Thursday, 15 December 2016

Practising for Christmas 2016?

I'm conscious I've not been using this site for blogging as much as once was the case ... and that was never as frequently as intended. Consequently, I've omitted to signpost anyone dropping into The Old Forge to our Seventy-two's Practising for Christmas 2016:

It's neither too late to join in, or to encourage others to do so:

Today's focus is on Practising Humility:

Today I was stopped in the reading by 'he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts', which is in verse 51 of 'Mary's song'.

Lord search my inmost thoughts and shed your light upon them. 
Help me to acknowledge where my pride has eclipsed your ways. 
Remind me you are able to renew my mind, so I might be re-aligned with your ways through my life.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Welcome to the new look South Wales Baptist Association regional team

Welcome on board Carl, Susan and Tim. South Wales BA commissioned their new look regional team yesterday and it's another clear signal of the desire for mission to become the organising principle across our Baptist networks. In seeking their new appointments SWaBA expressed their desire 'in moving forward mission needs to be at the heart of all we seek to do'.
Nick Bradshaw will remain as the Team Leader, but giving more of his time to missional development and engagement. 'Aspiring to be a movement on mission means that the Association Team Leader needs to be leader in mission'. Together with new appointments Carl Gidney, Susan Stevenson and Tim Daniel this has every possibility of being a significant team among us and we welcome them warmly and eagerly anticipate the next chapter.
This represents a clear intention for everything, which forms a part of the agendas for the regional team and those who become involved in regional strategy and engagement to be viewed through the missional lens. It also provides the level of staffing, which enables SWaBA to be more proactive and initiate than staff with JD's which fill people's time to capacity simply keeping the wheels of the system oiled, or just de-clogged.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Forging ahead?

Last weekend was the final one of the Forge Training hub for the south, west and Wales 2016. For me personally, this first Forge year has been a thrilling journey, as I’ve watched people grow in their confidence in the fact they are part of God’s good news. During the Forge Training much is said about whatever we’re doing needing to form cultures, which form disciples, which form disciples. The great thing has been walking alongside people as they reflect on ‘how’ this is working out in practice.

You'll be able to find out more via:          
and in 2017 we hope to have Forge Training hubs in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol & Leeds.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Forgotten Ways ... the sequel

Probably the most influential book, in terms of impact, on the UK missional conversation over the last ten years. As Alan is the biggest influence on Forge Training and we're very much part of the South, West & Wales hub, it's the very least I can do to flag up the new edition of Forgotten Ways. As I said to one person, first time around ... 'the clue is in the title'
in response to them saying 'there's nothing new here'!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Winstone, Gloucestershire, Baptist Church

I'm looking forward to the 200th Church Anniversary in Winstone, Gloucestershire, this weekend.

This the first page of their minute book:

Mr Aldom, Henry Hawkins and Mr Davis were going through this village to a Sunday School at Colesbourne. on 21st January 1816 were accosted by a female, who requested they hold a Prayer Meeting at her house as they returned in the evening. To this they agreed and when they returned they found to their astonishment the house was crowded with people. The service was commenced with prayer and the word of God was read and a few remarks made upon it: The service was not in vain for one female was arrested so powerfully by the spirit of God that when she retired she was obliged to go home to her bedside and like the weeping prodical cry for mercy. She has since become a member of this society and has borne an honorable testimony ever since.

Shortly after a person of property in Winstone who was intimate with the friend who opened her house first for them sent word that she would like for them to call upon her. Mr Davis called and she told him that she had a stable she would Let to them, at the rent of three pounds a year. Mr Davis mentioned this to Mr Hawkins pastor of the church at Escomes who agreed to it and took it. It was then fitted up and cleaned and on 21st March it was opened and a Sunday school formed.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Discipleship at the Core … of devotion?

40 days of Good News came to end today and I came away from church this morning conscious how much we need to translate ‘40 days’ into ‘365 days’, if we’re to get towards Acts 2:47, because here we read about an every day occurrence … ‘the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Thank you to Ian Sinclair, my Pastor at Counterslip, Bristol, who preached a really good sermon from Acts 2:42-47 for this Pentecost Sunday and really got me thinking about this word devotion. I came away with the challenge, not simply about the object of my devotion, but the outcomes. My commentaries are packed up in boxes, as we await a moving date, but thank God for the internet!

Transliteration: proskartereo
Short definition: I persist.
Definition: I persist, persevere in, continue steadfast in, I wait upon.

From pros ‘towards, interactively with’ + kartereo ‘show steadfast strength’ from kratos ‘prevailing strength’, properly, to consistently showing strength which prevails (in spite of difficulties); to endure (remain firm), staying in affixed direction.

 … proskarter├ę┼Ź means "to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of despite difficulty – 'to devote oneself to, to keep on, to persist in'.

The big thing, staring me between the eyes, was the essence of the devotion we read about here. I’m fairly sure the message of those listening to me preach form these verses thirty years ago could have easily concluded they were fulfilling the call to obey simply by being in a church building listening to the word of God being preached. However, that’s not what we’re reading about here. This isn't a call to perpetual Bible study (‘oh no’, I hear you cry!); this is an observation of peoples’ lives on fire for Jesus. This is an exploration of the source of their power. This is an examination of the engine, which provided momentum to the first century disciples.

Devotion to the apostles teaching was seen in how it was lived.
Devotion to the fellowship was a rootedness in the re-ordering of God’s new society.
Devotion to the breaking of bread was recognition for the necessity to re-calibrate around ‘what did Jesus do?’

Devotion to prayer was highlighting the perpetual need to live out of deep communion with our heavenly Father.