Spring Harvest 2014: Morning 6 – Rob Parsons
This morning Rob Parsons beautifully wrapped up Minehead Week 2 at Spring Harvest:
Talking this morning about the fact that God ha confidence in you as we carry on from John 16 Jesus’ final discourse.
The BBC already have the obituaries of famous people on film, especially older people. They will put a tiny bit about the death but pad it with everything in their life. The stories of Jesus are opposite, the gospel spends over a third on his death. it goes from a speeding train to slowing down to the days, hours and even minutes as he dies.
That last night, probably a Thursday night, when that door clicked behind them as they ate that last meal they had no idea what was going to happen. George Orwell in 1984 writes about Room 101, the thing of which we are most afraid. The disciples didn’t know they were going into Room 101 but it was full of secrets, betrayals, the most incredible phrase, “and Judas went out and it was night”. They had no idea what was going to go on in that room, and while they were in that room he said three things: one of you will betray me, one of you will deny me, and the words they never wanted to hear, I’m going to leave you now. Peter asks where are you going where we can’t go – we’ve always been together. Room 101 it seemed like he had lost confidence in them.
School report book, a chronicle of failure, not just a preachers thing, come and look at it, mum could only just read and write. Not sure how he got into the grammar school, didn’t really understand how to study. Could you imagine if the disciples had report cards, for example James and John. Dear Mr and Mrs Thunder your children were refused seconds and threatened to bring brimstone down on the village. Thomas’ parents, Dear Mr and Mrs Doubter – he has a very negative effect on the group! Peter’s parents, Dear Mr and Mrs Fisher, the master had to tell him to get behind him as he made a silly comment, he ruined the ascension with a silly comment, he nearly drowned whilst trying to walk on water, he cut someone’s ear off in the garden this evening! They were rubbish. Why wouldn’t Jesus leave them.
In the book is Rob’s French O’ Level mark, Fail. The oral really did him, the teacher gave him a phrase to use if in difficulty, “je n’ comprehend pas”, the teacher then used gestures, he then spoke in English, what did you have breakfast, knew the answer to the question, but he didn’t want to know it in English he needed it in French. Heard a voice say “la test”!
In his late teens and early twenties met three people who changed his life. Two of his O’ Levels were from his English teacher, filled books with ticks and stars, and comments about we should get this in print. An old guy from the church who loved stories, and encouraged Rob to speak about the prodigal son. A guy in business who said we have confidence in you. Three people saying they had confidence in him, twelve years later he was a senior partner in a law firm.
Kids in your church have got rubbish written in their report. Many older people feel that no one wants them. Husbands and wives feel rubbish by their spouse bringing them down. But it doesn’t take much to bring confidence to someone.
At the back of his report is a page that says Final Report and it is blank – his school didn’t bother filling it in. But we all have blank pages, we can’t change yesterday but God has confidence in you and that page is still to be written in your life. The most remarkable thing happened on that night, the second they heard him say it they knew he had confidence, he wanted them to hear his prayer. My prayer is not for them alone but those who will believe through their message – he believed in them, he believed others would come to faith through them. A bunch of ragamuffin losers turned the world upside down.
We have to get used to God using the book, he loves to using the book. When we release the book we release people. Don’t ever say there is nothing you can do. Things maybe breaking your heart, it may be your health, it may be your kids.
Heard Diane answer the phone, said it was a wrong number, and then spoke for 10 minutes. The ladies daughter had hung up on her and not heard from anyone for a week. Don’t walk passed the man or woman with the big issue, try and buy it, but don’t just buy it, but touch them on the arm, no one touches them.
Ronnie came for one night and stayed for 40 years. Rob showed off his new car to him, showed Ronnie that power steering, Ronnie said, oh I know, we have it on the bin lorry. All his life he’s heard that people don’t have confidence in him. The other night he played in a cricket match, got two runs and almost a catch, he was thrilled because Diane had built him up!
Churches fight about four things: youth work, building committee, Style of leadership, style of worship. Let’s not fight, let’s not do cheap grace. He is Holy God who wants us to live for others, we are the hands and feet of Jesus.
“Father I want them with me where I am” – they remembered in my Father’s house there are many rooms, he wanted them with you. Imagine you’re 9 years old, Rob is the teacher, blow his whistle, want Charlie and Suzy to be captains and pick teams. Your fear is you are going to be last. It is worse than that, they say you have him, no you have him. Larger girl in a school photo of Lloyd’s, no one is near her, Lloyd said it was because no one
Catherine Hill, Director of CARE, was at a posh black tie dinner for Burns Night in Bristol with a woman from the Welsh National Opera. She’s singing but there is also a homeless man singing. Two burly men march him out. Later they bring in the haggis, with men behind him playing the bagpipes, then there is the homeless man again. The two burly men get up again to throw him out, but a man at the back shouts out “No, there is room at my table”. The disciples felt rubbish, but then they saw he wanted them at their table.
There is room at my table. He believes in you, that is the gospel.