Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

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Not every Sunday, or every service, in church is “great” some can even be very ordinary but yesterday Bangor Elim was (I have to use an Americanism) AWESOME!

Our morning service was taken by our kids ministry “The Factory”. The kids were great. It’s so funny that they can make so much noise when they a sitting With their parents and then fall into complete silence when they are brought to the front to sing. The highlight of the morning for me was the message / kids story. One of our young guys who is about to head off to university spoke and he was ….. AMAZING. He was so natural and confident and had us all, kids and adults alike, eating out of his hand as he somehow managed to work an near dead tarantula into the story of Jacob (you had to be there). Well done to Johnny “preacher in the making”Simpson.

Our evening service was just something else. Our Youth took the whole service and they hit it out of the park. The worship, videos, drama, message everything was just brilliant. I sat all night with a huge grin, excited about the talent and heart of our young people. At points I almost welled up!

To top it off we had a very special guest to share his story. I had the amazing privilege to interview, Belfast born, Wayne (the pocket rocket) McCullough, Commonwealth Gold, Olympic Siver and WBC world champion boxer! His story was amazing but not as amazing as the guy himself. I doubt I have met as nice or as humble a guy in a long time. After the service he hung around getting his picture taken with everyone that wanted it. He passed around his medal and belt for people to hold and wear. Afterwards he went into youth coffee bar where he shared with the kids, arm wrestled with them, signed their shoes and arms (don’t ask) and just hung out until closing time. @WayneMcCullough you just blew me away!!!!

I came home from church last night still wearing my mile wide smile and thinking “I LOVE MY CHURCH” you guys just blow me away.

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Miracles still happen!

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Church
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This last weekend I got to share 3 stories in church about how God miraciously touched some peoples lives. I think they are well worth a share here.

Jean has had difficulty in hearing for years. She hid it pretty well as she was good at lip reading. Recently she came out for prayer and starting having some problems with her hearing aid. She made an appointment in the hospital to get it sorted out. When she finished her appointment she got the women doing the test to write her findings on the back of her appointment card. This is what she wrote in her own hand “Mrs Morrison had her hearing tested this evening and her hearing level has improved since her last test. I explained to mrs Morrison that this was very unusual and because her level of hearing had gone up to within normal limits a hearing aid would not benefit her at the minute”

Adele is a young single mum who suffered from Eczema. Last Sunday she filled out a prayer card to give thanks to God. She too recently came forward for prayer and says that “since then the eczema is completely gone”

Jim is an older gentleman who recently received devastating news that he was suffering from cancer. In the doctors words there were several “very aggressive tumours” that would ultimately attack his brain. There was no cure but he would be given 3 strong doses of Chemotherapy to slow the growth and spread of the tumours. While reading his bible he came across James 5:4 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. He asked us to do just that, and so we did. At his last scan, amazingly, miraculously, the doctors told him that the tumours had SHRUNK! They had shrunk to the point where Chemo was no longer required. This week they gave him a course of radiotherapy on just 2 spots and one of those was precautionary! Jim isn’t out of the woods BUT we believe God has certainly done something amazing.

Why doesn’t God heal everyone we pray for? Why choose to heal some and not others? I really don’t know but it doesn’t stop me giving thanks and praise when he graciously touches some! ;0)

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Recently I have been re-reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. I was struck again by the amazing story he shares about a young girl called Brooke. Well worth a share ;0)

Brooke Bronkowski was a beautiful fourteen-year-old girl who was in love with Jesus. When she was in junior high, she started a Bible study on her campus. She spent her babysitting money on Bibles so she could give them out to her unsaved friends. Youth pastors who heard about this brought her boxes of Bibles to give away.

Brooke wrote the following essay when she was about twelve; it will give you an idea of the kind of girl she was.

“SINCE I HAVE MY LIFE BEFORE ME” By I’ll live my life to the fullest. I’ll be happy. I’ll brighten up. I will be more joyful than I have ever been. I will be kind to others. I will loosen up. I will tell others about Christ. I will go on adventures and change the world. I will be bold and not change who I really am. I will have no troubles but instead help others with their troubles. You see, I’ll be one of those people who live to be history makers at a young age. Oh, I’ll have moments, good and bad, but I will wipe away the bad and only remember the good. In fact that’s all I remember, just good moments, nothing in between, just living my life to the fullest. I’ll be one of those people who go somewhere with a mission, an awesome plan,world-changing plan, and nothing will hold me back. I’ll set an example for others, I will pray for direction. I have my life before me. I will give others the joy I have and God will give me more joy. I will do everything God tells me to do. I will follow the footsteps of God. I will do my best!!!

During her freshman year in high school, Brooke was in a car accident while driving to the movies. Her life on earth ended when she was just fourteen, but her impact didn’t. Nearly fifteen hundred people attended Brooke’s memorial service. People from her public high school read poems she had written about her love for God. Everyone spoke of her example and her joy. I shared the gospel and invited those who wanted to know Jesus to come up and give their lives to Him. There must have been at least two hundred students on their knees at the front of the church praying for salvation. Ushers gave a Bible to each of them. They were Bibles that Brooke had kept in her garage, hoping to give out to all of her unsaved friends.

Enough said!!!

How Much?

