Monday, 9 July 2012

The Provision of God


Hi friends,

I had a lovely surprise this very afternoon as I opened up the post to find a beautiful cheque with my name written on it from the tax office!

What made this wonderful gift even more pleasing was the fact that only hours earlier I had been reading something on the provision of God and how we should always be expectant that God can (and will) provide outside of our normal revenue streams, and that when He does we should not only be thankful for the overflow but also take the opportunity to be a blessing to others.

I personally believe that the resounding message of stewardship that flows through both the Old & New Testaments is that God blesses His people, not only because He loves them but also because He wants them to be a conduit of His blessing to the surrounding people, and as they do so they are not to point to themselves but point to Him as the giver of all good things.

My observations of the Western Church in general is that it can be at times both a blessing to it's community in the way it engages with and helps to solve the problems of social and economic degradation within it's locality, but also that the Church can at times also be a cold, hard and irrelevant place that has no interest in reaching out from within it's stoney walls and presenting life giving opportunities in both word and deed to a hurting and confused world.

As Christians it is vital that our individual and corporate hearts are positioned and inclined towards being a blessing rather than to be blessed.  That our intentions are always focused away from ourselves and towards the multitudes that Jesus came to reach.  That our rhetoric (both private and public) reflects a genuine inward & heartfelt motivation to reach outward without concern for the personal cost.  That our lives don't just speak of but also display through sacrificial service that the great grace of God is not only at work within us but also through us and that it enables a new manner of living that is no longer constrained by the external expectations of the world and it's influences.

When God saturates the dry and lifeless hearts of men, women and children He does so in the hope that they too will reflect His life giving nature and direct their newfound life towards those that need refreshing, comforting, uplifting and restoring.

A pool that stays still gets stagnant, and stagnant water doesn't bring life but death.  At first appearances it may appear to be refreshing but when you get close enough to smell or taste it the stench of inactivity is unmistakable - It's offensive!

But not so with Jesus Christ - He keeps pouring out blessing over blessing as He gives good gifts to His brothers and sisters, but these gifts are primarily intended for the building up of others, not the recipients.  So it is with every good thing that God gives to His children.  They get to benefit from the gift but it is never given solely to benefit the receiver, but always with a broader purpose of bringing glory to the gift giver and bringing forth a testimony to an onlooking world of the goodness of God towards those that love Him.

My challenge to you today would be to spend some time identifying and opening up the doors of Gods blessing in your life.  Do not hold fast to the blessings that God has invited you into but rather make a conscious decision from this day forward to reposition yourself so as to be a blessing and an encouragement to those in your life with whom you have influence and favour that they too might taste of the life giving waters that Christ Himself promised to a dry and thirsty world.

John 7:37-39
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Provoked by the Voice of God


Hi friends!

One of the most challenging things I've encountered over the last few months has been the voice of God.

I'm not talking about the external, audible voice of God, please don't get me wrong!

What I mean by the voice of God is a deep sense of leading, guiding and directing that has come through a myriad of different sources, both Christian and non, that have all pointed and poked the same raw areas of my rebellious heart so as to provoke a genuine internal reaction that I just can't dismiss, avoid or escape from!

Friends hear this:  When God wants your attention He can (and will) get it!

Ever since I became a Christian (and definitely before!) I have struggled in the area of pride.  I have a tendency to convince myself that I'm right, know that I'm right and tell everyone, well, that I'm right!

My own opinions, no matter how misguided, ill-informed or unfounded can often become bastions from which I will dig in and fight to the bitter end with any and every foe that dare challenge or dare I say it, even disagree(!) with my Solomon like wisdom.

The truth be told I know little about anything - I'm a Jack of all trades but a master of none.
A generalist eagerly desiring to be a specialist, yet lacking the fortitude or resolve to really put in the time, commitment and dedication that could potentially result in a lifetime of fruitfulness as I'm too easily distracted, disinclined or demotivated to really step up to the plate and do what is needed to knock the ball out of the park.

