MPOWER will be looking to include testimonies, events, happenings and any other suitable news items that will encourage and build men up in their walk with God.
Speak to me personally(SteveThomas) at church meetings or E mail below
Scroll down for a brief account of our discussions over the last several meetings
JESUS THE ANSWER.19th Oct
What's the question?
The guys each gave their own take on a whole pile of possibilities which prompted great discussions.John shared a piece of creative writing with us based on a trip to the Holy Land and a dream that he had presented as a chat between him and Jesus as Jesus revisited His own footsteps and met the people He had been with 2000 years ago .Awesome.
I think I may have missed one or two newsletter deadlines over the summer holidays,so here is the latest update from the HBC men's group. A few men have been away over the last couple of months but we always have a very meaningful discussion. The most recent was entitled “THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING” exploring several passages relating to the various statements about Jesus' kingship and what it means to us.
Here is a very brief taster.
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Christ the King is a title of Jesus in Christianity referring to the idea of the Kingdom of God where the Christ is described as seated at the Right Hand of God (as opposed to the secular title of King of the Jews mockingly given at the crucifixion).
This was explored in a lot more detail during the morning with two challenging questions at the end.
If any men out there feel that they would like to be part of this wonderful group of God loving people then please come along.
Andy G. and I met for an informal chat about the future of the men's group and it's overall impact on the guys themselves and their influence outside the meetings. We both came away feeling very encouraged at the way it has progressed over the last eighteen months and agreed that to increase numbers above about sixteen would detract from the personal relationships that have been built up in that time. The general consensus was to continue in it's present format (which is extremely random). When people ask what we do ,I reply “It's more about what we don't do”. It's not a Bible study, but it could be. It's not a prayer gathering, but it could be. It's not a teaching or training session, but it could be etc, etc. Be assured, the whole meeting is Holy Spirit led and nothing is too trivial or taboo to be discussed. It's really about bringing freedom in Christ Jesus to us as individuals and as a body. Talking to the men in MPower and getting their feedback is an important part of the vision in moving forward as “Iron Sharpens Iron”. In the last few months we have experienced an increase of boldness in prayer and in stepping out into areas we may not have otherwise ventured into. We are learning to be more open, honest and understanding with each other, knowing that we all have some degree of hurt or brokenness in our lives. Thanks to all of you who are praying for and with us, may God bless you for your faithfulness. If you wish to know more, seek me out in Church or visit the website below. For those men who are likely to be with us at the next meeting here is the information you need:- Saturday 21st September 10.00am onwards at the Oasis of Miracles Cafe. Grab yourself a brew ready to start about 10.15am. N.B. We may well need to change the venue as the numbers grow. Also in the summer there is, unfortunately, no window in the upper room and I am sure that an outside meeting in the sunshine wouldn't go amiss.
Stuck Like Glue (15th June)
A very powerful meeting
I believe that the group has gone up a level in terms of openness and trust with one another,enabling breakthroughs in the barriers that would normally keep us at arms length. I am really encouraged
by them and in what our Lord Jesus is doing in and through us with regards to the prayer and ministry that is so obviously increasing amongst us.
Having said all that we would value your prayers of protection over us , and for the increase of the power of the Holy Spirit ,that we,as men of God, could fulfil our individual destinies for the benefit of our families,our fellowship and further afield.
I am convinced that a shift in the relationships that men have with each other is happening now,one that we desperately need to embrace. The “stiff upper lip” of men's macho outward approach is slowly dissolving .
Who knows where this will lead, (God does).
The actual meeting consisted of edited highlights of Louie Giglio's "Indescribable" followed by "Laminin" .If you haven't seen them yet then I highly recommend them.
Due to it being Easter Saturday several of the guys were doing family things,so half a dozen of us managed to meet,sitting downstairs on the sofas at the Cafe where we had an informal time together discussing a range of subjects and ending in a time of prayer.That's it ,very brief and to the point.
LIFE AFTER DEATH.
Paul led the discussion and sent me this message (amended) of how it went.
"Well ,it was great,everyone gave something.Yes,it was a little controversial but all the guys pulled out scriptures that had us deep in thought.
The idea of can we be saved or prayed for after death is a bit of a 'hot spud'."
I really would have liked to have been there.
In answering questions about life after death, we are left with only two sources to consult. Either we turn to human experience or we turn to the Word of God. If we turn to human experience, we find many guesses, many ideas, many theories—but no sure answers. That’s because, in the nature of the case, no human has a sure answer. The only people who have the answer are dead! That leaves us with the Word of God. In God’s Word we find ample, abundant answers. God who knows the future knows what happens when we die, and he hasn’t left us to wonder about it. The Bible is filled with information on life after death!
If you want the answer in one sentence here it is: What happens after you die depends on what happens before you die. Read the Bible verses below to learn what happens after we die.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
ARMIES.THEN AND NOW
Comparing the armies of today with God's biblical armies.Stan took us through a journey of perspectives from his experiences in the army and the different strategies employed in the armies of today compared to the armies commanded by God.
