Hope in Milton Keynes

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Once more I’ve spent the day with a group of teenagers who have reminded me of how Church really should be like all the time…Well, maybe not exactly all the time but certainly their enthusiasm and delight in engaging in outreach in word and deed made me yearn for the whole of the church to also make mission it’s modus-operandi.

Over 100 of them gave up their October half term to spend all day Monday to Friday learning about and then seeking to show and tell the news of Jesus.

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Today I had the privilege of teaching them about Listening to God (and having a load of fun along the way) and then I visited some of the projects too… I joined a team who spent the afternoon treasure hunting, another team who had set up a sofa and giveaways outside a shopping centre and then joined a youth cafe team right in the heart of the city. All good, vibrant stuff. There were also other teams doing worthy outreach projects like painting old buildings and helping run a holiday club for younger children.
Baptist minister and youth ministry specialist Ricky Rew did a fine job of coordinating all the teams over the city.

The young people were brave and enthusiastic. Being in team really helps with positivity, but I was amazed how willing they were to try out new things and reach out to people in a credible way. Hope MK has given me a hunch about the future of church in the UK…

The whole of the church needs to follow the leading of our young people: all of us needs to be willing to be church in such a way that let’s ‘others in’ to the wonders of the christian faith. All of us need to, for the sake of this world, take time to intentionally share and show the gospel.

6 thoughts on “Hope in Milton Keynes

  1. Thought you might like to read the following!
    Our Family’s Testimony Concerning Halloween

    As a young child, Halloween was my favorite time of the year. I loved it even more than Christmas. But things changed when I became a believer. Something then just didn’t feel right about the holiday anymore.

    Our family tried to keep it more upbeat, by not allowing our kids to wear costumes that were evil or scary looking. I tried carving an angel into our pumpkin, instead of the traditional scary face, and I played Christian music that spoke of fighting off witches, or demons, and proclaimed the glory of Christ instead of satan, while the trick-or-treaters came to our door for candy.

    But nothing worked. Those feelings of ‘something is not right’, became stronger.

    It also became harder for our family to afford to celebrate the holiday. Every year costumes had to be purchased or made, and the amounts of candy needed to make it through the night was growing more and more every year. Apparently, our suburban neighborhood was becoming known for having the best hand outs, for kids were bussed to our area in huge yellow school buses, and dropped off at one end of the street, and then picked up again at the end of the street, after the hoards had swarmed their way through the yards and doors of the neighboring homes. These kids rarely spoke a word of English, (most spoke Spanish,) and hearing a thank you when given the candy was just as rare. If you ran out of the candy, you would get egged, or even had your yard or car vandalized.

    In our history lessons, (we homeschooled,) we were beginning to learn about the history of Halloween, and how it all began. (http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org/tracts/tract10.html , http://www.demonbuster.com/halloween.html , and what the bible says about it: http://www.preparingforeternity.com/hallween.htm for an idea of some of the things we learned.) It was horrible to realize that some of our own Irish ancestors took part in such Baal worship where torture, horror, and death ruled. A group would go from house to house, demanding a person to be sacrificed on that night, and if a person was given over to be tortured, raped, and killed, (usually a slave girl,) then a lighted gourd would be given to them, to put in front of their home, as a sign to others that they had already given one of their humans over to the ceremony. If they refused to hand over anyone, then a hex was painted on their home in blood, which meant that someone in that home was marked for death and would be killed sometime that year. At the ceremony, they had a cauldron of boiling hot apples and cider. If you wanted to try and save yourself from the death that would follow, you could try to grab an apple with your teeth. But your hands would be tied behind your back, and few were able to get that apple. Those that did were scarred for life, for the boiling cider burned the face off to the point that you were almost unrecognizable. They also had The Wicker Man, where humans were put inside this huge wicker basket/prison that was formed into the shape of a man, and when it was filled with humans, it was set on fire, and the people inside of it were burned alive. This was definitely a part of our family’s history that we would rather renounce and turn away from, rather than remember every year!

    Well, finally one year, we decided to not celebrate it anymore.

