Impossible isn’t nothing, it’s everything

‘Impossible is nothing’ was a catchy slogan for a certain sportswear brand a few years ago. However, I do wonder if that is true or whether actually, impossible is more like everything!!!

Since September we have really seen a change in situations in the church. Where as it felt like we kept hitting STOP signs suddenly answers to prayers were opening up and things were being unlocked.

  • Youth club opened and over 50 young people already on the books
  • Alpha course began
  • The flow of God’s Spirit moving amongst us in new ways
  • Legacy came through
  • New external room bookings
  • Work restarted upstairs
  • Huge savings made in costs of completing the work (over £65,000 and will continue to raise)
  • And as I was remind recently by a visitor to the church, God has done an amazing and impossible things which was just a dream for many years and felt so beyond what was humanly possible. But, what is impossible for us, is possible for God and that is the focus of this blog.

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”— Mark 9:23

The word impossible occurs nine times in the New King James Version of the Bible, here it is the gospels.

    Matthew 17:20: “Nothing will be impossible.”
    Matthew 19:26: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
    Mark 10:27: “With men it is impossible, but not with God.”
    Luke 1:37: “With God nothing will be impossible.”
    Luke 18:27: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

All of those verses show us how important it is to cast our impossibilities in God’s hands. Just as He parted the sea for Israel, reversed the events in Esther, raised Jesus from the dead, and converted Saul of Tarsus, God is capable of reversing our irreversible situations.

What Is Possible?

There are parts of the church that has adopted the slogan: “If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it!” If you can conceive of yourself as an astronaut or a star player in the Premier League, and believe it with all your heart, are you likely to achieve such a goal? However, although that might be impossible all my believing isn’t going to made it happen.

What’s good about the “name it and claim it” school of belief within the church is that it encourages us not to limit ourselves or God. What can be wrong with this approach is that it misapplies the words of Jesus. For example, Jesus’ words in Mark 9:23 is that “all things are possible for [God]” — these are the words Jesus spoke on the night of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36). Jesus believed it was possible for Him not to go to the Cross, and He also believed it was possible for God to keep Him from that suffering. Yet He went to the Cross anyway.

Our beliefs and possibilities have to be in line with the will of God. That’s how Jesus lived His life and how He taught His disciples to live (John 5:30). When our lives are lived in obedience to God’s will, nothing is impossible. Dream of a different outcome but dream biblically!

What’s impossible in your life right now? What prayers for reversal are you praying that are in line with the will of God? Believe big! God is the God of the impossible!

Do join us this Friday or Saturday to find out more about how we are going to seek to continue to be in the flow of what God is doing amongst us ready for us to see more of the impossible being worked out in what God is leading us into as a church.

You can book a place at a session via this link here.

Moving

Well finally we are in our new home and what started off as an idea about moving way back in the summer of 2018, has ended up with us moving into a new home last Friday. A big thank you to all of you who have stood with us in prayer, helped us move or cooked us delicious meals. Thank you so much.

I am not sure why the whole process took so long but I know God has used the process to show us so much as a family. I have learnt much about being thankful in all circumstances. I have a greater understanding of what it been to be patient and waiting for God’s timing. However, I guess the biggest lesson has been God, once again, showing His trustworthiness.

As a nation next month we will be asked to vote for those who we are going to trust to lead us out of the mess that we as a nation find ourselves in. Who can we trust is a phrase I hear in the media and in conversations with people.

Who can we trust? The truth is that God is 100% trustworthy and He is the only one we can trust in fully. God invites us to trust in Him not because we will get our own way, that everything will be rosy or we will never suffer. No, we trust in God because He is God and God is fully worthy of us placing our lives in His hands. He loves us, we trust Him, as we trust Him we experience a greater depth of His love.

Recently I have been reminded of the famous passage from Proverbs on Trust.

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Not only does it ask us to trust but it also asks us to submit to God.

Now there is a challenge – do I trust God 100% and am I 100% submitted to Him?

Whatever you are facing in life at the moment, maybe you might ask yourself that question. In this area am I trusting and submitting?

The Proverb finishes – He will make your paths straight.

What a promise? It doesn’t say easy or how long but it does say straight. What a faithful God we have and what a loving Father.

 

Youth Ministry Update – Jodie Prescott

Change. Some people love it and some people can really struggle with it. I’d say I am somewhere in the middle; it can scare me but excite me as well! Change is a constant part of our lives, whether it’s at church, in our family lives, at school or work. As I sit and write this blog it gives me the opportunity to reflect on what an exciting half-term we have just had with the young people here at Broadmead and how we have seen times of change, as we always do in September.