Biblical Jesus v Modern Jesus (meeting on Jan 19th)
Politically correct Jesus? Not a chance.In a society where the PC brigade have an ever increasing influence over what we say and to whom we say it we looked at things from Jesus viewpoint.Jesus wins,PC loses.But are we strong enough to stand up and be counted and be prepared to shouted down ridiculed and even persecuted and prosecuted for our faith.Quite a challenge.
women and children first?
Question: "Why are there so few men in the church?"
Answer: On any given Sunday, all across the world, churches are likely to have more women in the pews than men. Some estimates place the so-called “gender gap” in America at 61 percent women versus 39 percent men (www.uscongregations.org). That means that every Sunday there are millions more women attending church than men.
There are several theories put forward for why, comparatively, there are so few men attending church. One theory is that the church’s teachings, emphasizing humility, holiness, and introspection, are seen by some men as “weak” or somehow less than masculine. Men are looking to be challenged with a “bold” message of adventure, danger, and aggressiveness.
Finding the right activities to attract men is also a challenge for many churches. Some congregations make an extra effort to provide times of fellowship and bonding for men by adding hunting expeditions, fishing trips, sports, etc., to their schedules.
Another theory is that many churches, knowingly or unknowingly, create a feminine atmosphere with their décor. Floral arrangements, pastel colors, frilly curtains, and pictures of passive, pastoral scenes make for a peaceful ambiance, but they tend to make men feel a disconnect. Some churches attempt to appeal to masculine sensibilities by changing their décor to something edgier, darker, more robust, and less nurturing.
Another explanation for why there are so few men in church has to do with the stereotypical masculine ego. Men are naturally self-reliant, headstrong, and proud, the theory goes, and are therefore naturally more resistant to the divine call to humility and submission. The gospel confronts our need, and men are often averse to admitting neediness.
There are other hypotheses, such as upbringing. Most men were reared by fathers who did not attend church services and so have no role model for masculine involvement in a church. There is the suggestion that men, the traditional breadwinners, are too busy working—or enjoying their day off work—to commit to a church. And overly sentimental church music is sometimes mentioned as something that keeps men away, too.
There might be a grain of truth in each of these theories, but none of them fully explain the gender gap in modern churches. No one rejects church simply because of frilly curtains or a sappy song; there is most likely a deeper problem.
Truth be told, followers of Christ have always included a large percentage of women. Luke 8:3 says there were “many” women who supported Jesus and His disciples during their ministry. At Jesus’ crucifixion, “many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs” (Matthew 27:55). And, of course, it was a group of women who first found the empty tomb (Luke 24:22).
The message of Christ is universal. Following Christ includes adventure, risk, and purpose. Churches should preach the Word and challenge, nurture, and encourage all their members, male and female. Any church that turns the gospel into a soft, congenial message; minimizes the cost of discipleship; or imputes weakness to Christ does its people a disservice. Charles Spurgeon decried such a watered-down message in his day: “There has got abroad a notion, somehow, that if you become a Christian you must sink your manliness and turn milksop.”
Men avoid church for a variety of reasons, and church leaders should be aware of those possible reasons as they reach out to young men, husbands, and fathers. Men should be challenged to emulate the heroes of the faith—robust men such as Moses, Elijah, and Peter. The Christian life should be presented as the adventure it truly is. And we should pray that God would increase the number of men who recognize their God-given responsibilities and who are unafraid to commit their talents and service to a local church.
WOMEN...AND MEN'S SPIRITUALITY.
Well...that was different.For the first time we had a guest contributor to bring us insights from another perspective.We welcomed ....Ali from HBC.Yes a female among the males.OOhh!
What a great word Ali brought through a short (rather cheesey) cartoon presentation involving a man and his son and their donkey to illustrate that by trying to please everyone ,you please no-one.Discussions then led us into the world of politics and how we should pray more for our leaders at local,national and international levels.We ended by praying for healing for a couple of the guys and fully expect through faith for this to happen.Praise God.
Join us for the next meeting :-
A great time this day as we welcomed another new face(and the rest of him) into our expanding group.Because of circumstances the subject had to be changed not once but twice at the last moment.Opened as usual in prayer and then watched a video about the vastness of the universe and God's creation with Louie Giglio.The presentation was split into five 10 minute segments so that we could discuss the implications of what we had seen and heard, before watching the final awesome part..A huge thank you to Colin for donating and fitting the smart TV.
There will be a follow up to this in the new year with another Louie presentation.
watch the whole video on you tube
...and the next question is!
We lit one candle on a sponge cake in celebration of 1 year of MPower. Delicious. Thanks to Georgina for the cake and Kunle for putting up balloon and banner.
With two extra guys who were first timers we commenced with prayer then on to the meaty bits.
