What Brexit tells us about the Church in the UK

Best Brexit response I have yet seen.

ETA: I did NOT write this, this is a reblog from theweaflee (Dave Robertson, Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland).

THE BLOG OF DAVID ROBERTSON

eu-referendum

This is the longer version of my article in Christian Today.

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/brexit.time.for.the.church.to.stop.doing.politics.and.start.doing.faith/89591.htm

There is an old Chinese curse which says ‘may you live in interesting times’! In that case Britain is truly ‘cursed at the moment! I doubt there have been such interesting times in national and political life since the end of the Second World War. Despite the majority of political parties, business leaders, academics, international political leaders, celebrities and media commentators being opposed, 52% of the 72% who voted, said yes to leaving the European Union. It is a political earthquake, and the reverberations are still being felt. Not so much in the dreaded economic collapse, which has not happened (yet), nor in any of the apocalyptic disasters which were supposed to hit us the minute we decided not to take the ‘experts’ advice; but rather in the collective hysterical meltdown that seems to have afflicted some of…

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Mind of Christ

Here’s something you may or may not know about me: I think about everything. I think about the state of the world- its beauty, darkness, joys and tragedies, the billions of lives and their interconnected-ness, the simultaneous small-ness and significance of the individual.

I think about my friend’s problems with her family and how hard it must be to navigate that and about the man of unknown origin who plays the violin on the street corner near Oxford Circus. I wonder if he has a family to feed and how he keeps such a bright smile on his face every morning when I smile hello, not wishing to interrupt his playing because I used to play the violin too, though he plays better than I ever did.

I think about the Big Issue seller further down the street whose name I think I once asked but then forgot, and each time I pass him on my way to work I think I ought to say more than good morning. If I wasn’t always hurrying because I should have left the house earlier, maybe I could stop and find out his story.

I think about Mary the homeless lady because she is no longer part of my commute home and I wonder where she is.

I think about my work, and some days this leads to unnecessary weight being taken home with me. How often I am sobered and saddened. But a desire for truth and for God’s Kingdom established on Earth compels me to get up the next day and keep doing it. I think about how grateful I am to be there at all, and how blessed to experience the moments of office laughter and joy, and the intelligent, stimulating discussions and lively exchanges of wit.

I ask a lot of questions – some to myself, some to God, some to people I can’t ask directly, so those questions circle, unanswered, on a carousel in this mind of mine.

I think about the point of everything. I wonder how that person really is underneath the brisk ‘fine’, and why the heck I said that.

I think about the size of the universe and the minuscule, but loved, specks that we are. I marvel that He breathed and billions of giant burning stars came into being.

I ask myself if I really like London.

I exhaust myself!

I probably exhausted you making you read that, and there’s a lot I left unsaid because nobody is that open about themselves.

In the jumble of ponderings, memories, ideas, hopes and questions that compete for my attention, is a mixture of good, bad and downright ugly.

The uglier parts can spiral off into their own saga if left unrestrained.

Indeed they have contributed to past bouts of depression.

Too often negativity, fear, self-pity (and self-absorption) can blind me to fundamental truths about God and my security in Him. There’s a reason why God’s Word tells us to take every thought captive, after all.

I am whole, loved, forgiven, seated in heavenly places with Christ, a citizen of Heaven. I am not alone. I am enough. I am under His provision and His protection.

The Bible tells me all of these things, but in looking too long at myself, my life and my problems, if indeed problems they can really be called, these truths can get smothered.
God’s Word also tells me that as a new creation in Him, I have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16).

In my experience of living out this life-in-Christ, here are some things I believe I am beginning to grasp about what that means.

Firstly, thinking like Christ does not happen without purposefully coming away with Him. If my priority is myself, my thoughts will naturally be self-directed. It is looking on Christ that gives me eyes to see others like He does. The difference is very clear to me and it is all too easy to slip back into my old nature.

There is something the Lord is teaching me, too, about coming to Him for no other reason than loving Him because He is God, awesome and holy and just.

