On Easter Sunday, we didn't just celebrate Jesus' triumph over death - we celebrated the fact that he's still in the business of transforming people's lives today. Susie, Vince and Amy all made public declarations of their faith in Christ, and bore witness to his work in their lives - before being baptised or reaffirming their baptism vows with water. Their stories were remarkable and left many people deeply moved. It's well worth taking the time to watch their stories in full below!
Here's some things that struck me, listening to their stories:
1. The power of Jesus to bring healing to some deep, deep hurts - loneliness, abuse, bereavement. That's an ongoing journey, of course, but even the first stages of that are remarkable to listen to!
If you've never let Jesus begin to minister to your deepest hurts, could I encourage you to trust him with them? We're not promising an instant fix. But Jesus' grace and compassion can begin to make a very real difference. People from our prayer ministry team would be very happy to listen and pray with and for you - just get in contact with us.
2. The power of a simple invitation. One was invited to a carol service elsewhere by a colleague, and then someone offered to meet them outside our church building to walk into the building with them. One was invited along to a women's group by a friend. The third was invited to church by a friend. Never underestimate the power of a simple invitation!
And when people turn you down, don't let that stop you inviting others. One day, someone will say 'yes' - and it could be as transformative for them as it was for these 3 people!
3. The power of a loving church community. Each person spoke of the warmth of welcome they received. "When I did eventually come, I was made to feel so welcome, and St James' by the Park quickly became my spiritual home." "I walked into this church, and haven't looked back. I was invited to join a cell group and through friendship and teaching, got to know Jesus on a deeper level ..." "The people in Beacon have been very very patient in answering lots of my questions and I thank them for their authentic answers and openness."
Honest faith, often shared best in a small group, is brilliant for discipleship. If you're not yet in a small group, could I encourage you to join one? They are the best places to grow in faith and relationship with Jesus. Find out more about them here.
It was a special, special service that will live long in the memory. Thank you to Susie, Vince and Amy for your courage and vulnerability in sharing your stories. You brought us all huge encouragement! And thank you, Jesus, for working in their lives!