Recently Strive have been in contact with some like-minded men from MENUNITED Wiltshire – based over in Trowbridge. We find this a huge encouragement! Hopefully over the next few months & years we will be able to share events. Look out for those in our events section. For now though, read & be encouraged by their latest newsletter;
(The newsletter of the Wiltshire Men’s Prayer & Fellowship Group)
In opening our April prayer and fellowship group meeting, Tony Smith quoted from an article prepared by Southampton Christian Network on “Transforming Prayer”. The author, referencing her own experience in Manchester, said that where there is vision – the kind that is realistic, sustainable and easy for people across the board to grasp – a great deal can be achieved. Tony exhorted us to pray specifically into the vision God has given us – for our town; our county; the nation and for non Christian men in our area –and not be sidetracked. He encouraged us to ask ourselves “What do we want Trowbridge to look like five years from now?” For about 45 minutes a dozen guys interceded for our Queen; David Cameron and other government leaders; Christian MPs of which there are known to be 49 “committed Christians” and could be more; and for various aspects of Trowbridge life including the Town Council, the Mayor and Town Councillors, the emergency services; our schools; and the large amount of voluntary work that is being carried out.
In his Easter Address at No 10 as reported by The Guardian, the Prime Minister, David Cameron said, “This is the time when, as Christians, we remember the life, sacrifice and living legacy of Christ. The New Testament tells us so much about the character of Jesus; a man of incomparable compassion, generosity, grace, humility and love. These are the values that Jesus embraced, and I believe these are values people of any faith, or no faith, can also share in, and admire.
“It is values like these that make our country what it is – a place which is tolerant, generous and caring. A nation which has an established faith that together is most content when we are defined by what we are for, rather than defined by what we are against. In the book of Luke, we are told that Jesus said, ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’ – advice that when followed makes for a happier, and better society for everyone.”
He told the assembled guests that he welcomed a Christian “fight back”. He said: “I think there’s something of a fight back going on, and we should welcome that. The values of the Bible, the values of Christianity are the values that we need.”
These comments – a public avowal of his faith which is to be welcomed – contrast with previous jocular remarks. In a 2008 interview in The Guardian the then future Prime Minister said: “I am a sort of typical member of the Church of England.” The Sunday Telegraph commented recently that ‘the bemusement of Christians was understandable when David Cameron, at his Easter reception for churchmen in Downing Street, welcomed a Christian ‘fight back’, while his own Government is pursuing a case at the European Court to enforce the ban on the cross at work.
Let us continue to be steadfast in praying for the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Government – particularly Ian Duncan Smith, a cabinet member who is a committed Christian – and all MPs. Let us pray for wisdom to be granted to our leaders. Let us pray also for the many Christian Members of Parliament, that they will bring a godly influence in the affairs of state.
Around 300 people from different churches – and none – gathered in Holy Trinity Church on Easter Sunday evening for an Easter Celebration. The celebration was organised by the Maranatha Church and is yet a further demonstration of how churches can work together effectively in Trowbridge. Surely this is a further indication that God has started something new and exciting in our town.
In anticipation of our July prayer breakfast, we are seeking to establish links with men’s groups across the County. We have been able to make a good link with Emmanuel Church in Chippenham. Spencer Shaw, the Pastor, tells us that a group of men from his church attend the Bristol Men’s Convention – now in its 3rd year and being held at the Colston Hall. If you are interested please visit the convention website – http://www.bristolmensconvention.org.uk/
We have been given a link to Paul Bradbury from the Salisbury Diocese who was licensed in Sept 2008 into the regeneration area of Poole. Paul runs a project called Wild Spirit which is a series of social and spiritual events specifically for men. Those of you who have a love/passion for walking/climbing may like to have a look at his web site – http://wildspirit.org.uk/
We have been encouraged with up to 20 men on occasions meeting to intercede for our town and its leaders; the County and all its elected officials and civil servants; and our Nation – our blessed Queen Elizabeth, the Prime minister and the Government. We have had some powerful times when we have sensed that we were being an influence for good as we brought these matters before our mighty God. We are conscious however that 7.00 pm on the second Wednesday evening each month may not be convenient for some of you who feel a burden like us to pray together. So we are considering having a second meeting on another day, perhaps another time and would appreciate input from any who would be interested in us developing this. The only suggestion that was made the last time we raised the subject was to have a meeting during the day which might be more suitable for men who are retired or who work in Trowbridge and could get away from their business around lunch time. If you have any thoughts, could you email them to Geoff Tate please?
Dates for your diary:
Saturday 21st April: Breakfast meeting at The Food Factory, Airsprung Beds, Canal Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8RQ – speaker Joey Perez from Philadelphia, USA.
9th May: our usual time of prayer, fellowship and ministry at Bethesda Baptist Church at 7.00 pm. We would encourage you to join us if you can.
25th – 27th May: Mighty Men’s Conference at Nidderdale Agricultural Showground, Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire. Speaker – Angus Buchan. The conference is free of charge. For more information visit www.daleybread.org
29th June – 1st July: CVM’s “The Gathering XII” at Lynt Farm, nr Swindon SN6 7QZ. As the UK’s biggest Christian Men’s Movement they hope to provide the perfect weekend for guys to take stock of their lives with excellent activities and top class speakers, including Carl Beech, Lyndon Bowring and Jon Burns, and worship led by Graham Kendrick and his band. For more information visit http://cvm.org.uk
7th July: MENUNITED Wiltshire – “Sharing the vision: Moving on with God” – a men’s “doughnuts and coffee” morning from 8.30.am to 10.30.am at Holy Trinity Church, Trowbridge. Rees James from Bethesda Baptist Church will be the speaker. We are now in contact with groups of men from across the County and are praying that this time will be a good opportunity for us all to worship together; network; share stories; hear God’s word and make a commitment to unite in prayer right across Wiltshire. May God be pleased to heal our land.
Finally, a couple of thoughts for you to mull over. A study in the USA shows that if a married man comes to church/Christ, 90% of the time his family does too. May this encourage us in our prayers for men.
TRANSFORMATION. “[All] change, even very large and powerful change, begins when a few people start talking with one another about something they care about.” ( Margaret J. Wheatley)
There is a real sense that God is doing something new in Trowbridge (and we are sure this is reflected elsewhere in the County). Let us continue to pray in the expectancy of a real spiritual breakthrough in the area and indeed in our Nation.
Produced on behalf of MENUNITED by Geoff Tate
Issue No.8 – April 2012