My housemate is lending me a book at the moment called The Spiritual Adventure, by Madame Jeanne Guyon, written somewhere between 1648 and 1717 (which is her lifetime – I couldn’t find the date of the book’s publication).

This woman understood experiential relationship and tangible communion with the Lord. I don’t have to convince most of my readers, I’m sure, that this is entirely biblical and anything less is hardly worth pursuing, but perhaps that is another blog post altogether.

It may interest you to know that this woman was condemned by the Church at the time, branded a madwoman and a heretic, even imprisoned in the Bastille for speaking of what she experienced in her walk with Christ. (It may also interest you to know that John and Charles Wesley were great admirers of her work).

Accordingly, this book is not for the faint of heart. She does not shy away from the subject of suffering – indeed she emphasises its necessity for our refinement, our testing and commitment to loving the Lord for Him alone. This is not easy to stomach in our culture of comfort and ease, but I am utterly convinced, a somewhat naive youth having experienced mere shadows of such suffering, that she was correct. I would not be where I am, far as I have to go, without seasons of trial. The Lord made that very clear to me last year. Those seasons, too, are part of having the mind of Christ; to accept the suffering with the joy.

But to arrive at my original point, which is this: She talks of coming to the very end of yourself.

There has to be no self-interest or motivation when coming to God, in order to truly live out His will. Mme Guyon says that it should not even be about feeling God’s presence, because even in that there is an element of self-interest. Although God’s tangible presence is beautiful and His delight to offer to us, I have many times come before God and felt nothing. I am beginning to understand that this is, perhaps, God’s way of testing whether my love for Him is truly pure – not out of manipulation, but simply because a selfishly-motivated love will not stand under trial. How can it?

It comes back to surrender, a theme that has chased me for a year and more, and every time I think I have learned that lesson, it resurfaces and once again I am challenged.

Mme Guyon touches on something in her book that certainly resonated with me: would I give up my reputation? Since starting my current job, I have had to ask myself this over and over again, as I have begun to see how much misunderstanding, slander and criticism (even from other Christians) is part of making a public stand for Christ. Whatever my future holds, I am certain that this will only increase if I am truly committed to living out God’s will. I have to be ok with being totally misunderstood – hated, even.

Romans 12:2 is one of my favourite verses because, at least to me, it sums up so much of how to ‘do’ the Christian walk. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Seeing situations, people and possibilities through the mind of Christ, secure in His love and clothed in His strength, it is far easier to live for Him. So, too, must it be easier to live single-minded, so secure in the truth of God’s Word and in experienced truth of His nature, that it would take much to be distracted by empty philosophies. How much harder for the enemy of our souls to ensnare us.

I am encouraged to know that this life is possible, notwithstanding my frequent defaulting back to a ‘worldly’ perspective, which however wise it may appear can only bear a faint semblance; a shadow of the fullness of living in Christ.

Isaiah 26:3 promises: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

There is true rest to be found. There is peace, joy and wholeness to be found in Him, who is all of these things – but to have the mind of Christ also means to lay down that self-preservation so common to our fleshly natures, and model Jesus’ servant heart.

To reiterate what I mentioned earlier, this is much easier to do when looking on Him and worshipping Him. The greatest joy and peace are found in the moments when your attention is fixed away from yourself.

There is still work to be done and a life to be lived though – I can’t spend my days locked in my bedroom spending time with the Lord in such a purposeful manner. Right now I am in a place of figuring out how to have Jesus’ heart for this world and yet know His peace throughout the day. To engage with these uncomfortable issues yet lay them at His feet. To think little of myself, yet be secure in His love for me, and know that in this seeming paradox is positioning, to accomplish the tasks He has set before me.

‘For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed’

If you are a UK citizen, you have probably already heard about the recent furore concerning the Royal College of Midwives’ backing of a campaign to decriminalise abortion, which would effectively make it legal to abort up until birth for any reason.

Although shocking, it is not so surprising when you understand that the RCM’s chief, Cathy Warwick, is also Chairman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s (BPAS’) Board of Trustees. BPAS, the UK’s leading abortion provider, is spearheading this campaign, ‘We Trust Women’. I wrote about it on this blog two months ago (which may also be of interest) after attending an event where it was discussed.

