After The Bible Live – the Bible lives!

One question many people ask me since The Bible Live ended is “Can we do it again?” They  found it such a life affirming and life changing experience they want to relive it.

It was thrilling! There was something very special about the sense of community, about being part of a significant event, about the lighting and the stage, and about stepping out of our comfort zone. We sensed the privilege of reading God’s word out loud and some of us were moved to tears.

But the one thing that comes out each time is how the Bible spoke to us personally.

For most of us, the Old Testament is fairly unknown territory. And yet, as we read, the characters came alive, the numbers and genealogies became real people, and the big story from beginning to end held a very clear message of rebellion. It felt uncomfortable, but it rang true.

The more familiar text of the New Testament brought hope that rose above the ongoing undertone of rebellion. The life of Jesus was challenging, brief and shocking and the message to get ready for his coming again was clear.

No wonder we want to hold on to the experience. We want to stay in the story because we know it is our story. We recognise we have a lot to learn and we enjoy learning together.

But it doesn’t stop there. Not only do we want to relive it – we want to talk about it. To share the thrill of our experience.

img_5831So how about celebrating our experience of The Bible Live by giving a Bible to those who have none?

For £5 per month you can partner with The Bible Society in their Bible a Month scheme to make the word of God available to more people around the world.

Here is one story from the Bible Society this month telling us about the difference receiving a Bible can make.

When Salma fled her home in Syria with her husband and seven children for the safety of Jordan, they didn’t think it would be for long.

Three years later, Salma’s home town has been all but destroyed. The family has lost everything – their home, the shop her husband ran, the life they used to know.

In the midst of all this, Bible Society has helped the family find an apartment – basic, but a home nevertheless. We have introduced Salma to a local church, where she has been attending a weekly women’s group.

Here is where the biggest change happened. At this group, Salma could share her worries and receive prayer. She also received a Bible, courtesy of Bible Society. As a result, she met Jesus – the Jesus she has now chosen to put her faith in.

‘The belief in Jesus makes life worth living, even though I own nothing,’ she said. ‘The Bible is everything in my life. I’ve changed. I believe God brought me here from Syria, to go from dark to light.’

It is true! “When people engage with the Bible lives can change – for good.”

We can make The Bible live live on by sharing the good news with others!

 

After TBL – the laundry!

There are moments of spiritual highs, and moments of practical reality.  Such is the richness of life.

And so, after the celebration of 1000 years of worship at Warfield Church, there was the laundry to be done.

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Here is Jan’s joy.

Jan is the one who masterminded the party at the end of the Bible reading. She coordinated a team of  cooks, servers and food prepers, clearer uppers , shoppers, runners and dogsbodies, tea makers and advisors, fridge suppliers, washer uppers, encouragers, brolley holders, coat lenders, table setters and people who put jam in pots!

A truly amazing team!

Can’t you feel Jan’s delight when she steps back to admire her full line of pristine white aprons as the morning sun rises over them? Raising the flag on a job well done.

Jan – thank you so much for all that you did and for sharing this moment with us.

 

 

What The Bible Live has meant to us

tbl-janet-and-chrisAnd so The Bible Live is finished. What a wonderful celebration of 1000 years of Warfield Church.

79 hours reading the Bible aloud, non stop. For each of us it was a unique act of shared worship and witness.

A huge thank you to everyone who took time to fill in a comment form to share their experience of The Bible Live.  Here is a snapshot of what it has meant to us:

To speak the word of the Lord has been amazing. I have been very nervous because I wanted to make sure I did it right. But in the end it didn’t matter if I got a couple of names wrong. What was important was that I am part of a bigger event, a bigger church family and that when we walk together we can work miracles.

The team have created a space of profound beauty and tranquility and I cannot thank you enough for all the vast amount of work you have all put in. It has been so brilliantly organised! I have drawn such strength and comfort from hearing the Word of God proclaimed in a continuous stream. It has been wonderful to experience, and I pray Warfield will be changed and renewed through it. Thank you!

