3 Must read books before Westpoint 2019

Westpoint 2019 features an amazing line up of speakers including Hannah Anderson, Andrew Wilson and Andy McCullough. