Monday, 9 September 2013

Explore: Reasons to Believe (SOLVE)

Is it still reasonable to believe in one all powerful God today?  Or has our modern, rational, scientific thinking brought us to a point where “God” is no longer needed?

Over  five Thursday evenings  we will explore five solid reasons why believing in the God of the Bible is not only reasonable but also compelling.

This course is designed for those asking genuine questions about the Christian faith and those wanting to better understand and share their own faith. There will be time for questions and discussion in an informal, relaxed and welcoming environment.
There is no commitment to come to all five evenings. Come to all, or pick the subjects that interest you.

If you would like to attend, know of anyone who would be interested or if you need  more information please contact Ben Clark or Simon Forshaw.

Phone: 0773 60 70 061        


Dates:   5 Thursday Evenings Sept 26th to Oct 24th

Time & Venue:   To be confirmed

Thursday, 25 July 2013

More than "Jesus Loves You!" by S.Timmis

A great practical and challenging seminar by Steven Timmis from Crowded House Church in Sheffield on how to live and share the Gospel in hard to reach areas.  If you have 15 minutes spare, watch this and dare to dream a vision for the Woodgate-type Estate's scattered around Chessington!

For the Gospel to be heard in the inner city: 
  1. You need to live there (2:44)
  2. You need to live in a way that exposes people to the message of the cross (5:36)
  3. You need to know the Gospel (9:20)
  4. You need to know how to apply it to peoples lives (11:45)
"Contextualisation is not about making the Gospel relevant.  
The Gospel is about demonstrating it's relevance."
S Timmis
This is directly aimed at inner city estates.  How do you think it is relevant to our situations in Chessington?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

No 1. PASSION for the Gospel (My Organic P’s)

What makes people want to share Jesus with their family, friends, neighbours or work colleges?  There are plenty of things that’ll make people “just do it!”  A challenging sermon on Matthew 28:19 that says “Are you doing enough to tell people about Jesus?!”  The answer to that question will mostly be “No”, followed by guilt, then followed by begrudging and half-hearted attempts at evangelism.  This will eventually fizzle out, if you’re lucky...  And if you’re not lucky you get trapped in evangelism in a  religiosity that breads pride...

But what will make people want to do it?  The answer we see in the biblical Gospel’s is, people experiencing the Gospel personally and powerfully in the everyday.  Let’s look at a couple of my favourite examples one from the Gospel of John and one from Mark.

The ex-demon-possessed man in Mark 5:18-20:
As Jesus was getting onto the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed began to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said 'Go home to your own people and tell tham how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.' So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him.  And all the people were amazed.
This guy was saved one minute and sent as the first evangelist the next.  What was his motivation “Tell them how much the Lord has done for you?”.  So a good question to ask ourselves before we try to share the Gospel is “How much has the Lord actually done for me?”  If the answer is not much then, don’t share the Gospel with others yet. Instead spend time looking at it a fresh yourself.  If the answer is “more than I could ever imagine!” then you have something wonderful to share...

Mary at the empty tomb in John 20:15-18:
He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’
She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’).Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Mary becomes the first witness to the risen Christ.  Why?  Because her pain was turned to joy as she heard Jesus call her name personally!” Then you couldn't stop her proclaiming the news that Jesus was risen!

These were two people who were told to go and tell.  But the Gospels are full of people who Jesus healed and told “Don’t tell anyone!”  What did they do... They went and told.  Not because they were simply being disobedient but because they were overflowing with the goodness of God.

Do we marvel at our salvation?  Are we lost in what it cost to set us free from sin and death?  Do we apply the power of the gospel to everyday struggles and besetting sins?  Are we applying it personally and corporately as a church?  In other words; do we believe and see the Gospel working in our lives and the life of the church.  Before we preach the Gospel to others we must first preach it to ourselves every morning and to our struggling brothers and sisters in Christ.

This bubbling over passion has to be the foundation for creating an Evangelizing Church. 

And as a newcomer to CEC I am so pleased to see a family of people with really passion for the message of the cross and the resurrection!  You hear the Gospel of tender, costly grace preached every week from the pulpit, you talk about it at every MAPP Groups and you share it with each other.  As a result outsiders are coming in and hearing this amazing message and coming to faith.

If you are a member of CEC you may be thinking “we’re not that good at it, what are you going on about?”   But please trust me when I say as a church you do have this foundational passion.  Yes it might need to be stirred up more.  And we should never take it for granted or fall into the trap that we've got this base covered.  But let's not go to the other extreme of thinking "we suck" either.  I for one love how you love Jesus!

Let’s continue to rejoice in this wonderful message of Jesus!  Let's pray together we never take it for granted and always grow in awe of the Gospel of grace!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

My 5 Organic P's

What does it look like to be an Evangelising Church?  I have been pondering this question for a while now.  Does it mean to have a solid series of evangelistic events or tent meetings?  Does it mean a church that has a strong door to door ministry? Is it a church that sends a group of members to the High Streets with a handful of tracts and a few loud voices?  Is it a church that runs annual Christianity Explored courses?  While I think all these can be good methods of Evangelism, I don't believe in themselves they mean a church is fully committed to evangelism.

From experience I know that a good programme can actually be a way of hiding the fact that many members in a church don't actually want to share their faith at all.  A regular gospel event can become someone's excuse to say "Well they do the evangelism for our church..."

In my role as Pastor of Outreach at CEC I don't want to be just developing programmes.  Obviously, it will involve that kind of thing.  But I want it to go much deeper, I want every member of our church to be a part of reaching Chessington for Jesus.  I believe there is a basic foundation that a church needs to be an evangelising church.  A foundation that supports and strengthens programmes that are built on top of them.  It was dubbed recently (by Gareth), "Ben's Organic P's".

So here they are:

1. A PASSION for the Gospel
2. Understanding our PURPOSE in God's mission
3. Building genuine relationships with the PEOPLE around us
4. Devoted to PRAYER for their salvaion
5. Always being PREPARED to share our faith

Over the next few weeks I want to outline each of these five points.  I will try to demonstrate why I believe they are Biblical and share how they may look practically.

I look forward to seeing what you have to add.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Hello world!

On May 10th 2013 my family and I moved from East London to start a new ministry in Chessington in Surrey (...yes, that is "World of Adventures" land).  I have joined the ministry team at Chessington Evangelical Church as their Pastor of Outreach.  In my new role I will be seeking to equip the church in every member evangelism and to develop a broad strategy for the church to reach the people of Chessington with the Good News of Jesus.

I have been a London City Missionary for 12 years working in various East End communities.  I hope to use and translate the things I have learned and experienced in reaching urban communities into a more suburban setting.

My plan is to use this blog to keep track of my own "World of Adventures" as I seek to follow Jesus in this new ministry.  I see this space as a place to journal and for me to think out loud.

Feel free to comment and add your own thoughts and suggestions.