Leadership Journal - October 2016

We live in the power of the resurrection! Yet we experience the pain of the cross! As people of faith in Jesus, our expectations of God in and through our lives are extraordinarily big, yet our experience of following Him and pursuing His purposes often leave us wounded. The paradox of wonder and of wounding, of resurrection and of death can be confusing for some of us. This should not be a surprise because we follow the man who is God; who whilst on earth was homeless, rejected, executed, and who in resurrection glory rules the universe. He brings His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, yet His church on earth thrives in poverty and persecution. How are we to make sense of life as His followers? The bible’s playlist for real people in the muck of life is called “Psalms.” In this book of delights, we overhear the devotion of kings, and the therapy of truth at work in the depths of broken hearts where we witness the comforting presence of Him at whose hand are eternal pleasures. As we contemplate the symphony of heaven’s agenda in our lives, our hearts sing His praise in the midst of our pain. We are the people on earth who know that pain is not forever. We are the ones who know that because of the resurrected Jesus, the best is yet to come!

We are delighted to announce that Chris Dias has joined the staff team as Ministry
Assistant this month. Chris has been part of the church family for several years. He is recently engaged to Alice who is a final year medical student at Bristol University. Chris will be working closely with myself and Tim B, and he will take responsibility for helping each of us to welcome people into our church family and especially into core groups. Please pray for Chris as he starts full time with us. His role is for one year.

The PCC (Trustees) over the next few months will be praying and discerning the kind of staff team we will need over the coming years. We are in no doubt why we are here; our purpose is to help the people of Bristol to follow Jesus. Our question is more about what kind of leadership team is necessary to equip us to fulfill our God given purpose. Please do pray for prophetic insight, godly wisdom and common sense!

- Tim Silk

Leadership Journal - September 2016

The summer has been kind to me and my wife, Kirsty. As I’m sure many of you will know, Kirsty is about to start the second year of training to become a Clinical Psychologist. For the first half of this last year, we were unsure if the endless pressures of meetings and work deadlines were ever going to let up. However, over the course of the summer we have enjoyed having a bit more time together on evenings and at weekends and managed to grab a few days away here and there.

As we have commented time and time again in this Leadership Journal we seem to be living in turbulent times. It was with great sadness that we said goodbye to the Houghton family at the beginning of August and the Murrays and Heyward family at the end of August. The Lord is leading them into a new season of exciting possibilities and we will continue to pray for our brothers and sisters as they start out on new adventures with their trust in the Lord. For those of us here at Pip n Jay, we must grieve well. The Lord blesses us with all kinds of emotions and so whatever you are feeling (sadness, anger, frustration or perhaps resentment), we need to allow ourselves to ‘feel’ these things and ask the Lord, the Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace to comfort us, be with us and guide us into the new season here.  (Isaiah 9:6)

“So what’s next for us then?”, I hear you say. Well, there will be a little bit of taking stock, getting on our knees before the Creator who is sovereign, tuning our hearts to how the spirit is moving and finding Jesus in the quiet place to listen to Him and ask His guidance.  Then we must pray with faith and act!

I believe the Lord is calling us now to ‘step up’.  This evening I will be leading my first prayer meeting at Pip n Jay and I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about it.  Having never had any formal training in thechurch context, I have a tendency to get scared of saying the wrong thing and offending people (or worse offending the Lord - so sorry if anyone, especially the Lord, was offended at the prayer meeting!) However, I have great peace in reading the gospels and seeing that Jesus didn’t choose people that had ‘special training’ to be his disciples - quite the opposite. He chose fishermen and tax collectors that made up quite the motley crew!

Therefore I ask you in the coming weeks to come before God in prayer, tune into the work of the spirit around you and ask the Lord what his plans are for you in this next season. For some it may be obvious and I am excited that some are already stepping up by offering to lead others in areas where they have already been serving, make pastoral visits and start, new Connect groups. For some of you He might be saying knuckle down and carry on and for others he might be calling you to start serving where you don’t already.    

We are His church, ‘...in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us’ (Romans 12:5-6). We have new possibilities and opportunities set before us. You might say the door is wide open. But nothing will happen unless we take that leap of faith, get out of the boat and step through the door.

