It’s been an amazing weekend that has seen God move in many amazing ways. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been blessed in taking out new people on Town Pastors. Last week I took out someone who had travelled the drug and alcohol addiction road and was coming out of the other side with a real determination to live life for God in a very different way to what had gone before. He shared his story with some of our regular homeless and vulnerable people and then through the week he also had chance to share his story with one of our young vulnerable friends on the street.
She met the team whilst we were out this weekend and shared that he had touched and moved her with his story of his journey. She realised that, contrary to what she thought, she wasn’t a lost cause. He’d been on harder drugs, taken more and done worse and had sank even further into the darkness and despair than she was currently and yet God had made the difference in his life. He’d fought for his sobriety and been reborn to a new life as a Child of Christ. He now wanted to join with those Christian brothers and sisters who were determined to make this world a safer better place for those living, working studying and partying in the town. Pray for her that she finds the courage to put the first steps on the road to recovery and a better life. Amazingly whilst Street Angels were helping her, our friends in the Hartlepool CCTV centre also contacted the team to say they were watching over her and offering sources of help and advice.
The theme of children and families continues to be played out at West View Baptist Church. We’ve been blessed to be joined recently by two new couples, Charlotte and Joe and Terry and Carolyn. They have thrown themselves into the life of the church and already appear as if they’ve always been part and parcel of the West View family. Expect to see more of these names in future weeks as God has led, and is leading them on an amazing adventure as they relocate to this area. We prayed for workers and God sent us people who were trained in working in the kitchen, worked with children and were good at practical stuff like maintenance and repairs. I wanted a bible verse about workers and went on my online bible to be greeted with the Verse of the Day from Joshua 24:15 that ends “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”. Amazing to have the verse served to me straight away.
Amazing is a word I seem to have written a lot this week. Today in church we were over run with children. They came in as a constant stream, the first came with their church families, then 3 young lads from the estate, then a family from Filling Station, then the family from across the road carrying babes in arms. All arriving at different times, but with the net result that when our Young Church gathered for their separate part of our morning worship they had 23 children. Some of these children don’t even cope well in school yet they chose to come to us. One of the highlights from the day was overhearing the Dad from the Filling Station family say to his young boys, “Go into the kids room, Daddy’s going to stay here because I’ve come to worship”.
Ian, Amanda and Jonny led worship today. The song choices were spot on and never has the words to “No Longer Slaves” been more appropriate. “I’ve been born again into a family, Your blood flows through my veins. I’m no longer a Slave to Fear, I am a Child of God”.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8TkUMJtK5k
Mark brought the word today. It was Peacekeeping Sunday today and Mark was supposed to preach on the theme of arguments. However Mark was led instead to talk about the different viewpoints in life, looking at heavenly views as opposed to earthly views.
He read from Mark 9 30:37. This was a passage that spoke of the disciples arguing yet finished “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Did I mention we welcome 23 children into church this morning?
He asked us to consider what a heavenly view might look like. He suggested that this should look like we have both good morals and good morale, liking everyone as God’s children and accepting people for who they are and not who we think they should be.
He also urged us all to be positive in our outlook. He posed the question “If we’re not positive as a Child of God, what does this look like to others? He reminded us about the way children behave before they learn about earthly fears. Think about how children just walk up to people and treat them as friends without fear. Think about the way we deal with earthly issues , family abuse, depression, unhappiness, negativity, how and did this change occur in our own lives. Mark shared how his life changed and his outlook changed. He admitted to not being open about his feelings and struggling with depression. Then he says he met his wife Sarah and his future in-laws . Through them he found God and learned to forgive.
He reminded us that it is the earthly values that make us negative and judging of others. He asked “How do we change this?” The best way is to turn to God, pray, share your problems with others, don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance from friends in church.
Mark shared how he thought that a good principle in life was to think before you act or speak. He recalled the fashion at one point for people in church to wear wrist bands with “What would Jesus do” It’s a good thought habit to get into.It’s true, be polite, say hello to the people you meet in your daily journey, the fellow cyclist, the dog walkers. It leads to a conversation. 2 minute talk to a stranger can change their day. Our new arrival Terry had shared how he met his wife when he was pushing a street sweeper’s barrow and he used to stop and chat. Children do this all the time. Somehow we as adults we lose this ability, yet it can change our lives. Help us overcome negative thoughts, concentrate on the heavenly views. Did I mention West View Baptist Church is seeing amazing things? Help us to show this earth our heavenly views. Join us on the journey.