Evangelism – does it scare you?

Evangelism – does it scare you?

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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Evangelism – does it scare you?

By Andrew Greenhalgh, Jubilee Church Wirral

Is this what you picture when you think of being an evangelist?

How do you feel about evangelism?

Maybe it makes you feel slightly queasy, in that “I know it’s important and that God wants us to be evangelists but I can’t bear the thought of doing it myself” kind of way.

Maybe you’ve decided that you don’t feel called to evangelise, that God hasn’t chosen to gift you with that particular talent. Or maybe you’ve never really thought about it at all.

If thinking about evangelising makes you feel queasy, then I completely understand. Not just because doing something new is always nerve-wracking, but because “evangelism” conjures up images of people standing on street corners and shouting at passers-by.

If you’ve decided that God hasn’t called you to evangelise, then I understand that, too.

But isn’t saying “God hasn’t called me to do that” just an easy way out of doing something we don’t want to do?

A way of saying how much you believe in God while simultaneously ducking out of doing anything you don’t actually want to do?

I believe that we’re all called to evangelise, and that ultimately we are all evangelists, whether we like it or not.

Why? If you come to church regularly, then the chances are that at least some of your friends, colleagues and neighbours think of you as a Christian. That means their view of God is at least partially shaped by you and the way you live your life. That makes you an evangelist.

If I’m right and we’re all called to be evangelists, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple, painless way of evangelising? A way that helped Jubilee specifically as well as spreading the word of God?

There is.
Five or six days a week, Jubilee Church Wirral posts on Facebook and Instagram. Our posts range from news announcements to encouraging Bible verses.

We want these posts to reach as many people as possible, because:

– We want to grow Jubilee as a church
– We want to bring people to God
– We want to support and encourage those who have come to God already

Sounds good, right?

Here’s how you can help.

Every time anybody likes, comments on or shares a Jubilee post on Facebook or Instagram, more people see that post as a result. It’s that simple.

For the past two and a half years, we’ve had a small but faithful band of people who try their best to like, comment and share our posts – and for those people we are truly grateful.

But the more people who get involved, the more people we can reach – and the more people we can bring to God.

Can you help?

Our regular band of commenters receive a WhatsApp message every time we post, with a link through to the post itself. If you’d like to join that group, send me a message on 07714 102661.

If that sounds a bit too much of a commitment and you’re already in too many WhatsApp groups to mention, then all we ask is this:

Every time you see a Jubilee post on Facebook or Instagram, ‘like’ it, comment on it, or, better still, share it.

Not only will you be helping Jubilee, you’ll be helping bring people to God.

You’ll be evangelising.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Andrew Greenhalgh, Jubilee Church Wirral

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Taking advice

Taking advice

Blogs
Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Taking advice

By Andrew Greenhalgh, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

How are you at taking advice?

I’ll be honest with you: I’m not the best. I’m great at giving it, but when it comes to acting on the pearls of wisdom that others give me on a regular basis I’m not so hot.

Sometimes it’s not hugely important, but sometimes it has serious effects.

As you’ll know if you’ve been doing the Alpha course with your Life Group, last week we watched a video all about reading the Bible and how important it is.

At the end, in our group, my wife Julie had a very clever idea. She asked everyone in the group how often they read the Bible. We’re a very close-knit group and we made it very clear that there was no judgement whatsoever – it was just a question.

There were a variety of answers and when it came to my turn I said that I liked to read a Bible plan each morning (generally Nicky and Pippa Gumbel’s Bible in One Year) and that I notice it if I don’t. Ultimately what it boils down to is that I don’t feel as close to God.

Then on Saturday I said to Julie that I was feeling a bit down about my business and one or two other things, and a bit removed from God. She said, “Have you read your Bible today?”

I admitted that I hadn’t. She said something to the effect of “Why on earth not? You read it every other day, why wouldn’t you read it on Saturday?”