At work we covered the news of RCM’s backing the campaign last week, before it had really hit mainstream press. A number of people accused us of lying or making the story up. This week, however, it has been all over the news. The RCM did not consult its membership when deciding to back the campaign, provoking outrage from midwives and from the wider general public. A petition in protest, which you can sign here, has reached around 36,000 signatures so far.

Notwithstanding the fact that supporting abortion up to birth is the very antithesis of midwifery, conscientious objection to participating in abortion procedures would become very difficult were the policy ever to become law.

Naturally, Cathy Warwick, alongside BPAS head Ann Furedi, is now pandering to the press insisting that the campaign is ‘nothing to do with being for or against abortion’. Yet in decriminalising abortion you are effectively advocating for the procedure on demand. They believe abortion should have the same requirements as any other medical treatment. This is, at heart, simply another way of trying to further normalise the practice and downplay its human aspect.

Although they argue that women usually do not want late-term abortions, Furedi, Warwick and the campaign’s other supporters still believe that removing the restrictions is somehow necessary. They also argue quite vehemently that under the 1967 Abortion Act, it’s difficult to obtain an abortion. But with over 500 abortions carried out every day in the UK, this statement is very hard to believe.

Of course, these women’s arguments are dressed up in attractive language like ‘choice’ and ‘control over one’s own reproductive rights’.

The arguments don’t add up now any more than they did the night I sat listening to them promote the campaign, back in March.

I wrote down some of the things they said that night. They included comments like “abortion is necessary for a modern society” and “we need abortion to back up birth control”.

One girl bravely asked whether removing restrictions would include making it legal to abort on the grounds of the child’s gender (a practice that sadly is carried out often in India and China). Unsurprisingly, the panel found a way to dodge that question.

That these women are now claiming that the campaign is not about being ‘for or against abortion’ is almost amusing.

Most interesting in all of this is that BPAS and the RCM seem genuinely a little taken aback at the backlash they have faced this week.

I remember the night of the campaign launch, they seemed confident that only the ‘religious lobby’ really opposed them. I remember thinking at the time “Hm we’ll see”. Of course, they may have only been saying that to win over their audience, but anyhow, the public have demonstrated this week that their belief was vastly untrue. The public as a whole does not want abortion restrictions removed, whatever they may have to say about the law as it currently stands.

I am glad the truth is being uncovered, as the campaign will face stronger opposition now the public are aware of it and see it as relevant.

Mostly, I pray for the eyes of these women to be opened to the magnitude of what they are proposing, and for a dramatic change of heart.

‘For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.’ – Luke 8:17

When it doesn’t feel ‘worth it’

Dear God,

This whole walking-in-obedience thing doesn’t always feel worth it. It doesn’t feel worth it when I haven’t seen most of my university friends in over six months because I no longer have that much time. When I don’t always get enough sleep or have the time to cook proper meals or see my family a lot. It doesn’t feel very worth it then.

I miss my old friends in Canterbury and also, still, I sometimes miss Berlin and the people I knew there. A while back I wrote about loneliness and although things are better, I am still often lonely because London is a lonely place, and making friends after university is hard.

In fact, post-university life is good but it is harder than anyone ever told me it would be.

Hard when it seems that You have become silent for a time and I begin to second guess and to doubt some things I thought You said. Hard when I feel like I am losing You in the daily grind and the crowds hurrying, always hurrying.

I am enormously grateful to be where I am – yes, even on moany days like this. I am just an ordinary girl from a normal working class family, who only just upwards of a year ago was dead broke, depressed and anxious. So I appreciate the workplace I’m in, and the perks of having disposable income and going to fancy book launches and movie premieres.

Yet sometimes, I feel a little bit lost and adrift and I know it may look (maybe!) like I’m a competent young professional but that’s not how I often feel.

