One way to measure how we have settled in Carlisle might be to ask what church we go to. Well we haven’t really had the chance to decide.
Recently we’ve taken a liking to st Paul’s. It’s actually an ELIM church that recently purchased this quaint old church building (says the Australian).
We feel really welcomed by the pastor and the congregation every time we visit and we’ve found the service style very enjoyable. There are lots of churches in Carlisle, each with it’s own style and strengths and weaknesses – and we’re sure we’ll never find anywhere quite like NBC or Grace but we think we could be quite happy here. We’d like to hear the senior pastor preach (as so far we’ve only heard the associate pastor) before we commit to coming every week.
We’re also thankful for the Christian community of OM. This morning we spent 2 hours in prayer for outreaches and ministries in Europe and the Mediterranean as part of our work time. We also have worship times together 2-3 times per week and devotions together. We’ve often been invited to people’s houses for dinner – and this Friday we’re going to a worship evening at someone’s house. Praise God for community.
Please pray for us as we slowly settle in to our new surroundings, new leaders, new friends, new church family.
“We have lived for such a long time in the abnormal that we call it normal, and when we touch God’s normal we call it abnormal”. A weekend with Northchurch Baptist in Hertfordshire proved to be more than simply time with our friends – it was a real wake up call to what it means to be kingdom people.
Often times we can feel like we are living good Christian lives by going to Church, participating in ministries – even doing mission work! But none of those make us kingdom people. I once heard “Going to church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car”. Three points challenged me in my walk with God- Kingdom people need:
- To be refreshed by the Holy Spirit daily
- To reflect deeply on Scripture
- To be involved in prayer as God intended
I realised that too often I bring to God a shopping list of prayer requests – things I struggle with myself. And as payment for my prayers (I exaggerate for effect) I read my daily portion of scripture. Oh how much more wonderful to be filled by and refreshed by the spirit daily. How much more beneficial to sit and think about what I have read and how it applies to my life. How it would glorify God to allow his word to renew my mind and transform me into His likeness. And how mountains could be moved if I would bring the needs of others to God in prayer.
Recently, OM started a prayer focus. We launched a website subdomain http://pray.om.org/. If you’ve ever wondered what in the world to pray for – start here. There are many needs around the world, and many amazing and inspiring ministries to support in prayer. For the first time this morning I used this resource in my prayer time, and for a change I felt like my burdens were lighter than they had felt before, and that I was a part of what God is doing to reconcile the whole world to himself.
It was of course also a joyous occasion to spend time with so many of our friends from the Berkhamsted area. People who not only have been supporting us financially and in prayer during our time with OM, but who have invested deeply into Ruth’s life and also into mine ever since I arrived in the UK. We felt blessed and refreshed by it.
On leaving the conference we identified another point that convicted us: Kingdom people need to recognise that they are accountable. We have been blessed with wonderful mentor relationships in Northchurch Baptist and on Logos Hope, but we are yet to establish that kind of relationship here in Carlisle. We know that it takes time, but it also takes intention. Would you please pray with us that we find a couple to guide and mentor us in our lives, our relationship with God and each other and our ministry?
Normally I just let Chris write these entries but somehow last night I found myself saying ‘I could write this week’s.’ I’m still not sure why I said that but here I am, writing it anyway!
Amongst all the changes in the last 3 months one of the ones I’m most struggling to get used to is having a desk job. The last time I spent so much of my day sitting at a desk was when I was at school and many days I find myself wondering how people manage it. Having been used to a job where I’m nearly always moving about, switching from one thing to another and never being totally sure what will happen next, the predictability of sitting in one place for several hours is often demotivating (not to mention that I don’t know how to keep awake!). It doesn’t usually take more than an hour before I’m fidgety and looking for some reason to move.
Last week this challenge was stretched even further by 3 days of sitting in meetings. My role as Family and Educational Support Advisor falls under the International Human Resources (IHR) team. This is something of a virtual team as less than half its members are actually based here in Carlisle but last week the majority of the team came together for meetings. Being something of an introvert and new to the team meant that most of the 3 days I simply sat and listened, filling my schedule sheet with elaborate doodles. At various times I wondered what I was doing there and even what I’m doing here with OM at all. However, as the discussions went on around me I realised how much I was learning. I was able to get to know people who so far have just been a name on an e-mail (including my new boss), better understand how IHR is structured and get a feel for the heart that is behind everything we do. The majority of our time focussed around 2 areas: what is our dream for the IHR team and how can we really work as a team when we’re scattered around the world. While there are no easy answers, it is exciting to see the potential we have in this department to support the rest of the OM world in offering people the care and development that they need. For this reason I’m glad of the opportunity to attend the meetings and persevere with sitting at a desk in order to provide what help I can to the families serving across the world.
“That morning when we awoke, the Lord had just taken him” – the Knight family had lost their son Mike unexpectedly, mysteriously one morning. The coroner could give no reason and so they concluded that the Lord had simply called him home.
After spending the summer traveling around Europe doing big events, this week’s evangelistic concert evening took place right here in Carlisle, UK. Out of the tragedy of their son’s passing, the Knight family brought together Christian entertainers from all around the world for one night to ponder together the mysteries of life and death. Dan and Suzie (Duzie) Potter hosted the event in their peculiar style, the band performed top tracks from Mike’s iPod – songs with challenging lyrics, rap artists WriteWay performed and actor Steven Baldwin shared the story of how his life was changed dramatically by Christ. He lead the audience in a prayer to receive Christ and at least 6 of those who prayed with him made contact with a local church to start an introduction to Christianity course. Many people shared that they had also struggled with loss and grief and questioned God’s existence or goodness but felt differently at the end of the night. I’m sure that many seeds were sown that evening that we will never know about – but in the future they will grow into Christ.
For me personally God answered a very dangerous prayer – to be more humble. During the GO conference I had become rather proud – thinking that I could have done a better job than those around me. Through the mistakes that I made during the setup that had to be fixed for me, and simply observing how talented my co-workers are I felt at the end of the night that God had reminded me of my place as a new team member with OMNIvision and given me a new respect for those I work with.