Testimony is powerful…what’s your story?

Men's Ministry Comments Off on Testimony is powerful…what’s your story?

notepadI heard Andy Hawthorne speak at a conference a while ago and one thing in particular that he said has stuck with me; that testimony is powerful. Over the last two years I have been sharing testimony with you, my story with you through these bulletin articles. I have written over 11,500 words, all of which have been intended to encourage you to live out your Christian faith. God challenged me to be open, honest and authentic in what I write. This has certainly been challenging at times; there are things I’ve shared that have been hard to put into print. But I believe what Andy Hawthorne spoke about, that telling your story, sharing your testimony is powerful.
It’s mostly women who make comments about my articles and who stop and chat for a few minutes about what I’ve written. This has intrigued me as I always set out to write to encourage men. But the comments reveal how when we peal back the spotless cover we all like to live under and let someone else see how life is actually going it is encouraging. When people see others work though difficulties and share their own problems it gives others hope. I believe God takes my simple, honest words and does something powerful with them.
And now I invite you men to do the same. I want other men in Elim Ryedale Church to start speaking out; to start writing here in this space in the bulletin. Each month there is the opportunity for you to share the highs, lows, the incredible and the ordinary of your Christian life. My words are not the only ones that should appear here. It’s time for you to share, for you to write; for God to take your story and do something incredible.
So there are a few simple rules: 1. This is a space for men to write, as part of the bigger picture of MPower, Elim’s Men’s Ministry. 2. You must write with honesty and openness.

Thank You

Becky's Blog Comments Off on Thank You

picture of actors in the christmas expeienceI would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who made the Christmas Experience 2015 a year to remember. Thank you to the actors, crafters, coffee and cake makers, painters, costume sewers and scenery creators, you are all amazing! It is because of such a brilliant team that we had a fantastic time with nearly 500 children hearing about the very first Christmas as they traveled through time to see the story unfold. We have had fantastic feedback from teachers and children, many being moved to tears so thank you again for all your hard work, time and effort to make this possible. Also thank you to everyone who braved the awful weather and came to support us on the Open Day, it was great to see you all! If anyone is interested in joining the team, we would love to hear from you. By the way Easter is coming soon……watch this space.
Some quotes from the children:
“I learnt to believe in Jesus,”
Lauren

“I enjoyed it when the beautiful
Angel came to pregnant Mary and stopped to sing to her,” Sofia

“Thanks for the cakes, they were tasty,” Aiden

“I liked making the card, my mum loved my card,” Isabelle

“Angel Gabriel said to Mary ‘you will have a baby and it will be the Saviour of the world.’ That was the best bit of the day.”

Walk to freedom

Andy's Blog Comments Off on Walk to freedom

I love January, not just because it’s my birthday but because it feels like a brand new start.  I’m not keen on making New Year resolutions, I can’t keep them, but I do like the opportunity to leave the past behind.  I’m a born optimist, I enjoy change, and I like a fresh challenge because I easily get bored.  I always believe that bigger and better is within my grasp and don’t mind working hard to get there.  January feels like an empty book waiting to be written the beginning of a brand new adventure.  However, I do realise not everyone sees a New Year in the same way.

In 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster prison after 27 years.  I still vividly
remember the televised ‘walk to freedom’ that was shown around the world.  I was inspired by the way he took Winnie Mandela’s hand as he took those first steps and raised their fists in victory to the crowds that  lined the streets.
Nelson Mandela had a new beginning and within a year he was the leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and within five years Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president.  The best was still to come but how did he deal with his past? 18 years of his prison sentence were spent on Robben Island where Mandela was made to do hard labour.  He was incarcerated for standing up to a white government who had introduced ‘apartheid’, a system written in law to keep white and black people apart.  Mandela believed in liberty and equality for all, regardless of skin colour and belief but it cost him his freedom.  When I listen to his first speech, I don’t remember words of anger, a desire to take revenge or bitterness towards those who had put him in prison.  Somehow Mandela didn’t allow his past to influence his future.  He was able to move on, to let go and find a better future.

For some a New Year can be filled with sadness, regret or frustration.  Looking back on bad decisions or life’s unexpected turns brings pain, anxiety and a sense of hopelessness.  But this New Year is your opportunity to take a ‘walk to freedom’?  When Nelson Mandela made those first few steps he wasn’t wearing his old prison clothes and he wasn’t carrying any luggage, he left it all in the past where it belonged.  Why don’t we do the same?

So What Can You Give?

