Big Church Day Out is an annual event held in the grounds of Wiston House in West Sussex, and this year it is on the 25th-26th May. Having been each year for several years, it is something to which my family an I look forward.
There is plenty of good music in several different locations. Even if an artist on the main stage is not to you taste you will no doubt find something you like in one of he other venues. Depending on how energetic you feel you can choose either to sit in a camping chair towards the back or if you prefer stand close to the stage and jump up and down with everyone else.
One way or another you will get caught up in the worship almost without realising it.
We go for the weekend camping from Friday evening until Monday morning, but it is also possible buy a day ticket for either the Saturday or the Sunday.
If you've been before you will know what to expect, but if not I suggest watching this video showing highlights from last year. and of course take a look at the website.
The cheapest way to buy tickets is by having a group, and as long as there are at least 10 people in the group the tickets will be cheaper than they would otherwise have been.
To book tickets in the St James by the park group use this link: http://bcdo.group/2019/stjamesbythepark.
Simon Clift writes:
Jesus didn’t say, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there will be disagreement” – but he might as well have done!
Over the last 6 months, a group of 12 of us have met monthly to honestly face up to genuine disagreements Christians have on a range of important issues. We have looked at how we understand the Bible as God’s Word, sanctity of life issues, gender roles within the Church, the place of miracles, a pastoral responses to gender dysphoria and Christian involvement in politics.
Over the sessions we have grown in our ability to think through the issues and articulate them in a respectful way and to listen to other people’s views.
One member said, “I loved the group for "disagreeing well" and showing me that topics I have frequently looked at, still bear revisiting in a different context with different people for fresh insights. In depth discussion can bring me closer to God, both then and on later reflection.“
Another added, “One of the ways in which I hone my views on important issues is by listening to those whom I respect but who may have different opinions and this group provided a forum to facilitate this.”
In a world which finds it increasingly hard to disagree well, here is an opportunity for us to model Christian grace and unity despite disagreement.
As a group we would love to draw in others (especially from younger generations) who would also be interested in considering important contentious issues in an atmosphere of grace.
Email me (SimonClift@doctors.org.uk) or speak to others you know who were part of the group if you are interested to find out more.
“We have grown in our ability to articulate issues in a respectful way and to listen”
We often talk about how Jesus has changed an individual’s life. But changed lives change families and change neighbourhoods and change cities … and even change the world!
Think about it: 2000 years ago, women and children were pretty much treated as disposable property. What changed that? Jesus’ teaching about the radical worth and equality of every individual. That same teaching has eventually filtered through to create democracies where every person’s vote is equal.
2000 years ago, humility wasn’t seen as a good virtue, but as a sign of weakness. But then along came Jesus.
What about forgiveness? Jesus taught us to love even our enemies and forgive those who hurt us. Without such teaching, South Africa would never have had leaders like Nelson Mandela and a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ to bring a relatively peaceful end to apartheid.
On and on the list goes: the impact Jesus has had on our world is quite remarkable. He modelled these things, and as his followers put them into practice too, culture and society was slowly changed.
Yet most people don’t realise so much of these changes for good stem from Jesus.
In early February, we’ll start a new course called “Jesus the game changer”. Like Alpha, it will run in a home with DVDs, discussion and food. But this is designed for people who might find Alpha a step too far: people who want to investigate Jesus more closely, but don’t want to be pressured into following Jesus.
Have you got friends who enjoyed the Christmas services or who admire your Christian faith, but have said ‘no’ to Alpha in the past? This will be the ideal thing to invite them to! Starts Wednesday 6th Feb. See www.stjamesbythepark.org/gamechanger for details.
Pauline Turner writes …
Our God is ‘the Lord who heals you’ (Ex 15:26). A large part of Jesus’ ministry was healing people and restoring them back into society – he came to ‘preach good tidings to the poor, heal the broken hearted and proclaim liberty to the captives’ (Lk 4:18-19). His ministry was about restoration of the whole person, not just physical healing.
In John 10, Jesus speaks about Satan who comes to rob, kill and destroy - but then Jesus declares ‘I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect – life in its fullness until you overflow!’
Jesus demonstrated what the kingdom of God looks like – recovering ground that the enemy has had in peoples’ lives, restoring them back to health and reconnecting them with the God of love and his purposes for their lives.
Scripture also speaks of God as a Restorer. Many people, due to life’s experiences and living in a fallen world, need restoration and healing. It may be that some of us need healing and restoration in our relationship with God – dealing with things like disappointments, life events, seemingly unanswered prayer, unforgiveness and resentment – which make us lose our first love for Jesus.
The church is called to the same mission that Jesus had – bringing God’s rule and reign into people’s lives.
In 2019, let’s seek to know the Healer more and more, to experience his healing love in our own lives, and to be a bridge for people to meet with the God who loves to restore and heal.
The prayer ministry team are always happy to pray with people after our services or at other times of the week – please ask.
“Jesus’ ministry was about restoration of the whole person, not just physical healing”
A few months ago, I put a post on facebook asking my friends what reasons they had for not believing in Jesus.
Not surprisingly, there were lots of good answers!
In our upcoming sermon series, we're going to tackle some of these objections.
January 20th - I could never be a Christian because ... there are no gods
January 27th - I could never be a Christian because ... you don't need religion to be moral
February 3rd - I could never be a Christian because ... Christians are hypocrites
February 10th - I could never be a Christian because ... I believe in science instead
All are welcome to come along, with no obligation to take part or agree with what's said!
9am service - a quieter, more traditional service
10.30am service (except on February 10th) - a busier, more informal service, with groups for children