I have to hold onto the fact that You have purpose for me here. Now and then a small moment will remind me of exactly why I care about what I’m doing and why I ended up living in London again (something I hadn’t really wanted to do).

There are many things that I know deep in my soul are from You; things taking place that I have prayed for.

I have to hold onto those truths over the lonely moments, the misunderstandings, the disappointments and uncertainties.

I choose thankfulness because the opportunities You are providing me with are worth far more than how I feel right now.

I don’t know where I am going but as ever this process is a good one. It is always in the moment that I realise how dependent I am on You, that I find You.

So I choose to keep going. Forward. Not conditionally. Not ‘I’ll do this God if You give me that’. No, I will choose joy and fight onwards through this strange time of being 20-something year’s old, learning so much so very quickly, and swinging between joy and sadness, confidence and utter insecurity.

Because You are worth it. Completely.

It’s not about ‘feeling it’ – more God adventures in a supermarket car park

I’m taking an opportunity to reflect on the bizarre and fun moments I witnessed at Healing on the Streets yesterday, because at the time my brain felt too foggy to process it. Writing it down helps me to better appreciate it – I don’t want to miss the beauty or the significance of what the Lord is doing.

I really didn’t feel like going to HOTS yesterday, to be honest. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been feeling a little lower than of late. I didn’t feel ‘connected’ enough with God. I didn’t feel very ‘spiritual’ or very confident. I didn’t feel like I could radiate joy to the people I was going to be interacting with. But after missing the last one already, I pushed myself to go.

It started out with me feeling pretty awkward, even moreso than the first time I did it. Just wasn’t feeling it. But I sort of followed a couple of other ladies and joined in praying for a few people we passed in the marketplace.

We came back for a half-time regroup and I took a moment to chat with some other church folk, who were collecting item donations from shoppers for the homeless. (They collected a whole trolley full, by the way!)

Then the chaotic part started.

I’m chatting, slightly oblivious to what’s going around me.

Before I realise what’s happening, there’s a crowd of people my own age in the car park, waving bottles of wine around. One of them goes and sits down in the chair and one of the team is about to pray for him.

The crowd are all pretty drunk, rowdy, and, understandably, amused by the fact that their friend is about to get prayed for. But they’re curious, and as the team kneel by guy’s chair to pray, the rest of them also kneel, laughing and fooling around, taking pictures, and I’m just there in the middle of this crowd and other members of the team, in a Sainsbury’s car park, not entirely sure what’s going to happen.

I mean, this is pretty weird.

Anyway, we pray for this guy, and then our pastor says ‘Has anyone got back problems?’ and one guy says ‘yeah, actually, I do’, so he goes to sit in another chair to be prayed for and his friends follow him to watch. His back gets healed (and some others, still a bit drunk and bemused, also get prayed for).

While all this is going on, one girl stays where she is kneeling, rather than following the group, and asks for prayer. So my team member prays for her about all aspects of her life, and I sit with her on the ground. The lady who prayed for her starts telling her about Jesus and sharing her own testimony, and then the girl says she’s interested because:

“When you just prayed I really felt something” and she makes a sweeping motion with her hands.

I tell her what she just felt was the presence of God and that He loves her.

She says, in that typical endearing way that people do when they’ve had a lot to drink:

“Really? Even though I’ve done lots of bad stuff? ‘Cos I’ve done lots of bad things.”

The lady and I say yes, chat a bit more, hug her, give her a leaflet about our church.

I’ll leave it there for the sake of brevity and because it’s difficult to articulate what happened, but after they all left we were kind of bemused ourselves.

It was a bit surreal and yet also so ‘normal’.

All I know is that the Lord is good, and even though it started out awkwardly (at least for me), it was such a blessing to be a small part of what He did with that crowd and what He will continue to do in their lives as He stirs their hearts. It was never about me or how ‘spiritual’ I was feeling. He’s much bigger than all of that.

You know, sometimes in the media I see people encouraging fellow Christians in the UK to ‘start acting like a minority’ in order to make sure we don’t get all our rights taken away. I don’t believe in this victim mentality at all, not least because the negative picture that people often paint does not reflect the whole truth.

