Throughout scripture God would seem to be, humanly speaking, an extremely irresponsible giver. From Creation to Revelation he seems to consistently keep giving to people who don’t appreciate it and don’t deserve it.
I was recently reading a book by Andrew Wilson with a chapter talking about how Gods giving is at the heart of his very character. God is Good 😊
If God is like that and Jesus is God, then as a follower of Jesus we’re called to be gracious givers.
Over the years, I personally have many, many stories of God amazing provision and I’m sure you will have many more than me. But my favorite one is this:
A few years ago, amazingly for Lisa and me, we had managed to accrue a small amount of personal savings. Independently through reading scripture and the leading of Holy Spirit, both of us felt that God was saying, we were putting our faith in these savings in an unhealthy way and it was stopping us relying on Gods provision in faith.
We also knew of a great need in the church, which could be resolved with this money.
As we were, young and wild in those days, we decided that it was right for us to give these savings away. To our surprise the person we tried to give it away too, initially refused to take it and they prophetically explained that we were being silly, as we would be able to buy a new second had car with it (which we needed) or it would pay for a family holiday in the UK. After a bit of thought and prayer we ignored them and gave it anyway 😊
There is a lot more to this story, but to summaries, within three months, out of the blue and through other random means, God provided us as a family a virtually brand-new car, far beyond what we ever would buy or be able to afford and an all-expenses paid family holiday, for a week, to Euro Disney! Which came in value to ten times what we had given away.
Now I’m not saying God has, or always will work in that way and I arbore the prosperity Gospel, however I know that God has a gracious nature and I have never been let down by His provision.
In my Christian life, I’ve come to love and rely on how God provides abundantly. Not just financially but in all things. I am confident that as his people we can never out give God.
Today just think through what your attitude to Gods provision is.
Do you trust God to provide for you?
Has God ever let you down around provision?
How does that relate to your finances or how you give now?
Who or what are you putting you trust in for provision?
Finally, I just want to say that the members of Community Church Blackburn are amazing faith filled givers and give an incredible amount in faith, to the work of the church which I would like to say thank you for.
However, I would also like to point out, just like my previous story, historically when the Community Church Blackburn has moved in faith financially, God has also moved abundantly, hence our incredible £100,000 provision, as a church penciled in for a building.
I also know that when, as a church, we haven’t acted in faith and have honoured God with church finances they have been leaner times.
Please pray for wisdom and faith for us all as a church and the leadership team in this area.
Helpful Bible Verses
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Honour the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.
1 Chronicles 29:14
But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Over the summer, as a church, we participate in two festivals.
If you don’t already know, one is called Newday which is for teenagers and the other is called Devoted for all the church family.
If you want to know more here are the promo videos:
Newday is Awesome! and we have seen God move in amazing ways in our young people’s lives because of it and therefore this has seeped into our church lives.
Parents: if you want to see God move in your teenager’s life more send them to Newday!
Both in salvation and discipleship.
Teenagers: If you want to know more about God, see what christianity is about, experience the coolest worship, I know of, with over 7000 other young people in a massive tent, hear from the most gifted communicators talking about Jesus, I’ve come across, ask really pertinent questions that you might have and get real meaningful answers, and finally and possibly most important, to some, laugh at people doing the most extraordinary sometimes, crazy stuff.
Get yourself to Newday.
We have a vision of us one day taking a large coach full of Kids to Newday, from Blackburn and just watching God do his stuff.
It also requires a huge amount of preparation and work to undertake going there and this team is led by Angela and Geoff. If you would like to be involved go and see them.
Please pray again for this year that we have wonderful weather, all the preparations goes well, that you give all those involved wisdom and endurance and finally that God moves more and more in the lives of the young people.
Please also pray for the Newday team across Newfrontiers who do an amazing job.
If that’s not enough excitement for you we have the Devoted festival at the end of August where the ChristCentral family of churches come together and worship, learn, fellowship and just hang out.
This is a great time for our church last year and we had nearly 50 people go.
If you’ve not already booked please see Angela, as we are keen that as many people as possible in our church family can go so we will do our best to remove as many barriers as we can.
This is also a great time to just catch the bigger vision of our family of churches in the UK and across the world.
