One month on from Newday 2016 seems like the perfect time to write a review; the dust has settled, everyone has caught up on sleep and most importantly we have had a chance to take a step back and look on the week prayerfully.
As we set off for Newday this year, there was a huge amount of optimism between the youth leaders. This is because over the last 12 months our young people seemed to have gelled as a group extremely well. They have all been attending Sunday mornings regularly and seem settled at Jubilee. This week away together seemed like the perfect opportunity for God to really speak into the lives of these young people and meet with them powerfully.
The first night of Newday came and as we all sat in worship, the excitement was still there. The young people immediately engaged and seemed genuinely excited by the worship. During the first meeting there was a talk about re-committing your life to God, and also meeting Him for the first time. During the response time one of our young people decided that they wanted to make a recommitment to God and to really step into his plans... a great start to the week!
As the week went on we enjoyed amazing times of laughter together, and for the second year we decided to have a morning worship time for our Jubilee group. This was extremely powerful and really helped to bring us together.
During another of the evenings there was an opportunity to pray for healing. This night 3 of the young people were healed from various injuries, (which was understandably exciting!) and 3 young people came to Christ. This lead to huge celebrations within the group.
As the week drew to a close, the young people seemed more and more fired up during the meetings. They were receiving spiritual gifts, praying and prophesying over each other, and as leaders we could just step back and watch as the young people took it upon themselves to pray together.
On the very last evening the week ended with a time of worship and it was during this that the youth went all out in worship. This lead to some questionable dance moves, and some extremely sweaty young people! At this time one of the young people turned to me and said ‘this is the best thing ever’. It seems like they enjoyed it!
All in all this was another successful year at Newday, however the hard work does not stop. Please continue to pray for our young people and our youth leaders; that we will all engage in church and continue to meet with God regularly.
As we come to the end of our sermon series in the book of John, Gavin unpacks the final chapter looking at a miraculous catch of fish for the disciples. Having reverted back to their old life, as Jesus shows in this passage, that is often the place where he meets us. In this talk we look at teaching on mission, church and forgiveness...an action packed way to finish the book of John!
'Resurrection is the victory parade as Jesus the risen Champion comes out of his tomb fully alive to the amazement of earth and to the applause of heaven.' (Andrew Wilson). That's the Easter for you! The miraculous reappearances of Jesus after the cross witnessed by hundreds of people have been refuted for centuries. Yet the bottom line is that no one has been successful in explaining it all away as deception or lies. The reality is 'In its favour as living truth there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true.' (Lord Darling, former Lord Chief Justice of England)
Richard Dawkins echoes in the extreme humanities disregard for God:
‘In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won't find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.’
Do we really believe this? Is life so meaningless?
In this section of John’s Gospel we hear what the real Jesus claimed about himself, about the world’s plight and why He came. It’s a story of compassion and love and hope. It’s a story of wrath absorbed, justice payed and suffering joy. As we approach Easter let’s meditate on the real Jesus - what he said about himself and how his story shapes and transforms ours like no other faith, worldview or belief does. This Jesus really is unique!
Jesus shares this popular parable as a way of demonstrating some of the different responses to his message. In this talk, Gavin looks at the theme of evangelism and what our motivation behind this should be, before looking into some different ways of sharing the Gospel in our everyday lives. As 2019 approaches the challenge to all of us is to think about how and why we should be sharing our faith with others.