March 2015


Girl’s Group

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Girl’s Bible study has been one of our most successful discipleship efforts, so we felt led to start one for the younger girls as well! Last month we hosted our first year 5 and 6 Girl’s Group! (4th and 5th grade in America.) To launch the new Bible study, we hosted a “sparkle” party with sparkler cupcakes and sparkle crafts!! My friend, Katy, taught on Phil. 2:13-15, pointing out the part about “shining like stars in the sky.” Toward the end of group, the girls made some impressive tea light (candle) holders to remind them to shine brightly for God’s glory! These girls are AWESOME! I am really eager to see how the group develops–I think it will be an amazing way to help transition the younger girls from kid zone into youth group more smoothly. Not only that, but it will be an excellent opportunity for the older girls to step up and help lead the younger. #disciplesmakingdisciples

*February Highlights*

Welcome to the month of March! Here are some of our highlights from February:

1. Speaking in Stokesley again—Brian shared about the relevance of God in our lives through personal testimony.

2. Participating in a very beneficial listening seminar, that will no doubt assist us in ministry—particularly during mentoring sessions at North Shore.

3. Launching the Year 5 and 6 Girl’s Bible study. Woo!!

4. Making the 1st Team for Stockton’s Rugby club!! (Go Brian!)

5. Welcoming four different youth groups to the parish for a Valentine’s Day themed Youth Church! I organized five “minute to win it” challenges and Brian preached on the link between faith and love.

6. Receiving the most incredible & most thoughtful Valentine’s Day package from Brian’s parents!! (Our families back home are so loving and supportive.)

7. Having my husband’s best man, Mitch, join us in England for a whole week! We got to show him all of our favorite places…including Durham, York, the Lake District, Oxford, London, Saltburn, and Middlesbrough.

8. Learning from Mercy Ministries, who joined one of our Monday morning meetings—they taught on how to effectively tackle tough issues like self-harm, eating disorders and abuse.

9. Celebrating the creativity in our gifted young people by exhibiting their artwork at Café Church.

10. Hosting a ministry team from Durham University (students who are studying to be vicars) for the weekend and enjoying a shared meal with them on Sunday after church.

11. Entertaining our youth group for a pizza and movie night at our place.

12. Sharing the gospel at Ian Ramsey!!! (So many seeds are being planted every week!) We long for these kids to know Jesus.
Awesome, awesome stuff happening. Thank you, Lord for all that you are doing.

Awesome, awesome stuff happening. Thank you, Lord for all that you are doing.

 

Restful Assurance

I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on the concept of faith. In one of my previous posts, I spoke of a really unique experience in my life at a time when I felt spiritually and emotionally drained. God picked me up so much in that moment, but since then I’ve learned that moments of excitement are just that… moments. One big burst of energy is not enough to sustain us throughout the daily grind of our lives. Though God used the moment to pick me up out of the gutter, it’s been something else entirely that’s kept me walking on solid ground.

After that initial experience, I feel like God has been pressing on my heart the concept of faith. I shared this with the vicar of the church I’m working for and he gave me some profound advice… “study it.”

(I’m always searching for quiet time ideas and it had never occurred to me to spend that time purposefully examining the things that God was laying on my heart. To me, this is poor listening. I hear the things that God has to say, but I do not follow through with them enough to let His words actually take hold of my life. It is essential that we not just hear, but that we actually give the things we hear time to take their effect… but that’s completely beside the point.)

So, I began to study faith and was drawn to the story of Abraham. His story had always fascinated me. His only understanding of God was most likely oral tradition passed down to him through his family line… no Bible and no church. Suddenly, the God who must have felt a bit like a fairytale to Abraham, speaks to him. Abraham then did exactly as God asked. It is so simple really: God spoke and Abraham listened. Most likely, Abraham was not waking up every morning and having a quiet time or hosting Bible studies at his house—yet he is counted among the mighty men of faith in scripture. God’s Word says that the Lord counted Abraham’s faith as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).

So often in my life, I have put value on the wrong things to make me feel or appear righteous in my relationship with God. I value my work, my discipline, and my relationships. These things are all good, but none of them can measure our righteousness. We don’t get to heaven by the number of friends we have, by the work we’ve done, or by the quiet times we’ve completed. God says that we get to Him by faith alone. When I looked up faith in my theological dictionary, I found the definition to be quite shocking honestly. (I didn’t like fall out of the chair, but I was like “oh snap that’s crazy”) I expected to see this audacious declaration of being willing to jump out into the unknown, and conquer huge tasks in the name of the Lord, yet what I found was that faith is a “restful assurance” in the promises of God. This woke me up.

The key factor of our relationship with God is not an action, it is a submission. God has put big dreams on my heart to make His name known to the world. If I’m constantly worrying about tomorrow and tricking myself into thinking I’m spiritually strong by filling my life with more “churchy” things, I’ll never make it. Work harder and do more is not the formula to a God-centered and faith-filled life. In fact, that formula was robbing me of my joy and peace. It is impossible for fruit to flow from a life without faith. You can be the best boy in the choir, but without faith, you’re not really following God.

I challenge you to join me today in being restfully assured of the promises God has made. Let us not attempt to draw peace from the assurance that we’ve worked hard enough to please God, but rather may we draw our joy from the FACT that God is pleased with us when we put our faith in Him.

Love you guys,

Brian Morris

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