Category Archives: stories

People Finding Jesus Again, Just Like It’s Supposed To Be!

Life is full of seasons, and at the moment in my church community we’re in one of those exciting seasons of blessing, of harvest. Stuff’s cracking off all over the place!

About seven weeks ago two lads turned up on our doorstep. One spoke for his friend: they were from a couple of local villages and his friend needed a roof over his head for a few days, could we help? As it goes the chap who needed help, 21-year-old Elliott, stayed at his friend’s house for a few days after that but eventually turned up again and started stopping over with us.

Roadtrip
On a roadtrip

We found him to be very open, ready to get stuck in and thankful so we soon realised he was someone worth giving a chance. His honest questions about our way of life, faith and many big subjects came thicker and faster. Every now and then we’d see clues to his openness, whether it was teary eyes during a house church meeting, asking for prayer or his pointed questions. Someone gave him a copy of ‘Mere Christianity’ and he read it twice in one week! He became a tentative sort-of believer.

Three weeks ago he asked Simeon and I to pray with him for God to forgive him and to thank God for what He’d done in his life. What happened that evening was pretty incredible as he was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time. He said afterwards “I feel like a kid in a sweet shop; like I thought Haribo was all there was but now… look at all this!” It was the kind of God-happening that makes you pinch yourself and wonder if it’s really happening, seeming too good to be true at the time.

Bonfire
Around the bonfire

He’s with us now and doing brilliantly and really keen for more of God, organising a prayer meeting seemingly every over day! Last Sunday he decided he wanted to get a few lads together to pray together after supper that evening, so we picked a time and texted a few friends. At 10:30pm 16 guys turned up at our home from various house churches nearby and we crammed into our relatively small prayer room. What followed was a few engaging hours of prayer, worship and ministering to one another. It was such an engaged and alive atmosphere at a level I haven’t been in for a long time.

At one point someone spoke out a word of knowledge from God and one lad acknowledged it was for him, so we gathered around him to pay for him. What happened after that was pretty amazing, it was like one of those moments when God suddenly drops a Holy Spirit bombshell and the place erupts, the neighbours must have heard the noise! Needless to say this second lad, who’d long been wandering, was filled with the Holy Spirit too and is now taking about baptism, his life now being set on a very different course.

Supper time
Supper time

I get a sense in all this that this is just the start. When a group who are desperately hungry for God and up for Kingdom action get together to pray and go wherever God leads, it’s not going to just end at the door, is it? When we feel the first few drops of rain on a dry day we look up at the sky and wonder if more is on the way, maybe anticipating a deluge. These few happenings are like big drops of rain to anyone prophetic and tuned in to what God has up His Almighty Sleeves.

We’ve had quite a few semi-impromptu prayer meetings over the last few weeks. There’s a bit of a momentum building. All it takes is for a few hungry men to listen to the Spirit and get together deciding to get on board with what they hear Father’s doing.

There’s much more going on but I don’t have time to tell you about the other 3 young people around from Switzerland and Hungary and our trip to Norwich, that will have to do for today.

Thank you Jesus.

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Enjoying Being With People

Well I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this weekend.

Saturday was a beautiful day of rest. Did some gardening, joined in an impromptu prayer meeting (the lively and worshipful kind where God speaks clearly) then we finished the day with a decent evening meeting.

Lunch time
Saturday lunch

As for today, there was a mixup with who was supposed to be leading our morning meeting in the eastern district of Northampton so after half an hour of gutsy and free worship we pulled into a nearby car park and started offering folk free car washes. Others picked litter or swept around the community centre while some knocked on doors to ask if there was anything we could do for them: mow their lawns, get them some swings, whatever.

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After lunch 10 of us headed off to Peterborough in a minibus to visit the Green Backyard, which I’ve written about before on this blog. Some of us hadn’t been before.

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Lovely time relaxing with the folk there. We had a little sing-song while René did what he did best: taught willow weaving. While Fred weeded Alan and I got stuck right in to a compost bay turning it all over, Alan just wearing his crocs!

I was bare shattered all throughout the evening meeting but perked up back home at supper time. About 22 of us in the lounge (most but not all of those being residents) celebrated Pat’s birthday with cake & big laughter. I think koinonia is the word: a New Testament Greek word meaning participation in fellowship.

Generally speaking I love this life, living for Jesus is Christian community. Weekends like this one make it extra precious.

Green Backyard Celebrations

Back in November I ticked one item off my not-quite-serious and only-in-my-head bucketlist- appearing in a newspaper, the Independent, none the less.

And today I can cross that one off again, this time for an appearance (well, about 10 pixels of my face) in a photo in the Peterborough Telegraph. A few of us (Josh, Shaun, Georgia, Sarah and I) joined the Green Backyard crew for their 5th birthday celebrations recently and it was a right hoot. I can’t exactly call any of us well-known Peterborough celebrities but it’s certainly good to see our faces with that varied and welcoming crew in a Pb publication (we’re the cool ones at the back-right).

The photo above only shows a sprinkling of the early arrivals that day, here’s a shot of one half of the room that day when it was in full swing:

birthday

Peace.

Smashed car

A Busy Sabbath

I’m glad I decided not to go to Peterborough last Sunday afternoon as we had a few unexpected visitors.

It started with a car crash on the A5 just outside our house when a car swerved away from oncoming traffic and hit the front end of a car waiting at the junction. The swerving car then hit the kerb, flipped on to its roof and embedded itself in the hedge bordering our field down a small slope. The woman in the passenger seat wasn’t wearing her seatbelt so was a little hurt but everyone got off quite lightly, all things considered.