- Tim Browne

Leadership Journal - August 2016

In the letter to the Hebrews, the writer reminds us that “the Word of God is alive and active.” Hebrews 4:12. It’s a truth we might all agree with, but it is wonderful when you see it in action. It was in only back in May that we finished our sermon series through the book of Nehemiah. I thoroughly enjoyed this series, a series that was incredibly practical and spoke of God’s chosen leader Nehemiah, who was leading God’s people through a period of real uncertainty. It’s amazing how God’s Word through Nehemiah all those years ago, can be a contemporary word for today, that speaks with certainty into an uncertain world.

Over the last 2 months we’ve had some uncertain times. Internationally with the awful scenes of horror in Nice; nationally with the political ramifications of Brexit; and locally with news that the Heywards are moving to Oxford at the end of the summer - wherever you look, the last few months have been unsettling. I can relate personally to this unsettled feeling as well. Gin and I are currently preparing to enter full time training in the Church of England at Trinity College. Perhaps you can also relate to these feelings of uncertainty?

Nehemiah reminded us that at a time when the world seemed set against him our response is always to trust in the one who is certain. When the Israelites and Jerusalem were surrounded by their enemies, Nehemiah turned to Pray and responded Practically to the opposition coming against him “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (Neh 4:9). Nehemiah knew that the Lord is great and awesome and he trusted that God would give His people the victory. But Nehemiah knew that the Lord often brings about His plans and purposes through His people and the command to post a guard day and night, shows the importance to pray alongside the call to action. 

There is a wonderful moment at the completion of the wall, where the nations surrounding Jerusalem realise “that this work had been done with the help of our God.” I wonder Pip n Jay, in the future when we reflect back on these uncertain times, what will our testimony be? I hope and pray that people will see that the work that is happening in and through Pip n Jay could only have been done with the help of our God.

Let’s pray for God's help and guidance in this uncertain time and be ready to respond practically to all He is calling us to be as His church.

-Tom Murray

 

Leadership Journal - July 2016

I wonder what your reactions were when you heard that Brexit had triumphed and that we are now committed to leave the EU?  If the reactions on Facebook and Twitter are anything to go by, then emotions will be high and opinions – as with the referendum itself - somewhat mixed.  But what does Jesus say into all this?  What does Jesus say when it feels as if our world has changed?  The pound is dropping, shares are tumbling, there are resignations on the right and on the left, all that has seemed stable and known, the infrastructure of our society, feels as if it has received the most tremendous challenge, and we feel as if we are in the middle of one of those moments that we will look back to in history books (if we still have such things) in 50 or 100 years time.

Without wanting to be too political, Jesus says “remain”.  Not to remain in the EU (or to come out for that matter), but to remain in Him.  When I first arrived at Pip n Jay, this was the theme of the sermon series that we were looking at, John 15, and the words of Jesus: Remain in me (15.4), remain in my love (15.9).   As we take a few weeks looking at the letter of 1 John, we are also reminded of the need to remain “in the Son and in the Father” (2.24) and to remain in him (2.27) just as his anointing remains in us (2.27).

As people of God, when the political and economic situation around us changes, and when our own hopes and dreams and confidence for the future may change, Jesus says “remain in me.” 

What does that mean? I wonder if Jesus would say to us:

“Trust me.  Trust me, because I’m the King of kings who is the hope of the                         nations.  Trust me, because I know your suffering, your grief, your shattered dreams, your frustrations.  Trust me, because although it may seem that the world has changed, I’m still on the throne.  I still reign.  I have begun a good work in you and will carry it on to completion until that day when I come again and make all things new.  Trust me,   because I came to this world and I know what it is to be human.  Trust me because in my humanity, I died and was raised again from the dead so not even death has a hold on me, or those who profess faith in me. Trust me, because I am seated at the right hand of the Father and I’m praying, interceding, for you, and for your messed up world and your broken lives.  Trust me because I am faithful and good. 
Remain in me.”

- Dan Heyward

 

Leadership Journal - June 2016

As I reflect on the last few months I praise the Lord for all He is doing in the hearts and lives of people in this city and church; revealing himself through Spirit and scripture. There was a real shift in the atmosphere a few Sundays ago as we broke bread as family and served one another. The real highlight for me was when Tom gave a cautionary ‘NO, NO, NO, being a Christian is not just about being a nice person!’. Instead he challenged and called us; empowered by the Holy Spirit to show love in service to others because Jesus first showed us love by becoming obedient to death on a cross.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” In his letter to the Galatians Paul doesn't beat around the bush in reminding them, (and us) that we must walk in step with the Spirit, serving one another and living holy lives.  It’s really important on a regular basis that we take stock on how we are using our freedom in Christ. (Galatians 5) .

