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Revive September 2015

It was great to be at Revive after a break in August. Our theme for the evening was European Mission Experience.

We were thrilled to joined by three guests who not only shared wonderfully encouraging testimonies but also led powerful worship throughout the evening. Robyn Lewis, Charles Vickers and Peter Balsdon have excellent musical talent and have all had inspiring ‘Mission’ experiences this year.

The three students clearly seek to be guided by God, and this came across very well in the collection of stories that they shared. We heard how young people across Europe are finding there is something missing in their lives. Our guests went on to say that by sharing an environment of friendship, activities and support many young people become receptive to the Christian message. Robyn, Charles, and Peter have all learned to depend more on God this year, have all seen God do great things, and are all determined to go from strength to strength in their Faith.

We had a collective time of prayer before a final set of songs that created a very lively and positive atmosphere of praise, one that could have carried on well into the evening.

(Next month we welcome Rev Paul Wilson).

Below are short testimonies from our three student guests:

Charles Vickers

I travelled to Czech Republic for two weeks to volunteer at a summer camp with Josiah Venture, an organisation which seeks to make disciples among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe. Alongside teams from the US and Czech we taught English, played sports and games, climbed a mountain, danced, sung and talked about Jesus to and with a group of about forty-five Czech youth. It was amazing to have really meaningful conversations with some of the teenagers about God, purpose and faith. I got the opportunity to give one boy a Bible after he expressed interest in reading it; at the start of the camp he seemed very sceptical about God. I learned to trust God more and how much more alive it feels to rely on Him whilst stepping out my comfort zone.
Peter Balsdon

God gave me a great opportunity to go to Serbia with a team of London students for a couple of weeks this summer. Whilst there, we were predominantly making friendships with our fellow Serbian students. As we got to know them better, God gave us great chances to talk about how Jesus’ story affects them in the circumstances they are in, whether they would already call themselves a Christian or not. I would like to praise God for all that He provided, for the opportunity to go and the friendships that we formed. I would also like to thank God for the generosity of people, enabling me to go on this trip.

Please pray:
• That the friendships I made will be ongoing (with technology it’s possible to stay in contact with people). Pray that I would keep up the contact and that more fruit can come from these conversations.
• That the ongoing work of the Christians in Serbia, in particular the student movement EUS (who the camp was partnered with), that there would be many Serbians who might believe that Jesus is the son of God, and accept his offer to be part of his family.

Robyn Lewis

This summer I had the privilege and blessing to join a beach missions team out in Greece. Our focus was on the island of Paros, where we stayed in a camp site and used our location to reach out to travellers and those visiting the local beaches. I was amazed at the opportunities God gave us in talking to so many people and how open people were to talk about Jesus to us. A lot of Greeks identified themselves as Christians, but we were able to share the message of Jesus with them. The main thing I learnt there was that ‘seeds are growing things’, meaning that every conversation we had planted a seed. I trust in God that those seeds will grow and I look forward to seeing the fruit of that mission on the final day.

Please pray:
• That those we outreached and gave gospels and Bibles to, would continue to think upon the conversations that we had and that other Christians would come into their lives.
• That those from the team who are living in Greece would be encouraged and would grow in their relationships with God.
• Pray that they continue to reach out to Greeks who do not know Jesus.

Peter Balsdon is half way through his mission trip to Serbia. The following are some extracts from an update from James, the mission team leader.

On Monday, our first morning meeting started our journey through John’s gospel, with Jesus turning water into wine. The leader pulled no punches, but explained clearly that Jesus has the power to transform our lives, and invited people to accept him. There is a refreshing openness amongst the Serbians to ask questions about life and talk about God. Please do pray for as many opportunities as possible to go deeper in conversation as we continue to build relationships with the students here.

On Tuesday the morning meeting was about Jesus’ meeting with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well near Sychar. It explored our nature as ‘thirsty’ creatures, and encouraged people to consider where they are seeking to quench their thirst, contending that only Jesus can truly satisfy the thirst that drives us.

On Wednesday the morning meeting was about Jesus healing the man born blind. The students were challenged to step into Jesus’ light and reconsider their first impressions of him, whether for the first or the hundredth time. On Thursday it’s Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, Friday it’s the Crucifixion and Saturday it’s the Resurrection.

Around 50% of the students attending the camp are Christians. The Serbian staff have informed us that the camp is often a significant time for the deepening of their faith. The other 50% of camp attendees are not yet Christians, so please pray for the Spirit to open the blinded eyes of our friends who don’t yet know Jesus as Lord.