Again please pray for the team led by Angela and Geoff who are organizing this as it is a huge logistical operation.
Also pray that God blesses us with good weather and God moves through our church.
Finally pray for Jeremy Simkins and Graham Anns as they organise and prepare for devoted
Very very excited about what God is going to do!! God is Good!😊
Helpful Bible Verses
Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. ...
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
In our church we seem to have a slowly expanding small group of twenty somethings, as with all age groups this is wonderful.
From memory, this is an exciting formative time where you start to seek out your direction in life.
It can also be a really lonely confusing time where you’ve maybe finished education, and all the friends you know have moved on. Or your living in a different place from where you’ve grown up and your trying to figure out what Gods got planned for you like work, jobs, housing, relationship, marriage, mortgages etc… life in generally and the list can go on and on and on.
So they need a lot of prayer.
We have some wonderful twenty something’s in our church so if you haven’t already, go talk to them and make a beeline for them or /and invite them for a meal.
I remember when I was twenty something, I thank God for the people, older than me who spoke into my life and cared for me and Lisa. They had a massive impact on my faith and walk with Jesus.
Also pray for jobs, wisdom, provisions for them because they need it.
Please also pray for salvation for this age group, as with all age groups and if anyone has any ministry ideas possibly around food and friendship come and see me or just get on with it😊
Also cheeky prayer I’d love to celebrate some weddings at CCB we’ve not done that for a while wouldn't that be cool 😊
Helpful Bible Verses
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
In Acts 24:23 the bible says ‘Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
As a church we believe that the spiritual life of the church is led by groups of elders
This is a very specific role in the church and as succinctly as I can they the following responsibilities
If you have more questions or want a longer explanation please come and talk to me :)
Currently we are in the process of building an eldership team and a group of our men are going up once a month to an exploring eldership course in Ambleside.
As you can see this is a huge responsibility and calling on someone’s life and this group is currently seeking God whether this role sits with their calling or gifting.
This is a great video by Terry Virgo talking about appointing elders: https://vimeo.com/24831315
Please pray for this group of guys and our church, that God will make all things clear and he will speak to them and move in their lives.
Also pray for me as I pray, work and guide this process through. As it is possibly one of the most important things I do in my present role as singular elder of our church.
Finally, please also pray for me as I lead Community Church Blackburn as its elder and that I heed the advice Andy Parr gave me. “Lean heavily on God, be gentle and humble, seek to be full of grace and love, be merciful and forgiving and you will be God’s man” Andy Parr 25th April 2017
Helpful Bible Verses
1 Timothy 3
This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader, he desires an honourable position.” So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?
A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.
1 Peter 5:1-4
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
If I was starting a worldwide religion, I’d be focusing my attention on the people of influence, the movers and shakers, the rich the powerful!!! but Jesus doesn’t seem to do that. In the Gospels again and again he seems to have a special compassion for people who are struggling with life, messed up, people that haven’t got it all together.
Even Jesus’s opening manifesto, given at the start of his public ministry in Luke 4
‘"The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor” seems to be focusing on people who are struggling in life and the poor.
In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus talks about the sheep and the goats. Jesus would seem to be suggesting that if there is no compassion for the poor in the outworking of our walk with him the authenticity of our salvation is in question!!! (Chilling Stuff!!)
Therefore, I’m pretty convinced in our church life we need to have a special heart for the poor as that what Jesus had.
Over the last century often churches seem to have split preaching the Gospel with working with the poor but Jesus doesn’t seem to make that distinction. However, on the other side we mustn’t do ministry to the poor just to make things a little bit better. We need ministry to the poor to make things new in Christ!!!
In the last few years God has really challenged me about compassion for the poor as often God has presented me with them and we also happen to live in one of the most poverty-stricken towns in the UK, not just financially but in lots of different ways.
One of my Hero’s is Williams Booth who founded the Salvation Army this is a bit of his story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEpAAp2PSlo .
The world is not so different today (Particularly in Blackburn) than it was in Victorian England and through the power of the Holy Spirit William Booth changed the world. Oh how we need people like William Booth today!!!
Please pray for greater compassion and a heart for the Poor within our church
(That is likely not to be easy or straight forward) It also doesn’t make for nice, clean, straightforward middle class church!!!
Please pray that God gives more vision and resource for work for the poor.