Andy F. wanted to know more about the verses in Eph 5,Col 3 and 1Peter 3 where the subject is wives submitting to husbands. Oohh! What a friend of mine calls a "hairy chestnut" passage (I've no idea why but it sounds right somehow)
After an animated discussion on what is meant by this,especially in today's society of equality and "political correctness" we generally agreed on the main point that the man is head of the household as Jesus is the head of the church and as such should take the lead in love, and that wives and husbands should complement each other without watering down or softening the meaning of God's word.
Come and join us next time for another session of 'Iron sharpening Iron'.
We are all on a learning curve.
Once again meeting in the "upper room" at Oasis we got together to take bread and wine and worship.Guys on their knees is humbling sight and fills one with a sense of awe of how wonderful is our God.
This was about how we can speak of Jesus to non believers,sharing our faith in the workplace or on the streets.We did stray away from the main theme on several occasions (as we often do) always returning to some sort of conclusion.We will always have questions which are not fully resolved but always leave feeling encouraged by each other.
IRON SHARPENS IRON.
The last red hot Saturday of June saw us once again meeting in the upper room at the Oasis Cafe.We were offered chilled orange juice and pastries by Kunle who also had the presence of mind to cool the room down with A/C before we arrived. YAY!
This time the focus was not so much on us and our desire to become more Christ like but rather on Him.We came together to worship Jesus together and exalt His Holy name.We used several verses from the New testament to reinforce this theme and then put it into practice with live acoustic guitar music and sung worship.The result was a very powerful sense of God's presence and also a feeling of closeness with each other as half a dozen guys came together to exalt the Lord.
Should you wish to come along and experience lively debate ,eye opening revelations and the presence of God,check out the events page for upcoming dates.See you there.
July 21st saw us once again meeting in the upper room at The Oasis of Miracles with croissants and fresh orange juice kindly provided by Kunle. One regular down and one new "recruit" our theme this time was our "IDENTITY WITH CHRIST".
We discussed the way the Bible tells us how we identify with Jesus through His Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension, and agreed that life is not as black and white as we think,or as some writers of Christian articles often try to persuade us to accept .This is one of the many reasons why we come together ,to tackle some sticky issues that we don't often come up against .And we still manage to laugh!
If you think that you might like to join in lively debate and connect with other guys in a meaningful way and hopefully learn something more about yourself,why not join us.
Check out the dates on the EVENTS page and come along.
Saturday 19th May was welcomed in with chocolate petit pain and warm croissants kindly supplied by Kunle.The main verses under discussion were Romans 12,Acts 2.
We talked about the time the transformation from "sinner to saint" took place in our lives and a few shared their testimony.A brave step.We concluded that although a major transformation does take place at a specific moment,that transformation is a continual process.We always come away enlightened and encouraged by what God is doing in us.See you next time if you feel like giving it a go.
Another animated, profound and occasionally emotional discussion on how we felt about perfectionism and the way it can affect us.
God is calling us to the wonderfully refreshing experience of getting our eyes off ourselves and how we’re measuring up, and onto Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). He wants us to stop pursuing or being paralyzed by perfectionism so we are free to pursue love (1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Timothy 1:5) and pursue trusting him with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5). And if perfectionism has an inordinate influence on us, God will mercifully design circumstances to defeat our best efforts to fight sin “successfully” until we learn where our freedom really comes from.
In Christ, you are free! You are free to follow Jesus imperfectly. You are free to fight the fight of faith defectively, because that’s the only way you will ever fight for faith in this age.
Perfectionism is a ponderous weight we must lay aside in the race of faith (Hebrews 12:1). God doesn’t want us to focus on performing perfectly; he wants us to focus on living out a childlike, dependent faith through authentic acts of love (Galatians 5:6).
MORE ON PERFECTION
A waterbearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it. While the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the mistress's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to her master's house.
The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream: "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."
Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"
"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your mistress's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in her compassion she said, "As we return to the mistress's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.
But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?
“That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them.
“For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my mistress's table. Without you being just the way you are, she would not have this beauty to grace her house."
Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots.
But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. We've just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them.
There's a lot of good out there.
Moving Forward was the direction John took us on with verses from Philippians and Romans about the road we are travelling and the goal we are aiming for.A lively discussion took place and we came away with a more positive outlook on the journey we have undertaken with Jesus.
Following on from Reflections,Andy took us on a journey from past to present,looking back at how we used to be in our talk, deeds and attitude before we knew the Lord.He explained that by using God's Word as a "filter" all those unwanted traits are changed or changing bringing us into alignment with the way God mapped out for us.A very positive outcome for all us.Oh yes, and a big thank you to Kunle for the sausage rolls.
The Man in the Mirror discussion the guys had on Sat 27th Jan went really well.A big thank you to those who attended.
We all came away from the meeting having learned more about ourselves and the others with possibly a different perspective on God's true interpretation of exactly who we are.We have a long way to go,but with the encouragement of the men in the group,all rooting for one another ,nothing is impossible.
Why not register now for the next one.
Check out the events page and sign up.