The English lessons seem to have gone well, with good reports from the beginner, intermediate and advanced classes. Peter is teaching English alongside another team member.

The British culture night on Monday evening was a resounding success. It included a talk on the history of ‘afternoon tea’ and even included the Cornish/Devonian debate over whether jam or cream goes on the scone first! On Tuesday night we watched the ‘Lego Movie’, followed by a discussion about its themes interacting with the Christian worldview. Wednesday is Grill a staff worker night, although the Serbian name for this literally translates as ‘shoot a staff worker’!

The ‘free time’ in the afternoons enables the team to chat with the Serbian students, take them out for coffee and conversation, and do sports together. Please pray for us to have courage, strength and boldness in the Spirit to share God’s Good News through these opportunities.

The temperature is very hot. Please pray for the health of everyone here, a few of the students have upset stomachs or colds, and some of the team are quite tired. Some of the best ‘relational time’ is during late-night trips to town, but the necessity to rise at eight for our team meeting.

We’re so grateful for your prayers, through which God is sustaining us!

With love,

James, on behalf of the Serbia Team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revive – July 2015

The event started earlier this month, and we were blessed with sunshine to enjoy a very tasty BBQ (thanks to Jeff Lewis and family). A great team effort served up a lovely social time during the BBQ, and then quickly transformed the set up to enable a memorable service to start on time with well over 100 people ready to worship.

Our two guest speakers were Tony Bartley from Wellspring, and his good friend, Neil Baldwin.

Neil was the inspiration for the Bafta winning “Marvellous”. Tony and Neil chatted through an amazing life story, from being a ‘clown’ to a ‘kit man’, chaplaincy to a friend to many. Underpinning every story was the simple dependency and trust in God that Neil has with every situation.

Tony introduced aspects of Neil’s life through video clips from “Marvellous”. Tony and Neil then discussed the topic and each time faith, prayer, and a sense of humour were very apparent. It was clear that Neil has had an incredible life, with God leading him through the ups an downs. Neil has a bible that has been signed by several well known people, but much more important to Neil is starting the day reading his bible.

The final clip summed up the impact Neil has had on everyone in his life, from students to the famous, footballers to community members.

Derek Balsdon then shared his thoughts on what we can learn from Neil with a message based on the total trust Neil has in God.

We concluded the evening with hymns that included Neil leading us as we sang ‘How Great Though Art’, a personal favourite of Neil’s. It was also fitting to sing ‘Beautiful One’, particularly with the line ” How marvellous, how wonderful you are’.

Mark Owens

BIBLE WEEK
The Bible Week was held from June 15th- 21st this year, and the theme was “Keep faith and follow him.” Using the wartime poster pattern for the literature, we arranged that the speakers should follow the theme from Hebrews 11 and 12. Krish Kandiah started the week at Wellspring, when we had a capacity crowd! He spoke on Tuesday at the New Life Church, again to over a hundred. His method and style was unusual, but effective. On Wednesday Jonathan Lamb, who had helped us link ourselves to Keswick Ministries, spoke at St. James’ Church, on Thursday at Cross St. Church and on Friday at the URC. The messages were powerful and effective, and many came back each night for more! On Sunday Ven. Ian Bishop spoke at St. Peter’s on Hebrews 12:1-3, with a message of challenge and encouragement.
The congregations were drawn for all the local churches, and we had visitors from further afield, Greater Manchester and Wigan. Someone even came from the Fylde. Because our meetings were advertised on the Keswick Convention website, we had enquiries from interested people outside our area.
We want to thank all who supported, and those who ran a children’s and young people’s group on the Friday evening. Our committee of ten includes four Methodists. We will send information around about next year’s events when we have more information ourselves.
Keith Jarvis

Sunday May 3rd 2015

Preacher: Rev. Derek Balsdon

Scripture reference: Luke 9 verses 18 – 27

Sunday 26th April 2015. The Second Coming of Jesus.

Preacher: Mrs Hilary Balsdon

Scripture Reference: 2 Peter 3

Sunday April 19th, 2015.

Rev Derek Balsdon.

Due to an error 1st part of sermon missing. Contact Derek for notes if required.

Based on readings in Revelation 2.

Sunday April 12th, 2015.

Rev Margaret Eaton.

John chapters 20 & 21.

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