What next ?

Dear friends
 
I’ve just come back from our annual trip to Skegness for Spring Harvest, a Christian gathering of over 8,000 Christians at the Butlins site and also at Butlins. Minehead. The combined total of people gathering when including the additional weeks is nearer to 20,000.
 
For about 15 consecutive years the Redshaw family have made this annual pilgrimage (the Woods family for even longer) and it is part of our regular planning.
 
As with previous years some of it has been good and some not so good. Worship in the Big Top each evening was led by the Codnor Chapel favourite, Graham Kendrick. In the main his worship leading was exceptional, but he did let things down a bit on a couple of occasions by being over~repetitive. Bible teaching was led by one of my favourites Krish Kandiah who is able to bring some real truths out of the Word and yet ensure that they are relevant to today and to my understanding.
 
I also managed to fit in some seminars on rural evangelism with Alison because of her forthcoming move to Crich (only 10,000 words between her and Ordination!). Combine all this with good quality preaching from the likes of Steve Chalke and all-in-all it has been a good week.
 
At the same time about 8,000 gathered at the more Methodist equivalent, based at Llandudno called ECG. We can add to this the Cliff College festival, New Wine in Lincolnshire and other similar gatherings around the country and whilst recognising that some of these will have the same Christians going to more than one event it still adds up to about 100,000 Christians choosing to seek out what they consider to be quality worship and teaching. However, I want to ask the question “What next ?” You see I’m not interested in an annual top~up to make me feel good or holier than others; No, what I want is to be changed, improved, affected so that my Christian journey is better than before or so that I’m a more effective witness for Jesus or so that my walk with him is closer.
 
Cuthbert Bardsley (I think), former Bishop of Coventry famously said during the Toronto Blessing period “I,m not interested in how many fall on the carpet, I’m more concerned with how they get up again.” In other words he wasn’t concerned with the outward show of Christianity that can be dramatic, showy and more concerned with an inner enjoyment or a selfish hedonism. He wanted to see evidence of an inner change that not only blesses the believer but blesses those around him or her. John Wesley sought the same when he spoke of the evidence of changed hearts. I too want that in Christian faith; not just a head knowledge, nor just an emotional heart response but a balance of the two in which the Lord Jesus can be glorified and can be seen to others.
 
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I’ve got there but I am sharing my hearts desire and I invite you to think about your own faith and what you want it to be. Together we will make a wonderful community for Jesus.