Moments like yesterday only cement what I was already convinced of – God cannot be contained or boxed.

As long as His followers let Him show up where He pleases, there will be drunk people getting healed and hearing about Christ in a supermarket car park. To God be the glory.

Thoughts on BPAS’s ‘We Trust Women’ campaign

I’m writing this post a little reluctantly because with heavy subject matter, it’s difficult to know where to draw the line. There have been times I have said something on social media I later regretted. On the other hand, I know sometimes I can hold back a little when it comes to what I talk about on my blog, because I am afraid of people’s reactions.

I guess that’s not very rational – one can choose to read my blog posts or one can choose not to.

So after a little internal debate, I thought this was better written down than left to fester inside.

Two weeks ago, I attended an event hosted by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). (No, I’m not pregnant just in case that thought popped into your head, haha).

I wasn’t really feeling it – I’d just returned from a short break in Lisbon and the last thing I wanted to do was end the holiday mood by going to this thing, but I’d promised work I would go, so I went.

Few times in my life have I found myself in such a surreal situation.

The event was a panel of women discussing BPAS’s new campaign, ‘We Trust Women’, which seeks to completely decriminalise abortion in the United Kingdom.

Working for a Christian lobby group not only means that the people I am surrounded with on a daily basis are in agreement with me on the subject of abortion, but that I am essentially in a bit of a ‘bubble’. I may be up to speed on the arguments of our detractors but I’m not directly engaging with them.

So to sit there, one of a mere handful of pro-lifers in the midst of around two hundred supporters for this campaign, was an unusual experience.

I listened to secularists attack the ‘religious’ lobby for being ‘dishonest’ about what abortion involves; I listened to campaigners completely deny the humanity of the unborn child, and assert that there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever because, after all, we should ‘trust women’ to make good decisions.

I listened to a lot of rhetoric about how abortion restrictions are a product of the partiarchal society going right back to the Victorian era. I listened to them argue that decriminalising abortion would simply be another way of replacing laws made by ‘out of touch’ politicians with ‘more humane laws’.

Here are some quotes I jotted down during the event because I had to assure myself that I was really hearing these things:

“It is a fact of life that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion at some point in their lives.”

“Women need abortions in modern society.”

“Anti-abortion groups defend the rights of the foetus, which just don’t exist.”

“We need abortion to back up birth control.”

“We need abortion so that women can have lives that are full, not just simply being mothers.”

“It’s all about women having complete autonomy over their own bodies.”

“We need to decriminalise abortion so that women can get themselves out of the mess they are in.”

As you probably know, I studied English and American Literature at university, and the way it is taught promotes and encourages not only feminism but quite a left-wing political stance in general. I do not agree with all of it but I can understand where the arguments are coming from.

I also consider myself to be pretty independent and am absolutely in favour of equal opportunity.

But I saw at this event how strongly the ideology of feminism is tied to pro-abortion views, and how many people – mostly young women but a few men also – were buying the ‘autonomy’ and ‘liberation’ rhetoric.

By the time I left the building I was feeling quite sick and utterly grieved. It’s one thing to read arguments like this on the internet but another to hear them directly.

Looking back I wish I had spoken up. But I had been feeling tired and what I heard had made me so sad that I couldn’t speak.

So now I am writing about it, which seems to be a pretty feeble response, but it is a response nonetheless.

I think what struck me most was the selfishness of these arguments and the way they were cloaked in the guise of solidarity and in supporting and ‘trusting’ fellow women.

I listened to one young man ask about how he could get better medical training because his aspiration was to become an abortionist.

I felt the heart of the Lord during that meeting – both His love for those women and His grief for every life discarded, for whatever reason. ‘Convenience’ was a good enough reason for the women on the panel.

The line of work I’m in at the moment can be tough, especially on a sensitive soul like mine. I felt very small indeed after that event. I felt like these issues are too big for me. Yet I also felt a conviction about the heartcry of my God. He cares, so we should care.

