Healing & Hope feedback

It’s been just over a couple of weeks now since our Healing & Hope events finished.  I am pleased to say both hope was received and healing was experienced!  At Healing & Hope @ the carnival a man who had a torn cartilage in his knee, to his own surprise said the pain had gone and movement was restored.  He demonstrated this by bouncing up and down on his knees (which he said he could not do before).  A number of other people were prayed for and many encouraging conversation where had, with one woman putting her hope in Jesus.

The next week at the Healing & Hope Sunday a woman whose vision had become blurred after a traffic accident said that it had cleared.  Also a man made a commitment to hope in Jesus.  The healing & hope then carried on into the next Sunday with a woman being healed of sciatica and then finding hope in Jesus in making a commitment to him.

We now have an increased expectation for Jesus to move in this way and are intending to be more active in seeking him to do so.  After the last month I am now convinced more than ever that Jesus is all that he claimed to be and so can give genuine hope and healing!

Healing & Hope

I think it is probably true that most if not everybody who reads this post is suffering from some sort of pain, illness or condition that affects their lives.  It may not be in a massive way; now that summer is here my hay fever has kicked in which is a nuisance but not exactly an enormous issue. Still, when I think about it, it would be nice (really nice) not to have it.  However, on the other hand, right at the other end of the scale many people suffer from life changing or life threatening conditions, which have a huge impact on their lives.  I was speaking with a woman yesterday who suffers with arthritis and she was saying one of her aims in life is just to get through each day with as little pain as possible.  Also in the last year or so a number of people I know (and know of) have been told the heart wrenching news that they have (or may have) cancer.  This must be a truly shocking thing to hear.

I am amazed and inspired by what people find the strength to live with and through.  Whether it is sickness or any of the other troubles life can throw at us.  I am not naturally an optimistic person and so although I know there is much beauty in the world and happiness to be experienced in life I do not find it hard to be aware of the numerous problems which could occur in any given situation.  However, even for the optimist the reality is that life is not all flowers and sunshine.  Although life can be great, life is also hard and for some can even become unbearable.

Sadly a number of years ago for an old work colleague of mine this was the case, and so tragically he ended up taking his own life.  The thing was he came across as one of the jolliest people in the office.  I knew his life was not without real difficulties but did not know just how tough he must have been finding it.  I don’t know the details but I assume amongst the huge mix of emotions he must have been feeling, he must have lost hope; hope for change, for a future, for the strength to live another day.

Sadly from my experience this does not seem to be uncommon.  I have found what makes a huge difference in life, maybe even the difference, is having hope!  With it there is reason and strength for tomorrow, without it meaning and purpose seem to drain away.  Whether we are in a situation where life has brought us to our knees or we just feel like we need a little more meaning, purpose and motivation, either way and anywhere in between, genuine hope is essential!

Some have lost hope through life beating it out of them, others have achieved and received all they hoped for but in so doing discovered it was not in fact all it promised.  Sometimes what we hope for actually turns out not to be all we hoped for after all.  So sadly and ironically in the hope being achieved, hope is actually lost and fulfilment still not found!

So I guess the question is not only ‘do we have hope?’ But ‘what is our hope’?  Is that in which we hope enough?’  Is it genuine? Is it secure? Does it follow through? Is it sufficient to sustain? Does it fulfil its promise?

I have become convinced both intellectually and experientially, both in my mind and my heart, in my thoughts and my feelings that although there are many good things in this world which I hope for, some achieved and many not, that only Jesus can give sufficient hope!  Only Jesus is enough!  That only he can give true life and meaning now and forever!  That he not only claims and offers more than anyone or anything else, but that he follows through!  So hope in him will not be disappointed.

That is why over the next two weeks we are putting on a couple of Healing & Hope events.  On Sunday 12th July we have our Healing & Hope Sunday and before that, this Saturday, we have a stand at Northfield Carnival offering prayer for healing and hope to anyone who would like it.

On the Sunday just gone four people from church shared their experiences from over the past two years of Jesus’ healing power in their lives.  This included a woman who came along to a Sunday meeting last summer on crutches (as she had torn a ligament in her foot).  At the end of the meeting after receiving prayer at the beginning, she left still holding her crutches but not actually using them and carrying bags.  At the time she did not straight away realise what had just happened.  It was not until the next day she fully realised that although she had been feeling sever pain (she described in her experience as second only to giving birth) and could not walk she now amazingly was without pain and walking fine.

Also, we heard from a man who shared that last year he was told the awful news he had pancreatic cancer.  However, he believed God was going to heal him and got a number of people praying for him.  After two biopsies and four scans (but before treatment) he has now been told that the 2.9 cm growth is no longer there, nor are there any cancerous cells.  All that remains is a 1.4 cm scare.

I do not claim to understand God’s healing, why some are and others not, but we are learning together to trust God and have seen God do some amazing things!  Even if we are not healed of sickness or we have to continue in whatever difficult situation we may be in, if our hope in life, for life and beyond life is bigger, we can face and overcome whatever is thrown at us!