When I stand in the presence of a Holy God I quickly become aware of my own inadequacies, insufficiencies and ineptitude.  I come to understand that I was never meant to do it on my own!

That's not how I was designed to operate and when I started to try and play the game by my own rules I should have realised that God was going to keep calling the foul until I stopped trying to run off ahead of my own accord long enough for Him to come close, pinpoint my own self-sufficiency as a faulty game-plan and point me back to the power of the resurrected Jesus as the only true way of sustaining the calling He has laid before me.

Friends, please hear this - God knows you intimately!

You may or may not be wired like me, but trust me when I say that God is so invested in you, interested in you moving forward with integrity and with steadfast character that He is willing to keep blowing the whistle at the expense of slowing down the game so that He can supernaturally coach you through the areas of life in which you just aren't quite getting how the Kingdom really outworks itself in a practical way.

You see we all have hard places, or blind-spots, where the Kingdom rule of God, the rule and reign of Christ, hasn't quite penetrated.  We all have these bastions, these places that are strongholds of wrong-thinking, malpractice or faulty ideology that hold us back and prevent us from entering into the more that God has ready and prepared for us in the place of breakthrough.

I want to ask you what is that area in your life where if you could speak it into being, God would bring radical transformation overnight?

Take a minute and think about that!  That is one of the most humble prayers you could ever put before God.

It says in Romans 12:3 that we as Christians are to judge ourselves soberly - This means that we have to have such a constant gauge on where we are  at, where we are winning, where we are failing, that we can go to God without any sense of weight or condemnation and request that He give us extra grace to overcome in the areas where we just seem to struggle time and time again.

The great news is that there is a promise of breakthrough for you!

God doesn't intend for you to stay standing in the same place, gazing into a mirror of self-pity and regret that you just can't seem to scale the wall that your circumstances or your choices have placed in-front of you.  God has firmly promised you the power that is available through faith in the life of the resurrected Jesus Christ that will enable you to overcome and scale any obstacle as long as you keep your eyes and your heart fixed firmly on Him.

Pause for a minute and take some time to take stock of where you are at in your life right now...

Turn off the TV, turn down the mp3 player and get yourself into a quiet place, isolated from the busyness of life...

Take some time to give thanks to God for all the great things He has done in your life.  For your friends, your family, the people that He has placed around you to support you, for the journey He has taken you on thus far...

Then take a few minutes to soberly judge yourself before Him.
Remember that in the presence of a Holy God there is no place for condemnation, there is no sense of guilt or shame, but an invitation into freedom and joy!

Lay the things down that have been getting in the way of what God is trying to do both in you and through you.  Visualise yourself physically offering them up to Him and ask Him to exchange them for Heavenly peace and joy that can only be graced through the power of the Holy Spirit.

God is there, both ready and waiting to release you from the chains of oppression that the devil, the world and your own sinful nature have managed to shackle you into.
True freedom is yours, it is a right and a privilege of being a child of God, you only need take the next steps and walk right into it!

Settle for nothing less than the full and total freedom that the Father has made available to you through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Friends, this is a new day, and God is ready and waiting for you!

Peace,

Gordon Watson

Sunday, 29 January 2012

I Will Not Be Mastered By Anything

Hello friends,

It's been a while since I last blogged on here, but I thought this was something that might be interesting to share before I actually start.

As part of my meeting up with Dale Barlow (Kings Church, Oxted) we talk about lots of things around my personal walk with God.

Dale mentors me and encourages me to push myself in different areas, and as a result of a recent conversation we had I've taken up the challenge of spending the next 30 days with an aim to loosening the grip of everything that comes with 'being connected'.

I'm someone that lives pretty much most of my waking moments connected to the internet via emails, social networking sites, reading books, listening to music, watching films/TV, catching up on news - Many of you may be able to relate to this type of lifestyle, which in and of itself isn't wrong!