Has God given you a prophetic word or vision for the poor like William Booth?
Has God put a ministry or an idea on your heart?
If you’d like to find out more what the churches are doing in the UK a great place to start is Jubilee plus website https://jubilee-plus.org/
Please also pray for all the amazing Christian work with the poor that gets done in Blackburn. Foodbank, Salvation Army, Children’s Store House, Christians Against Poverty, The ARC project and the list goes on. Its a really really tough Job and often they need encouraging. If you know someone who works with the poor why don't you contact them to encourage them?
Jesus really, really, really loved the poor and so why wouldn’t we?
Helpful Bible Verses
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
1 John 3:17
Then Jesus said to his host . . . When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
I find it interesting that Jesus spent a seemingly disproportionate amount of the time praying for and healing the sick.
A lot of the New Testament and the Old Testament is taken up with sick people being healed!!!
Do you think God is trying to tell us something?
I believe God is a God who heals the sick and this is just as true today as it was in the Bible.
Recently we have seen miraculous healing at our church through prayer and we want that to continue!! Why because we want Jesus to be glorified.
How does God heal? Through miracles but often through the amazing work of doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
Why do people get sick? Because the world is busted, due to the fall and sin. (See Genesis Ch3)
Why does God heal? because it gives us an inkling of what the Kingdom of Heaven is going to be like when there will be a restoration of all things and there will be a new heaven and a new earth and we will get new bodies and they will be perfect and there will be no more disease or pain!!! and because He is good!!! I can't wait!!!
Why do we pray the sick? Because that’s what Jesus did and we follow Him!!!
Why does God sometimes heal and sometimes not? I don't know! but what I do know is when we pray in faith he often does!!!
Today pray for all the people you know in and out of our church who are poorly, pray for healing.
If your able go round and pray with them in person or if that's not possible why not over the phone?
Or why don’t you ask God for more faith to pray for the sick. Why don’t you step out in faith and offer prayer when you meet people who are poorly? What’s the worst that can happen?
All I know is when we step in faith God moves!!!
Helpful Bible Verses
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.
Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
Just as our children and youth are awesome. The members of our church family of a slightly older disposition are amazing as well.
In families there are babies, young children, brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents!!!A healthy church family should mirror this.
All the generations have so much to teach and so much to offer each other!!! There is so much wisdom, faith, experience and a witnessing of what God has done through their life in our older members of our church. It is wonderful!!!
Children, young people, young adults, and the rest of the church if you don’t know our older members, of our church, you are so missing out they are awesome!
I know for myself I have been so encouraged by them over the years and it has been a privilege to get to know them better over the last few.
Just like its tough being a teenager it’s also tough getting older as well (Just check out the end of Ecclesiastes)
Please pray for them to be filled with the Holy spirit to be given patience and endurance as they face the trial and challenge of getting older and doing so in a way the glorifies God.
Please also pray for the people (There are lots of them) who are facing the challenge of caring for elderly family. This is often a difficult and lonely time for them, so they need lots and lots of prayer, often a shoulder to cry on and friendship and encouragement.
Please also pray for the people who work in the career of caring for the elderly. They do an underappreciated incredible job for little credit.
We also want to see salvation for the elderly and if they don’t know Jesus, we want them to come to know Jesus as Lord and saviour of their life! It is never to late and they are just a important in Gods eyes.
We have been presented, as a church, with a few invitations to share the Gospel in sheltered accommodations and care home and I would love to put a team together for this if anyone is interested come and see me!!!
Finally, a challenge to young’uns!! Jesus says do unto others as you would like done to you.
If you’re able why don’t you pick the phone and call or text some of the older members of our congregation or better still pop in. I know they will be blessed and I’m 100% sure you will be as well 😊
Helpful Bible Verses
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.
1 Timothy 5:8
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when people rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; when people are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags itself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then people go to their eternal home and mourners go about the streets. Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
In June 2017 under the guidance of the apostolic and the then eldership team (Andy Parr and myself) we commissioned a leadership team at Community Church Blackburn to assist myself as present sole elder.
The biblical model were use for this team is Deacons
This team is comprised of Peter McCombs, Sylvanus Bowlin, Angela Shanks, Lisa Norcross,
Gina Berry, Geoff Shanks and myself.
