28 July 2016

My Baptism testimony - By Jack Lewis

Hello all! In case your interested, I got baptized last weekend, and seeing as Nathan an Daniel put their testimonies up when they did it a few months ago, I thought I'd share mine. (P.S, I'm copying this directly, so apologies for my awful grammar!)

"So to be honest, my testimony isn't particularly dramatic compared to many others, there were no blinding lights or sudden realization type moments; I've always believed in God and I became a Christian at 5, I've grown up in a Christian home and I've always been to Church, so since I accepted Jesus at a young age it's been a case of trying to grow in my faith, which was helped by going to a lot of good Church/Sunday School type groups, and more recently it's been great to have been able to go to older age groups like Flame and A2J, and also events like United Generation and Soul Survivor, where I've been able to see God move with my own eyes; people receiving the Holy Spirit, praying in tongues, and all kinds of weird and wonderful things; rather than just hearing about God. So now I'm at a stage where I feel ready to say publicly that I want to try and live for God by being baptized, which is something I've wanted to do for a little while now, but to be honest I've just been Chickening out of doing it, but I've finally decided that today, with God's help, I'm just going to get up here and do it."  

My baptism verse was 2 Timothy 1:7-8: "For God has not given us a Spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, and love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord."  This was also the verse that I was drawing on before my baptism, so to find out that it was my baptism verse was amazing! I love the way God moves!

21 July 2016

The three stages of knowing God - by Jack Lewis.

We are often asked the question, "How is your relationship with God at the moment?" And more often than not, we often say that we're "not sure," or "Don't know." (Especially if you're a teenager, that's about the only phrase most of us know!) But here's an easy way of knowing where you stand; it's what I call the three stages of knowing God.

The first stage, is knowing about God. Most people, even non-Christians, can be at this stage. It goes right through from just knowing what Christians think about God, right through to having memorized the entire Bible. Essentially, you're on this stage if you haven't experienced either of the others. But don't be discouraged by that, continue to read the Bible as that will help you a lot, and then look at getting together with people and going to the places that will help you move onto stages two and three.

The second stage, and the one I'd say I'm on, is seeing God for yourself. Basically that's when you've been to places and seen the spirit of God move in people, or even things like amazing healings. This is also the place where many people can realize that God is real, because they've seen him move for themselves, they're seen evidence of him. If your not sure about whether you believe in God or not, try and find a event or something where you can see God move with you're own eyes. If you live in England, then I'd advise Soul Survivor*, although if you're in the States I'm not really sure what goes on over there!

The third stage, is knowing God for yourself. In other words, if you've ever received the gifts of the spirit. I think I've written about them before, but it's things like praying in tongues, or perhaps having words of prophecy for someone. That should be the goal for all of us Christians, we should try to know God for ourselves. Given this isn't easy, but we just need to keep asking and praying for the gifts, and in time surely we will receive them. 

The final thing to say, is that I'm not at all saying that these should be three exclusive groups, a strong church can have all three. And if all the people on "stage three" just hung out together, then no one else would ever know God for themselves! So if you'd say your on stage one, then try and talk to and pray with older Christians, and try and get yourself along to places where you can see God move yourself. If you think your on stage two, then ask God to help you experience him in your own heart, and if you're on stage three then why not try and help younger Christians to grow in their faith and get to know God more? If everyone could do their bit then the Church will surely be going strongly until Jesus returns.

*Soul Survivor is a big Christian festival in Britain, with events held in Scotland, (Kinross) Stafford (Between Birmingham and Stoke) and Somerset. The events are coming up over the next few weeks, and for more got to: https://soulsurvivor.com/summer/

15 July 2016

God in... the world (2) - By Jack Lewis

The next group of people in the "God in..." series, are perhaps the most obvious ones. They are those who represent God overseas, or in other words, missionaries. No doubt you've probably heard the stories of a few missionaries before, but they're so great that hearing their stories again is surely no trial!

First up is the continuation of the life story of C.T. Studd. I wrote in my last post about how he grew up in a life of luxury and cricketing glory, but what happened next? Basically he proved the very meaning of self sacrifice, by heading out to the heart of the evangelized world. He went first to China, then to India, before going out to Africa where most of his missionary work was done. He left his entire family at home, and he only saw his wife once more before his death. His life included no recreation and no holidays, he just spent his whole life preaching, saving souls, and translating the Bible. Even in his old age when his health was failing, he still carried on, even to the point where he had to be carried to meetings in a chair. In fact he preached right up until the very week of his death! His life is just a great example of commitment and dedication to God, he shirked nothing and did everything God asked him to. Now that's a proper example to follow!

Another perhaps less-well known example that I love, is John Paton. He went to the New Hebrides, (Near Australia if you don't concentrate in geography!) and there he lived among proper, seasoned cannibals. He suffered so much, his house and church were repeatedly torched, people constantly tried to steal from and kill him, and he was blamed for every single natural disaster that happened. (And there were a lot of those on the New Hebrides!) His life was another of sacrifice and dedication, and those two things are probably the main things we can find in mission. Just imagine what the world would be like if we all had that much commitment to God, it would be amazing! So why not ask God now to fill you afresh with a desire to serve him?