Our reading was at a very early hour and a difficult reading consisting almost entirely of names of places. However I had a real feeling of peace and a sense that the Lord was with me as I was reading his word in this beautiful environment that has been here declaring his word for 1ooo years.

Earlier in the week I was singing an old chorus – “He brought me to his banqueting table.” Coming in on Wednesday morning and sitting sticking coloured bits of paper on to the “window”, listening to Genesis, was wonderful and when I left I felt I had sat at his banqueting table – I felt full of his word and His banner over me is love.

I was running the SOUND-DESK – listening to the readers really brings the Bible alive in a way that reading it alone doesn’t.

I actually really enjoyed it! Even reading Exodus – a lot of the passages really resonated with me in a way they wouldn’t have had I been reading the Bible alone and in my head.

It was really special to spend time reading the Bible with my family and the girls from my life group, it is such a privilege to be able to publicly be part of reading of the whole Bible.

How very exciting listneing to the reading of The Bible Live. We especially enjoyed listening to the All Starz Team and were very impressed with the younger ones taking part. Well done and thank you!

I spent a lot of time journeying through the Old Testament, from the Law to the Kings to the Psalms and Prophets.  God has really been revealing to me his absolute power, his wrath when we turn away from him and that he is to be feared. As I write this I listen to how Jesus came to Earth. How God himself became man; how he gave himself up for us all (in such brutality). To think this God, who is of such power and wrath ,is the same God who humbled himself into the form of man blows me away. I cannot put into words the joy this fills my heart with. Praise our Glorious and Mighty King!

One of the most joyous and blessed things I have ever done (and I am quite old!). It captured my heart when I first heard about it and, even thought it is out of my comfort zone, I knew I had to sign up to read. God has blessed me mightily.

I kept being reminded of all the detail and work which went into building the Ark and the Tabernacle. Also the reverence, very deep reverence, given to them. As I walking in today it felt like I was entering the Tabernacle, built here to proclaim God’s word with reverence.

So I have been here at various weird times through The bible Live and it has all inspired in different ways. Timekeeping through Leviticus remended me of the rigid rules of OT religion. Reading Judges reminded me of the battles, the deaths and the failings of the Israelite people. But tonight I got to read the Gospel of Luke and be reminded that the one sacrifice of Jesus ended OT Law and allowed us to have the personal relationship with God that I cherish today.

I think that the act of reading together as a family is a rare and special thing. I enjoyed the temptation of Jesus in particular as anyone else would have been sure to have slipped up!

Wow! It’s so amazing to hear Paul’s letters read all the way through. Suddenly I feel I know him and understand him better (especially Romans) and he has become more of a real person. Jesus just shines through him and his example should help us all.

The best gift we could give back to God – reading His word aloud. Celebrating 1000 years of worship in one place is marvellous. We must continue to hold His word firmly and read it and learn from it – our future depends on it.

A very emotional experience from my first involvement on Wednesday through to today when I just HAD to make sure I was here for the whole day. A totally unique opportunity to soak me, the church, the building, and the area in the word of God. It WILL impact the life of all those who have taken part and the health of the church. Praise God for coming alive in His good and perfect word. Congratulations to everyone who has made it happen. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good News begins

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Photo thanks to Paul Crowhurst

For 60 hours we have been reading the Old Testament with the catalogue of man’s rebellion and failure in the face of God’s compassionate, unfailing love.

But tonight, at 9:40pm it all changes as we begin to read the New Testament.

The Good News of Jesus bursts in.

Walk along the candle-lit path towards the welcoming glow of St Michael’s.  Join your church family to hear the Jesus story that has been told there for 1000 years – that God loves us!

The Good News is for you, for us, for everyone.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18 The Message

 

Prayer Spaces for you

Reading God’s word draws us closer to God as we hear his voice speak to us. We hear words that comfort and words that challenge us. And we are moved to respond.

CreativeAnd so in St Michael’s, as a key part of The Bible Live, we have set up two prayer spaces. One is a creative space where you can express your worship in action and craft.  Creative Prayer Space

The other is  a quiet space where you can be alone with God. This is a place where you can talk to God about your life and those you love. You can light a candle. Spend as long as you need in both prayer spaces. God never rushes us.

