And we’re back for tonight’s session which focuses on our personal stand before God: responding to God in worship and prayer; and Eurasia and Western World. As normal with live blogging there’ll be spelling mistakes etc., thank you for your grace.
After a time of worship, including orchestra and organ, we’ve been reminded that tonight we’ll have a time of extended prayer.
Now we’re on to a thank you to the staff and volunteers via the Board. We’ve been challenged to thank all those on the Congress Team as we walk around the convention centre. Special thank you for Blair and Doug who between them have organized the Congress.
Not brought up a Christian, father was a secular Jew, mum was an occasional Anglican. Read the New Testament whilst at uni to stop a friend becoming a Christian, having read it in three days decided it was true, and having understood Jesus had died for him he gave his life to Jesus. Immediately Nicky was excited and wanted to tell everyone, but most of those were failures. “I am not ashamed of the gospel …”
The Gospel is true and reasonable
I am not ashamed, one of the most inspiring things about Cape Town 2010 is hearing stories of faith of those who suffer much for the gospel. We in the West have it much easier and yet seem much more scared about being ridiculed. Paul writing this is about to face challenges. Nicky is a trained barrister (as is most of his family!) but when he looks, the evidence stacks up, it is true.
The Gospel is powerful and life changing
The Gospel is life-changing, it is a privilege to hear stories of life transformation. On Thursday went to a local prison who’d been running Alpha and heard a number of lives that had been changed. Aubrey was one example, he was Mr. Crime, the King, he’d done most things, but just wanted love. On the Holy Spirit day he met with God, his life was transformed, this hardened criminal cried tears of joy.
The Gospel is both words and actions
Paul later on in Romans writes that he has fully proclaimed the gospel in what he said and what he has done. Most prisoners who do Alpha will get met at the prison gate and integrated into a local church, HTB has 34, of whom only 2 have reoffended – their lives have been transformed due to the love and care of the church.
The Gospel is vital and urgent.
It is the power for salvation to those who believe. It’s urgent that we get it out to them so they have the chance to believe. It’s urgent because it’s not just a little nice thing we’re giving them, it’s life changing salvation. John Stott describes it as “freedom”, freedom from sin, freedom from addiction, and so on. Example of a women on Alpha who was a brothel owner and heroin addict who said literally she wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for the church. All Christians believe the gospel, many don’t get the urgency. Yet this is a hinge moment in history.
Virtual collapse of communism, and the failure of capitalism to meet the deepest human needs; he met Nicky’s, he’s met mine, he entrusts the church with taking that message out to the rest of the world. We as Christians, as the Church, entrusted with the gospel of Jesus, should stop fighting one another and should unite together to take this message to the world because St. Paul wrote “I’m not ashamed of the gospel …”
Now a drama based around a rally for Jesus – possibly my favourite drama of the week.
Las Newman (Jamaica) with Anatole Glukhovski (Ukraine) and Sergey Rakhuba (Russia).
Talking about the emergence of Eurasia – over 120 delegates from 12 countries in comparison with a small group from the Soviet Union at the 1989 conference. It was a miracle that communism collapsed. It is increasingly popular to be a Christian, but many people are paying a big price – ministers in prison, families being intimidated and so on. Grateful for God to have an opporunity for mission.
Still on its way out of the Soviet mindset, which has tremendously impacted it, but there is a new generation of Christians who are becoming missionaires for their contemporary society. There are large challenges, including HIV Aids and Traffiking, going into secualr and Islamic areas, but they are being creative to expand the influence of the evangelical church. Rejoicing that evangelical church is being led by a new generation of leaders, asking God for more, for a development of continued faithfulness.
Now a time of worship, starting with Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, He reigns.
For the next hour of so we’ll pray together – so they’ll be less blogging.
Story of Chinese church which when cut back, but lives were offered for God’s glory and he still led huge revival – he just needs our lives – if he can bring a valley of dry bones alive again.
Now reading Psalm 65, Psalm 117, Psalm 92.
Men of faith rise up … let’s celebrate.
Wow! A variety of prayer as we confessed individual and corporate sin, prayed for the nations, shouted out prayers of praise and a whole load more.