Monday 11 July
VOX is LIVE here in Sligo IT for Day Two of #Sligo16 - New Wine Ireland's annual summer conference. Today and throughout the week, the VOX LIVE Blog will bring you all the action from the conference along with stories and news from around Ireland. And you can find summaries of all the main sessions as well as many seminars and workshops.
09.13 Good morning Sligo! It may be a "soft" day here at the Sligo IT but we're excited about what God is going to do! The morning started with a "Boot Camp" for the fearless and a Prayer Walk around the site and now the Arena is filling up ready for the Morning Bible Teaching.
09.30 We're just getting started in the Arena and the seats are filling up fast! David McClay is talking about coffee... mmm... sounds good! Opportunities to hear about exciting ministries like Alpha and Cinnamon network!
09.35 Worship just beginning in the Arena today. This is what we are singing right now... why not join in?
10.02 Hearing about the New Wine evangelism course. "Obedience to Jesus is more valuable than my own security and comfort"- Sandra (evangelism course graduate).
10.05 Archbishop Greg Venables has been a missionary in South America along with his wife Sylvia and family for over 37 years and has been serving in Argentina since 2000. This week, he is leading the morning Bible Teaching sessions on the theme of “More than Conquerors” (taken from Romans 8:37).
God has much more for us and He wants so much more from us. Reading from 1 Thessalonians 1:5. So many of us are almost anorexic when it comes to the word of God. We are so full of the things of this world. Are we hungry for the things of God? Romans 8 talks about “all these things” - persecution, famine, death… etc. and in all of these we are conquerors but not just that. We are MORE than conquerors. Not “you will be” but “you are”!
10.30 When you ask God what He wants, He will tell you. But the trouble with knowing what God wants is that we then have to go on and do it! Do you need to pay more attention to listening to God?
Romans 2: 1- 7 - What is your first love? It is not a question of priority or enthusiasm, it is a question of sin because that is the greatest commandment - to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart.
If God is not your first love, then something else is.
King David was a man after God's own heart but the minute he began to get comfortable and to Who matters more to you than anything else? The prodigal realised who he was and asked, “What am I doing here?” He got up and went back... and the father was waiting. God is waiting for you.
"What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ the things God has prepared for those who love him." I Corinthians 2:9
10.54 Read a more details summary of Greg's message here.
11.48 After a lovely coffee break, we're getting going with the seminars. We'll be bringing you summaries of various seminars throughout the week. This morning, I'm calling in to Matt Bird's seminar on Community Transformation.
The Cinnamon Network helps churches to share great ideas for working to address social needs within the community.
13.00 Challenging end to this morning's seminar about community transformation from Tommy Stewart who heads up the Cinnamon Network in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
"We can talk about community transformation but what are we doing personally? Do we know the names of our eight closest neighbours? Do we know something about each of them? Do we know their hopes and dreams? As much as we want our churches to do it, it is also about us! We need to be making a difference to our closest neighbours."
And now it is time for lunch!!
14.50 We're back after lunch and George Newell is talking about Impacting Ireland.
"If we say we are Christians, we must love God but also love our neighbour. We cannot do one without the other. Yet so often in churches, we love God but we often love ourselves rather than our neighbour. It is all about us (our programmes for our people)."
Here are a few things we need to be doing if we want to Impact Ireland:
- Prayer - so often prayer is something that happens within our churches. Take the presence of Christ outside the walls and pray for businesses, schools, etc.
- Publicity - we need to advertise what we are doing!
- Mercy Ministries - we respond to need in practical ways
- Ministry in the Public Space - we need to take our churches outside our buildings (pub work, fun days and community events, etc.)
- Welcoming and relevant church - our churches need to be up-to-date and relevant to the people who come. The way we welcome people is vital.
- Fill the Gaps - where are there unmet needs.
There are different ways to present the Gospel but we need to present the Gospel with love, integrity and compassion.
19.20 We're back - apologies for a bit of an offline break there. The Arena has filled up for this evening's celebration and Dave Dickinson is chatting about the Alpha challenge - a vision to see one billion people worldwide taking part in an Alpha course in the next year.
19.33 Worshipping together - everyone is in great voice tonight!
20.00 Preparing to hear from Craig Stewart who heads up "The Warehouse" Ministry in South Africa who will bring the message this evening.
Reading from John 20: 24 - 28 and 1 Kings 17: 17 - 23
Twenty years ago South Africa was the poster child for transformation. We were a place that had taken the wounds of our past and seen them healed but what has become clear in the last years is perhaps we never healed them.
I’ve found myself captivated by the story of Thomas - the one we called “doubting” whose friend had been brutally killed by the authorities and whose friends were telling him, Jesus was alive. He responds by saying, “I need to see the wounds.”
If one of my old friends had been resurrected, I don’t think I’d have asked to see his wounds! But in order to understand the power of resurrection, I need to come to know the depth of the wound.
We don't like to deal with pain. Yet those places of pain allow room for the enemy's lies. They define who we are when no one is looking.
The moments of woundedness in our individual stories can become wounds in our communities that feed injustice and oppression. If we are truly going to change, then we must go to these places of pain, trusting that we will find our Father there.
- We need to recognise the pain.
- We need to experience Jesus in that moment.
- We need to allow the lies and the choices that emerged as a result of the pain to come to the surface and repent of them.
- We need to embrace God's truth - what He says about me and about what happened.
20.25 The first invitation is the call to face the deep wounded places in our own lives and in our churches and communities - to go to these places and invite Jesus into them.
The second invitation is to go to the places where we have caused pain.
The third invitation is to enter more fully into the places of pain in the world, not as a way to medicate our own pain but having had the courage to address our own pain, weeping with those who weep and crying out to God for resurrection.
Read a more detailed summary of Craig's message here.