 

Starting a new school year can be challenging and stressful but also a real positive opportunity in terms of starting afresh. This is a time where we often as a team start new material with the groups that we run. This term we had the opportunity to get together on a Saturday morning with the youth team and parents for a Youth Vision Breakfast.

 

As part of this Youth Vision Breakfast we reflected on what we had done over the past academic year with the youth group. This included a visit to Boost Trampoline Park and Box-End Aqua Park, cake making challenges, XLR8 Youth Come Dine with Me, Youth Weekend Away 2019 as well as the usual sessions and our Church Weekend at Home. It is often only when you look back on events like those that you realise what a privilege it is to walk alongside such incredible young people in all sorts of ways.  

 

Another part of the Youth Vision Breakfast was to share plans for the youth going forwardand as part of this we went over the current vision that we have for our young people atBroadmead. Our current vision statement is that we exist “to provide a welcoming community that is accepting and loving to ALL young people; enabling them to grow in relationship with each other and Christ”. Breaking this up into bullet points, we will:

 

 Develop spiritual growth and discipleship, building their knowledge in scripture 
 Integrate ALL young people involved in and around Broadmead, developing their understanding on being a part of the wider church body. 
 Organise social events where young people can come together as a group to develop relationships.
 Motivate the youth to take ownership of their own personal faith.
 Provide extra groups alongside church where young people have ‘during the week’ input.
 Empower young people by giving them opportunities to become young leaders.
 Offer mentoring sessions to youth for one to one provision and support.

 

As I was praying into this academic years plans I felt the real need to focus on developing the young people’s spiritual development. When I shared this with the team it was soon clear that God had also been speaking to them about this and many had different ideas going forward. As part of these plans we are currently working on developing Youth Huddles as well as creating a Mentoring programme as we feel this is where a real deepening of relationship with God will come from and can be nurtured within.  This is a change within the youth work but something we feel is very much key to spiritual growth. 

 

Why are youth huddles important?

1. Personal Discovery- there is room for conversations and feedback. Spiritual growth happens better with others when you can share and speak into one another’s lives
2. Smaller Communities are more effective- in a smaller group you’re more likely to feel able to share more and you can create your own ‘safe community’
3. Deeper friendships- as well as getting to know people better and creating deeper friendships, there’s also opportunities for accountability and being real with each other.
4. Maximum participation- there are more opportunities for all to participate- whether introvert or extrovert, it wont only be the louder ones being heard. 

 

I am extremely passionate about the need for mentoring. Mentoring offers personal connection, relationship building and a safe space to offload and be supported. Our goal as a youth team is to be able to offer every single young person from within the church, an adult mentor. Chris Sprigs, the director of Lifespace Trust says this; I propose that the icons of love be changed. No more red hearts. No more flowers. To the many couples who send red roses on Valentine’s Day, I’m sorry. Something’s got to change. In their place, I suggest a new symbol of love: the human ear. I know you can’t easily pop a bunch of ears into a vase, and a box of caramel-coated lobes may not be met with loud whoops of delight, but hear me out.” He goes on to suggest that the best way to show love and genuine support is not by all the soppy stuff, but by listening. Finishing his article he says “Being listened to affirms our unique humanity and being made in the image of God.” I cannot tell you how excited this quote makes me.. it is incredibly important that ALL young people recognise how brilliantly unique they are and how they all matter. 

Jesus was the best at showing how important it is to meet with those around you, to share and to learn from each other. Life isn’t meant to be something we do alone, and therefore we feel both huddles and mentoring are key, particularly for teenagers who have so much continually changing and stretching them. We can’t wait to get these going at Broadmead.

 

Something else that has felt like a real change recently is that we finally managed to launch TMX Youth Club again on the 12th September! (I hope you all cheered as you read that!) On our first week we had 19 young people turn up; a third from church, a third were new kids from the community and a third were young people who used to come to the youth club. As the weeks have gone by, we have been growing and now sit at around 40 young people attending each week. Overall we have had 66 different young people attend at some point in the past month or so. We’re currently using the whole downstairs of the church. We have one room which is set up with a craft activity, table football, the Wii and another game and the other is set up with either pool or air hockey and table tennis. We’re also using the atrium as a quiet space to chat and play boardgames and cards. It’s such a blessing to be able to use the space and we have had lots of positive feedback already. 

 

As TMX continues to grow, we welcome more and more families in from the local areas, mainly Kingsley and Eastfield. This can be an area of tension as the young people are particularly loyal to their area and protective to those who live near them. Please continue to pray for peace over the youth club and that all young people find this building a safe place to come to. As I have been praying for the young people from TMX I have been reminded about the importance of learning names. If we learn names it shows we care, it shows we recognise them, it shows they’re known, and it shows they’re special unique. Psalm 147:4 is a verse is continually floating around my head. “He counts the stars and calls them by all by name”. 