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Church

How Much?. Check out Big G’s blog. Its his staff devotions from this morning. He isn’t renowned for his poetry but this is pretty cool ;0)

check out this link to Elevation church where Steven Furtick gets a couple from his church to share their miracle testimony. Well worth a few minutes of your time ;0)

Before I start let me just say, I love movies, I love TV and, for all its faults, I love the internet. So what Im about to write is more a challenge to me than anyone else. I have been reading Craig Groeschel’s new book “Soul Detox”. In it he talks about how much we allow the culture around us to infect us. He, like me, doesn’t believe that we can just withdraw from the world, the culture around us, but asks the question. Where do we draw the line?

As I said I don’t have the answers but I do have some questions. Is it ok for Christians to watch “18” rated movies? How much bad language or sex is acceptable? How much violence is acceptable in a video game? (ouch that one hurts). Are there any boundaries when it comes to what we read, watch or browse on the net? If its ok for me then is ok for my teenage son?  “But dad everyone else has seen it” or “everyone in my class plays that game

How much is ok? Who sets the boundaries and what are they? Well let me say it again, I don’t have the answers I just hope to make you think the issue through for yourself. Is a little bit of profanity or sex or sin ok? Does it really effect us? Paul writes to the church in Corinth and says “don’t you know a little yeast (yeast in the bible is often used as a picture of sin) effects the whole batch of dough” It looks like Paul thinks even a little might be an issue.

In the book Craig tells a great story to drive home the point.

“A loving mother demonstrated this principle to her son, Cade. When his friends invited him over to watch a movie, one just released on DVD and rated PG-13, Cade begged his mom to let him see it. His mom asked him her usual questions, “ is it a good movie? One that won’t hurt your Christian walk?” Knowing it had some less than appropriate scenes, Cade shuffled from one foot to the other and searched for the right words. Not wanting to lie to his mom, he tried to walk on the edge of the truth. “Well, it’s not as bad as a lot of movies,” he said enthusiastically. “And all my friends have seen it. There’s only a little bit of bad stuff in it.” He held his breath, awaiting his mom’s final verdict on his movie-going fate. His mom smiled and said, “Well, of course, honey. As long as there’s only ‘a little bit of bad stuff in it.’ “ Cade was stunned! Before she changed her mind, the grateful teen bolted for his room, texted his friends the good news, then lost himself in his favorite iPad game. Now if you’re a parent, you probably already know that Cade’s mom had something up her sleeve. She headed to the kitchen and started implementing her plan. Selecting her son’s favorite brownie mix from the pantry, she added the requisite water, eggs, and oil, stirring the mixture together in a big white bowl. While the oven preheated, Cade’s crafty mom strolled into the back yard for her secret ingredient. Searching carefully in the grass, she scooped up something that their dog Ginger had recently left behind. She returned to the kitchen, stirred in a teaspoon of Ginger’s secret ingredient, poured the thick, chocolate batter into a nonstick pan, and set the oven timer for twenty minutes. Just as she pulled the brownies from the oven, Cade bounced down the stairs right on cue. “Do I smell my favorite brownies?” he asked with excitement. “You bet!” his mom said, smiling. After letting them cool for a few moments, Cade’s mom cut into the warm brownies and plopped a large one on his plate. Just as his fork hit the plate, she stopped him, and mentioned casually, “Just so you know, I added a special ingredient this time.” She paused without cracking a smile. “I put a teaspoon of Ginger’s poop in your brownies.” “What?!” Cade shouted, immediately disgusted. “Mom, are you crazy? Why’d you do that?” he choked while pushing his plate away. Cade’s mom went to the fridge and poured her son his usual glass of milk. “Don’t worry, buddy. I didn’t put a lot of poop in the brownies. There’s just a little bit of bad stuff.” He rolled his eyes, but she’d made her point and served it up home-style. Cade realized he wouldn’t be seeing the movie. The moral of this story? A little bit of poop goes a long way. Ask yourself, is there a little bit of poop in the media you normally enjoy?

I laughed hard at that story. So what are the boundaries. I don’t have the answers but I am certainly contemplating the question.

*if you would like to read more check out Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel

And we’re back!

Posted: May 30, 2012 in Church

Ok for the 2 or 3 people that missed the blog, its back! This blog thing is hard, its not easy constantly thinking of something to say (at least something meaningful). So while Im thinking about how tough I have it, sitting with a starbucks, typing on my Mac and trying to sound profound I came across something that is genuinely profound and should give us all food for thought.

There was a recent magazine article I read called “7 questions for new converts in an Asian country”. Due to safety concerns the article couldn’t say which country it was talking about but it listed 7 questions that new converts are asked before being considered for baptism. The questions are to make sure that the person considering baptism is fully aware of the cost of following Jesus. If they can answer YES to all 7 questions and sign a declaration then they can be baptised. It is a serious issue, if the new converts sign the paper and is caught by the authorities then they will face 3 years in prison. The person that witnessed to them and led them to Jesus gets 6 years! Yet the number of people being baptised and joining the church is growing. I wonder how we would do with the 7 questions?

1. Are you willing to leave your home and lose the blessing of your father?

2. Are you willing to lose your job?

3. Are you willing to go to your village and those who persecute you, forgive them and share the love of Jesus with them?

4. Are you willing to give an offering to the Lord?

5. Are you willing to be beaten rather than deny your faith?

6. Are you willing to go to prison?

7. Are you willing to die for Jesus?

Come on, truthfully, how many yes’s for Jesus?