The leadership team is responsible for the smooth running of Community Church Blackburn which includes, finances, communication, legal, serving and rota, safeguarding, charity commission and stewardship, acting as trustees, smooth running of Sunday service, website, branding, prayer chain , Newday, Devoted, building issues, pastoral issues, accountability and employment and the list goes on and on and on.
Pretty much all the things that happen behind the scenes and often in front of the scenes wouldn’t happen without their involvement. This is a huge responsibility and requires, wisdom, Gods grace and mercy and huge commitment in time and energy. I thank God so much for them.
Please pray for them for wise and gracious governance, that as a team we walk humbly and closely with God and with each other.
Please pray for them to be good stewards, but also be full of faith and reliant on God.
Pray for more Holy Spirit in their lives and rule and reign of Jesus!!
If you've never met them introduce yourself to them and find out what they do. If you have any questions feel free to ask them!!
Also if you want to see what happens in a leadership meeting (Which happens around every two months) If you are part of our church you are more than welcome to come and observe. 😊
Please pray for the future development of this team, its relationship with a future eldership team and give God thanks for them and all they do 😊
Helpful Bible Verses
It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counsellors there is victory.
1 Timothy 3:8-10
Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
I am so proud of our young people. I give thanks to God for them and we are so blessed.
It has been a privilege to watch them grow, often from children, into young adults and now emerging as leaders in our church. I also thank God for their, many gifts and we must pray for wisdom in the church for fanning these into flames in Godly, wise and encouraging ways.
But they also need our prayer for the many, many challenges in life they are facing.
School, exams, peer pressure, life choices, careers, university and many, many other things.
Pray for protection for them from the evil one, as it is so easy to be tempted particularly to drift away from God as a teenager (As I did)
Pray for the parents or guardians of teenagers!!!! For patience, endurance, wisdom, grace and mercy because they need prayer and sometimes help!!!
Also pray that the youth grow in their relationship with Jesus and relationship with each other and the rest of the church.
If you’ve not talked to our teenagers, spend some time with them they’re really cool!!!! 😊.
Adults why don’t you make a special effort to talk to and pray for a member of our youth, you’ve not talked to before? I know you will be blessed.
Pray also for all those involved in leading and disciplining the youth, for continued wisdom, vision and endurance as there’s lot going on. 7UP, Youth Alpha, Newday, other youth events, Youth service and the list continues!!!
I’d love our work with teenagers to expand at CCB and particularly love to see a Friday night youth group where we get to show the Grace of God to unchurched teenagers.
So we need to pray in faith for more workers in the harvest and a bigger vision (Anybody interested give us a shout)
Finally pray for salvation in our young people, both within and without our church.
We want more of all the good things of God in youth and we’d love to see more and more of Gods work going on for His Glory. We want to sow more and more seeds for the Kingdom in young people and let God grow them for a harvest!! Are you excited?? You should be 😊
Helpful Bible Verses
1 Timothy 4:12
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
If you’ve not already noticed, we have been blessed with lots and lots of children at our church. Children are awesome and a blessing from God. We need to pray for our children in our church, in our family and all the others we know.
From what I understand off our children’s workers, if you want to be where the action is you need to be in children’s work. They’ve seen salvation's, healing, visions miracles etc…. Amazing!!!
We need to pray that we are seeing them grow in Christ and we want to see salvation and baptisms in our children.
We also need to ask God for mercy and protection from the evil one for them.
We need to pray for parents of young children as it can be a tough and lonely time.
Pray for love, endurance, patience and wisdom for them as they parent their children.
Pray also for the Children’s workers and give God thanks for them. They do the toughest, most sacrificial role in the church!!!!
When most of the church is drinking their brews chatting with their friends, they will be packing up Children’s work, often on their own, after missing the beginning, middle and end of the service!!!! And that will be after spending hours and hours of preparation time during the week.
Please pray for God to supply us more children’s workers as and if you're stirred come and have a chat with us!
Please also pray for the mother and baby group led by Beth Smith at Bentham Road Surgery.
Ultimately we want to step out in faith our children’s ministry growing in breadth and depth so please pray for Wisdom, faith and provision in this area.
God is good!!!
Helpful Bible Verses
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.