I do not expect those who do not believe in supernatural healing or Jesus to change their mind on either because of this post.  However, surely Jesus is at least worth checking out.  As if he turns out to be for real, to be who he claimed to be and to be able to do what he claimed to be able to do, then wow, that changes everything for all of us!  Not just healing but what life is and what life is all about!

Would you like hope? Would you like healing? 

Then please look into Jesus!  There are many ways to do this but one way would be to come along to our Healing & Hope events either @ 3:00pm on Sunday 12th July at Northfield YMCA or/and check out our Healing & Hope stand at the Northfield Carnival on Sat 4th July.

Something to chew over

I don’t think anybody has made bigger and better claims than Jesus!  He certainly gives us all something to think about and that is why we run ‘Alpha’.  It gives people the chance to seriously think through what Jesus said in a relaxed, enjoyable environment.  Our next one kicks off tomorrow (Thursday 22nd January) with an Alpha Taster.

The Alpha Taster is an introductory session so people can decide whether Alpha is something they want to come on.  It is a free, fairly short event but involves enough bite to get you pondering and chewing over more than just the free curry!

It starts at 8:00pm at The Black Horse Pub side bar, Northfield, B31 2QT and will be finished shortly after 9:00pm (however people are welcome to hang around after if they want to). http://redeemerbirmingham.org.uk/alpha/

Carols at the bar

No, not Flack, Vorderman or Smillie but Christmas Carols!  It’s maybe not the usual sing song you may associate with a pub, but a great chance to test out those lungs.  Apart from at the football, Christmas is one of only a few occasions that people like to belt one out and can do so without feeling too self-conscious.

This year on the 14th December starting at 3:30pm Redeemer Church Birmingham are holding their Carol Service in the upper room of The Black Horse pub (B31 2QT).  It should be a fun time and a great way to really kick Christmas off!  Even if you’re not the ‘belt it out’ type and prefer to sing softly-sweet or just listen you are most welcome, although I for one will enjoy letting loose my inner Welshman!

So if you fancy a gentle carol or a good sing song, or even just some festive refreshments please come along!

Happy Christmas to you all!  (oooo, it feels good to be able to say that now)

To The Black Horse at a gallop!

We are moving!  From the 14th September we will be meeting from 3:00pm in the upper room of the well know Northfield pub ‘The Black Horse’.

After running a number of successful events there we thought it would be great, and maybe a little novel, to actually hold our Sunday meeting at the same venue.

The pub has been very helpful as we have sought to establish a weekly Friday tots stay ‘n’ play group called ‘Little Treasures’.  Again a pub is probably not the first type of venue that comes to mind for such a group but the arrangement has worked brilliantly.  The group is now full to bursting, often with people staying on for lunch at the pub afterwards.

Off the back of the success of ‘Little Treasures’ we have recently started an equivalent group specifically aimed at Dads/male carers and their kids called ‘Happy Hour’.  This is on a Saturday morning at the same venue, we have not yet decided how often to run it but are looking at maybe quarterly.

The plan now is to hold our Sunday community worship meeting, which involves refreshments, chat, music, preaching and kids work in the upstairs rooms of the pub.  I imagine the pull of being able to have lunch beforehand or/and a drink after will be strong for many and will give another opportunity for genuine friendship and community to be formed.

On one of our very first visits to Birmingham before I had a job here, before our second child was born and long before Northfield/Longbridge was even on our radar, we stopped off at The Black Horse for food on the way back home to Exeter.  Who new at the time it was going to play such an important part in our lives and the life of the church.

Black Horse here we come!

If you want to check us out on a Sunday or any of our other events please do.  All are very welcome!

What if?

What if a man in your town claimed to be a millionaire and is offering anyone who needs or wants it £50,000? It may seem unlikely to be true but wouldn’t you kick yourself if he turned out to be genuine and you missed the opportunity?
Isn’t an offer which could have a dramatic impact on your life if true worth investigating?
The bigger and better the offer the more sense it makes to look into it, to find out whether it is true or not.

No-one throughout history has made bigger and better offers than one man. He made claims about life, happiness, freedom, forgiveness, the world and eternity which if true will change everything for all of us!  The sheer size and awesomeness of his claims demands we investigate and consider them before we decide what we make of them.  Surely it is only rational to consider Jesus and his offer.

We need to make sure we investigate the claims for ourselves. This is too big a life issue to rely only on what we may have heard from other people, whether this is from parents, teachers, or TV etc. Please don’t dismiss Jesus because you already think you know what he is all about when what you have heard may be very different from the reality.  Have you ever really read and considered what he said for yourself?

My plea is please, please consider Jesus! Look into him and test what he said for yourself. There is too much at stake, to much to be potentially lost and gained.  If we are not going to follow Jesus we need to be sure why!

What if Jesus was telling the truth?  He is worth considering!