Thank you so much to all those people who faithfully serve in this church, we really couldn't do the things we do. Unashamedly I ask you to take stock and consider how you could serve the people of Pip n Jay and beyond.

One of the biggest things we struggle with as a church is having sufficientcommitted and passionate volunteers to do all we believe the Lord is calling us to. There is a huge variety of ways you can show love and use your God given skills in service here at Pip n Jay. We have volunteers that help behind the scenes making sure all the facilities are in good order and stocked up, those that help with odd jobs around the site and those that keep all our accounts and finance in order as well as volunteers that serve the homeless community on the Soup Run, lead connect group bible studies and lead community groups. Whatever your thing might be, whether you are gifted as a leader or as a carpenter or an artist or a writer or a singer or a web designer or an accountant or a gardener or a barista or a chef or a blogger or a historian, whatever it is, I ask you to consider and pray how you could use your gift at or with people from Pip n Jay. Talk to one of the leaders and commit to putting it into action. 

Tim Browne

Leadership Journal - May 2016

“I am the vine, you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5,8)

I wonder if we really believe this?  “Apart from me, you can do nothing”?  This is why the Archbishop’s call to prayer for the whole of the Church of England seems both unprecedented and apt.  All over the UK, Anglican churches have been called to engage in a week of prayer leading up to Pentecost. That is exciting. There are about 16,000 Anglican churches in the UK.  Can you imagine the impact if even 3 from every church took seriously the call to prayer?  Can you imagine what God might do?

I really hope that you will respond with me to this call to prayer. As Tim goes on sabbatical, we delight in what the Lord has done, but we don’t underestimate the challenges we face as a church.  We are reminded time and time again that it is the Lord who builds his house.  Apart from him, we can do nothing.  In which case, we’d better know what it is to remain or abide in him; we’d better know what it is that he is asking us to do and what he is saying to us, his church, this city and this nation. 

As a church we are setting aside short moments during the week to pray in the Chancel. A list of those times are shown on page 4. I would love to see us all committed to prayer for that week; Listening to God as a family; offering to pray for those in our workplace where appropriate or our neighbours and setting aside time as couples or as individuals to pray.

Earlier this year, the Lord’s Prayer was banned from some cinemas as “it carries the risk of offending or upsetting audiences”.  Dare we pray it, repeatedly, fervently, passionately, in the week before we celebrate the Spirit coming with power on His church?  Empowering us, equipping us to be the people God has made us to be.

Come on Lord!

Leadership Journal - April 2016

We have been leading Pip n Jay Church for five years this month and Claire and I are so pleased with what the Lord Jesus is doing among us and through us as a local church.

The church weekend at home has been a highlight for me.  I have spoken to a number of people who have been part of the church for many years but who have not really spent time talking to other people who have been here for a similar amount of time. This weekend witnessed the church family reconnecting in a wonderful way.  I was also overwhelmed to see Robert and Mary Perham, who have been here a few years, prophesying over Alice Huffman, a medical student who has been here less time.

The Holy Spirit is helping us to see that we are Jesus’ family and as His family we hear his voice and act upon his words. Liz Evans was incredibly helpful to our church in helping us to speak encouraging and insightful words to people. She demonstrated that wisely used, prophecy is normal and not weird.  Our God has spoken a living word in the canon of Scripture, and with our feet on that rock, we hear a specific and immediate word that helpsothers to follow him. Let’s find the lost sheep!   

Leadership Journal - March 2016

On a recent day retreat, I spent a large part of the day working my way through 1 and 2 Samuel.  It was a real joy to have the time to reflect, pray and listen to the Lord.  I was really stuck as I worked through the life of King David how he was a man after the Lord’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14).  I was particularly struck by the incredible grace that David demonstrated when people were opposing him.

David's gracious response to King Saul trying to killhim(1 Sam 19)  is to spare Saul’s life in 1 Sam 24 and then againin 1 Sam 26.  David would not lay a hand on one the Lord had anointed. Similarly when his third son Absalom was conspiring to take over David’s kingdom in 2 Sam 15, we see David’s generosity in his response that even when they were in opposing armies David’s desire was that his son should not be harmed.  We see something of the incredible grace of Jesus in David.  It points us    forward to one who would forgive the people who nailed him to a cross. We have a God who demonstrates true forgiveness to a those who persecute him.

This is both an encouragement to us and a challenge!