However of late I've really noticed a shift in my patterns of life and relating with God, spending time worshipping Him, and mostly it's been a negative shift as other things have taken the prominent and pre-eminent place in my life.

Don't get me wrong - I love God, I love His presence, I'm not at all suggesting I'm having a crisis of faith, but I am so aware that unless I take some form of drastic action I could set myself down a path that will ultimately lead to spiritual drift and a loss of the things that are important to me and that I really should be doing all I can to protect and develop my spiritual disciplines.

On Tuesday, 31st January 2012 I'm going to start a 30 day personal technology fast.

Here is a brief list of the plan of action:

  • Going to use a cheap mobile phone without internet access - My iPhone will be relegated to being used solely for groups txts for Church events - This can only be done during office hours.  I will disable it's ability to retrieve and respond to emails too.
  • No use of the internet for personal reasons at any time - Eg, looking up news, youtube, blogging, etc...
  • No personal use of social networking sites at any time - Facebook, Twitter
  • No use of laptop or smartphone outside of work hours - The only time I will be using these is for work activity, during work hours.
  • No retrieving or responding to personal or work related emails on laptop outside of working hours.
My intention during this period is to free up some time and to take my focus away from 'being connected' and to get my focus back completely on God in worship, in prayer, in reflection and in journaling.

At present, when I wake up between 6-7am the very first thing I do is check the news, check my Facebook and Twitter, check my emails - This is a routine that happens daily and can sometimes take up to an hour of my time.

For a while now I've not been happy or content at doing this, but I can't seem to help myself!

My counsel to others would be that they give God their first fruits of the day, but in practice I'm finding I have relegated God from His rightful place in my life and I'm hoping that having a sustained period of reforming this area of my life will have a great impact not only in my personal walk with God but also in helping me focus in on other areas during the week.

Please pray for me as I do this!  Just the thought of doing this brings me out in a cold sweat, but this reaction in itself tells me that it's probably a good reason to do it.

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything."
We have the right to do what we want when we want, but as soon as our freedom to choose actually enslaves us to something then we have to respond with drastic action - We can't allow ourselves as Christians to be mastered by anything other than Christ.

Dale has challenged me to take action, to re-prioritize my life, but not with technology and the internet at the centre, but with Jesus firmly set as the cornerstone upon which the rest of my life is built.

As Mark Driscoll would say:
"I've taken a good thing (being connected), made it a god thing, and now it's a bad thing!"
So if you are someone that would normally see me on Facebook, Twitter or the email please understand that for the next month I'm gonna be avoiding my usual haunts across the internet and will hopefully be found in the courts of the King getting reacquainted with the one that is the Lord of my life.

See you on the other side!

Gordon

Monday, 24 October 2011

What is trust?




Hello friends,


I wanted to take a  bit of time to look at the subject of trust.

Wikipedia describes trust as:

trust/trəst/

Noun:
Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Verb:
Believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.
Synonyms:
noun.  confidence - faith - credit - reliance - belief
verb.  believe - confide - rely - credit - hope

Over recent years I have observed how trust can be built and fostered in many different situations and environments, but reversely I have also seen the negative effects of how trust can be eroded, damaged and sometimes even lost completely.

I wanted to raise four questions that I feel are massively important for us as Christians and as a Church in moving forward in this next season...


1.  Do we trust ourselves?

I have seen many times the negative effect that a lack of self-belief can have on the individual.  If you multiply that amongst a community of people, or perhaps even just a small section of them, you can imagine the negative impact that would have in trying to build any sense of inertia or momentum in pressing on to all that God has called that person, or the community into.



It's my firm belief that God has gifted each person to be an integral and fully functioning part of His body.  What that looks like would be unique to each one, but basically it means everyone has a place, a purpose and a destiny in the household of God.  Even those that at present are outside of the family of God because they haven't received Christ as their Lord and their Saviour, they have a specific and unique calling to fulfil the purposes of God in their life through entering into a life giving and world changing relationship with their Heavenly Father.