I think that part of taking up your cross and following Jesus is to engage in the very things that make you uncomfortable. That will look different to different people, of course. But it’s easy to care about poverty. Nobody will criticise you for that. Nobody will criticise you for fighting to end human trafficking or helping the homeless.

But human thinking on abortion can be so contrary to what God says about life.

Around three thousand years ago, King David wrote this to the Lord in Psalm 139:

“13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”

I can understand why being pro-abortion is common. As long you do not believe in a Creator, intentional design, purpose, and intrinsic value, it’s much easier to make the ‘choice and automony’ arguments.

There are many resources out there, however, that argue scientifically for the humanity and the ‘life’ of the unborn child, separate and distinct from that of the mother.

The pro-abortion campaigners will do everything possible within the power of language to dehumanise the unborn child, because it’s the only way abortion can be justified. And there are a lot of women who believe it.

Yet it is apparently the ‘dishonest religious lobby’ that seeks to deceive.

It is now two weeks since the event, and time offers perspective.

I remind myself that God’s got this. I do not need to feel like my convictions are just a subculture that must pander to a more dominant mainstream culture. My worldview is one of life and hope because I carry Life within me. I think as Christians we need to remember this – to maintain a mindset of victory, knowing we have Christ in us, the hope of glory.

We have good news to offer the world.

That includes how we engage with issues like abortion, if indeed we choose to engage.

May our motivation be love, always.

I believe abortion is wrong, of course, but I also believe in redemption through Christ.

My hope is that Christians who passionately engage with any sensitive topic would be known primarily for their love, their empathy and compassion; carriers of joy as well as advocates for justice.

So those are my thoughts. I don’t know what else to say but my prayer is that God will take these imperfect words and use them somehow.

If you consider yourself pro-choice, just know that I love you and do not write this to condemn.

Thanks.

On Winter to Spring, and Faith vs Fear

A little life update is due, I think, for those of you who are curious about my new London adventures.

I have so much to thank God for and I hardly know where to begin.

The beginning is normally a good place, so let’s rewind a few months and I’ll tell you about finding a place to live.

I started seriously looking to move at the beginning of December, and the process took about two months. Two months isn’t that long, really, but it felt like quite a while as I was becoming so tired from commuting to work, and so longing to have some semblance of a social life again.

I looked in several areas, and several times I got my hopes up and was then disappointed.

After keeping my options broad for a while but not making much progress, I really sought God about where I should live and felt I should be somewhere in South London. So I narrowed my search accordingly.

Eventually, I found a place that I really liked. I’d only met the girl who was moving out, not the girl I’d be sharing with, so she told me to rearrange and come back for a second viewing.

I left feeling good, but as I was on my way home, the Lord said to me: “Will you trust me if this isn’t it?”

A little surprised, I told the Lord I would.

Honestly by this point I just wanted the search to be over, as I was having to travel across London after work for the viewings and then still travel home afterwards.

The second viewing for this place came and I met the girl I would be sharing with, who for some reason I immediately disliked. (That probably sounds harsh, but that’s just how it was).

I left this time certain that I no longer wanted the place.

The next day I rearranged a viewing I’d originally cancelled. I went to view the house at the end of the week, after the absolute worst day at work I’d ever had (it may or may not have included crying in public and I’ll just leave it there).

About a week later, I moved into that house, paying cheaper rent than anywhere I’d seen, in a nicer area.

Good story, right?

Predictably, it doesn’t end there.

One day a few months ago an old university friend shared a Facebook link about his church – a Vineyard church, which is the same umbrella of churches we both attended in Canterbury.

Of course when I started looking for places to live, I also started looking into potential churches. During my lifetime I have been to several churches, of different denominations and sizes. I have found value in each one, but this time I strongly felt I wanted to be in a Vineyard church again, as their core values, for lack of a better term, are most closely aligned to where my heart lies.

There are plenty of Vineyard churches in London, but the little church my friend had shared on his Facebook page – a recent plant from a larger church elsewhere – stood out to me for some reason. I had thought it would be nice if it happened to be within a reasonable distance from my new area.