“I don’t know!” I said. What I didn’t tell her is that I hadn’t been reading it every day for a good few weeks.

I don’t know what had happened. Why I’d stopped. I think I’d fallen into the age-old trap of thinking “I’ve got too much work to do to spend half and hour reading!”

If someone said that to me, I would tell them that they had too much work on NOT to spend half an hour with God. But, as I say, I’m not so hot at taking my own advice.

On this occasion, though, I did. I poured myself a coffee, went upstairs, read my Bible and spent some time praying. Since then I’ve managed to read it every day and I’m glad to report that I’m feeling a whole lot better.

What I’m not saying is that reading the Bible will make your life perfect. But I do know that God wants to have a relationship with us, and that the best and arguably only way to do that is by praying. I also know that He wants to help us and has left us a book to help us with even the thorniest of problems.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

If you struggle with reading the Bible, then I would urge you just to start doing it – at a pace you can manage. I’m onto my second or third reading of the Bible in One Year plan but don’t for one minute think that I ever actually complete it in one year – I read it at my own pace.

If you’re comfortable with reading on your phone or tablet, then there are a variety of plans on the Bible App which take you through the Bible in full. I recommend the Gumbels’ plan because it offers some very helpful explanations, about the Old Testament in particular.

If you’d rather read an actual book, then there are an equally large selection of Bibles available which split the whole books into 365 chunks in a variety of ways. I have one which has a Proverb or a Psalm, two or three Old Testament chapters and several verses from the New Testament each day.

If you’re not keen on the Gumbels’ take, or have read it before and just want a new commentary, there are many others available too. However, I would recommend  a Bible in One Year plan of some description; some of the plans on the Bible app are great but contain very little actual Bible.

So here’s my advice: Read your Bible. It’s really a very good idea and you won’t regret it.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Andrew Greenhalgh with his wise wife Julie

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Spreading the word

Spreading the word

Spreading the word

By Andrew Greenhalgh, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

I remember the first time I went to church on Christmas morning. I was, I think, about 11 years old.

We may have gone to church on Christmas Day prior to that but I have absolutely no recollection of doing so whatsoever. I do remember getting my poor mum and dad up at about 6am to open presents, though. I suspect I was a rather annoying child.

It was my mum who suggested going. I baulked at the idea. “You don’t go to church on Christmas Day!” I replied.

Yes, I actually said that. What a total wombat I was.

She countered by pointing out that, if I did go, I would be able to wear my new combo – a pretend-silk red tie worn with a white shirt, rounded off with a new grey body warmer. Try not to laugh!

That persuaded me all right. I was possibly the most fashion-conscious/vain 11-year-old you could have hoped/dreaded to meet. So off I trotted with my mum and, possibly, my big sister. I don’t think my dad came.

For me as an 11-year-old, Christmas wasn’t about Jesus at all. I believed in God and knew that Christmas was Jesus’ birthday but I was way more interested in the presents and the Christmas pudding. I remembering finding it very strange indeed when the curate at our church led the whole congregation in a chorus of “Happy birthday to you” to Jesus on Christmas Day.

What’s my point? It’s this.

I think of going to church that Christmas as the beginning of the very long walk which led me to knowing Christ in the way I do today.

I had some kind of belief as an 11-year-old, but to get me to church my mum had to use something she knew would appeal to me – the opportunity to show the world how incredibly fashionable I was, and only 11 too!

It doesn’t matter how you introduce people to God. It’s introducing them that matters.

So if you have to remind people that there will be festive treats at Jubilee on Christmas Day, do it.

If you have to tell a reluctant 16-year-old about the other teenagers at the church, then do it.

If you have to attract people to an Alpha evening by letting them know that they will get a free meal, then do it.

God does not mind how you bring people into His house. And He certainly doesn’t want you to worry about how they will react when they arrive.

He just wants you to try to get them there in the first place. He will do the rest.