Jack and Alex went to see if they could help and while watching an air ambulance take off they met our neighbours, who we rarely see. Jack, being a sociable chap, got chatting and asked to see our neighbour’s house and garden with them then invited them to pop over to ours.

When Jack came back and we were waiting for a visit from our neighbours our doorbell rang and a couple and their friend popped in. They were in the car that got hit while waiting at the junction and they received a warm welcome from us (I’m glad to say) and made good use of our phone, toilet, tea, cake and company.

Then two of our neighbours turned up; the father of the family and the second son of three. They spent a long time in conversation with a few of us and the son joined Jack and Josh for a jamming session. I’m not sure how musical he is but I’m sure he enjoyed it.

Later I gave the women involved in the crash a lift back home to Northampton and found out they’d both had contact with the Jesus Army in the past and thought well of us.

It was one of those afternoons when you set out to do nothing and end up doing a lot. It was a lot of the right stuff though, so I’m glad.

50 On A Trip To Wales

Well well well, what a crazy few weeks.

Our lad’s trip to Wales from Wednesday 29th to Saturday 1st was an incredible time, to say the least. About 50 of us trecked off to Snowdonia with just under 40 12-17 year olds and 11 leaders to stay in an activity centre.

What happened well exceeded our three main aims- to meet God, to make friends and to have a ton of fun in the sun. We couldn’t have had enough faith to plan what happened.

Each day had a different theme (God, identity, adventure, then relaxing on the Saturday) and a packed schedule (including scheduled free time) kept us focused. Each daytime activity, night walk and mountaineering excursion in some way fed into the day’s theme. After tea on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings we split the lads by age group and had an hour long ‘Word’ session then all came together for ‘The Boiler Room’ (in the lounge, confusing, I know), in which we loosened up a bit with praise songs, worshipped and generally chipped in as God led us. Each evening was finished with a night walk or singing, hot chocolate & marshmallows around the campfire.

Friday’s Boiler Room was where it all really happened though. We’d been dancing, singing, speaking stuff that God gave us to say and about an hour in we called an optional response time for anyone that wanted to stay. The lights dimmed right down (to make it less daunting to step out) and us leaders went to the middle of the room, ready for anyone to come forward who wanted to pray or talk with us.

Some left and with about 30 of us in the room we started praying in twos and threes, some still quietly singing songs as it continued. It was after one lad who we wouldn’t have expected prayed out quite vulnerably that people around started crying, very gently and quietly. The presence of God was tangible; heavy, rich and beautiful.

And so some good christian teenage lads wept, convicted of their sin. Needless to say it was a time of breakthrough. I counted twenty that we’d prayed for or were praying for each other and the typically “cooler” lads were worshipping like they meant it. The fire fell, quietly and unmistakably. It really was a boiler room.

After nearly three hours in the Boiler Room we adjourned to a late campfire to continue, jamming around the fire. Jake got his saxophone out and others drummed, strummed or danced around the fire or just chatted.

Near the end of the campfire Chris (one of the leaders) pulled me aside, saying “hey Aidan, come check this out!” He led me back towards the activity centre and we looked in through one of the windows to a downstairs room. A group of lads were sitting in a circle talking. “I saw them in here and assumed they were up to no good.” Explained Chris. “So I stuck my head in and asked “what you up to lads?” John said he’d decided to get them all together for a prayer meeting!” Most of the lads he’d got involved had missed the long response time and he wanted them to experience what God had done in him. Amazing. That’s what I call movement.

Now there’s a momentum of teenage lads finding Jesus and praying for each other, with some getting baptised every few weeks, I know of 6 so far. We’ve started a Facebook group for the lads to keep in touch and their comments make for thrilling reading.

Love it.

Wales Trip Developments – Running Through Sprung Doors

Hello.

A few weeks ago I wrote about my amazing mission to a man on a mountain, which ended with a pretty flabbergastish encounter. We were on a reconnaissance mission checking out locations for an upcoming trip with 40 teenage lads to Wales and God gave us a pretty splendid sign of where we should be (read about it).

Methodist chapel from driveway
What? Did I hear someone say ‘Skunkworks’? Surely not…

After Kevin (the “man on the mountain”) gave my friend and I each a brew he suddenly remembered something- “Ooo, there’s something I want to show you, if you have time? It’s a place up the road I’ve got ideas for.”

Still in his jimjams he pulled on a pair of boots and we walked with him to a splendid old Methodist church on the mountainside, on sale for just £80,000.

Methodist chapel windowsHe told us all about it- quite run down but with massive potential. He has ideas to work with a few local groups in the community- putting on open days, green living classes, dance classes, that sort of thing. He’s put in a bid of £50,000 for the property on behalf of the agency that owns the hostel he runs and we’ll see what comes of it.

My friend and I left the visit buzzing- God had spoken to us through a random man wearing pyjamas on a mountain in a far flung corner of Wales, a man who doesn’t have much money but has plenty of vision.

A couple of weeks passed.

I called Kevin to book the hostel but he apologised as another group had booked the hostel in the meantime. Poodles. Kevin knew them quite well as they’d visited the hostel before so he rang them up to see if they could rearrange, but alas, they couldn’t.

I guess it was a lesson in not being complacent. When God clearly blasted a door open and said “GO!” we chilled out and left it for later. Sometimes a door God opens is on a strong spring so you gotta run at it before it slams. I should have said to Kevin on the spot “we’d like to book this place”. Of course, I’m sure we’ll be able to go there in future years as it’s a very good all round bunkhouse.

Anyhow, the place we’re going to now was our next stop on the recon trip, and I dare say it’s nearly as good- splendid scenery, great facilities and lots of space.

Live and learn, and run through any door God opens.

Peace.