Andy's Blog Comments Off on So What Can You Give?

lovePeaceHopeJoyPresentMerry Christmas everyone! So what can you give this Christmas? No, I’m not asking for a special offering, don’t worry. But take a moment and think; what can you afford to give this Christmas? How much are you willing to spend? Every gift costs, but not every gift costs money. If the only measure of our giving is the amount of money we spend, then we all have a limit. None of us have an unlimited budget; none of us have cultivated a money tree or found the pot at the end of the rainbow, so if giving is measured in pennies and pounds, we all have a limit. Don’t you ever wonder what it would be like to have no limit, where money is no object and we could spend whatever we wanted? Surely, that would be the best Christmas ever; or would it?

There are gifts that can’t be bought or sold or given a monetary value. The supply is unlimited but the cost is high. They will never need upgrading, be outdated or forgotten. They are top of the range, the perfect gift and this year’s ‘must have’. Before you choose how many you give there’s no need to check your bank balance. They will be treasured by all ages and can be given by all. Your budget is safe, the price is fair but their value is sky high. The potential to give is in reach of us all but what will we pay to give the ultimate gift?

To give these presents we must humble ourselves; instead of what we want, it is others we must serve. Giving up our desire to be top, to be heard, to be right, to be first – we must choose to be second, third or even last! We must surrender, be vulnerable and weak, to be right at the bottom of the heap. Jesus came and did just that, instead of holding on to position, he gave it all up to offer us the gifts that we can now offer this Christmas. Firstly He gave love but not love that was human, but love that was divine; not simply a soft spoken word but a decisive action that changed the world. We can receive this love, be filled and overflow with it and give it to others, modelled on His perfect example; not man-made, weak and feeble but strong, victorious, dependable, total, tender and unstoppable. Secondly He gave peace to a world that was divided. Where anxiety and fear were the currency of life, Jesus spoke and brought calm through the storms of life. As we unload all our burdens on to the back of our King, we can receive His deep and lasting peace. We can be ready to give that gift of peace when tension is rising and the storms are brewing and families start to feud; we can give peace and calm. Thirdly He gave hope to a world that was hopeless with no future, ambition, direction or plan. Knowing His Father was Lord and had all in His hands, Jesus gave hope to live in our hearts, to whisper our future and declare His return. Hearts full of hope overflow with Good News and a hope that the best is still ahead. Fourthly he gave joy, the strength for each day, a song in our hearts and praise on our lips to honour our King. A gift not subject to the circumstances we face but a lifestyle in response to knowing Jesus and all that He has done. It is a gift we can give where ever we go if we lift our heads high, stay focussed on Jesus and not on ourselves, but rejoice at all times and give joy away.

This Christmas, why not give gifts that money can’t buy. Love, peace, hope and joy, have an unlimited supply but are we prepared to pay the cost. Are we willing to follow Jesus and humble ourselves so we can give gifts that are needed and lasting? What can you give this Christmas?

A Final Message from Mel…

Ablaze Youth Comments Off on A Final Message from Mel…

And so young people -it is time for me to bow out and say ‘goodbye.’ It has been an incredible journey over the last five and a half years and although my heart is tinged with sadness and I love ya lots, jelly tots, I know that God’s plans are awesome and the best is yet to come for all of us. I can’t think of a better way to end than to share this Christmas message from Bear Grylls. Remember…God loves you, you are NEVER alone with Him and there is nothing that He can’t handle…keep choosing every day to invest in your relationship with Him, trust in His purpose and plans for your lives, open your hearts to His adventures and miracles and keep shining your light by being an example of His voice, feet and hands. YOU can be the difference and remember the stars shine brightly, the darker it gets. Thank you for the love, joy, laughter and memories-My heart will always treasure them. I leave you with Philippians 2:15-16 from The Message version of the Bible, ‘Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.’ ❤️💙💜💚💛

 

Ablaze Youth Tuesday 8th December

Ablaze Youth Comments Off on Ablaze Youth Tuesday 8th December

This week at Ablaze Youth, Tuesday 8th December, the ‘Live It!’ Group will be meeting for the usual food and shenanigans at 5pm with me, Sue and Graeme and then it is the last meeting before Christmas for the 7:30pm group – I haven’t got a clue what is going on because it’s my last week with you so Sue and Andy are in charge..Oh! Oh! I am currently pulling a ‘this could be dangerous’ face! I have a feeling it may be messy!!! Looking forward to seeing you there! 😉 😀

 

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