Note: I’m not saying that we don’t need to give people the absolute truth about who God is, what His word says and why they really should give their lives to Him as soon as they possibly can.

What I am saying is that getting them into church is often the first and best step we can make in doing so, and if pointing out that mulled wine and mince pies will be on offer will help then let’s do that.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Andrew Greenhalgh with his wife Julie

Details

Details

Blogs
Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Details

By Andrew Greenhalgh, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

Matthew 10:29: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.”

As I sat down to write this blog, my long-suffering wife set off to pick up our children from school.

Ten minutes later, I received a text asking me to pray. There was no umbrella in the car and the heavens had opened. She faced being soaked to the skin. Not a good thing.

So, naturally, I prayed for the rain to stop and for my wife to be able to pick up my son from school without getting drenched.

And, what do you know? It worked. The rain ceased before she had to get out of the car and all was well.

I felt this was an appropriate subject for a blog because I know for an actual fact that some people struggle to pray for certain things, or certainly to ask for prayer.

Some of us seem to have an idea that God is only interested in the big stuff. Yes, it’s fine to pray for whether or not you should take that job, they reason, but asking for help getting a good night’s sleep or finding a car parking space? Don’t be ridiculous. God’s not interested in little details like that!

Well, that’s just not true. God is interested in every tiny detail of our lives. The Bible reminds us on various occasions about God’s attention to detail:

Psalm 147:4: He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

Matthew 10: 30: And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Jesus wants to have an intimate relationship with every single one of us, and that means telling Him every detail of our lives and asking for His help.

Sometimes He will leave us to make our own decisions, and sometimes He will not provide us with the answers we are looking for. But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t want to hear what we have to say.

We can also be terrible judges of whether or not something is a big deal or not. As a Life Group leader, I can think of many an occasion when people have eventually asked for prayer for something that’s been going on for some time. When asked why they hadn’t asked for prayer for it before, they’ve often responded with something along the lines of “I didn’t think it was very important!”

Cue mass incredulity in the room and responses of “Don’t be daft! That’s what we’re here for and if it’s on your mind then we want to pray for it!”

Ultimately, not asking God for help is like saying we don’t think He can help in this situation. And none of us seriously believes that, do we?

So do me a favour, would you? Ask God for help in all situations. He wants to play an active role in our lives and you never know what might happen.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Andrew Greenhalgh with his wife Julie

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Taking our chances

Taking our chances

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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Taking our chances

By Andrew Greenhalgh, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

This is a picture of my mum and dad.

It was taken (I think) at some point in the early 90s. I’m guessing around 1994.

For those of you who don’t know, my dad died in 1998. He was only just 54 and there are a number of reasons for his life ending tragically early. I’m not going to go into them here.

I miss him a lot, and think about him most days. I think about how much he would have loved Julie and my children and how proud he would have been of my sister and me.

The thing is, though, when I think about my dad or dream about him (which happens frequently), I don’t feel sad. I feel joyous.

I feel joyous because when he was alive, we had a fantastic relationship. We would go to the pub together, talk about football and music and rarely, if ever, fall out. The only proper argument I can remember us having was over my decision to become a journalist and that was only because he knew how little journalists earned and didn’t want me to struggle for money in life!

My dad wasn’t perfect, and there are many things I do as a husband and father which are the polar opposite of what he did.

Where am I going with this? Why am I telling you all about my dad?

I was blessed to have a dad whom I got on brilliantly with, who was generous, funny and loving. I don’t have any regrets about making the most of my time with him when he was around.

No regrets.

And I think that’s my point, really. Living with regrets is not easy. We need to take every opportunity which God gives us and make the most of it. Tomorrow is too late – do it today.

James 4: 13-16 reads:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”

There are no guarantees about what’s going to be around the corner. We don’t know what God has in store for us. What we do know is that God is going to be with us the whole way, and if we try our best to make the most of what He gives us today, He will help us get through whatever tomorrow may bring.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Andrew Greenhalgh with his wife Julie

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