Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Evangelism, Faith, Healing, Hope, Miracles

Look to the future – what do you see?

Over the last few weeks, I have been spending some time with God, seeking the way forward for UCB as a ministry.  I have been rejoicing about the past and those who have gone before us, but also rejoicing about the many lives which have been changed and transformed by the power of God’s Word.

I recently met with a group of UCB supporters and shared what I see for the future.  I want to share the same message with you and give you a glimpse of what I am seeing today. It is a glimpse that came from the challenge Jesus gave to his disciples when He said to them, ‘Lift up your eyes, and look at the fields and see how white and ready they are for the harvest’. (John 4:35).

Instead of looking at the gloom and despondency and the brokenness that is in our world today, God wants us to see what He sees today.

Here is what I see.

I see God turning the hearts of a godless society back to Himself.

I see a church living and operating in the power of the Gospel.

I see our Government, our laws, our society being reshaped by the truth of God’s Word.

I see family units coming together into the knowledge and the transformation of God’s power, from the toughest parts of the cities to the most rural parts of our country.

I see every generation, should it be young or old, knowing their worth and experiencing value and a purpose for their lives.

I see people standing for what it is true and becoming intolerant for all the right reasons – intolerant of wrongdoing, intolerant of injustice.

I see people getting ready to answer God’s call, like they have never done before.  I see people standing together totally united for their cities and not afraid to say, ‘We are the Church’.

I see the Church mobilised to take the Gospel to the towns, villages and the cities, making disciples and being totally committed to what God has called them to do.

I see changing statistics; relationships being restored, addictions broken.   I see miracles to be the order of the day in the life of our society, because the Church is acting like true light and salt, like never before.

I see an army of young people having visions and I see older people, instead of being put ‘on the shelf,’ having dreams like they have never had before,  supporting and standing with the younger generation.

I truly believe and see a day is coming when God will pour His Spirit upon all flesh.   I see the young and the old, the children and the grandparents lifting the banner of victory, looking at their society and truly believing that God has a message of hope, and using every means possible to lift up that message of truth.

You might say, ‘Dave, you’re living in cuckoo land, you’re dreaming!’

But I am seeing only what Jesus spoke of to his disciples and I am saying that it is time that we lift up your eyes from the negative, from the oppressive, from the depressive and recognise that the fields are white for harvest.

And therefore it is time, I believe that we as a ministry and you as partners and supporters, that we actually start to switch on and see what God wants us to see.

And let’s believe that the enemy will not have the upper hand.  He may think that he has the best strategy, to steal, to kill, to destroy,  but the verse does not stop there, because Jesus says even to us today, through His Word that He came that we might have life, not just life,  but life to the full. (John 10:10).

I strongly believe we are moving into an unprecedented hour and that we as a ministry need to be ready like never before.  We need to be ready for people to be resourced and helped in their faith.  And we need to be ready to resource the church, as I believe they will not be able to cope with the amount of people who will be coming in.   They need to have reliable content.

There is a saying in Media that ‘content is king’.  This means that all our strategies are of no use, if our content, if what we write or share on air is not good.   I believe today though that God is turning that around and saying, ‘The KING is the content’.

David-Blog21

 

Christianity, Faith, Forgiveness, Hope

When you lose the most precious thing in the world.

In February 1988, our lives as a family were going well. We had three beautiful children and I was moving up the ladder in my career with a retail chain.  

Our three children, Natalie, Jamie and Richard
 I have always been an early bird and my morning routine before leaving for work, was to check on our youngest son Jamie, who was 13 months old. On the morning of February 9, I left for work but for some reason that day, I did not check on him. I arrived at work and just after 9am, I received an urgent phone call from a neighbour who said, ‘something has happened to Jamie, you need to come home’.

The details were not clear at that point, so I jumped into the car and drove home, like I have never driven before. As I was racing along, the word ‘death’ kept coming into my head and I screamed out to the Lord, ‘No, Lord…no, this CANNOT be true’. 