I've also seen how some people can be deceived by their own minds as to the sin in their own lives.  It says in the bible that our conscience's can become seared (1 Tim 4:2) through repeated patterns of sin and that we end up not being able to see or discern the negative things that we carry around that would prevent us from building firm, deep, solid and authentic Kingdom relationships with other people.  It's hard to build any sense of trust when people are deceived or blinded as they can then become an ideal tool of disharmony or mistrust in a Gospel community.  The enemy loves these sorts of situations!

As we look to Christ, spend time in the presence of the Holy Spirit and receive instruction from the Father we begin to understand more and more who we are, who we were designed and called to be.


The world for too long has tried to convince us that we are nobodies, a number in and amongst billions of others and that we are insignificant and that the problems around us in our families, our streets, our communities, our nation and the world are just too numerous and varied for us to make any meaningful impact.

God breaks that off as a lie of the enemy and it has no place in your thinking!

Look to Christ, He has uniquely called and gifted you to be a world changer, to be the sort of person that effects change and brings life in every dark situation.  To be a conduit of hope and love to a lost and broken world.

You are a representative of the Kingdom of Heaven, a regent, an ambassador, a co-heir with Christ.

You truly can trust in yourself today if you know Christ and you are open and obedient with other brothers and sisters, if you are accountable and teachable, because through His Spirit, the instruction of others, through the power of His word He is transforming you, day by day to be more like Him, and if you can't trust in the work of Christ, then who can you trust!





2.  Do we trust in each other?

The community, or household/family of God is described in an awesome way in Acts 2:42-47:

 42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46And day by day,attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their foodwith glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

This seems like a community that was full of trust.  People were open handed, selling their possessions to provide for the poor and the needy, they opened their lives and their homes with one another to share meals and join with one another in a deep and intimate fellowship where there was quite clearly an authentic and heartfelt community of love and trust that was open to everyone to enter into and be a part of.



Many churches have a great sense of community within the walls of their buildings, or in the midst of their meetings, but sadly churches struggle to authentically replicate or receive this Spirit led life giving dynamic that reaches out to the lost and the broken in their surrounding communities.



I think this is partly down to trust.  Where there is trust there is life.  There is freedom to release people to be all that they can be, no restrictions, no limitations, but a release with encouragement and equipping that helps people walk into their calling, their destiny, as a unique part of the body of Christ, with each one finding their own place and purpose, yet not operating outside of the body but always staying connected and in healthy Gospel relationships with others in the body.

So it's clear that trust is a key element in a healthy Gospel community.

Lack of trust can be caused by so many things:  Hypocrisy, inauthenticity, immaturity, spiritual blindness, lack of self-control, past hurt, poor communication... (I'm sure you can think of many more!) 

We have got to be those that are quick to confront, quick to forgive, quick to equip and also have faith to release, but know that God is in control and we are called to bring Him glory, not to glorify ourselves.

I believe that as we all individually see and acknowledge Christ as the highest and most lifted up thing in our lives that other people will look on, they will see the life that this relationship and obedience to Christ brings and they will want in.  They will begin to trust, they will begin to listen, to follow, to want to know the source of this new you, this you that has been liberated and set free from the oppression and unhelpful habits that so easily hinder any sense of   authentic Gospel life being displayed in a meaningful way.  They will want to know Christ and your transformed life will be the personal invitation.

3.  Do we trust our leaders?
If you have read a bit of the Bible you should be aware that God has a tendency of raising and releasing leaders.
These leaders are never normally special people, in fact they are mostly just average people, people that have gone through life like everybody else and then God shows up, sets them apart and starts to display His nature and character through these people so that they can lead and speak hope and life to others.

In the Old testament there were many leaders, tall ones, short ones, ones that got angry, ones that felt insignificant, ones that couldn't communicate well, others that were very young, very old, some from humble settings, some from more regal, some that were imprisoned, some that were captured, some were tortured, some were held in high regard, some were he'd in no regard, some were faithful, some were unfaithful - But God chose them and used them all.

