Tag Archives: Newcastle

My Weakness Becomes His Strength

I know that it has been a while since I have written, but I praise the Lord that we continue to get great ministry opportunities to be a part of and press into all that God has for us on this trip. A few days ago, we got to fellowship with one of the friends I made in Harpenden last year at Circuit Riders, the leader of the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) and his wife. As we talked and later prayed together, I got the opportunity to share a recent testimony that encouraged and spoke to him, and I pray that it encourages you as well!!!

Two weeks ago, I got the privilege to speak at the church of one of my friends here in Newcastle. I had met him last summer during the Circuit Rider outreach here. This was right before he became the pastor at Gateway Church and was at St. Luke’s where we were based out of. On one of our many days to go out and do evangelism, Sam joined me and we went around looking for where God was moving and trying to talk to people. We tried many times to start some sort of conversation with people but were seemingly blocked at every turn. Finally, we did get to talk to two gentlemen for a while even though they were obviously just wanting someone to talk to and did not really care about what we were saying. Apparently, Sam went out later with Jedidah and Heidi who have a gift of evangelism and talked to many people.

Sam shared with me, while we were eating lunch with him and his wife this year after I had preached, that he was rather encouraged when he went out with me. I found this very odd since it seemed hard and laborious and is definitely not my gifting. However, it seems that God was able to speak to him through this weakness and encourage him. He saw how even though this was not my gift, I was still being obedient. This led him to be obedient and lead many street evangelism teams with his church even though this is not his gifting either.

For me, this was an amazing testimony because all last year during Circuit Riders, I never got the privilege of leading anyone to The Lord. However just like Jesus said to Paul “my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9) He spoke this to me as well. Even though this was an area where I was obviously weak, I had a desire to be obedient and grow. Even though it seemed like I was failing and every outward indication was that there was no fruit from my efforts, God used it. God used my weakness to encourage a man who was about to become a pastor to lead his church on continuous evangelistic outreaches. In a way, God used my weakness and obedience in a manner that allows me to take part in every salvation that comes out of Sam’s church. God is awesome, and if Sam had not told me this, I would never have had any idea that God had used my weak obedience in such a mighty way.

My encouragement to you is to be obedient in every area. Even in the places that you feel weak, unqualified, like you have failed, or are just no good, be obedient!!! He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask for, hope for, or even imagine” even with our weaknesses!!! He is able to turn every one of your weaknesses into strengths and every one of your supposed defeats into great victories if you are completely obedient and submitted to Him!!! Ask Holy Spirit right now where you can be completely obedient and submitted to Him and move into that place no matter if you feel weak or strong in that area. He will make His name great so do everything to please Him completely!!!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

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What’s in a Name?

While we have been here in Newcastle, things have been different than anywhere else we have been. I guess I have come to expect that though. Last week, we got to go and pray with the YWAM Newcastle team and give them some encouragement. They have been here for more than two years now and there is only three of them. Although they are small in number, we know that “the fervent effectual prayers of a righteous person bring about great things”!!! We also know that persistence pays off. It was a good time of being with them and God gave us several words, but the main thing was that He was incredibly proud of them. I was brought to tears at the pride that Father takes in His children here.

God has also given me the first opportunity for me to preach in a church setting since we started this trip. I felt led to speak about the promises of The Lord coming about with faith and patient perseverance. This encouraged many people and was effective in doing what God wanted it to.

I have the privilege of speaking once again this week at another church. It was totally God that He was speaking to me a message and the passage The body is studying is goes with this message.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This is a very popular quote from Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet. It is somehow appropriate for God to speak this to me while I am here, while i am in England. In Luke 9:18-20, Jesus asks two questions. The first is “Who do people say that I am?”. If we answer this question today, there is no end to answers. There will be anything from not believing that He ever lived to believing that He was some sort of disembodied spirit. However, the disciples only answer a few things, some say John the Baptist (a radical preacher), some say Elijah (a miracle worker), some say a resurrected prophet (a teacher, righteous man). Every one of these answers is lacking in different ways. Is Jesus a preacher but have no power? Is Jesus a miracle worker, this does not mean He knows God (Matt 7:21-23)? Is Jesus a good teacher that says nice things?

When Jesus asks who these disciples, the closest ones to Him, said He was there was only one response. Peter says “the Christ, Son of the Living God.” If we truly believe this statement, which Jesus commends Peter for, our lives will be different. What we believe about Jesus will always determine how we think, act, and live!!! If we believe Him as any less than the Son of God, God in flesh, we will not live in pure devotion to Him! If He is our end, our only desire will be to please Him completely and totally in our thinking, our speaking, and our doing!!!

