The random, thoughts, views and opinions of a young Methodist student minister, musician and University student.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Sharing Sacred Ground

One thing that frustrates me more than anything else is being misunderstood! I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.!
As Christians, we are called each and every one of us to share our faith. Whether through word or deed, however we do it, it's essential that we do. But I know from experience that it's not always easy.
Last year taught me many things about sharing faith. The most important lesson I learnt was that being human is so essential in ministry. I also learnt how important it is to meet people where they are. When talking to other people about my faith I've often had to water it down a great deal or often had it watered down for me! lol learning to swallow our pride is a hard lesson to learn but if we're to be any good sharing our faith we ought to have a little humility and accept people where we find them.
I don't know whether you've been watching Celebrity Big Brother this week but Stephen Baldwin has quite literally become the 'Big Brother House Evangelist', it's quite funny actually! Despite me taking the mick out of him whilst sitting on the sofa, he has actually made an impact in there. In one day he managed to change Heidi Fleiss' outlook on life. She was a prostitute in America who was well known for running a successful yet illegal prostitute ring and through a conversation with Stephen she seems to have realised that she is of value and worth, and that she is loved by God and this lead to her to deciding that she would never go back to working like that again. Apart from this he even had the whole house saying grace before dinner and doing Bible study! Now, it's not my method of evangelism at all but I do thank God for Stephen's witness and pray that the Spirit may speak through him.
At the top of this post is a picture of me and a very close friend Muzammil (Muzie), we were classmates in my first year at Sixth Form but our class was split up last year and we are now all in different classes! When I first started at the Sixth Form, me and Muzie instantly "clicked"! I was the preacher and he was the dedicated Muslim. We often share "sacred ground" in the Sixth form common room and have what we call "Religious talk" lol. It's a blessing to be a Christian in a Sixth form and have the opportunity to show people how two people of different faiths can get together and not have a heated argument and it's also great to show that the Church and those who serve within it are actually human! That we're not all life-less Bible-bashers and homophobics. But that actually we're not totally different from those around us!

Gracious God,
In this world which is so diverse and so complex,
so confused and so full of darkness,
so full of un-truth and deceit.
We ask and pray that you would help us bring your love and your light
to the people and the situations in which you place us.
Make us fountains of your love and your truth so that in your power and through your Spirit, we may make a change in this world and make it once again your Kingdom- creation healed.
In your name,

Monday, 4 January 2010

'A Brand Plucked from the Burning'

Tis I (lol)! A rather serene picture don't you think?? Courtesy of Debby Romain at All Saints Notting Hill :P
Well, I thought I ought to tell you something about me and what I believe.
So here we go.......
Firstly let me say that I believe in a God who loves all people, no matter who they are or what they've done. A God who is always ready and willing to forgive. A God who sees all people as equal and precious in His sight. And I believe this because I believe that this is the essence and the truth that is the Christian Gospel and any Christian who says or believes otherwise has never (sadly) experienced the love and grace of Jesus Christ!
lol okay now I've finished ranting!!
I'm also as many will know a Methodist, a High Wesleyan Sacramentalist to be precise and a very proud one too! Unlike most Methodists my age I wasn't always one, I was once a Roman Catholic and I think it still shows lol. You may think this a tad out of order but I do consider myself as Susannah Wesley once put it 'a brand plucked from the burning'! Each day I thank God for bringing me back to Methodism and believe me I wouldn't be anywhere else!
Methodism has always for me, represented a Church that has from the very outset been on the "frontline"! There helping God's people wherever they may be. One can look through history and find a Methodist doing something somewhere. Go see for yourself! I'm also a Methodist because I believe that as a Church we've got things pretty worked out for a denomination only 300 and something years old.
After being with what in my eyes is a fantastic denomination for about 11 years I finally decided that I had to do something with the Vocation (the call, the purpose) God gave me when I was younger 6 to be precise.
And to cut a veeerrrrrry long story short (though I promise to break it down for you sometime) I began training as a preacher in September 2007 at the crazy age of 15 and I don't regret a second of it!
I long to see more young Methodists encouraged to think about what their call my be and I urge you to think about what it is God is calling you to do for Him?

