To my shame, this is my first update since February – many apologies for that! Here are some points of thanks and prayer:
Praise God that the mission weeks that we were helping out at in Newcastle and Oxford during February went well. We had lots of exciting conversations, and it was a real thrill to see student’s boldly sharing the gospel with their friends. Praise God that a number of people made professions of faith over the two mission weeks and follow-up (maybe around 20!).
In March we held an evangelistic Gospel Choir Workshop over a weekend. The church found this to be a real encouragement, with perhaps more non-Christians coming to the event than we’ve ever had before at the church – praise God for that! Pray that we’d know how to develop relationships.
Praise God for a really encouraging time away at the Formation conference in March. A particular highlight was the reminder that it’s ok to be weak – we serve a powerful God! Pray I’d keep remembering this, and would be reliant in ministry. Pray that I’d remember to serve from the basis of a joyful relationship with God.
Praise God for the preaching opportunities I’ve had over the last few months, both here at Woody Road and elsewhere. I really feel that God is developing me at the moment – particularly in what I’m learning about preaching to the heart, not just the mind (or worse, to impress!). (Click here to listen to my most recent sermon, on the difference the resurrection makes,from 1 Cor 15:12-34)
Praise God for a happy and encouraging time away at New Word Alive in April, and then on a family holiday to Northern Ireland.
Finally, give thanks that we had an offer accepted for a house in Sunderland! We’re really grateful for how things seem to be coming together for our move back up North! Give thanks that we managed to find something that is nice but also affordable! (Praise God for house prices in the Northeast!)
Please pray that I’d remain focussed on the opportunities God has given me in Oxford, whilst we’re still here. It’s easy to start to mentally detach myself from the work here and begin to think more about staff work next year – please pray I wouldn’t do that!
I’ve a few preaching dates left at Woody Road – the next is June 3rd on Acts 12: please pray as I prep for that.
Please pray for the student group that I help to lead on Sunday evenings. I really enjoy this group, and I think there’s a really helpful atmosphere there. The title of this term is ‘Maximum Life’ – we’re going to be thinking about how we can live the whole of life to the glory of God – not just the spiritual bits. (This is based on the book ‘Maximum Life’ by Julian Hardyman – I’d definitely recommend it!).
Please pray for the transition with the homegroup that I lead. Over the next couple of months, I’m going to need to hand over the leadership to someone else – pray that the leadership of the church would have wisdom on who that is, and that the community and trust that we’ve built up within the group would not be affected by this change.
As part of our contract for staff work (our job from September), we’re required to raise a portion of our salary. We’ll be starting on that later this month, so please pray for us as we do that.
Please pray for a smooth process as we continue with buying our house (check out the photo to the right). Obviously we’ve never bought a house before, and there’s lots to do and lots of potential problems along the way – pray that none of them would be actual problems!