Five ways you could start investigating Jesus are:
1)      Come along to our Alpha Taster at 8:00pm on the 4th June at the Black Horse pub (Alpha is a free, relaxed, fun, course based around food set up to help people look into the life and claims of Jesus) http://redeemerbirmingham.org.uk/alpha/
2)      Email me with any questions or comments hello@redeemerbirmingham.org.uk
3)      Come along to our Sunday meeting, or any of our other events
4)      Read a gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). These are the four biographies of Jesus life from the Bible (we can send you one for free)
5)      Ask Jesus to make himself known to you

My Pleasure

Last Sunday we started our new series entitled ‘My Pleasure’.  It is five sessions exploring serious pleasure!

We kicked off with ‘Pleasure; the fullest and the longest’.  Psalm 16v11 says “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (ESV) 

No-one or nothing else can make a better claim to pleasure and joy than that.  You can not get fuller than full or longer than evermore.  The invitation to trust in and follow God is an invitation to pleasure - pure, unadulterated, incomparable, inexpressible pleasure!

The next three talks will be considering three specific pleasures.  Starting this Sunday 11th May with ‘Sex in another position’.  Then on the 8th June ‘Happy hour; drinks are on me’ and then ‘A sure bet’ on the 22nd June.  The plan then is to finish the series off with ‘His Pleasure’ a look at what God himself takes pleasure in, on the 13th July. 

We normally work through a book of the Bible, recently finishing a look at Colossians and will be starting a series looking at the book of Luke alongside ‘My pleasure’.  However, I wanted to spend some time specifically looking at the subject of pleasure as it is something which is often misunderstood but something we could all do with a lot more of!

Living?!

Being Easter time I have been pondering the fact that I actually believe about 2000 years ago Jesus died but then came back to life and has not died since!

When I say it like that I realise something of the magnitude of the claim!  If I am wrong on this I have really got it wrong, like I might be going mad wrong.  On the other hand if I am right surely it changes everything, absolutely everything!

The fact is I am either right or I am wrong.  This is either true or it is not, Jesus is either alive or he isn’t.  You may already have an opinion one way or the other.  You may not have thought about it before or even care.  Could I encourage you that if anything is worth investigating fully this is!

I admit at first glance it is easy to just dismiss without further thought as too crazy a suggestion to be true.  But is there actually a viable alternative explanation of the happenings and claim that started Christianity 2000 years ago?

I have become convinced in my thinking and in my feelings that he actually, really is alive.  Maybe I am deluded and even going slightly mad. Or maybe not.  Only you can decide what you think about this huge claim!

This Easter may be the perfect time to start seriously looking into Jesus and the claim of his resurrection.  One way of doing this would be to read one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  They are basically four different biographies of Jesus.

Another way would be to go on an ’Alpha’.  Our next Alpha starts with an Alpha Taster on June 4th at the Black Horse Pub http://redeemerbirmingham.org.uk/alpha/ all are welcome.

Happy Easter to you all!

Bish, Bash, Bosh!

Even though we have been meeting together on a Sunday publicly since September, we have maintained doing something a bit different on the first weekend of the month instead of the normal meeting.  This may be an event on the Sunday or something on the Saturday (or both).  We have done such things as a bbq, a story telling event, watching sporting events together, games nights, going for a drink at the pub and watching The Voice final.

We do this for two main reasons:
1.  As we are only small putting on a Sunday meeting involves a number of us each week with a specific job to make it happen.  So not meeting in this way once a month gives all of us in the church plant a rest, helping to prevent burn out and slipping into just going through the motions.

2.  It allows us to have time to get to know each other and have fun together in different settings.  It also allows for friends to come along and have fun with us and for us to be a blessing to the wider community.

Last week one of our people put on an event called Bish, Bash, Bosh!  It was a drumming and den making workshop, which involved a lot of noise and a lot of fun!  A number of children and parents came along and had a great time.

Whether as we a grow we will continue with this monthly set up I don’t know but for now it seems to be a good idea.

Full March

We continue to move forward with a full on March.  The month started well with a fantastic story telling family event which people seemed to really enjoy.  Then off the back of the success of our weekly Friday stay ‘n’ play Little Treasures, we thought it would be good to try and run something specifically for the Dad’s.  Although Dad’s and male carers are very welcome (and a few are able to make it to Little Treasures) many are not free on a Friday morning.

So at the same venue (The Black Horse) but on a Saturday morning we put on ’Happy Hour!’ a stay ’n’ play for Dad’s and their kids.  For the kid’s; toys, snacks, a craft rocket to make and some parachute games to finish off with.  For the Dad’s there was tea & coffee, a free bacon buttie and football on in the background (although due to a technical fault this only lasted 5 mins, we will get this sorted for next time). There was 12 Dad’s and 18 kid’s.  Everybody seemed to have a good time and be up for running it again.  We are thinking maybe bimonthly would be good.

In March we also had the huge event that was our first Baptism!  This was a wonderful time and a real marker for the church.  A number of friends also made it along to witness this public statement of trust in Jesus.  It was actually a combined meeting as we also publicly gave thanks for the daughter of the young woman being baptised.

We are now building up to our next Alpha Taster on June the 4th at 8:00pm.  Again the Taster will be in the Black Horse but this time in the side bar with a free curry.  Watch this space for more posts in regards to this.