Disappointment, Discouragement, encounter, Eternity, Evangelism, expectations, Fane Conant, Gospel, Message, obidience, Opportunity, Organic, Pioneer, pperseverence, Repentance, spontaneity, word -speaking/preaching/teaching.

Yesterday was a funny old day…

We have been doing a mission this weekend.

An evangelist friend of my Dad’s, Fane Conant, had come up to help us, following a brief chat I had at a evangelism/evangelist conference.

We started the mission with a small group of us gathered together on Hanham Mount -where John Wesley had preached to the Kingswood Miners-. The Kingswood Miners were considered to be the toughest and roughest of people, normally people fled from them, yet here we see a small group of Christians choosing to make them the priority. Following the actions of Christ that prioritised the marginalised, disenfranchised and ostracised. Yet here had been an incredible harvest that transformed not only Kingswood but also our nation, and the world.

“Lord we have heard of your fame, we stand in awe of your deeds renew them in our day” (Hab.3.) We prayed bold and audacious prayers nervously and worshipped, there were only 12 of us, and the city looked vast on the horizon as we sung in faith “greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city”.

The next day we had a Men’s breakfast, sadly a few of the not yet Christian days didn’t show up, and 3 out of my 5 Churches weren’t represented, there was about 13 of us, and we’d reserved 30 places, so Fane’s presentation happened to rows of empty seats, although lots of people in the pub must have over heard the presentation too.

The next event was meant to be a coffee morning, but as I arrived no one else was there, not a single person had turned up. I felt bitterly disappointed. There were some guys in the hall painting. These guys were on Community Payback (the new name for probation).

Then an idea hit me, although God had probably been shouting it for a while, why didn’t I get Fane to talk to the Community Payback guys?

Swallowing hard and trying to appear chilled, I asked if Fane might be allowed to speak to the guys, talking about how his life had been turned around, message of hope and inspiration and I carried on in this vein.

The supervisor said “yeah, I’ll bring them all in”.

Fane (being wise) stopped him and said “you do realise I’ll be explicitly Christian?” (At this point I was expecting the guy to change his mind, and had already in a faithless way prepared my “well at least we tried” speech). The guy grinned and said “I don’t mind, I’m a Sikh by the way”.

So, here we were 8 guys sat around listening to Fane speaking about how Jesus turned around his life.

The last two talks Fane had done had been amazing, but here there was an even greater sense of God’s anointing, as Fane preached the Gospel in a wonderful and faithful way.

At the end Fane prayed a prayer and asked others to say it in their hearts, and then wandered around chatting to the guys, it turned out that two lads prayed the prayer giving their lives to Christ and are keen to be followed up.

Others were asking really deep, real hungry questions to Fane, Paddy and myself, the conversation fizzles and crack with God’s hand upon it.

As I left to take a wedding and Fane and a guy Harry from our Church went to chat to people on the High Street (and saw another guy come to faith)…

I smiled as I thought God is on the move, he is turning up in unexpected places, but he’s drawing people to himself, and what a privilege to join in with that.

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Acts of Service, Mission, Signs and wonders, Uncategorized, witness, word -speaking/preaching/teaching.

Mission: -Words, Works & Wonders.

I don’t know what your experience has been with Christians and the whole mission thing…

Words…

There some Christians, let’s call them the evangelicals (although not exclusively) who think it’s all about preaching the message, it’s about talking to people, it’s about discussion groups, giving out flyers… Ultimately it’s all about words.

…And to be fair there is a strong biblical basis for this way of thinking, just look at all the sermons that are recorded in the bible in their entirety…

Romans asks “how will they hear without someone preaching to them”, Phillippians talks about “holding out the word that gives life”.

Perhaps you can pray about having opportunities to speak and talk about the good news of Jesus.

…but the world has had an awful lot of words, and times words come cheap, often people talk about he importance of not just talking the talk but want us to walk the walk…

Works…

A quote that is often (mis)attributed to St. Francis, is “preach the gospel at all times and if necessarily use words!”  Let’s face it when you admit you are a Christian, you are a marked person, people are watching you!

There are many within the Church, people used to be dismissive and call them liberals, but actually they have a strong biblical mandate and they say it is all about loving service and the pursuit of justice… After-all James tells us ‘faith without works is dead’, Matthew 25 talks about the sheep and the goats and the prophets tell us about ‘doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly’.

Wonders…

But others say words and actions are great, but what transforms lives is people encountering God and his Kingdom through signs and wonders… They point to the book acts and the words of Jesus where signs and wonders accompany the preaching of the gospel. They show us boldness and a risk taking faith, offering to pray for people, speaking out the prophetically… Of Gods mission partnering with his people.

Yet, I reckon they are all right.
I reckon mission and Kingdom living is about speaking out, living it out and God showing up.
Let’s be people of words, works and Gods wonders… Rather than one trick ponies.

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