Pray For Manchester
Like so many of us, I’ve been following this unfolding and horrific tragedy on the media today. The reports that children have lost their lives seems to add to the depth of sorrow and outrage we feel. It is truly every parent’s worst nightmare. I remembered this afternoon these words from this Graham Kendrick song we used to sing across the churches many years ago:
“Dark powers are poised to flood our streets with hate and fear, yet Lord, your glorious cross shall tower triumphant in this land, evil confounding”
Some years ago I sat down next to an old guy on a park bench in Herne Bay. I couldn’t help but notice his war medals. We talked about the past and his involvement in the fighting in France. He told me some of the things he had witnessed and how it had defined his life, then he asked me this question “What was it all for as nobody even cares what we did?” I told him that although I was too young to remember WWII, I knew a lot about it and live with a constant sense of gratitude to a generation who fought and died in the defence of our nation. Not many of these old boys are left now and their legacy is “Known only to God”.
During recent building work at Lambeth Palace, workmen unearthed a chamber containing the remains of five Archbishops and a gold mitre. It reminded me of the story of two bishops, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley who burned the stake in Oxford in 1555 for the cause of the Gospel. As they died Latimer shouted across to Ridley “Be of good cheer brother Ridley, for tonight by God’s grace we light a flame in England that will never be extinguished!” Remarkable faith-filled words in the face of such horror. Latimer’s words were inscribed onto the hull of HMS Latimer, formerly the SS Ridley as it laid the PLUTO Pipeline (Pipe Line Under The Ocean) in 1944 from Sandown Bay on the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg in Normandy. Through that pipe flowed millions of gallons of petrol that were crucial to the Liberation of Europe and the end of WWII. How badly we need the flame of the Gospel that Latimer spoke of to burn across our spiritually stricken continent. A beautiful story and a finer legacy of two old bishops than a pile of coffins and a golden crown.
One Million Guineas
By the time John Wesley died in 1791 he had travelled 250,000 miles on horseback, preached 40,000 sermons and written 5,000 gospel pamphlets. By the turn of the nineteenth century the Methodist Church had 600 full time evangelists, most of who had come to faith directly through John Wesley’s preaching. The momentum of the Methodist Church increased and at dawning of the 20th Century they planned for an unprecedented drive forward.
On January 1st 1899 the One Million Guinea Fund was launched to encourage 1 million believers to invest a Guinea or 1 pound & 1 shilling. for evangelism and church planting to the ends of the earth. The mammoth target was reached by June 30th 1904.
The money raised, equivalent to £120 million today, was channelled directly into the proclamation of the Gospel, the training and releasing of evangelists and the construction of mission halls and Sunday schools to reach thousands of children being rescued from the workhouses.
Normandy24 is an initiative I dreamed up with my lifelong friend Ian Mayhew as a way of exposing guys to the horrors of war in Europe in a way that motivates them to seek after the greater things in life. I have just returned with an amazing bunch of guys from St Toms Church Fair Oak from the Beaches of Normandy. It was quite a time.
One Message One Church
It drives me nuts when one expression of the church
thinks it’s superior to the rest. It makes ordinary people shake their heads in
disbelief! This inspiring story from the London Marathon yesterday is a
reminder that we stand or fall together. He ‘gave up his own race’ to help
another runner over the line.
Easter Is Decisive
I was watching Match Of The Day one Saturday evening in late December 20 odd years ago when Arsenal were 10 points clear at the top of the league. People were saying the title was won but Arsene Wenger said this “Christmas is important but Easter is decisive” I never forgot it. He was talking football and the title race of course but he was so right. Easter Sunday is a game changer. Joy to the World!
Over The Top
Another centenary today of another awful battle on the Western Front. Up the road from Calais and Dunkirk. 100 years and still the land cries out. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought by the Canadians and it is where the phrase ‘Over the Top’ was first used.
The Forces Sweetheart
Vera Lynn, the ‘Forces Sweetheart’ is 100 years old today. What a key role she played all those years ago lifting the morale of the troops and the nation at a time of great fear and danger. She is an amazing lady.
The Old Cinema
day yesterday with leaders and the church at VLC Newport. They are about to
move into their new building, the converted cinema in the centre of the island.
We have plans together to fill it! Something very big is happening on the
Island and it’s pretty awesome to be a part of it.
59 years ago today Lego patented it’s famous brick that is still on sale today. Some years ago Lego came back from the brink of disaster turning £100 million debt into £12 billion profit by investing in innovation. When Kodak filed for bankruptcy it was the end of 130 years of being the global standard in photography. It failed to embrace change.
Liberated Death Camp
On this day in history the Americans were suddenly confronted with the dreadful reality of the holocaust. No one dared believe the horrors that would be uncovered as ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ sunk to previously unfathomed depths. Never again.
Great Grandad The War Hero
Interesting few hours with my Dad talking about the past and seeing my great grandfather’s WWI service medals. He was a warrant officer in the Royal Navy and then in charge of St Catherine’s lighthouse on the Isle of Wight. Maybe that’s why I love that place!
Harringay Arena 1954
This is Billy Graham at London’s Harringay Arena in 1954. The Arena is now Sports Direct and Homebase and the great man, now 98 years old, has long since hung up his preaching boots. Seasons change but the days when people gather in large numbers to experience the life-changing message of Jesus are on their way back.
A Pride Of Lions
Friendship is a powerful thing in the Kingdom of God. I aa very grateful for the close ‘Band of Brothers’ that is around me right now as we drive forward a vision to see many thousands come to Christ and the power of the Gospel to effect our towns and cities.
A Sign Over Southampton
I looked up and saw this last week at the very spot on Southampton shopping precinct where Miracle Street was born all those years ago. Spoke to me of God’s unbreakable promise and that we are all about ‘construction’
In Attack Most Daring
These words were spoken by the great man in response to the heroic and desperate battle to drop a whole airborne division deep behind enemy lines in Holland in an attempt to seize the bridges over the Rhine and end WWII by Christmas 1944. History tells its own story of the the extraordinary valour of the British and Allied Airborne troops in Operation Market Garden.
Day Of Days
Few days have had such a dramatic and profound effect on human history as D-Day. It was the moment when the Allies gained a toehold into Hitler’s ‘Fortress Europe’. This photo was taken on D-Day plus 2 on Omaha Beach. In 48 hours a toehold became a foothold and a foothold became a bridgehead.
A Miracle Of Deliverance
The miracle of deliverance that Churchill spoke of was the evacuation of 338,000 soldiers off Dunkirk Beach from under the nose of an advancing army. It was nothing short of a miracle and was exactly what hundreds of intercessors had prayed for having been mobillised by the great pray-er Rees Howells.