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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Out of the Rubble

September 30th, 2011

In ancient times, any city whose walls were lying in ruins was in deep trouble. When a city’s walls were down, almost every night thieves and bandits from outside the city would come in and terrorize people. The city would be vulnerable to every conceivable kind of attack.

So when news reaches Nehemiah that the walls of Jerusalem are reduced to rubble, he’s devastated. He can visualise what’s going on and he’s haunted by the picture. As he goes about his everyday life, it’s overshadowed by the image of that rubble pile.

This is a picture that some of you can identify with. Maybe you’re in the middle of situations right now that seem overwhelming to you. It might be health related, or job related, or marriage and family related. When the pressures start piling up, perhaps you feel like you’re sitting in the same spot Nehemiah was at the bottom of the rubble pile – you’re just overwhelmed by it all.

But if you’ve been there, or if you’re there now, you know that at some point you have to make a decision. You’re either going to allow the size of the rubble pile to crush and defeat you; or you’re going to allow it to deepen your resolve to overcome whatever obstacle you’re facing. But you have to make a choice. It’s going to be pretty much one path or the other.

The one choice is to lie down in the rubble pile and give up. The other choice is to rise up in faith and figure out how you and God are going to deal with the problem and eventually overcome it. For those of you who are sitting in rubble piles right now, this is your choice to make… And only you can make it. And all heaven is cheering you on to make the choice for faith. The choice for discouragement and defeat leads to hopelessness and despair. The choice for faith, no matter how hard it is to make, will eventually lead to life. But you’ve got to make that choice.

Nehemiah sat right where some of you are sitting, and his response is hugely instructive. It’s this response that we’ll be looking at this Sunday in the second part of our series exploring the story of Nehemiah. Prepare to be inspired!

Categories: Preaching Series Tags: ,

Ocean-Bound

June 5th, 2011

As we set course on a new season in the life of Churchcentral, God wants us to understand something of how he is changing our life together in order that we can have faith for it, be encouraged, be challenged by it and so that we can pray in line with God’s good and perfect will. As Mark has been praying into our next phase as a church together, God spoke to him in the form of a picture, in order to help prepare us as a church for what God has planned ahead.

God showed me a harbour – this is where Churchcentral has been for some time now, gathering a group of vessels together. Different boats, all shapes and sizes, colours and specifications. It has been as though the people on land have heard a call and got into their boats gathered together and begun to fish. But God is calling us out from the harbour. The open sea is waiting.

Now the sea is a different prospect altogether… rougher, deeper but it’s where the real catches of fish are to be found, those who are far off and who God is calling (Acts 2: 39). If we are to be able to go into the open sea some things need to change. A group of small boats will not make it – God wants to shape us into an ocean going vessel; a ship where all are committed, playing our part, no matter how big or small to the smooth running of the operation. There is a coming together that needs to take place to leave the small boats and step on board the bigger ship.

There is a price. The small boat is familiar, holds happy memories and security. You can be the captain of your own boat. You can come and go from the group when you please. But, you will never see the ocean, fish in the depths, reach far off shores, see real power at work.

God is calling us all to get on board, he is calling us out to the ocean, the ship is waiting, the adventure is waiting. Nets are ready to be manned, the engines are fuelled up, Jesus is setting us on a course for the bigger, deeper, more powerful things and is inviting us to step on board. Will you leave the small harbour-bound boat and come to sea?

Categories: Central Point Tags: , ,

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.