For this week’s Testimony Thursday I think about Testimony as stories of God interacting in our lives, and share a glimpse of one of the places I see God at work in the lives of individuals and community during lockdown.
A big thumbs up – thank you to Bognor Methodist for allowing to space to be used, and all of you for the way you give, and pray for the work of Foodbank – and the many other groups and organisations, local and international, seeking to support the vulnerable and most in need at this time.
For me, these acts of co-operation, giving, sharing, supporting, shows that the church cares about our community, and the lives of those who live in it.
the church cares about our community, and the lives of those who live in it.
Even though lockdown has meant many of us are unable to get out at do much, we’ve still got opportunity to see God at work around us.
So what’s your story of God at work around you?
Comment below and share – I’d love to hear from you!
This is the first of what I hope will become a semi-regular series of short tasters for books that I recommend reading.
Lots of you will know that I have a passion for testimony; stories of God in our lives, shared with others. I believe that testimony has the power to challenge minds and inspire hearts and transform lives.
‘So what’s the story…?’ is a made up of 12 short, accessible chapters, packed with insights from Barbara and Clive’s own experiences in life and ministry as well as their own research. Through the book they unpack multiple ways that story can shape us, our faith and our living as individuals and community, as well as exploring scripture as story – not in terms fiction or non-fiction, but in terms of the influential and transformative power of story within scriptures pages. Clive and Barbara also helpfully highlight places where we must be careful not to abuse the power of story, emphasising the importance of pastoral sensitivity and care.
I recommend, ‘So what’s the story…?’ because not only does it explore the power of story in it’s multiple forms, the book also strikes at the heart of what it means to practice our faith in Christ, pursuing our own discipleship, living as Christian community and sharing the story of God in us, with us and around us, with our neighbours and communities.
For me, the book helped me make more sense of how my story has been shaped by God’s story, and given me more confidence in how that testimony can bear witness to my experience of God – where ‘God’s presence has made a difference’ (p.47), and open space to challenge, inspire and transform, by God’s activity in the stories of others.
‘So What’s the Story…?’ is published by Darton Longman and Todd, written by Barbara Glasson and Clive Marsh, current President and Vice-President of the British Methodist Conference (2019).
Many in my churches will know that this year is a ‘Year of Testimony’ across the Methodist Connexion and we’ve been sharing stories of God at work among us in recent weeks.
I want to encourage us to continue to see and speak about where God is speaking and working among us now, during this time of distance and isolation, because even though we may be distant from each other, God is not distant from us.
Many in my churches will know that a sermon illustration from my garden is often not far away, and on Sunday afternoon, I took the plunge to dig the veggie patch. It was covered in weeds and very much not ready to do any planting! But I turned it, fork by fork, pulled the weeds out, moved any stones I found, and broken down the chunks of soil so that it is now ready for me to start some planting.
For me – God spoke to me through that process, about how church and ministry might look now.
For me, much that was familiar and growing has sadly gone, almost all the weekly routine I took for granted has been turned on it’s head. Yet I’ve had a really strong feeling that God has been saying there’s now potential for new ground to be tilled, new planting to be done and new growth to be seen.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
This week God has been saying to me, reminding me, that while life and ministry feels like it has been turned on it’s head, while I miss seeing people and already long to be able to communicate without using phone, email or other technology, God has not turned on his head.
God is still as present as ever, and even in the chaos and uncertainty, is able to do new things, and will do new things in me, and I pray, in us as we journey through this together.
God is with us, and will make a way through the wilderness – do you perceive it?
Where has God been in your week? Comment below and share your stories of God with us, in us and among us.