Introducing a new discipleship program launching at Bethel in September…!

 

{  bless.  }

When I was younger, my favourite Christian band by a good mile and a half were Delirious? Many people knew them from their earlier days, but I was introduced to them by the first big hit: Deeper from the King of Fools albums.

After a U2-inspired guitar riff the whole band drops down to just the drums and the bass – and then Martin Smith begins to sing:

“I want to go deeper, but I don’t know how to swim…”

DEEPER – DELIRIOUS?

I was an instant fan, and have been ever since.

 

There’s something about those words that have always stayed with me… the passion to go deeper with God, but not knowing how to. Maybe you’ve felt that to at times? Hearing others share their story, or their vision, or their passion – and just wondered, “but how do I get from here to there…?”

 

“Do you have anything in Extra Small?”

There’s also the problem that often the ways in which people get there differ greatly. For some people it all started with a Word of Prophecy, for others it was in the laying on of hands, others have dreams, visions, callings… others hear from God while they sip their Starbucks on the morning commute, others up on a mountain retreat… for some it was one significant conversation, for others – many… some learn how to swim over many, many months of practise – others seem to need a shove in the deep end!

The trouble with testimony is that it can only ever be descriptive – and not prescriptive. Like any good artist, God has a recognisable style and flare – but that doesn’t mean He’s likely to create the exactly same painting twice!

Like the shepherd boy David struggling to even to walk around in King Saul’s massive armour – when it comes to the faith to step out, we can often feel like we need to ask God: “Do you have anything in Extra Small?”

But there’s good news here – disciples aren’t mass produced, they’re handcrafted. When it comes to how God crafts us into the likeness of Jesus – He has a variety of tools in the box that He chooses to use.

 

Just look at Jesus – He is a master craftsman…

With someone like Philip, Jesus challenges him to try and pushes him forward.

With someone like Peter, Jesus is infinitely patient in reeling him back in.

With John, Jesus sits and talks and questions.

With Thomas, Jesus let’s him ask all the questions.

None of us start from the same place, or have the same gifts, personalities, struggles, questions…. but in each of us Jesus is patiently nurturing. And He wants to lead us on.

Deeper.

Deeper still.

Because whoever we are – there is always more. So much more.

 

Deep Sea Diving 101

So, how do we go deeper?

Whichever disciple you look at – the one key element that is consistent in each case is the time they spent with Jesus. Listening to Him, watching Him, and then (together) imitating Him in all kinds of ways.

What must that been like?

Would you like a taste of it?

 

My heart behind  {  bless.  } is to draw together a small group of people who are serious about following Jesus. We’re going to spend time really leaning into five keys areas of Jesus’ teaching – and try to let Jesus do the talking. We’re going to decide together what next steps to take and support each other in the ways we feel the Holy Spirit might be guiding us.

It’s something that has been on my heart for some time – but I really sense that the Holy Spirit is saying: “now is the time.” 

 

More contagious than corona?

What I would then really love to see is that group divide in the new year and lead the course for others so that the theme of discipleship really spreads and grows organically right through the church.

Refusing to change the conversation.

Refusing to change track.

Deeper – that’s where we want to go, so deeper we must swim.

 

As restrictions are lifting, the leadership team are praying and talking a lot about how we can start to rebuild… Many of you will have heard me talk a lot (on Sundays and at Open House meetings) about The Three Pillars:

  •  Connecting Deeply with God
  •  Connecting Deeply with Each Other
  •  Connecting Deeply with Others

And I’ll be sharing a lot about what that might mean for us here on the blog and the podcast throughout August – but {  bless.  } will be a big part of the first pillar – how we plan to Connect Deeply with God moving forward. For far too long we’ve taken Sunday morning attendance as a measure of where someone is with Jesus, and not really worried about anyone until they haven’t attended for a couple of weeks… but showing up is just the beginning, we need to move deeper.

 

Who’s with me?

If any of this resonates with you and you’d like to be part of the first  {  bless.  } group beginning Mid-September, please do get in touch with me, I would love you to share the journey with me!

 

For more details, please have a watch:

Part 02 – Some Core Commitments…

Part 03 – The What and The Why…

 UPDATE:

There will be two groups starting in September: (please note these are two different groups, you don’t need to come to both!!)

  •  Tuesday 21st September (Lunchtime group)
  •  Thursday 23rd September (Evening group)

{  bless.  } should take around ten weeks to journey through together.

If you’d like to be part of it – please be in touch with Jon for the details!

 

 

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