 

Over the past term we have been discussing and have seen different areas of change. However, all change for the good. Please continue to pray for every area of youth work within the church, particularly as we launch Youth Huddles and the Mentoring Programme. We cannot wait to continue to step out into the fun, challenging, chaotic and messy places where God is leading us to… that is exactly what youth work is about!

 

 

Anytime, anywhere and anyhow

Guest Blogger – Lucy Ditchburn inspired by the writings of Nicky Gumbel

Prayer is the most important activity in your life. It is the main way in which you develop a relationship with your Father in heaven. If you love someone, naturally you will want to spend time in their presence communicating with them. Like any relationship, communication can take many different forms.

Lancelot Andrewes (1555–1626), was one of the great theologians and preachers of his day. After he died, his private notebook on prayer was discovered and published. In it he had written two lists:

First, he wrote a list of times of prayer in the Bible:

‘Always…
Without ceasing…
At all times…
Three times a day…
Evening, and morning, and at noon…
Seven times a day…
In the morning, a great while before day…
At daybreak…
The third hour of the day…
About the sixth hour…
The hour of prayer, the ninth…
The evening…
By night…
At midnight…’

Next, he wrote a list of places of prayer in the Bible:

‘In the assembly… and in the congregation…
Your closet…
An upper room…
A housetop…
The temple…
On the shore…
A garden…
On their beds…
A desert place…
In every place…’

There is no limit to the times, places and different ways in which you can pray.

Prayer is two-way communication. Prayer involves listening to God as well as speaking to him. The main way in which we hear God today is through his word. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1) and the Bible is all about him. As you study the Bible, pray that God will speak to you through it.

This will give you ‘hope’ (Psalm 119:49) in the midst of all the difficulties of life: ‘These words held me up in bad times; yes, your promises rejuvenate me’ (v.50, MSG). You will find comfort in God’s words to you (v.52).

You do not need to confine your prayers to daytime. ‘In the night I remember your name, O Lord’ (v.55a): this is one of the best ways to use times of wakefulness in the night. It may even be a way to cure insomnia!

So, as we move forward we need to be a praying people remembering the words from Philippians 4:6.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

 

Contending

I know your reputation, Lord, and I am amazed at what you have done. Please turn from your anger and be merciful; do for us what you did for our ancestors. Hab 3:2

In light of what God has been doing with us over the last few weeks and the movement of God we are seeing I thought I would write up I shared at the Prayer and Praise early this month.

Where there is a full on move of the Spirit taking place anywhere in the world it is interesting that the Holy Spirit pays no attention to local norms or a nations culture. This is not to suggest local culture is bad, it simply highlights Kingdom culture always supersedes it. Heaven has its own normal, it has it’s own culture and when it breaks out on earth it always has similarities. Whether in India, Africa, Ukraine, Germany, Sri Lanka, USA, Portugal or even England. The moves of the Spirit in all of these places usually has a unique sound in the worship, there is always one thing that has been the same. Prayer! Prayer is always unrestrained, full of passion, intense and loud.

We see the same in scripture.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

The writer of Hebrews speaking of Jesus states-

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7

The Apostle Paul Speaking of Epaphras states-

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. Col 4:12

We see the church of the book of Acts-

When they heard this, they all raised their voices to God and said, “Master, you made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. Acts 4:24

Could it be we have forgotten what it takes to birth and sustain a move of God?

Before God moves through us, He must move in us! We must come to the place that we are consumed with the same passion God is consumed with, the same fire, the same zeal must overtake us and possess us, Our prayers must become unrestrained we must remove our lids and let loose our longing.

On the most part many of us have forgotten passion filled prayer and replace it with polite prayer circles, there is no urgency, there are no tears, no travail, no inward groaning.

We must rediscover passion in prayer, we must rediscover the urgent cry of COME LORD!

If the church is our nation doesn’t rediscover true prayer! If we do not return to the alter of fire our nation will continue to slip into a very dark season.

Where are the revivalists who know what it means to travail?

We are not waiting for God but He is waiting for us. He is waiting for a people who will lay aside their dignity and cry out to heaven.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

While not join us on Tuesday 22 Oct, 8pm (just afternoon the church meeting at 7:30pm) to hear stories, ask questions and contend in prayer for a fresh move of God by His Spirit.

Checking Your Perspective

Guest Blogger – Jonathan Moore

How many times a day do we complain or grumble over trivial or minor points, things such as bad weather, or when we feel aggrieved by an unhelpful remark from a work colleague or acquaintance but fail to look at the wider picture.

