Thank You Jesus

What If?

If you’ve missed our latest magazine then make sure to check out the online version here. The theme this issue is “What If?” …based around a talk I did a while back and some ideas that have been circulating my head and the NG office over the last few months. As usual, it’s packed full of ideas, stories, tips and resource spotlights…and the graphics are pretty smooth too. The Team have done a really good job on pulling the content together, and I think that along with our other 2 issues so far this year, this magazine is amongst our best. To make sure you get a copy in your letter box next time around, log onto www.newgeneration.co.uk and register as a member, or even better, a Supporter, and we’ll post one out free of charge every time we release a new issue. No brainer!

Short But Sweet

Click the pic to watch Brueggemann talk on loving God and neighbour.

Velvet Elvis and The Kingdom of God

I’ve been reading Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis on the Kindle app and recently noticed when flicking through the chapters that I’ve highlighted almost as much text as I’ve left alone. In my opinion, the book is THAT good. I’m fully aware it’s been out for about 5 years now, but having spent time thinking about and speaking on the Kingdom of God recently, I’ve been mulling over some of Bell’s thoughts. I particularly like his approach to what God’s kingdom actually looks like here and now, and his take on the fly-me-away-to-a-faraway-land vs. help-me-engage-with-the-world-the-way-Jesus-would-here-and-now (I made these up, so don’t blame them on him!) paradigms.

Here’s a few quotes I liked:

“For Jesus, the question wasn’t, how do I get into heaven? but how do I bring heaven here? The question wasn’t, how do I get in there? but how do I get there here?”

“The goal here isn’t simply to NOT sin. Our purpose is to increase the shalom in this world, which is why approaches to the Christian faith that deal solely with not sinning always fail. They aim at the wrong thing. It is not about what you don’t do. The point is becoming more and more the kind of people God had in mind when we were first created.”

“The goal isn’t to bring everyone’s work into the church; the goal is for the church to be these unique kinds of people who are transforming the places they live and work and play because they understand the whole earth is filled with the kavod of God.”

“This is why it is impossible for a Christian to have a secular job. If you follow Jesus and you are doing what you do in his name, then it is no longer secular work; it’s sacred. You are there; God is there. The difference is our awareness.”

“What’s disturbing is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about hell here and now. As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth. Poverty, injustice, suffering – they’re all hells on earth, and as Christians we oppose them with all, our energies. Jesus told us to.”

“The goal isn’t escaping this world but making this world the kind of place God can come to. And God is remaking us into the kind of people who can do this kind of work.”

Change a School for a Fiver

I just got back from a great day in London meeting with people from a few different organisations that all do work in schools, and I have to say I’m humbled and generally inspired by how much is going on in the UK. Having said that, I’m also very proud of the Team at NGUK, and what we’re building. In just 4 years we’ve now got groups registered in over 400 schools, and we’re not even trying to start in new places but actually trying to slow things down so we can make sure to deliver quality support and follow up. That’s where the Change a School for a Fiver campaign comes in. If I’m totally honest, only about half of those groups (200 or so) are really actively reaching out and impacting their schools, whilst the rest need some more help and support from our Teams and some more resources and material. The only thing is, with 14 full-time volunteers, we’re still short of manpower, and with our limited budget, we’re still stretched financially. We’ve worked out that it costs us just £5 a month per school group to provide resources and regular visits, and we want to be able to sustain the 400 schools that are registered and maybe stretch that to 500 in the next year or so. We’ll still be a long way from the dream to see an organised and active Christian presence in every school in the nation, but I think 500’s a good start. Why not think and pray about whether you can help us to achieve that goal. You can start by visiting the site here.

Together for Adoption

This is another great cause.

Why on earth don’t more Christians see it as a natural part of their faith and a God-imitating responsibility/God-given privilege to adopt and give life to a lost one?! There, I said it…and again: responsibility & privilege. Slam me if you will, but God loved us, and His love is in us…surely it’s within our reach to be able to pass that on.

Can’t wait ’til it’s our turn.

One Hundred and Forty Three Million

There’s 143 million orphans in the world. What are you going to do about it?

James 1:27 says that pure and undefiled religion that pleases the Father is to help the orphan and the widow…and by help, it doesn’t mean thinking about helping or talking about helping, it means actually helping. Guilt trips and violins aside, I reckon every one of us could spare £23 a month to provide life, hope and a future for someone else.

A mate just sent me through this video link on POTSC from the recent Catalyst event…if you think you’ve seen it all before, just ride it out and wait for the unscripted stuff…it’ll tear you up. Watch the video here …and check out Catalyst’s Compassion campaign at 143million.org

…and don’t just check it out and talk about it, but please do something about it.

Shine Your Light

There’s a lot of talk about changing the world thesedays, and a sudden surge of interest in random acts of kindness, justice and social action, and surely that can only be a good thing. At New Generation we love talking about the power of small everyday actions, and the potential impact we can have on our world when ordinary people team up with God to do extraordinary things in their schools, colleges, and universities. That’s why I’m excited at what could come out of this new campaign from our friends at The Message in Manchester, Shine Your Light.

Find out more here>

Generating Justice

If you’ve ever come across Shane Claiborne or Andy Frost and the guys at SJI/*ec/thoughts magazine you’ll know they like to do things a little differently, innovating and challenging the status quo and seeking to take a creatively holistic approach to living out the gospel in everyday life. Over the last couple of years Andy and the guys at SJI have pioneered London’s Pentecost Festival, taking to the streets of inner city London to share the message of Jesus in a vibrant and creative way, urging the church to “leave the building” and do Christianity on the other side of the walls. This year they’ve got Shane joining them and the theme is Generate Justice.

Check it out at here

Danielle Strickland

Well, needless to say it’s been WAY quiet on the blog, and looking at my diary I’m not sure it’ll be picking up anytime soon. You can always come back in the hope that, of course, but don’t be counting on it. The reason for my absence is that I’ve just spent the last week at Butlins Minehead as part of the iScape (15s-18s) team at Spring Harvest; hosting, speaking and helping run the youth venue for the week (back to that shortly). The reason for my suspected ongoing absence is that next week I’m off to Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Norway and Sweden, all in the space of 7 days.

All of this brings me to say I’ve got loads more going on – both in my life and my head – than I’ve got time to write about, which is a pity, since I’d like to think it’s all pretty exciting. Mostly, I’m just really thankful and grateful for the opportunities I’ve had over the last week to connect with young people, hopefully influence them positively to some degree, and not least be exposed to loads of amazing worship, teaching, talking and joking around with the guys at Spring Harvest. Hopefully I’ll be able to remember a few of the wise words I heard for more than a couple of days and jot some of them down at some point.

For now, here’s a few of my Danielle Strickland quotes from SH:

“So often we try to offer hope, when we’re not plugged into the source of hope”

“Jesus made it a rule to party! Know why? Because we win! So I’m ordering u to go live out everything you’ve learnt with joy.”

“We become like what we worship. Worship a living God & you get life! Worship a loving God & you get love…”

For more from her, log on to armybarmyremix.blogspot.com