You will be able to listen to God’s word being read in the background.

God has called us to this, and He is faithful.

God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9

Ready to begin at Genesis chapter 1

20160906_151820Two days of concentrated team work with lots of creative and technical expertise means the set up for The Bible Live is complete. We are ready to begin at the beginning and read God’s word continuously to the end.

St Michael’s is full of history. We have used as much of it’s own story as possible to join the old with the new and celebrate 1000 years of God’s faithfulness to us in Warfield.

The reading area has four lecterns with seating at the side to make it easy for groups to take their turn. The 2011 NIV is in place on each lectern and the lighting is excellent. When you come to read you will be welcomed by a Host, guided by a Session Coordinator and supported by a Timekeeper. This will be a joy for us all and a significant act of worship.

Come and share this wonderful celebration. Let’s declare God’s goodness to us – past, present and future.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 1 Peter 1:3

 

Meeting God in The Bible Live

Candles and vaseSt Michael’s has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer for 1000 years. People come as an act of faith, believing that the One who made them will listen to their prayers.

And He does.

We call out to God when our lives are changing – at births, marriage and death and all the change points in between. When we recognise that tomorrow is always unknown.

God tells us in the book of Isaiah that “my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”.  And what is more, that he gives ” joy in my house of prayer” (Isaiah 56)

St Michael’s is being prepared for us to celebrate 1000 years of God’s faithfulness. There is a prayer space where you can sit with God. Come and share in the joy of God’s presence, knowing that He calls you and He listens to your prayers.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Which Bible translation?

NIV 2011 imageWe are all going to read from the same translation of the Bible – the 2011 version of the New International Version.  There are many copies of this version in St Michael’s, including the large lectern Bible.

You can find the 2011 NIV in electronic form at  www.biblegateway.com; the version corresponding to NIV 2011 is described as “New International Version – UK (NIVUK)“. (There is another version described simply as “New International Version (NIV)” – that is not NIV 2011.)

If you wish to practice beforehand, and especially if you want to print off your own copy of the passage you expect to read, please make sure that you use the correct version. Remember, if we are running ahead or behind schedule, your reading may include a passage either side of what you prepared.

 

 

The Bible Live – Praying for protection

 

Pray-Without-CeasingDo you know that God’s will for you is to rejoice, give thanks in everything and pray without ceasing?

What a great model for how we should prepare for our 1000 year celebration of God’s love for us over many generations.

Excitement is rising for The Bible Live. There is a lot of giving thanks and planning – now we turn our attention to how we can pray without ceasing.

To make it easy we have written a prayer specifically for The Bible Live.  It is based on the Celtic model of an encircling prayer, a prayer for protection.

Eternal living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Encircle The Bible Live with your love, care and protection.
Encircle each one who reads your word
and each one who hears.
Encircle the land and the building as we read.
May St Michael’s be a holy place of your power and presence.
May your kingdom come in Warfield Church
May your name be glorified.
Eternal living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Encircle The Bible Live with your love, care and protection.

How can we pray this prayer without ceasing?

Perhaps you can memorise it; stick it on your bathroom mirror, the fridge door, your desktop screen – anywhere where you will see it regularly as a prompt to pray. The more often we are reminded the quicker The Bible Live will come to the forefront of our attention and we will find ourselves encircling it with God’s love, care and protection –  even when we stir in the middle of the night!

Let’s place a blanket of prayer over The Bible Live – all of us and all the time. We can all do it wherever we are. Remember, the apostle Peter told us to cast all our anxiety on Jesus and to . . .  be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith . . 1Peter 5:7-9

Praying protection over The Bible Live is about being sober minded and alert to spiritual realities.

If you are on the church database you will receive the prayer by email. And we will have printed copies to hand out to everyone

Please join with us to pray for The Bible Live without ceasing.

Lord, make my heart a house of prayer.  Charles Wesley