As I arrived at home, the front door was open, the paramedics were working on Jamie and I could hear the desperate cries of my wife. I still did not know what was going on, but I learned that our son Richard who was 10, had found his brother unresponsive in his bed. The paramedics took Jamie to hospital, blue lights and sirens blazing and my wife and I followed behind in the car. When we arrived at Casualty, we were met by the doctor and were not allowed to see Jamie while they worked on him. Eventually a doctor came out and we could see by the look on his face, that it was not good news. Our beautiful son had died at 13 months old, from sudden infant death syndrome. 

We were numb, confused, angry and had many questions. Jamie had been for a routine check-up just a few weeks earlier and was fine. Had we done something wrong? Could this have been stopped? It felt as though we were trapped in a nightmare and we struggled to understand.

The hospital staff eventually told us that Jamie’s body was in the Chapel of Rest and asked if we wanted to see him. My wife did not feel able to go, so I went to spend some time there on my own. As I stood there, my heart cried and ached and I said, ‘God, I KNOW you can do this, I know you can bring him back’. As I prayed, I suddenly felt a strange tap on my shoulder. I immediately looked around but no one was there. This happened 3 times and each time, there was no one behind me, but then very clearly I felt God speak into my spirit. I cannot say for sure if it was an audible voice, but I know God spoke: 

‘He will not come back to you, but you will go to him one day.’

I learned years later, that these were words spoken by King David in 2 Samuel 12:23, after he lost his own infant son. Although I did not recognise at the time where the words came from, I knew God was saying there was nothing more we could do. He had taken Jamie home. In one sense, it released me from the burden of praying for God to restore Jamie to us, but that did not stop us from feeling the desperate agony of grief.  

Jamie

In the days ahead, although our lives were shattered, we tried to keep things as normal as we could for our children, Richard and Natalie. Our church family gathered around us and our pastor, John Mosey was a wonderful friend, supporting us through the many practical arrangements we had to make. Little did we know that John would face his own terrible family tragedy toward the end of the year, but I will talk more about that in another blog post. The church’s support was incredible but we still had so many questions. I felt God speak to me clearly one day; Stop asking me why. Ask me what I am going to do through it. 

Two weeks later, I had been due to speak at our church. Our pastor said I did not have to do it, but I was able to share a short word on Romans 8:31: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us’. I asked our church family to pray for us and I also encouraged them to be as normal as they could with us. We didn’t want people to stay away or think that we did not want to see their children or their babies. We knew this would be an important part of rebuilding our lives.

Throughout all that time, I can say that I felt God was lifting me. I had to grieve but I also had the responsibility of caring for my wife and children too. My mother gave me a copy of the famous Footprints poem  and I knew that despite our shock and grief, God was carrying us through the darkest time of our lives. 

Today as a family we live and enjoy a good life. It is a different life which will always be scarred by losing Jamie, but we are not broken. We have been through many stages of grief and up until recently, I was struggling with many private emotions. In a future blog post, I will share more on this and how I feel God has set me free from the burden of guilt which I carried for many years.   

If you are facing your own tragedy today, then if you are a believer, you can know that God is with you and will carry you through it. As believers, we are not protected from pain and we should not con ourselves and think we can go through this life without heartache. But God can hold us together powerfully through the most terrible times of our lives and give us strength to keep going.    

After a terrible loss, your life may never be the same again, but with God, it can still be a good life. He is the reason for our hope and we know that one day we will see Jamie again.  

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Evangelism, Faith, Forgiveness, Hope, Miracles

God is the God of the impossible

Early one Friday morning over five years ago, our Company Secretary came to see me. ‘David, we have a problem,’ he said.  ‘Our cashflow is bad. We need half a million pounds’.

When you are responsible for a large organisation, this is never good news to hear. Coming from a commercial background, I knew it was quite common to operate a business out of an overdraft, but I did not feel this was the answer for UCB.  I did not know what the solution was, but firstly,  I knew that we needed to pray.

When facing unexpected news, it is easy to get caught up in meetings and discussions but at that moment I wanted to be alone so that I could ask God for His answer.  I took out my Bible and felt God prompt me to read Jeremiah 17.  My eyes fell initially to Jeremiah 17:7-8.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit’.