In the New Testament we see Gods heart in collecting a band of 12 very different men:  fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot and others.

This band of guys were all very different but Jesus used His time with the disciples to raise leaders, all with their own style, edge, gifting and flavour, but he raised them and taught them and released them when the time was right.

We then see the disciples develop into apostles - They then plant churches and raise and release elders to govern and lead local churches.  The apostolic gift raises and father leaders and motivates mission (see Dave Devenish's excellent book on this very subject) and it works in partnership with local elders to help local churches to grow and flourish.

In our local context as a Newfrontiers church in Medway we have local elders and leaders in our church.  We trust this team of brothers to lead us, to make effective decisions, to weigh up every eventuality in a time of crisis and to find the best way forward before God.

We are all called to be leaders, we are all called to be those that influence the world around us, but the elders in particular have a unique calling as they are called to be shepherds of Gods people.  God has entrusted them with His flock and it states in Hebrew 13:17 that one day they will have to give an account before God as to the way they looked after the people that God had entrusted to them.

 17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

But we are also encouraged to obey our leaders, that we are to trust their sound judgement, and that we are to make our leaders life a joy! (where possible)


I can think of many situations and times when things could have been made a joy but instead it caused a sense of groaning.  When people rebel or have an unhealthy or unhelpful outlook on life this can exacerbate a situation.  This is often caused by a root of a lack of trust.


We have to work hard to know our leaders, to trust our leaders and to ensure that if we hear people discrediting and undermining the authority that God has placed on their shoulders that we are quick to defend and bring equilibrium where appropriate.


In saying this I am aware that there are many leaders that are like wolves amongst the sheep that God has given them.  Leaders should never be above criticism and as a leader myself I am always trying to live in a transparent and visible way, I make every effort to stay in accountable relationships with eaters both locally and outside of our local setting and am always encouraging people to come along side me and correct me, to rebuke me where necessary.


Leaders are never called to be overbearing but called to serve, to release and to encourage the flock to be healthy, well fed and instructed in the word and the ways of God.  As under-shepherds to the great High Shepherd they should look to Jesus for the way to lead.


I want to encourage you to trust your leaders.  Theirs is a heavy burden and where possible we should trust them, get behind them or alongside them and give them every encouragement and help in releasing them into all that God has called them to be so that they can set the pace and
the direction to the glory of God.


4.  Do we trust God?
For me fundamentally this is where it all hinges - Do we trust God?

I have seen countless numbers of friends hit hard in a crisis to the point where some have abandoned their faith, sometimes because of grief, sometimes because of a loss of hope, sometimes because they feel let down.

Sometimes it's not until a tree is shaken by a hard wind that you find out it's roots were only shallow and then the tree falls over.

Can I encourage you to trust God?  To go to Him with your worries and your concerns, to pour your heart out to Him rather than trying to figure everything out and get it al in a neat little box so you can understand the things that happen around you.

I love the exaltation that is given in Phillipians 4:4-7

 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 There is a peace that surpasses all understanding - Think about that...


For you to receive that peace you have to give up your right to understand why the situation is where it is and trust in God, trust in His sovereign nature, trust that He is in control and will work it all out for good.


In saying that I am not at all implying that to be a Christian you have to disengage your brain and just believe everything, but trusting, or having faith in God is a different affair than just believing any old thing (gullibility).


We have much to trust and thank God for, we can look to the promises in His word, we can look to the common and specific grace that He pours into all of our lives and we can look to the death and resurrection of Christ and what that means for us in restoring us to a perfect and eternal relationship with the Father - We can trust Him!



The following point is borrowed from Matt Slick on the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry website...