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Jeremiah, Jarel and Timothy....??

Damn that Lemon Drizzle was nice!!!
Anyway, I thought I ought to explain the name of this blog.
It's pretty simple! Jeremiah and Timothy were both Bible characters. Jeremiah was called by God at a pretty young age and Timothy also known as St Timothy was St Paul's right hand man. As someone who began preaching at 15 I naturally related to both Jeremiah and Timothy as good role models. When I was in the early stages of vocational discernment and was really trying to work out exactly what it was God was calling me to, one passage from Timothy was quite literally a God-send!

'Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.' (1 Timothy 12-16) NIV

Here the Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy his "true son in the faith" who was appointed Bishop of Ephesus. My understanding is that Timothy came under much criticism for being appointed a Bishop at such a young age and so Paul writes to him as he always does, to encourage and support him.
I've always gone back to this piece of Scripture when I've felt that my calling has been undermined by older, "wiser" Christians. It's good to know that I'm not the only one whose call was doubted because of my age and it's helpful to read about prophets and preachers like Jeremiah, Samuel and Timothy who had similar experiences.
As Christians we know that God alone saves, but its essential for us too to realise that as Christians we can be God's instruments in bringing that salvation to others. After all, salvation is both and event and a process. While we are saved at the time of conversion, we are still being saved in the sense of being further formed into the image of Christ Jesus.

Loving Lord, as we prepare to get back to our busy hectic routines this coming week help us to be always a kingdom people. Help us to keep alive within our hearts the joy that you bring to us at Christmas. Teach us to learn how to be carriers of The Word so that we may share that joy with those we meet. Give us peace, and courage to face the tasks ahead of us and may your blessing and your peace which is so adequate, rest upon our hearts and souls, In the name of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

God Bless you and have a great week!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Lemon Drizzle!!

Well, today I actually got up before 3pm it's a miracle!!!! I was up at 11.30 what the hell is that about?? I guess it was a blessing in disguise because it meant I was able to send my preaching assignments off at the post office after about 4 failed attempts! It's all about meeting that 31st March deadline!!!! :D Apart from gettiing up early I also managed to understand a whole chapter of my A-level Philsophy book (for the first time ever) It was all about persons, non-persons, diminished persons and when exactly do persons stop being persons and become non-persons??? Baffled....yeahh me too!
I'm tired from a pretty difficult pastoral visit I had to do today so God Bless and Goodnight I'm off to kill some lemon drizzle :D

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!!!!!!

So here we are! First day of the year. I'm sure I'm not the only one who sighed with relief as 2009 finally ended! This year for me will bring a hell of alot of change, not only do I have to make sure I pass my A2's for University but I'm also preparing to Candidate for methodist ministry in September which is a pretty huge thing for me. It's funny I've just finished reading a book on Rev Dr Leslie Weatherhead who is perhaps one of Britains if not the world's most famous preachers. He was the minister of City Temple a Congregationalist Church in Holborn where each sunday he would draw crowds of people who would queue up just to listen to him preach. When a young preacher like me reads about a preaching giant like Dr Weatherhead it can put so many doubts into one's mind "How can I ever live up to this"? "can I ever really preach like him"? I think we have to accept that when God calls us, he calls us just as we are warts and all. I think I have to accept too that God has called me primarily to be a good disciple and secondly a good preacher. I was only half way through Dr Weatherheads book 'Doctor of Souls' and thought right Jarel it's time to up your game! Time to be a better preacher, disciple, a better person in general and what better time to start than at the beginning of a New Year and Decade? Today I finished the book and came to realise that though Leslie Weatherhead was a "success" (to put it in worldy terms) he was also deeply human. He struggled with his faith, even doubted at times. He had a mental breakdown and was often deeply depressed in his ministry. He got angry and frustrated with himself and the Church and often felt very misunderstood. It's so easy to read about people we admire and place them so high above us and forget that they were actually human. Here's a man who in my eyes was one of the greatest Christians this country has ever seen yet he was evidently far from "perfect". This year I think we ought to realise that we all have our faults and our sinfulness. We ought to put our hand in God's and leave the rest to Him! Have a blessed 2010!