You can guess the conclusion to this story. My new home is within walking distance of both this church and my new house group.

For London, that’s kind of unheard of.

Since visiting this church I have been overjoyed to find new family – who truly demonstrate Jesus to one another and to the community. They are servant-hearted, full of joy and seek to model the radical and risky lifestyle we are called to.

After I’d lived in my new home for about three weeks, I finally got a chance to have a proper chat with my housemate, the other lodger in our family house-share.

I knew she was a Christian, but I had met several Christians whilst looking for accommodation through a Christian house-hunting website, without once feeling as though we’d strike up a close friendship, or that I might be able to have ~deep Jesus chats~ (haha) with them.

This girl and I, though, quickly discovered a lot of common ground, and since she’d been considering moving churches, I got to introduce her to mine, which was a mutual joy for both of us, I think.

I hope this long explanation didn’t bore you too much – it’s hard to convey (succintly) in words how clearly the Lord has led me here, and how He has provided me with more than I had asked for or imagined. A few posts back I shared the promise God had spoken to me at the start of the year, from Isaiah 43:19 – about freshness, a ‘winter’ season ending and new things springing up. I am seeing this so clearly at the moment.

In doing all this, of course, the Lord has larger purposes than simply wanting me to feel happy and at home (although, He is a good Father, so He does want that too).

There are things for me to do here, for the duration of time I am called to stay, and the great thing about surrounding yourself with risky people is that it’s a little bit easier to step out of the boat.

(Cue another explanation as without the context it’s harder to appreciate):

Almost three years ago I visited a friends’ church for the first time, and a lady gave me a spot-on word of knowledge. At the time, I’d been really excited about the supernatural (particularly healing the sick) and had felt convicted that this was not something I could just conveniently ignore. The lady prophesied over me that all the things I had seen, read about, heard about – were things that I would see personally. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe it would happen beforehand, but to have someone confirm it through a word of knowledge increases faith, I think.

Frankly, I did conveniently ignore it for the next three years, on and off, because I wasn’t sure where to start. But I never let go of what was spoken over me, because on the subject of supernatural ministry, the Bible tells me it is to be so for those that believe.

Recently I’ve felt I can’t continue to ignore this… and that’s how last weekend I joined my church’s Healing on the Streets team, on a freezing Saturday outside Sainsbury’s, really having no clue what I was doing.

I am an introvert, if that hasn’t come across already, and the idea of stopping strangers asking them if they need prayer is a little bit uncomfortable. That’s why the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter, I guess 😉

It was actually a joy in the end to be able to chat with people, to pray with them and tell them about the love of Jesus. Amazing to know that through my imperfect explanations and prayers, God is pleased to plant and water seeds in people’s hearts. I prayed with one teenage girl who was just sad, with some hard stuff going on. She was really touched and I think after that moment, I was sold.

So, it’s a start. It’s funny too because over the past week, the Lord has highlighted two particular things to me over and over again – Bible verses following me around, YouTube videos in my subscriptions, church sermons… etc. Those two things are faith and fear of man.

I believe fear of man is the biggest crippler in the Church, whether it involves speaking the truth of God’s Word, or stepping out and looking foolish for the Lord. I know that unless I get over my own fear I will never live in the fullness of who God created me to be.

This applies to my fear of how I’m perceived by other Christians, even. Not everyone will be on board with me on some of the things I am talking about. But my life is the only one I will have to give account for.

Fear of man and desire for approval ultimately lead to inaction, keeping the body of Christ mute and powerless, useless for the Kingdom. In fact, as as side-note, I would even suggest that this powerlessness ultimately results in Christians directing an excess of negativity and criticism at one another, in place of bearing fruit.

I don’t know if anyone reading this is in a similar position. I only know that the fear vs. faith thing is a major theme in my own life of late, and I wanted to encourage you that it’s worth the risk to step out.

The Lord has been gracious to me and has provided so that I don’t have to go it alone – and so will He do the same for you.

OK, that’s all. This is getting too long 🙂

Love to you all!