Furthermore to that Jesus said,
  • Come to Me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).
  • "I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth" (Matt. 28:20).
  • He said that His words will not pass away (Mark 13:31).
  • He said that He would raise you up on the last day (John 6:40).
  • He said that whatever you asked in His name would be give to you. (John 14:14).
  • He said He would disclose Himself to you (John 14:21).
  • He said that He would reveal the Father to you (Matt. 11:27)
  • And He said He would return in the clouds and that every eye will see Him (Mark 13:27).
Because of who God is and what He has already done for you, you can trust Him even more for the future and have no fear that He will continue to uphold you, love you, and continue His wonderful loving plan in your life.
Will you trust Him?  How much will you trust Him?  How much will you rest in Him?
Its up to you.

Be encouraged!

Gordon Watson


Monday, 3 October 2011

Considering the joy set before us!

As Christians we are called to be those that live in hope, walk by faith and demonstrate genuine love in all circumstances.

For me, and I'm sure it is for many others, this is a massive challenge!

How do you respond when those close to you let you down?

How do you confront wrong thinking and deconstruct false wisdom in your own life & in the lives of those around you?

Often we can fall into the trap of thinking we must have all the answers, that within our own strength we can solve every wrong and lift up every head.

The stark reality however is that we can't sustain it - All the goodwill & well meaning intention that we can muster up can only serve us so long until eventually we come to the end of ourselves, to the end if our capacity, and realize we just can't sustain a Christ-like lifestyle!

The great news is that we were never intended to try and reveal the nature of God on our own in the first place!

God designed each one of us with a destiny, a redemptive purpose, a mandate from God, one that would be backed up with everything needed for the task of affecting change in our own streets, towns, cities, our nation & beyond to the ends of the earth so that the world would look on and see the power of God demonstrated in and through your life.

"So why don't I see it?" we might ask, "why is the area where I live so oppressive?", "Why do I feel that I'm not effective?"

The answer, I believe (but don't brand me a heretic if you disagree!) is that perhaps you haven't fully grasped the work that God has accomplished in your life. Perhaps you have not fully understood the Lordship of Christ to the point where He has become your everything.

Sure, Jesus may very well be your Saviour - He performed the most selfless act in human history by laying His life down to free all those that would believe in Him from the snare of sin & death, but often that's where it stops.

Sometimes we never move on from the cross into resurrection life, a way of life that calls us to be devoted, described in Scripture in an almost slavish way, to following Christ and being obedient to His teaching.

Forgive me for using the word 'slavish' but there is a biblical precept of being obedient to the teaching of Christ, as a slave would do to a master!

One of the biggest pitfalls facing the church today is the failure of many Christians to understand the Lordship of Christ and how He has called them out of darkness (as their Saviour) to then be faithful and obedient and to pick up their cross and follow Him (as their Lord).

How can we fulfil the great commission of going to the ends of the earth to make disciples of all peoples unless we too know what it is to be authentic disciples ourselves?

It's my firm belief that many believers today are satisfied with the eternal hope they find in Christ - This is a good thing! But i also believe that many are living unaware and without any concept of the calling upon their life to die to themselves and to live for Christ. Unaware of the destiny of relational unity, joy, freedom and power that awaits them as they rise up from the cross at Calvary to receive and experience the wealth of spiritual blessing that comes from being united in both the death and the risen work of Christ.

There has to be a willingness to pursue God, to desire Him like nothing else, to choose Him above every other and to follow Him & trust Him as He calls us into a new life that looks very different than the one we lived in our own strength at the foot of the cross.

That's my prayer today; that God would open our eyes and our hearts to catch a glimpse of the prize of Christ in a new way. He is the one that will never spoil, falter or fail and has chosen a path that is based on genuine relationship that can only ever be made possible through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

Consider the joy set before you, press on, persevere, truly lay hold of that which Christ has graced in your life and shine like a beacon in the darkness under the knowledge and power of divine Sonship.

God is for you! Lovingly choose Him just as He has chosen you. Lovingly lay your life down like He has done for you & the transformation that will be demonstrated as you become one with the Father will be undeniable.

