Our first Christmas together as a married couple was also our first opportunity (and perhaps the last for a while) to share Christmas with Ruth’s family. We are really blessed to be able to drive down to Norwich to share in the celebrations. We were able to spend time with Ruth’s Parents, Gran and Uncle and partner (pictured).
We were also fortunate to visit Ruth’s sending church NBC for their Nativity and Carols services and see some old friends over the pre-Christmas weekend. It was a great time of refreshment for both of us.
This weekend I was at the Northern Women’s Conference with OMNIvision. We set up cameras and screens so people could easily see the main speaker and we put up the song words. All in all it went very well. I was the Engineer for the day which meant I made sure the images were good quality so they were not distracting and I made sure the sound on the recording was clear (also I hit the big record button!) Enjoy the photos!
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?