By -, Apr 26 2019 02:43PM
It was "A’s" birthday. Her husband, "R", had invited Jennie and I over to a meeting hall for a surprise party that he had arranged. When we got there, there were only a dozen or so guests. We arrived and got settled into conversations with people we knew and met those we didn’t. When one of us got the message that "A" was nearly there, we all hid in corridors around the main meeting room. I heard the door open, silently looked at those I hid with and counted backwards from ten.
[three… two… one… ZERO!!!
I glanced up at the others for approval for a fraction of a second then jumped out into the room, shouting “SURPRISE!!!”
I was the only one to jump out. For whatever reason, everyone else decided to stay hidden.
I got the timing completely wrong.
“A” looked less surprised, but more quizzically uncertain.
I felt a massive lump develop in my gut in the form of a sort of nervousness I had not yet experienced until this moment.
Had I ruined the surprise? Yup.
Did she finally discover everyone else soon after seeing me? Yes.
Did the party go on and work out completely fine immediately after all this? Absolutely.
But, for my part, I felt my confidence take a nosedive.
At the next surprise party I attend, I’m likely to be the last person to shout “surprise!”.
Over the Passover season, from before Lent through to Passover day, I’ve been reading and writing a portfolio of essays. This is the second set of them since I began my course in Pioneer Mission Leadership with CMS. They’re due this weekend and I’m feeling this weird sense of nerves and I feel like my confidence is hanging heavily on this portfolio’s completion.
The thing is this:
When I talk about God and how much He loves me and has shown His love for me, my confidence is through the roof. When I’m chatting with someone, I could talk for ages about how He’s provided for each one of us. Give me a group of young people and I can point to God’s Kingdom more times than I have fingers to point with! But when it comes to this writing, at this moment, this particular day and week, that confidence has abandoned me.
I know that in my Father, God, is my confidence and I know that I can come to Him with confidence. I know that I can be confident of His Love. I am confident that He provides for my needs and orchestrates things according to my prayer, in line with His perfect will. I am not lacking in confidence.
But today, my confidence is being challenged...
I’ve started this reflection with a story. My stories usually end with a moral or analogy. I was going to end this with a plea for prayer (different from usual), but…….
As I write this, Jennie has told me that dinner is ready (leftovers). I just joined her as she was dishing up and listened to the last 10 or so minutes of the podcast she was listening to. This one was a recording of a sermon by Michael Ramsden, co-director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He was the visiting speaker at Emmaus Road church. It didn't take the full 10 minutes, in fact it probably only took 3 minutes, and I was in tears. It was like God was reading over my shoulder and was responding to every word I wrote, line by line!
I totally needed to hear this. I think there are people who may read this who need to hear this too.
I'm going to end this reflection here...
Here is the direct link to the podcast Jennie was listening to:
And the link to the Emmaus Road podcast web page:
The particular sermon is called "Love & Judgement In A Victimised World"
Because I also have this song going through my head on repeat at the moment, I’ll include this link HERE.
Thank you for continuing to partner with me in prayer.
This week, I'm headed back to Selwood Academy after almost three weeks away for Easter holiday. I’m looking forward to meeting with some new young people I might be mentoring, as well as catching up with a few of the mentees that I’ve been meeting with for the first half of this year.
During the lunch break, I’ll be hanging out with about a dozen young people who are part of the Christian Union! While I really love these lunchtime get-togethers, I know the kids have a distinctly limited attention span during the last break of the day in the last day of the week, immediately after a considerably long holiday.
Pray for God’s peace during these times. Also pray that God would give me clarity as I lead the discussion and that he would direct the conversation to communicate His hope for us through the Resurrection and Life of Jesus!
• For the kids A, L, J, X, S, M, L, J, B, R, etc. I trust that initials are enough and God will be able to translate your prayers. Pray for peace and clarity for these young people.
• For the teaching and support staff at Selwood. There are ongoing stresses and uncertainties that they are facing. Pray for wisdom and patience as they start back into the swing of things and navigate the next term.
Town Missions Work, Hope Frome
Last Friday, Good Friday, was a Hope van night. They had hot-cross buns alongside the usual refreshments that are served. I was away, but am told it was a calm night. Please continue to pray for the ministry of Hope as we begin to address the next era, following the anniversary of Hope’s first decade in Frome. Pray that we would be able to see the community around us with God’s eyes. Pray that we would be open to new things, but more importantly, that we would be seeking to follow Jesus as we pursue the anointing He has handed down to us.
Church Youth Ministry
This Week, Sunday Cafe will be starting up again! We’ll be celebrating Jesus resurrection and life!
Pray that we would be seeking God’s vision for the future of Youth Ministry from the churches in Frome. Pray that we would be faithful to what God is leading us to do.
Pray that He would renew our passion for this ministry and revitalise the excitement that these nights have had in the past.
As I said in the above reflection, I’ll be handing in a portfolio of essays for the Mission and Evangelism module of my training. This Monday, I’ll be starting the “Intro to the Bible” module. I’m really looking forward to this one! The Bible is the foundational text of all that we believe as Christians. It starts and finishes with trees and centres on the Hope of Jesus Christ. If my life had happened differently, I would have loved to be a Bible scholar. God has had different plans. It seems He would rather that my faith were active and alive, that my faith were a verb, a doing word, and that the fruit of this faith is characterised by the how of the contact I have with others, while still being inspired and faithful to the message of God’s Love in the Bible.
Please pray for me as I begin this new module.
I go into Oxford on Mondays. Pray especially during these times that I would have clarity of thought, that my questions would be probing, pertinent, revealing and appropriate.
Pray that my eyes would be open to the Mission Field in front of me, no matter the audience, no matter the discussion.
Pray that the next assessment is encouraging and inspiring. That this module, from beginning to end, would lead me to greater love for and appreciation for our God and His Kingdom!
Lay Pioneer Minister & Youth Leader in Frome
Holy Trinity Church Youth Group * FACT (Frome Area Christians Together)
m: 07730589559 * firstname.lastname@example.org