How do you really see Jesus? Is He the One Desire in your life? Is He above all else? Are you living like it? Ask Holy Spirit to reveal how you see Jesus and How you need to be changed more and more into His image! Seek Him with all that you are and come to know Him as He truly Is!!! John 14:12 reminds us that that “to him who believes in Me (Jesus), the things I have been doing and greater he will do”!!! I believe and am trying to live in pure devotion to Him. What do you believe? How are you living as proof to this belief?

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

False Faces of Friends and Foes

Our God is truly amazing!!! After our flurry of activities in Scotland, we were able to take a kind of chill week to relax and get into the rhythm of things here in Newcastle. It was a short train ride from Stirling to Scotland, but it was incredibly beautiful along the way. We have been completely welcomed into the family of God at St. Luke’s, and I have gotten to connect with many friends from last year. The vicar here Robert, has commented several times that he hopes we stay for a really long time. We will see what happens, but at the very least, we know that we can be close to friends and family over the holidays, which is always a blessing.

We have the privilege of staying with Paul, a friend I met from last year, who has a unique perspective on things. He was not raised in the church and did not have the most pleasant of lives growing up. However, Jesus found him and brought him to St. Luke’s just like he brought us here. He is one of the most honest people I know. He talks about how he feels and openly admits when he is wrong. That is not something that is found today, an open transparency.

As we were walking our customary 45 minutes to the church last week, we began to talk about the people here in Newcastle. For those who do not know, Newcastle was rated the third in most popular European nightlife destinations only beaten out by London and Berlin and 7th in the world category. In other words, Newcastle is a huge party city. The funny thing is that for the “normal” person, being out in the daytime, you may never know this. However, the nighttime, especially weekends, is when the craziness begins.

As Paul and I began to talk, we discussed the different masks that people choose to put on and how it is evident here. He mentioned how a lot of his friends all looked nice and began to dress in the same stylish manner and how they would give other people a hard time. I remarked how that had never been a big deal to me. It was easy to see how some people have so many faces that they put on for other people, they may not even know who they are any more, or perhaps they do not like who they really are so they use masks to fit in. We suggested some of the false faces people put on, one for work and school, one for friends and partying, one for church, one for looking good and one for relaxing… There are an infinity of masks that people will put on and there are a plethora of reasons why they may put these on. I think it comes down to one basic reason. Fear! We are often afraid to let people know who we really are. Will they like us? Will they judge us? Will they hurt us? Will they accept us? Will they be open with us or give us a cold mask of superiority?

I have found that some of the best masks can be found in the church. We like to present ourselves perfect, even though we all know that we are not. We dress nice, act our best, and are on our best behavior. Often, those who have not come to Christ yet, come in hurting and see all these perfect plastic people and decide they can never be a part of this perfection. Sometimes, our masks are so good we almost begin to believe them. Outsiders coming in would never believe that the church is made up of hurting broken people and so they often do not feel welcome there. We are afraid that others will judge us and who we really are if we let them know we are broken. Why is this, because we judge the imperfections in others. I know for me, this was one of the sins I struggled with for so long. I could look at someone and see myself as better than them even though I was struggling with my own stuff. God led me through a place where I did a lot of work with young people in the prison system and people of all walks of life and this helped me to learn to be real, honest and transparent.

I want to encourage you to be yourself. Be real, honest and transparent. The church should be where we get together as transparent people and reveal Christ shining through all of our situations and failings. People should feel more welcome in the church than anywhere else in the world. We show the love of Christ to all who are caught up in the ways of the world, because we too were ones such as this. And even now, when we know the Truth, we do not follow Him as we should. We fail! How much more can we expect those who do not know the Truth to walk like they do? You are accepted by God who will never hurt you. You are free to be yourself. I am not perfect at this, but I am learning more and more how to be my own strange self.

Final story – Yesterday, we went out to celebrate our three month anniversary (you would be celebrating too if you were me and had such an awesome wife!!!). We decided to see a movie, and as we were buying tickets, I was having fun being myself. The guy asked me if I was a student or had anything that would discount the tickets. I was just messing with him and said “No, we are foreigners though. That should be worth something. Or you could give me the redhead discount.” He also happened to be a Ginger so I guess he thought it was funny or something. Anyway, I realized that after I had bought the tickets, he had given us a student discount, which was actually quite a big one. I had not actually been trying to get a discount, but was just being myself and got blessed.

Just remember, God made you. He accepts you, no matter how strange you might be (believe me, I know from experience). He loves you and will never leave you alone or love you less. Who else’s opinion matters?

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!