On Sunday 22nd February, I was able to speak at Oasis on a Sunday morning for the first time, a wonderful opportunity, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed! We’ve been going through a series in the gospel of John looking at all the times where Jesus says “I am…”, and then makes a big claim about himself, and my week was looking at Jesus’ claim to be “the door”. It might be the “I am” statement that’s most easily forgotten, but don’t knock it! Week on week, we’ve been discovering that what Jesus is saying is that he is enough for any time or circumstance of life; we can rest in him and his finished work on the cross, and draw close to find everything we could ever need in him.
Following this theme through in John 10:1-10, I sought to show how when Jesus refers to himself as “the door”, he’s showing that he is enough for our salvation, our security, and our surroundings. You can find the whole talk online by clicking here to head to the Oasis Website.
On Saturday 14th February, I had the privilege of speaking at Oasis Church’s Student and 20’s Weekend Away, at Cefn Lea in Wales. The weekend was themed around “The Cross Centred Life”, and my talk was the first of three – aiming to set the scene and lay a foundation for the next couple of days by looking at what the death of Jesus achieved by taking place as it did in history. To do that, I asked three questions, “Why is the cross necessary?”, “Who exactly is it on the cross?” and “What difference does it make?”, and tried to allow Romans 3:21-26 to answer them.
Overall, the weekend was a fantastic experience for the 70 of us there, bolstered by a real sense of community, loads of fun, and the presence of God. Alongside the three main meetings, we tasted culinary excellence at The Great Cefn Lea Bake off, marvelled at different people’s secret skills during a talent show, experienced the countryside on walks, challenged one another at football, frisbee and wide games and shared time building friendships over meals and board games. You can find a link to my talk, The Victory of the Cross, by clicking here.
Last Sunday evening, we held our first Student and 20’s Thirst of the term at Oasis Church, and it was a massive privilege to get to speak and kick off our new series looking at “Freedom in Christ”. The night centred around the theme of Identity – how our identity in the past has been that who were ‘slaves’ (not physically, but rather to ourselves; our emotions, desires, and other things), but now are those who have been set free. We looked at the question of why it feels uncomfortable to describe ourselves like that, some of the characteristics of this kind of slavery, how they are transformed through new life in Christ, and what happens when we mess things up. After starting with sung worship, a time hearing about Street Teams (an initiative Oasis runs to help the homeless), and the shorter, fifteen-minute talk, we broke up into discussion groups to chat things through and press deeper into what this truth might mean for us individually and as a community.
There’s no recording due to the nature of the event, but here’s a word cloud which gives an impression of the main focus!
All in all, it was a really enjoyable evening; and a great basis from which to build throughout the rest of the year. We have three more Thirst’s scheduled this term, once per fortnight, looking at how Freedom in Christ impacts our Purpose in the world, Decisions in daily life and Relationships with others. Lots to be excited for!
Last Sunday, my last day back at home in Waterlooville before I moved up to Birmingham for this coming year, I had the very great privilege of leading the morning service at Waterlooville Baptist. If I’m being honest, it didn’t start particularly well! As someone who isn’t yet very confident in the ‘hosting’ aspect, it was easy to become slightly flustered by the five or six notices handed to me to read out before the start of the meeting, and coupled with a difficult first song meant that ten minutes in, I was not feeling too great about what was ahead. Thankfully though, the next section of the meeting had a time scheduled in for a couple of people to come and share their testimonies of what God had done at festivals over the summer (including my Mum!). As I listened to the stories of God moving in some incredible ways, through prophecy, conviction, visions, the building of community and loads more, it was as if the weight lifted; I remembered the awesome nature of the God we serve, and allowed myself to return to Him, lean on Him more fully, and rest in Him. It’s a rather freeing thing.
The theme for the morning was Mountaintop Experiences (Based on Mark 9:2-19), and the talk is available to listen to here with the supporting Powerpoint found here. As a little taster, here’s the Word Cloud. Any guesses who the main focus of the talk is?
If you get a chance to listen, I would really appreciate any feedback you might have – so please do feel free to leave comments here or drop me a message. This is all still relatively new for me, and I’m always looking for ways to grow and develop my speaking for the future. Thanks!
This Sunday, I have the very great privilege of preaching at Waterlooville Baptist Church, on Matthew 16:13-20; Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah. I’m really looking forward to it, and everything is very nearly all ready to go for my first preach of three this summer! I thought I’d stick my draft into a Word Cloud and see what came out – any guesses for who I’m focussing on? I tend to write out my talks in full first, to help give me a sense of clarity and direction, and it certainly helps to clear and focus the mind. For someone who does a degree which involves writing a lot of essays, usually up to 3000 words on any of a various range of political theories, to get the opportunity to write at that length about Jesus is a wonderfully therapeutic activity. As opposed to being a bit of a drag, it’s rather more of a delight!
I would appreciate your prayers that all would go well, that I would be able to speak with the confidence and authority that only comes from God, and that He might really speak through me to anyone who is listening.
A link for the talk can be found here, and the supporting Powerpoint presentation can be found here.