As I read this, I felt encouraged especially that we were to ‘have no worries in a year of drought’, but in my heart, I still didn’t feel fully peaceful.   I felt God prompt me to read Jeremiah 17 again, but this time I needed to read the whole chapter.  I have to admit that verses  4 to 6 shocked me – they were curses about goods being plundered and lives being destroyed!

I remember I prayed,  ‘God, ‘I do not understand. First you gave us a promise and a blessing and now I am reading about a curse?  What are you saying to us?

However, as I read it again, Jeremiah 17, verse 6 suddenly came alive to me;

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.

I felt this was our answer!  I knew I had a decision to make.  Where should we take our strength from?  Should we rely on an overdraft which came from ‘mere flesh’ or could we find the courage to trust God, believe His promise and see what He would do?

I gathered all the UCB staff together for a time of prayer.  I remember we stood in a circle in our Hanchurch building, all holding hands and we prayed and asked God for a miracle.  I told the team that I believed God wanted us to trust Him.   I later wrote to our Board of Trustees and asked if they would support us in this decision, and they all agreed.Those were difficult months but we believed God had given us a clear promise from His Word – His divine instruction manual.

That was at Easter time and we had to wait until nearly October before we began to see the financial breakthrough in our circumstances.  However, we did not ever need to use that overdraft and we give God all the glory for seeing UCB through a very difficult time.

There have been many other challenging times since then, but prayer remains an essential everyday part of what we do.  I do not believe we can function properly as a ministry unless we purposefully choose to spend time in God’s presence.  It’s in His presence that (combined with His Word) we can find answers to the problems that we all face.   In God’s presence, we are able to talk openly and honestly with our Father.  We can tell Him our problems, our fears and frustrations.   It’s in that place that we can truly find our peace.

We continue to believe that God is the God of the impossible and He will never let us down.

David-Blog10

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Evangelism, Hope, Miracles

God is still working around the world.

I was in Florida a few weeks ago to attend the Hope Celebration with our long-time friends and ministry partners OneHope.   OneHope is a wonderful organisation which is reaching millions of children and youth around the world, with the Good News of Jesus.  They produce a lot of resources, including Book of Hope and the Bible App for Kids which has been downloaded over 10 million times.

The Hope Celebration was a time for leaders to gather, pray, fellowship and hear what God is doing through the ministry.    One of the speakers was Pastor Andrew who works in the Sahel region of Northern Africa.    The team there is working in a very difficult context where the practice of Voodoo is very common and the terrorist group Boko Haram also has a lot of power.   Boko Haram is the group which kidnapped over 270 young girls in 2014 and is regularly involved in horrific violence across the region.  Despite these many challenges, God is working powerfully and the Good News is still being shared in many creative ways.

Pastor Andrew shared a story about a day he came face to face with some terrorists deep in a forest while he was travelling.   Ahead of him, he could see a group of heavily armed men advancing toward his car and so he started to pray.   Eventually the group surrounded him and then demanded that he drive them to the nearest town. As some of the men got in the car with him, Pastor Andrew  said he felt the presence of God come and (very boldly) he decided to give each man a Book of Hope.      There was silence but Pastor Andrew could see that each man was reading the book.  After about 10 minutes, he asked the men if they understood what they were reading and they said they did.  He then asked if they would like to give their lives to Jesus!  The men agreed and they stopped the car right then and each prayed to receive Jesus as their Saviour.

When the group arrived at the nearest town, Pastor Andrew was able to show them a nearby church – and today (over a year later), those men are baptised and part of a church.

Stories like these fill me with such hope, as I hear how God is moving around the world in extraordinary ways.

As I wrote recently, it can be easy to look at the world’s headlines and think that God is silent.  But I am reminded of the words of Jesus in John 16 where He says;

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

Praise God that no matter what our newspapers say, we still believe and know that through His death, Jesus has indeed overcome the world.

Please do pray for the vital work of OneHope, in reaching children around the world.

DLH BLOG - APR 16