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Archive for September, 2009

Jonny Mellor about Alpha

September 1st, 2009

CP: What is Alpha, and how will it look different at Churchcentral this term?

JM: Alpha is a course designed for people who want to investigate the Christian faith themselves. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, ask difficult questions, eat, drink and enjoy! And just to make sure nobody misses out, this term we are not just doing one evening Alpha, but two.

CP: So why have two locations?

JM: We’ve run evening Alpha in Selly Oak for the past few years and know that Selly Oak is an excellent location for students and for others who live locally, however we wanted a second location for people from other walks of life or other areas of Birmingham . So two of our Life Groups are spearheading a new Alpha in Bearwood. Selly Oak Alpha gets a change of venue to the Selly Sausage and Bearwood Alpha will be held at Casa Italia (a fine Italian restaurant just off Bearwood High Street- we have the whole top floor. Woo hoo!) The format of each will be the same: there will be a free meal, then a short talk on an element of the Christian faith, then (the best bit) a chance to discuss

CP: Can anyone come?

JM: Too right. If you’re not a Christian, you’ll love Alpha as it won’t be Christians hammering you into submission, but a chance for you to explore the claims of Jesus at your own pace. If you’re a Christian who has nagging questions that maybe you’ve felt too embarrassed to ask elsewhere then Alpha is for you. If you’re a Christian who knows how good it is to be loved by Jesus, it’s the perfect place to invite your friends so they can get to know him themselves. Anyone who has an inkling that there might just be more to life than work, food, TV, booze, sex etc. would love Alpha. Oh, by the way, Selly Oak Alpha is not just for students and Bearwood Alpha is not just for people from Bearwood Life Groups. You can go to whichever one you wish.

The Pace is Quickening

September 1st, 2009

Try to think of a promise in Scripture that didn’t involve a lengthy delay before it was fulfilled. It’s hard isn’t it? There aren’t many. Think of Abraham’s 25 year wait for God to fulfil the promise of the birth of a son. Think of Moses – God calls him to lead his people out of captivity in Egypt in Exodus 3. It isn’t until ten chapters (and ten plagues) later that they finally get released! And it’s another 40 years before they enter the promised land! Think of Jesus’ promise that he will return soon!

I think of my own life: God’s call to move to Birmingham was followed by 10 years of waiting for him to open the way. And, as a church, we have some huge unfulfilled promises hanging over our heads: God’s called us to believe that we’ll be a national exhibition centre of his glory and he’s whet our appetite with the promise that one day Jesus will be the most talked about person in our city! We’re still waiting!

But I believe with all my heart that the pace is quickening. I’m convinced we’re on the brink of something big! In preparation we’re multiplying our Sunday meetings and our Alpha Courses. History teaches that the promises of God are inherited by people of faith who don’t give up hope, who persevere and who take risks in anticipation of God fulfilling his word. It can be a real challenge at times, but let’s make it our aim to live that way.

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