    That first year was hard for our kids, for they were still quite young and they felt left out. We gave them bags of their favorite candy, but it just wasn’t the same. We spent the night at a friend’s house out in the country, where they did not have trick-or-treaters coming up to their door for candy. It did help us, and was a godsend to us, for their family had many children that helped to take our kids minds off of missing the celebration.

    Mean time, someone (or several people,) egged and toilet papered our house and yard.

    The following year we went to the movies instead, missing out from the most of the activities.

    And we cleaned up more rotten eggs from our window screens, car, and home.

    The year after that, we stayed home, in the hopes of stopping whom ever it was from egging our home again. We did manage to scare off the group of tweens doing this, but it was unpleasant to have to keep off all the lights in the house for the evening, in the hopes that no trick-or-treaters would come to our door. A few tried, but soon left when there was no answer.

    Our car was deeply keyed instead, several days later.

    Thankfully, we soon moved out into the country, we found that there were no trick-or-treaters out here. The local small shops downtown would have a night for everyone to go to and get their treat instead.

    The first Halloween out at our new place, was quite memorable to my children. They had such peace and joy that night, it almost shone off of their faces. I had to ask them why this was so, for it confused me. They then asked me in astonishment, “Mom! Can’t you SEE them? The angels are EVERYWHERE! Can’t you hear their singing?” Well, sadly, I could not. But it was enough for me to see their own contentment on such a night, for I had been concerned that we would have trouble during that time. (This was during the worst of what we were going through with our cursed land, and right before I learned about cleaning the land.) That night, thanks to all the angels and to our God Jesus Christ the messiah for sending them, we had no problems at all.

    The following year, we learned more lessons about Halloween.

    When we would go out shopping, we would come across Halloween decorations that were filled with demons. We could feel them try to reach out and attack us. We found that we could not cast them out, (for they were often there through legal rights given to them by the owner of the store,) but we were able to bind them up in the name of Jesus, so that they would be forced to leave us alone. Still though, it became a stressful time in general to be out shopping, so we tried to curtail the number of outings we make during the season. For us, it has become more of a day and a season of mourning instead, especially when we see those around us look upon the holiday as nothing but a bit of harmless fun.

    We found that a build up of spiritual spiders and their webs, demonic bats, rats, owls, and black ravens occurred in our home, the closer the days came to Halloween. We would catch glimpses of them out of the corner of our eyes, and think it was just our imagination. They increased in number, until Halloween, when they all decided to attack us in unison. We got very little sleep that night, and spent most of it casting out all the demons that had infiltrated our home. The following year, (and ever since then,) we went through the house and wherever we sensed something may be hiding, we said positive pieces of scripture out loud, and then cast the demons out in Jesus name. That Halloween, (and every one since then,) we had very little spiritual oppression. Whatever we did sense, was small and easy to cast out.

    So, I write to you, so that you may hear our family’s testimony concerning Halloween, and to be forthright in fighting off those roaming evil spirits that might try to attack you in your own home. Don’t wait for Halloween night to do this. Begin now! Go from room to room reciting a positive scripture (psalm 91 is our favorite for this, – even pieces of it does the job,) and casting out any hidden demons in Jesus name. Cover your land and home, and all that reside in it, with the blood of Jesus. This is always a good spiritual practice to exercise at any time of the year. But for Halloween and the Christian, it is essential!

    *

    “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11.)

    “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22.)

    “When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of time, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12.)

    “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them; I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:31.)

    “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” (Acts 19:18-19.)

    “Learn not the way of the heathen . . . for the customs of the people are vain,” (Jeremiah 10:2-3).

    “And what concord hath Christ with Belial or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,” (II Corinthians 6:15-17).

    “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,” (I Peter 5:8)

  2. Thanks Chris – brilliant to have you & Sue with us last week. We share your excitement about the awesome commitment of these young people & share your passion for church to be more like this!

    I appreciate your kind words, but want to point out that Rosie Harriott & Pat Kerr are my partners in crime in planning & coordinating Hope MK – they’ve invested as much of themselves in it and have worked just as hard over the last year.

    We have some *awesome* stories to share over the coming weeks and months. The most incredible is as a result of the ‘trade up’ challenge you suggested. Simply amazing! Look forward to telling you about it…

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