God loves a sticky wicket.
It seems He loves to stack the odds against Himself, and often, it appears, also against His people.
Think of Gideon’s army- God whittled them down from 32,000 to 300. That’s 0.9% of their original number. He deliberately and openly thwarted their natural strength because He wanted to be their strength.
Since the 70s we’ve been called Jesus Fellowship. On April 7th 1987 we took on Jesus Army as our second, parallel identity, a public brand under which we’d reach out to the UK for Jesus. This post is all about names.
Why do names matter? Names shape culture and values, they help form first impressions. Choosing a good name for a church is no quick fix to changing a culture, but what organisations choose to call themselves carries weight both in gathering members around a vision and communicating to outsiders.
The comedy troupe Monty Python once performed a sketch called The Four Yorkshiremen. Four old rich gents sit on a fancy veranda, puffing cigars. One after another they start telling stories about how difficult their upbringings were, each story more ludicrous than the last. Finally, the fourth Yorkie finishes his story with the crowning phrase “And you try and tell the young people of today that, they won’t believe you!”
In my first post in this series I explored the question “what is God’s mission?”, and the second post briefly answered “who are we and how did we get here?” in regards to our New Creation Christian Community. In this final post in the series I’ll set out to describe some of the new vision stirring in our community.
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Community is in our blood.
In the early ‘70s we discovered the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a church, and God led us out of stale, safe Christendom onto a radical path. God packed us out with scores of hippies, students, drop-outs and dissatisfied Christians, and consequently life got much more colourful.
If we’re into the gifts of the Holy Spirit, why not also the ministries?
Video by Richard Jacobson.
For some teachers it’s all about transferring knowledge, while for others application is the name of the game.
When crowds flocked to Jesus he sat down to sermonize, but with his disciples it was different. He called the twelve to follow him, and they literally physically did just that, so he taught them in normal life as they encountered lessons on their shared journey together.
Back in April 2013 a few of us were sent on a visit to the Woodlands Church communities in Bristol. They have 11 communal houses across Bristol with about 150 people living in community (and growing). We stayed at one of their community houses on the Friday evening and joined them for a whole day conference about community the day after.
A few months ago I was asked to come up with some sort of prophetic drama thing for one of our events, our annual Sheffield Praise Day. As I’m neither the world’s most natural thespian nor content with coming up with something shallow I spent a few weeks not knowing what to do, wrestling with ideas.
I want to be a part of a movement, not just an organisation.
The point of a movement is that it’s moving. When Jesus talked about his earth-impacting heavenly kingdom (which was most of the time) he often used analogies from nature- mustard seeds, leaven, fishing, a farmer scattering seeds or ploughing, a vine & branches, a vineyard, a bride, an engagement, a wedding, his own body.
Safety is the enemy of God, or you could say God is the enemy of any other safety. Recently God’s been speaking a lot to me, inspiring me, giving me a burden and a deeper love for His church. This is going to be the first of several posts, detailing a few major thoughts which all speak into one growing conviction.