Thursday, 30 June 2011

Naming a Child

The Bible is full of people being named a certain way for a certain reason.

People even get renamed as they enter God's purposes. Abram - Abraham, Saul - Paul, your name is important.

So we just had the massive privilege, and slightly scary responsibility of naming our child.

When we had a hard time in our journey to starting a family we held on to the words of the Psalmist: Psalm 30 verse 5, "weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning."

We listened to this Jesus Culture song over and over again.

and in doing so, we decided, long before we were pregnant again, that if we had a little girl her name would be "Joy".

Because God is good, and because through Him Joy comes.

Two friends came over for dinner. Before they left they asked to pray for us. As they were praying for us to conceive, the guy just stopped, and in a loud voice said "I want to prophecy in Jesus name that Joy is coming to this household".

Esther squeezed my hand.

That was it.


God had spoken.

When we went for a dating scan we found that the pregnancy had started the same weekend we were prophecied over.

God was at work.

Further to all this her great grandmother on her Mum's side was called Joy. Accounts of those who knew her describe her as a strong willed, kind and godly lady. That is three things we want for Joy.

God has promised.

God has spoken.

And God has given our family a heritage.

Joy it is.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Joy has come...

On Friday morning at 6am our first child, Joy Lindsay Matthias was born.

She was born at home in a pool of water.

As she popped up out of the water, that was it, life changes. A new chapter starts.

I know it is Daddy's perogative to say his daughter is beautiful, and she is!

And so our journey continues.

We have had a lot of support from family and friends and we're very very thankful to God.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Newfrontiers Borderlands Review

What an amazing weekend!

We were in a static caravan with some good friends with their 6 month old baby. I wanted Esther to be in comfort as she hit 38 weeks pregnant on the Sunday, so other accommodation options didn't fit the bill.

We had food up at one of the chalet's where the rest of our midweek group were staying: it was great to hang out with people and spend time together. It is interesting because in a weekend of great teaching, worship etc one of my abiding memories will be in a room of people, maybe 20 there, with a glass of wine, playing various games. There is a pureness to fellowship like that which can never be programmed in but when it happens it is brilliant.

Jeremy Simpkins did two talks from song of songs which was both brave and fascinating. Jules Burt and a team from Brighton led worship excellently, and I loved one of Stuart Townend's new songs! We will hear that a lot more over the next few years. Jules really impressed me, very sensitive, with spiritual songs and supporting different contributions that were coming from the front.

There was lots of prophetic stuff coming out, especially about Church Planting. We prayed for a couple looking to plant in Deeside and my old buddy Phil Whittall who with his family is moving to Sweden to plant into Stockholm.

There were a couple of major words for our Church that are going to take a bit of weighing and working out: but fit in with other stuff we have had recently.

I would love Jeremy's exhortation that we start Churches to bring more glory to Christ to make it onto youtube because it helps put to bed some of the misunderstandings in that area.

Add it altogether and it was a profound experience as a weekend.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Newfrontiers Borderlands

The time of year has come, 500 people across 7 Churches looking to reach an area with the gospel of Jesus, building Churches, blessing communities, planting Churches.

I have enjoyed previous years here, here and here.

As alluded to in the third post, the one from last year, my Borderlands experience was rather clouded in personal circumstances.

We found out conclusively on the Friday that a pregnancy had failed. The miscarriage was yet to happen. So I spent the weekend with Esther and I was dazed and confused and not quite able to get my brain around the fact everything was still inside her.

That was a start of a painful journey that led me into the loving arms of God in quite a profound way.

But now we are going back.

It is a little bit like going back to the scene of a crime.

And I am a bit nervous.

And when we go Esther will be two weeks off her due date for our baby. Which is most exciting!

The circle of life continues, but I really don't know how to get my head around it all?

We'll go to the places where we wept and where we wrestled with God and comforted one another. We will drive the drive the drove with heartache and sadness from the hospital up to mid wales.

We will be with the people who shared our pain as they now share our joy.

And I want to be happy.

But it still hurts.

Because what makes this now so right is what made that so utterly wrong.

Because something good does not make something bad go away.

So this weekend is going to be a big one for us. We're caught up in an apostolic led mission to reach a nation and we're passionate about our local area.

And we're vulnerable humans who grieve and anticipate in equal measure.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Street Pastors

66 people came to a launch evening for the Street Pastors project in our town.

6 Churches are already signed up: 1 Baptist, 2 Anglican, 2 Newfrontiers and 1 Elim pentecostal.

Next week I have been invited to speak about the project at the meeting of Churches Together in Shrewsbury.

The gathered crowd at the launch were from a very wide section of the wider Church, and over 30 people signed up to show their desire to be considered as a Street Pastor in the future.

I have blogged about unity quite a bit on this blog.

Now we are putting it into practice.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Communion: Funny

Communion is such a desperately serious thing.

And yet a fellowship meal is also social, together, relational.

Recently I led a time of communion in our midweek group and something really funny happened.

There is a guy in our group who has a severe nut allergy so won't eat anything from a mixed use kitchen, because of the risk of contamination.

I was passing the bread around:

"The body of Christ broken for you"

"The body of Christ broken for you"

"Sorry you are not allowed it are you"

He looked at me in absolute horror as I paused. I suddenly realised a little bit more explanation was required.

I stopped, looked at the rest of the group and added "You can't because of your food allergy. And for absolutely no reason that would relate to Church discipline!"

At which point everyone giggled.

With foot firmly removed from mouth we carried on.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Communion: Ouch!

Before communion we are supposed to sort out our differences with one another.

We share the Lord's Supper in unity, so we need to keep close "account"

I have known this to be a remarkably effective way of causing people to be restored relationally: because if we drink from one cup and eat from one loaf then we do need to be one.


I remember the first time I ever led a Sunday meeting in the Church. I must have been about 23 and so was a tad nervous. We get to communion and I am sat at the front and a guy in the Church came and sat next to me.

"Dave, before I can share communion I just want to say that I am really sorry for the way I have held all these negative thoughts about you for the last 3 years. I just want you to know that I am through it all now and have forgiven you."

I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

And I still don't!

Thursday, 9 June 2011


On Sunday morning we shared communion as a Church.

We do this on the first Sunday of the month.

There is something quite moving about seeing people gather in small groups around the main hall, breaking bread and praying together.

Then in our midweek group this week I was asked to lead a time of communion as part of our worship. It really struck me preparing that when Paul asserts we should test ourselves before receiving communion that is not as onerous or negative as is sometimes implied.

We don't just confess our sins before communion because we HAVE to, like in some ceremonial cleansing before approaching the table. It is not a religious rite to be enacted before we dare approach God.

Rather we confess our sins before communion because we CAN. Because it is finished. A way has been made. Our sin has gone. And therefore to remember Christ's death until He comes without first ensuring we are living in the fullness of it is not true remembrance.

Then today in our Newfrontiers regional meeting we shared communion together as we worshipped and prayed for God to work in and through us as Churches in this area. We were exhorted to remember our own story of salvation, and to never let the awe of that first encounter with Christ to ebb away.

Three times, three situations, three different emphasis. What a remarkably simple and yet profound gift Jesus gave to the Church when he gave us such a disarmingly simple and yet brutally public and clear way of remembering Him with one another?