Live in step with the Spirit & enter into your destiny as a co-heir of the Kingdom, understanding and revealing the governmental mandate of the King to tear down & destroy the works of the enemy, all to the Glory of God.

Be encouraged!

Gordon


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Celebrating 25 Years of Marriage - Perry's

Hello friends,

What a great morning we had at church today!

We had the wonderful pleasure of Julian & Lena Perry celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with the church family.

They had invited many guests and a special church lunch was arranged to follow on from the morning meeting.

The public testimony of how God has been with them, protected them and kept them close and united for so many years was an awesome witness to the love and power of God at work in their lives.

I love them as a couple, to see the way they are with one another, the Godly leading and deference that they so happily have worked out, yet all the time wishing to serve and empower one another is such a provoking and life giving model of how God feels about His church and is a great encouragement to us younger folks to see and follow their Godly example when sadly all around us marriages fail and falter.

Unashamedly we celebrate marriage, it is good, a gift from God, yet are so aware of the many challenges and struggles that we are faced with as we try to promote it in an age where it is seen as nothing more than an institution of convenience.

I pray to God that in 19 years time both myself and Natalie have the deep joy that was evident between Julian & Lena as we come to our 25 year anniversary! - It may seem a long way off now but I'm sure it will be upon us in a flash.

And I trust and hope that both Julian & Lena will be much closer to celebrating their 50th anniversary and will once again testify to the next generation that marriage is good, it is healthy and it gives life - Just as God intended!

Be encouraged!

Gordon

Monday, 12 September 2011

Video Interview with Mike Betts & Goff Hope - Relational Mission

On Thursday, 8th September we held a Family Meeting at Medway Family Church.
These family meeting's are something that we normally try and do around 2 to 3 times a year, normally after the extended summer and winter breaks.

We see these meetings as a way of communicating family business, giving updates to ongoing situations, communicating key things to be aware of as we move into a new season and also an opportunity to relay any important governmental or trust/charity issues or changes that the family members really should be made aware of.

Earlier on that same day, Adam Voke, Julian Perry, Bernard Bentall & myself had all been together at the Relational Mission Prayer & Vision Day hosted by Hope Church, Ipswich.

The end of the last Newfrontiers Brighton Leaders Conference (2011) signalled the beginning of many changes right across Newfrontiers as a family of churches.
The moving away from a centralised organisational structure into what has been called by some as 'autonomous, inter-dependent apostolic spheres' (try saying that three times in a row!) has seen us in Medway start to explore apostolic partnership with Mike Betts & the RM team in Norfolk.

(If you have any questions regarding apostolic ministry then I'd recommend you read this excellent book on the subject - Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission by David Devenish).

Whilst at the RM Prayer & Vision day we had opportunity to interview Mike Betts & Goff Hope as a means of introducing Medway Family Church to both of them as part of our Family Meeting.  (Adam Voke's doing the interviewing!)

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Goff Hope is part of Mike's team and is in process of handing over the leadership of Kings Church, NorwichThis church has been grown, by the grace of God into a healthy, vibrant and engaging centre for worshipping God and serving the local/extended community.

Goff also heads up the Newfrontiers training base in Norwich - This will be where I'll be undertaking the next 2 years of leadership training, starting in October.  I'm excited to be staying with Goff & Angie and to be meeting the rest of the guys that are going to be on the course.

Mike Betts is one of the apostolic figures that was publicly acknowledged and released at the Newfrontiers Leaders Conference.  Mike has been leading Lowestoft Community Church up until recently but has now handed over the leadership of the church to Ben Parish (I met Ben at the Prayer & Vision day, we'll be doing training together!).

Mike has an apostolic ministry working with churches both in the UK and internationally, especially in Northern Europe.

As a strategic move looking to the future I really am expectant for all that God might do through these new relationships as we get to know each other and work together on developing the church in Medway and also get caught up in apostolic ministry across the nations with friends!

It's an exciting new day - Be encouraged!

Gordon Watson :)