Sunday, 9 May 2010

Be a member, not an attender.

Whilst I was back home Mum invited me along to the Alpha group that she has been going to. It's made up of a number of ladies who had kids going to playgroup at Christ Church and approached Sandra the vicar asking if an Alpha group could be set up for them. They're a rad bunch of ladies, so funny.

The theme this week was on Church and what Church is. We watched Nicki Gumble's DVD and then talked about what makes Church - the building? the people? What you do? It was great to hear them talk. What struck me was the notion that Church is a family of people and everyone is welcome but it makes all the difference when you choose to be a part of it. To be a member, not an attender. Looking back on my experiences of looking for a church, I did see a pattern that in those churches where I did not seek to become involved in the life of the church, where I did not serve the church body in a way, those were the churches I left easily. I might have got to know some people there and been fold of them, but it was the times when I served people that I felt most a part of the church family and most at home. I recognised that it started when I began to help out with Friday Night Group at SMOB and the pattern has continued with helping to set up the chairs at Good Life in Australia. Whatever it is, whether it's organising a cell group or vacuuming the floor, serving your brothers and sisters encourages that sense of community, of being a part of something. Of course you are still a part of the body of Christ if you just go along each week and sit in the back but I think you gain so much when you muck in.

So I want to encourage you; be a member. Not an attender. Make a choice, commit, get involved.

And check this out!

Thanks to the awesome ladies of Ottershaw Alpha!

Visiting with Fairview

Back in May I was invited by Graham to come and share at the Fairview group which is Smob's housegroup for people with learning difficulties.

They start off with coffee and catch up then have a time of worship and talking about God.
Graham had brought along a big map of Australia so that I could show them where I live, and had worn his Australia Tshirt and corked hat to fit the part!

I told them about what I was doing in Australia and they asked me questions. It was so cool, I loved meeting them all and hanging out with them. At the end they prayed for me and I felt so blessed. When they prayed for me it felt so genuine and from the heart and reminded me that prayer is simply talking to God, sometimes I think I make it way too complicated. Big thanks to all the Fairview group and everyone involved in running it, you are such a blessing.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The good endless cycle

I've been back in England for three weeks now, spending time with my family and catching up with friends. A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to share at my church St Mary of Bethany in Woking. I came to church prepared to share about Pure Parks and our plans for the project. However, when Steve my vicar saw me before the service he asked me to share during the "Fingerprints" slot in the service. This is a time where people are invited to come up and share with the congregation things that God has been doing in their lives, situations where we have seen God's fingerprints.

To be honest, I kind of panicked. I had nothing prepared and spent the first worship song praying about what to share. I felt God say "singleness" to which my immediate reaction was "nope too personal I'm not talking about that" and then came the reply that someone sitting there might need to hear about it.

So I stood up and talked about the last few months of my life. How although I was excited that all my friends were married and having babies, I had been feeling alone and left behind and had allowed this to pull me from God and distract me from ministry. I shared how recently one of my friends had phoned me and asked to meet to talk. He told me that his girlfriend had broken up with him and he was devastated. During our talking I encouraged him to look to God for his self-worth and identity. Reminded him how God loved him and his security needed to come from that rather than anyone else. And whilst I told him this I was thinking "but I'm not doing that, I'm not going to God for my security and value." God used that conversation with my friend to bring me back to Him, to turn me back in the right direction. He used a situation in which I was trying to bless someone, to bless me. I encouraged the congregation to go to God to know their value and security and to trust Him.

During the next song in church a lady came and thanked me, saying that although she is married and has a son, she realises she is looking to her job and her role as a provider for her son for her self worth, rather than going to God for her value and trusting Him. After the service two other women came and told me that what I said about being single spoke to them, having painfully come out of relationships recently. I still find it incredible when God surprises me with an opportunity to share when I have nothing prepared and then moves through it; I know it's Him and not me. If you feel God prompting you to share something, even if it takes some humbling on your part (it often does), do it. You never know who is there that might need to hear it.

Blessing and encouragement - it seems like a cyclic thing. You try to bless or encourage someone and end up being blessed and encouraged yourself. Awesome.

Hello Esther!

We have a new team member! Esther came to work with us as a part of her Discipleship Training School from the YWAM Belize base. She's been helping the ministry by working in the shop and doing lots of work on Pure Parks, researching where all the parks are and dividing them up into groups, not a small feat!

She's super lovely and I'm excited to have her on board (pun intended)

Pure Parks

Back in January one of our leaders Boris headed out to YWAM'S 50th anniversary conference in Canberra. He came back with a vision. To get a bible into the hand of every skateboarder in Australia. Whilst we can't measure that, we can go after it and make a big difference. This vision has developed into Pure Parks.

There are over 2000 skateparks in Australia, 250 in Queensland alone. The aim is to visit every park and:
  • Pray over the park and the people who use it; against spiritual strongholds and for God's protection and presence in that area
  • Clean up the park - litter picking and sweeping
  • Hang out with the locals and offer free Skater Bibles
People from the local churches to each park will also be invited to help the church and the skaters get connected. The goal is to visit every skatepark in the next 5 years which would be a bit of a stretch for us to do on our own. Therefore we're also putting together a manual to send out to facilitate groups elsewhere in the country to visit parks in their area.

There are plans for a website so that you can go online and see which parks have been visited with information and stories about what happened and a photo of the team who visited.

I'm so stoked on this vision.

What you can do
  • If you are in Australia and would like to organise a Pure Parks visit to your local skatepark or indeed are outside of Australia, have a heart for skaters and are interested in coming with a team you can get in touch with me at
  • Pray. You don't need to be on the same continent to reach these kids!
  • Donate. We want to give Skaters Bibles out for free at all these parks and we've put the estimation at 13,000 bibles. They cost $5 (£3) to buy, if you would like to buy some that would be brilliant, you can donate online via the ywamwaves by clicking here: website (If paying online by card, please write in the reference box that the donation is for Pure Parks Bibles)