I was asked to review the weekend ‘Seeking spiritual renewal’ workshop led by the reverend Paul Wilson, who is the development worker for ‘Methodist Evangelicals Together’, something I never knew existed, but how grateful I am for discovering them through Paul Wilson.
The weekend brought to me a side of Methodism that I realised I was seeking but not knowing it.
Something that would help me to become an evangelical Methodist, someone who would be able to empower me into becoming someone working for Jesus by seeking and welcoming those who would be released from sinful lives by faith and Methodism. So, let’s begin…….
We gathered at half past nine on Saturday the 10th June and were greeted by coffee and doughnuts and for those watching their waistline chocolate covered flapjack! We came from different local churches the cutest one of all was an elderly dog who slept all through the sessions curled up in its’ blanket which seemed very inviting to anyone who was a little bit tired! The classroom was full, a side table covered in leaflets, books and brochures just like every workshop I’ve ever attended and I hoped it wouldn’t be like some I’ve attended where curling up in a dog’s bed would have been so good!!
We opened the meeting by singing ‘10,00 Reasons’ by Matt Redman and welcomed by Hillary who introduced Paul Wilson to us and prayed for the gathering to be uplifted and inspiring for the next couple of days. Paul Wilson then stood in front of the lectern and prayed with us all to be uplifted for the weekend to come and then he began to introduce to us the book of Ezekiel, a book that is remembered by me as some dry bones rattling around and standing up and coming to life, and that was it really, how open did my eyes become? Paul brought the whole book to life by some exquisite teaching, so well planned and illustrated by power point that I was riveted from the beginning to the end.
The day took us through the meaning of Revelation, Resurrection and Renewal, taking us from the promise that God is still there, that he will be seen and found by many people by a resurrection to His leading the world into Christian renewal. What a promise! I must be honest by disclosing that I’ve heard this before and thought that it would never happen in my lifetime because nothing seems to be happening. Well now I KNOW and BELIEVE it will happen sooner than I thought it would, maybe in my lifetime, I hope so, and if it does the lessons I learnt about the revelation that God is still on the throne, that God is ready to be brought to the world and to create a new world (or renew His world). How exciting is that? Gods world becoming new again, taking us back to the beginning of Genesis and His world as He wants it to be.
The church today has lost it bible, it’s seems to have been watered down by the media in case someone is offended, but God will strengthen His bible to bring us back to Him. When God calls God strengthens, shaking us into the realisation that we must roll up our sleeves and get cracking, and how hearing the Gospel in our Government is needed. The God of old is the God of the new so we must get ready to become workers in our mission fields.
Things I heard during Saturday that I remembered on Sunday and I hope we’ll remember always:
The bible is a scalpel used as a divine sword
The Holy Spirit can only get out what we put in through the only Spirit,
Don’t squeeze the Holy Spirit out of church
Time to believe that the Holy Spirit is having a profound effect in the UK, be thrilled at the number of people coming to Christ within the UK, Gandhi made a statement saying that “Our Bible is unbelieved, Holiness is a gift of God”.
The Sundays services were a delight to listen to, good hymns (a Methodist likes good hymns) with inspired sermons brought to life by the minister. Both services unpacked Ezekiel some more, with humour, candour and insightfulness. Sadly, I didn’t make notes on the morning service because I was taking an active part in the service but I voice recorded the second service on Sunday evening, but it got deleted by accident. You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, or in my case, you can give a man an iPhone but you can’t make him understand it!
What I do recall with clarity was that when the sermons were given you could hear a pin drop, such was the intensity and leading of the Holy Spirit. They strengthened our belief that Gods is working through the Uk, putting fire in our hearts and the Holy Spirit into our towns and cities. The music was by Ann (Massey) and the worship band, and as always, the music was brilliant. There was so much to learn that put excitement into our hearts, and left us not hoping but waiting.
All in all, it was a privilege to have been there and my only sadness was that more weren’t there, but maybe next time……...!
The Sunday morning hymns were:
‘Bless the Lord o my Soul’
Light of the world) often known as ‘So here I am to worship’
Christ is made the true foundation
Shine Jesus shine
The reading was: Ezekiel 47:1-2
The hymns for the Sunday evening service were:
‘In Christ alone’
‘Breath on me breath of God’
‘My hope is built on nothing less’
‘he is Lord, he is Lord’
The readings were: Ezekiel 43:1-4 & 1Peter2:2-4
Kindly provided by W.L. Denis Kirkham.