Monday, October 22, 2018

Extra-judicial Execution of Middle-Eastern Man Leads to International Consequences.

Jamal Khashoggi, a gentle mannered and highly respected Saudi journalist, is dead. He was allegedly tortured and murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey on the 28th of September. International outrage has followed his death and the Saudi handling of it, and the profile and writings of Jamal have probably never been greater. Perhaps like me when you have seen the video of him entering the consulate you have shouted at the TV screen  saying "Just don't go in there!" but in vain.

A prominent journalist who covered major stories including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of Osama Bin Laden for various Saudi news organisations, Jamal was close to the Saudi royal family for decades and also served as an adviser to the government. But he fell out of favour and went into self-imposed exile in the US last year. From there, he wrote a monthly column in the Washington Post in which he criticised the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Now he is dead.

Last night in our Alpha@Vazon course we viewed the video 'Why did Jesus Die?'. It was powerful and moving, and there were quite a few tears among our 50 or so guests. Of course, the death of Jesus 2,000 years is of immense significance to Christians everywhere and I would not want to offend by trying to draw any kind of equivalence. But there are one or two similarities that are impressing me today. One is that you can't kill truth. The exposure of the Saudi regime by this journalist is greater today than before he died. The impact of the death of Jesus (who once described himself as "I am the truth") was also magnified globally by his death, and then his resurrection of course. The other is that there are forces of evil in the world that resist criticism and change, and that both men paid a high price for doing just those things. Jesus criticised the religious leaders of his day and urged repentance and change.

The great difference, of course, is that Jesus rose from the dead. The Turkish authorities are having a hard time finding the body of Jamal Khashoggi, but we know it is out there somewhere. The Jewish leaders and Roman authorities in Jesus' day only had to produce his body and all the theories of resurrection would be ended. But they could not - because he is risen indeed!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Leaders Gather to Plan and Pray

Had a great three days with Matt Gregor at Elim's Church Leadership Academy this week. Based at Birmingham City Church it offered us the opportunity to chat, think and pray about the future strategy for Vazon Church and our ministry together. At this October's AGM I will step into the role of Associate Pastor alongside Matt and look forward to supporting him in his exciting vision for the church, the island and beyond. As it is now over a year since my major surgery I am so thrilled with how my recovery has gone/is going and how prayer has been answered on my behalf after 22 years of the most appalling pain.

Something that really struck me at the Academy was how amazingly healthy some churches around the UK are, despite the kind of opposite impression most people seem to have, especially the media. Senior Pastors from Birmingham, Cardiff, Derby and Northampton came together as a team to share what God is doing in their locations, and to bless and help the several church leadership teams that were present. They told stories of huge gatherings of people of all ages, worshipping enthusiastically and making an impact in their communities for Christ. Of course, they have their problems too, but their willingness to share and be open was a real inspiration.


Here are a few of quotes:

"Some people think that if they have a million pound vision they will only have a one pound problem! A million pound vision usually comes with million pound problems!" (Stephen Ball quoting Paul Scanlon I think)

"We are traders in hope" (Stuart Blount)

"Sundays are for God" (Jason Heron)

"Does your team member light up the room and can you imagine working with them for a long time?" (Mark Ryan)

"The church that does everything usually ends up doing nothing" (Mark Ryan)

"All that we do in church life should be driven by vision not the fear of man or anything else". (Mark Ryan)

"The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them" Genesis 11:6.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Is there More to Life than This? Alpha@Vazon begins today


Alpha@Vazon 2018

Alpha@Vazon begins this evening, Sunday the 7th October 2018 at Vazon Church, Guernsey. Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith, run over eight Sunday evenings and one Saturday daytime. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run in over 100 nations all around the globe, and everyone is welcome. It runs in caf├ęs, churches, universities, prisons, schools and homes – you name it. No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: food, a talk and good conversation.

The food is going to be good – finger licking good with great desserts! Then, the talks are designed to engage and inspire conversation. Usually around thirty minutes long, they will be played as a video. They explore the big issues around faith and unpack the basics of Christianity, addressing questions from Who is Jesus? and How can we have faith? to Why and how do I pray? and Does God heal today? etc

Good conversation means just that – an environment where you’re welcome to say nothing or ask any question about life, faith and meaning. This is the chance for you to revisit the foundations of your faith or discover why others believe as they do.

So, please pray for us as we welcome around 50 guests this evening and if you would like to tell a friend, or even come yourself (if you're in Guernsey of course) then message me or email matt@vazonelim.org.gg.