In reality, the vast majority who will read this are more than blessed, in a decent job, own a car, have a roof over their heads, can afford a holiday each year and have some family who cares for them dearly. Yet despite the above, we always find time to moan to someone else yet we do not even realise how blessed we actually are.

Last week, when I was trailing through worship songs on YouTube as I do regularly, I came across a teenager from Northland church in the US called Christopher Duffley singing ” This is Amazing Grace”, he was born autistic and blind yet has been an inspiration to people worldwide and despite his disabilities has a passion for Jesus.

My best friend has lived in blindness for 79 years of his life and in the 20 years, I have known him has never once complained to me about his lack of sight.

So when you consider complaining about it been wet outside, take a perspective check, praise God for what you have and look at the bigger picture.  Whatever you are going through today, there are always people much less off than you. Remember, you are loved by God, and so blessed.  Take a perspective check. You don’t know how blessed you are!!

Children’s Ministry Update – Andrea Madden

How did you learn to discern the voice of God? This was a question I asked at the Children’s Ministry Breakfast a few weeks ago. I wonder what your response would be.  I truly believe supporting children to hear and encounter God is the very essence of why we need a solid children’s ministry. It’s the Ministry of Eli, who was woken up, rather inconveniently,several times during the night by a child trying to discern who was speaking. Within Broadmead Community Church’s ‘why’s’ we have a hunger to be a people ‘intentional about ‘seeking God and pursuing more of His presence’. God welcomes children into His presence and all of us have a role to play in inviting children along to hear and seek.

Over the last few months I have been reflecting on how we can move towards supporting children to encounter Jesus personally.  As a children’s ministry team, we are trialing the ‘Explore’ Scripture Union material.  We are starting to use questions of ‘wondering’, igniting curiosity and exploration. Children are invited to wonder what God is trying to say to them that day. Teaching becomes slightly more problematic; I cannot rehearse what I am going to say.  I can come with a story or framework, but not a prescription. I am challenged to respond and be fully present with both the child and God in the moment. Sit down for a minute and ask yourself what God is saying to you, if you’re like me, you don’t always get a clear response. It takes work and practice. In the children, I can see the cogs in their head begin to tick, like they’re in school and looking for the right answer.  We don’t want them to come up with ‘right’ answers, we want to encourage them to respond to the relationship. It’s a mutual process of learning and exploring together. A ministry that is not done to, but ministry with children. While it terrifies me because I’m out of control, I love it because we are facilitating a space for children to hear, speak, listen and respond.

Another of the Broadmead’s why’s is ‘embracing adventure’, yet for children this isn’t always easy terrain. There is a danger we can consider children’s ministry to be ‘fluffy’, filled with cheesy worship songs and discussions around ‘Jesus being my best friend’. Don’t hear what I’m not saying.These things aren’t necessary bad or wrong, but we are called into deeper waters. What happens when a child feels their ‘best friend’ has let them down? The emotions a child can experience can be powerful and even overwhelming. I believe God gave me a lesson in this years ago. At a holiday club, at a seemingly random time during worship, a child tugged at my shirt asking for prayer. The child interrupted my initial enthusiasm in an explanation I will carry in my heart forever. He said, ‘God doesn’t answer my prayers, mummy and daddy are still arguing’. My heart ached for him, for his perceptionof his circumstance, and for his disappointment in the God who had the power to shut the mouths of lions.

This is the child who is present in my memory as Broadmead hold a light party on the 25th Oct.  The theme of the Light Party is based on Psalm 23v4, ‘Even though I go to the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me’. We can acknowledge that the darkness is hard and scary, but, like a loving father or mother, we have a mighty God who never loosens His grip of our hand.  The following extract from the SU Light Party Pack encapsulates this truth:

As people who know the love of Jesus it’s tempting to frame all our conversations about darkness within the context of Jesus being the bringer of light, the one who dispels all darkness, the one who heals and restores all.  However, for children living with the darkness (and for adults too!) the promise that Jesus will bring light just doesn’t seem enough.  Imagine for a moment that you’re trapped in a pitch-blackcave, cold and alone with no idea if there is a way out.  Whileit might be comforting for a voice to promise that ‘someone who loves you is bringing a light soon and it will show you the exit’, if that doesn’t happen pretty quickly you’d end up feeling at best despondent and at worst unloved.  Wouldn’t you rather experience someone sitting with you in the darkness holding your hand, and letting you know that they will never leave your side?

I started with the question ‘how did you learn to discern the voice of God?’ What a difference it would make if we helped to teach a child so that even in the times of deepest darkness, they have the ability to shut their eyes and smile, hearing the stirrings of a whisper and the All Mighty hand protective overtheir own soft fingers. In the security of God’s protective hand, children can learn to lean into His strength and embrace the call to adventure.