Author: morris


Skit Night – Cafe Church

For April’s Cafe Church we hosted a “skit night,” which included a fun improvisation game, an amazing drama sketch, and a terrific message about prayer. Big thanks to Brian and Katy for working so hard on the play, and a huge thank you to Carolyn for directing it. You guys did an incredible job! Lastly, we are so thankful for Stefanie, who always brings such wisdom when she speaks. Friends, please continue to pray for Cafe Church in Stockton and across the Tees Valley. We would really love to see more young people attending the event and hearing the gospel. Pray for vision and fresh ideas as we continue to lead this outreach. (You can view a short clip of the 10 minute sketch on our Facebook page, Morris Ministry.)

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Brian Shares His Testimony

Do you guys remember the post I shared a couple months ago about a thirteen-year-old atheist who told me that he needed to “stop coming (to lunch club) or that he’d start believing?” Well, after Brian shared his testimony yesterday at Ian Ramsey, the same young man approached him and asked, “Did all that REALLY happen…?” Brian said, “yes, of course it did.” smile emoticon In response, the boy replied, “hmm… then I need to try talking to God.” This may sound like something small, but it is absolutely remarkable. We have been praying for this specific young person for months, and it is SO encouraging to see God pursuing him and softening his heart. Pray for our friend today. Pray that he DOES decide to try praying, and most of all, pray that God would reveal Himself.

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Pray for Nepal

As you pray for all the families that have been affected by the devastating earthquake in Nepal, please also join us in praying for Naomi Clegg, the daughter of one of our church members. Naomi moved to Nepal to be a missionary in January. By God’s grace, she has been protected, though the house next to her was destroyed. If you feel led to send support to Naomi (in any form) as she serves those directly affected by the tragedy (in the name of Jesus), please let us know and we would love to connect you with her.

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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

by-faith

 

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Brian and I spoke at a lunch club today on the imperative topic of why Jesus died… Not only that, but we felt it was also necessary to pair the gospel with the strong evidence we have historically in proving the death and most importantly, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything hinges on the resurrection. Anybody can claim to be the son of God, but if Jesus came back from the dead, then He is who He says He is.

After the bell rang, a 13-year-old atheist came up to me and said,

“Morgan, what you said was very convincing. I’m going to have to stop coming or I’ll start believing!!!”

Ha!! It about knocked me over. All I could say in that moment was, “Thank you Jesus.” Please be praying that the seeds planted this afternoon would take root!!

In Lee Strobel’s book, “The Case For Christ,” he says, “In light of the avalanche of evidence, I decided that it would require more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a follower of Jesus Christ.” Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” That’s our story and I pray it becomes the story of the 30-50 young people that we meet with every week at Ian Ramsey Academy.

Marriage: Conforming into the Image of Christ

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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!!!! Romans 8:28 – “And we know that for those who LOVE God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” …I know that this is not one of the more popular verses about “love” shared on Valentine’s day, but I wanted to point out the beauty behind it within the context of marriage. The goal of everything that God does in His providence and for His children is to conform us into the image of Christ, marriage included.

When you think of the image of Christ, what are some characteristics that automatically come to mind? Three qualities that stand out to me are His unconditional LOVE (complete love; no conditions), His MERCY (not giving what IS deserved; deliverance from judgement), and His unending GRACE (giving what is NOT deserved; extending kindness to the unworthy).

So, here are some questions: How would we ever learn unconditional love if we were married to people who met all of our expectations and conditions all of the time? How would we ever learn mercy and heart felt compassion if we were married to people who were never difficult with us, never failed us, and never sinned against us? How would we truly learn patience and long suffering if we had spouses who were never slow to acknowledge their sin or ask for forgiveness?? How would we ever learn how to extend grace and pour out favor if we were married to people who were always deserving of every good thing?

Marriage is one of the greatest instruments of sanctification because it gives us the opportunity to be more like Jesus every day. We are married to people who do not meet all the conditions, so that we learn unconditional love! We are married to people who need mercy so that we learn to give it! …And thus we become like the God we worship. This friends, is one of the most beautiful parts about committing your life to someone forever.

Matt Chandler said, “In forgiving and loving our sinful spouses, we begin to understand on a much smaller scale what it meant for our holy God to forgive and redeem us.” I pray that we are more intentional in loving our spouses unconditionally. We worship God for His unconditional love, mercy, and grace, but we sometimes demand that our spouse live in such a way that they not be in need of it. By God’s grace, we are capable of this supernatural love, but we must be utterly dependent on the power of Christ to do and be what He has called us to do and be, especially in our marriages.

I am so incredibly thankful for a spouse who loves me unconditionally… even on the days that I do not deserve it! Happy Valentine’s Day! :)

(Inspiration from Paul Washer sermon mix)

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Ian Ramsey Lunch Club!

YFC has recently partnered with the Ian Ramsey Christian Union and we are delighted to not only be in a new school this term, but also to have started a weekly lunch club. Our team was in the academy every morning last week hosting assemblies and spreading the word!

We wanted to take the time to thank everyone for praying on behalf of the school assemblies last week because those prayers proved powerful and effective! We were nearly speechless when 40 or 50 young people showed up on Wednesday to the recently launched lunch club. Our team had to improvise and split up the younger students from the older students simply to make enough room!

It absolutely blew us away and we wholeheartedly believe that God is doing something very special here. Please keep tomorrow in your prayers as we begin a series of teachings…ultimately the gospel. Tomorrow Bethany and Rachel will be speaking on the topic, “Who is Jesus?” Brian and I will be teaching the following week on, “Why did Jesus die?”

Thanks again for praying!!

Locking Arms

We meet every Monday morning with our gap year team members and other youth and kids workers across the Tees Valley! Here is a great capture of Brian leading us in worship yesterday. #LockingArms #GospelDream #YouthForChrist

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