids to kick a ball around in. Just before we arrived the next closest playground to us was also removed after it was damaged by a burned-out car. There are currently only 2 playgrounds on this entire estate (4,000 people) and both are a massive trek (down steep hills) from where we live. Neither is particularly modern or well equipped. What that means in reality is that there are only 4 swings, 2 slides and 1 see-saw to be shared between over 1000 children.

That’s just nuts!!

So when Michelle became pregnant with Josiah I decided that something had to change and so hooked up with the local councillors, the local Communities First workers and the manager of the Cold Barn Farm Youth Centre (where Hill City now meets!) Together, as a meaningful and united partnership we committed ourselves to consulting with the community and raising funds to provide the kids of Trevethin with an awesome play facility to enjoy. You can read more about the history and community consultation here.

Anyway, to cut a loooooong (2 years+) story short, thanks in a large part to the colossal effort of the team, and Shane from Communities First in particular, (as well as a shed-load of prayer from the Hill City Church mob!) we were informed just before Christmas that we had received £90,000 towards the infrastructural work that needed doing and the creation of a community garden on the lower tier of the site. However, as we braced ourselves for the contractors to start work on site this month, we still had no guaranteed funding with which to purchase the actual playground equipment for the top tier! What we did have, however, was an agonising wait to hear from the Big Lottery fund to see if we had been successful in our application to receive funding to provide both state-of-the-art play equipment for children of all ages, as well as salaries for community outreach workers to engage with the kids in community. All we were asking for was a mere £171,000!!! Well we found out today that

WE GOT THE MONEY!!!!!

Yep!!! All £171,000 has been granted, which is just immense! Many will see it as the result of a lot of hard work and dedication from a bunch of fantastically committed people – and they would be right. However, as a Christian who passionately believes that EVERY good gift comes from the hand of God, I have to say that ultimately this money has come from the LORD and so I’m quite content to give Him all the glory – cos He’s worthy of it! I’m thrilled as a member of the team. I’m thrilled that Hill City Church was part of the process. And I’m also thrilled as a dad cos I’m soon going to be able to take my kids to play out the front of the house! I’m just buzzin about that!!

So as the contractors roll in on Monday morning, my family, along with many other excited residents will be able to watch the day-by-day creation of answered prayer and a dream fulfilled!

Thank you Jesus!!

Taking A Bus Down Memory Lane

Just stumbled across this old video that BBC Wales made as part of their Cracking Crime series back in 2002. It’s all about the Urban Sanctuary bus project that I helped to pioneer on the St.Mellons Estate. I thought I’d post it up for 2 reasons:

Firstly because it captures perfectly the beautiful mayhem of what living and proclaiming the gospel on St.Mellons estate was like! St.Mellons was without doubt the most emotional, life-shaping, prayer-inspiring, gospel-clinging season of my life and I still hold the place, the people and the church very dear to my heart. In fact it’s hard watching this video all these years later without shedding a tear as the people behind the faces are still so precious to me! For those who never knew me before the Hill City episode of my life – this video should really help you to better understand where I’m coming from culturally.

The second reason that I thought I’d whack it up though, is that it was the Urban Sanctuary project that brought together me and my gorgeous wife, Michelle. I’d never even met her until one day we ended up on the make-shift ‘bus team’ scraped together by the pastor of the local church to help raise funds and lead the project. Within 2 years we were married, and so both the bus and the estate hold very fond memories for us!

Hope you enjoy the video! (You can read the related article here.)

Timely Humility

daiatVJLast night I was humbled!

In the main I enjoy a really privileged ministry – the church that I love to pastor is incredibly supportive and responsive to my teaching, and I get a very similar response at the vast majority of church, youth and student events that I speak at too. I even get regular requests from inmates at Parc Prison for me to come back in and preach. I have had the joy of seeing many people respond to the gospel over the years and it remains one of the biggest buzzes that I know!

I guess I might have been in danger of letting complacency sneak into my ministry…which is why God sent me to preach at VJ last night!

VJ (Vintage Jesus) is the monthly youth event that is run by my very good friends at Christchuch, Newport that has been running for several years now. It’s a high energy youth extravaganza that blends crazy inflatable fun and sports with a gospel presentation. It has been steadily growing in size since it started and last night there must have been over 300 there – a bizarre mix of young people from churches all over South Wales and gangs of youth travelling in on buses from the numerous council estates around Newport.

When it came to the gospel bit I started by performing one of my new raps and that bit went OK. However, as I proceeded to launch into my message it became clear that large sections of the crowd didn’t actually give a stuff about what I was talking about! There was laughing, jeering and general disinterest at different points throughout my talk and it was a real battle to get to the finish line. When I finished I felt that I had been through a war. I was exhausted! I was encouraged by the young people and leaders who approached me at the end to thank me (one young girl was apparently deeply impacted), though I think it was generally more congratulations for having not given up!

To be honest though, I couldn’t help but feel broken-hearted by the sheer number of young people who simply had no interest in the gospel and no relationship with Jesus. Young people headed for hell. As they bolted out of their chairs before I’d even said “Amen” to go back to their games, drinks and socializing, my heart was convicted by the need to pray more, love deeper and place my confidence in the God of the gospel and not my own skills and experience in delivering it!

Like I said I felt humbled and I think that’s probably where I need to stay because:

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4v6)

NB – Please do pray for VJ and Christchurch – they’re doing an awesome job in reaching some of the roughest kids in Newport, as well as graciously offering an awesome resource to the churches of South Wales for their youth for free! Pray that God would bless them with grace, wisdom and above all HIs aweosme salvation!