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March update

My favourite quote recently was at a church outreach event, one of a number I have done with this church.  Someone from the church said to me in a very good natured way, “Whenever we do anything strange you are here.”  We agreed it was not a coincidence.  It reminded me of two things.

Firstly it is a reminder that what some of us take for granted as ‘normal’ when it comes to sharing our faith – how we do it, why we do it, when we do it, is not shared by everyone.  We have to take others with us, whether that is individuals, groups or our whole church.

Secondly it is reminded me of some of the things Jesus was called.  In Luke 7 v 34 He said he had been called “a glutton, a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners”, far more than a hint of being strange.  This is Jesus we are talking about, the Son of God, the Holy One.  How was He living to be known as that?  Is the Church today known as that?  Should it be known as that?

Last month included…

Why should we share our faith training evening at Broomfield Road Evangelical church.  Focusing on 2 Corinthians 5 v 11 – 6 v 2 we looked at intrinsic and extrinsic motivations (those words got an oooh) plus proactive and reactive evangelism from Colossians 4 v 2 – 6.

Meetings with Broomfield Road and Tile Kiln churches’ leadership teams to look at their recently written evangelism strategies.  Really encouraging to see churches get to grips with the challenge of evangelism.

St Luke’s community brunch morning had some families come along from other events and groups who gave positive feedback.  I had a good conversation on the street where I was encouraging people to pop in, with a man about religion v relationship.

Meeting with K180, an organisation involved in evangelism training especially young evangelists and supporting churches across the UK and Europe.  See http://www.k180.org/.

Week one of leading Church of England Chelmsford Diocese training for local church evangelists looking at what is evangelism.  We ended by coming up with a new definition: one person sharing Jesus by word and deed with another person through the Holy Spirit.  Not bad.

Coming up includes…

5th March Spirit of life festival planning meeting – please pray we get all the stands available filled, for the finances and that spiritual seekers hear about it, come along and experience the truth. http://www.journeyintowholeness.net/news/spirit-of-life-festival-chelmsford-cathedral/.

7th, 14th, 21st March Church of England Chelmsford Diocese training for local church evangelists.  This involves a lot of preparation so please pray for my time management as well as for the people on the course to be equipped to share their faith and encourage others to.

8th March Church at the pub with St Michael’s at Fox and Hounds.  Please pray for the people we know at the pub as we encourage them to think about faith more.

23rd March St Luke’s evangelism team meeting.  Please pray as we look to encourage the people we have got to know to think about faith.

29th March Preaching at CGC Basildon to end their series on Mission.  Please pray as the church looks to build on this series and grow a culture of evangelism.

Keep recharging the batteries

At a training session last month, I told a story about Chuck Colson.  He was involved in the Watergate political scandal in America and spent time in prison for it.  But he became a committed Christian and founded Prison fellowship, reaching out to prisoners across the world.  He told the story of visiting a prison in Brazil.  Twenty years before that it had been notorious but now it was run differently.  It only had two full time staff onsite.  Prisoners were accountable to each other.  Each one was connected to a family on the outside.   Each one attended a program about life improvement.  When he was shown around the prison by a convicted murderer who had all the keys, prisoners were working hard and keeping the place spotless.  Re-offending rates for after release were very low.  He had never seen anywhere like it.

His guide asked him if he wanted to see the isolation cell, a place of torture at least in the past.  “We only have one prisoner in there now” he said.  Chuck said he would and was led down a long concrete corridor.  When they got to the huge door at the end, his guide turned to him and asked “Are you sure you want to see this?”  Chuck said he was sure.  The door was opened and they walked into a bare cell.  Bare except for the crucifix on the wall.  His guide leaned over and said in a quiet voice “He is doing time for us all.”

How true is that?  How much do we remind ourselves of that?  2 Corinthians 5 v 14 says “For Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all.”  Ideally Christ’s love would naturally overflow from us into the lives of others all the time.  But often we have to be intentional, to decide to keep reminding ourselves of what Jesus has done for everyone and what that means for us and everyone.

How can we do that?  We can…
Regularly read the Gospels.
Share stories of faith sharing in our church’s small groups.
Hear testimonies about what God has done for people online.
Spend time with people who are full of faith – it’s catching.

In other words: keep recharging the batteries.


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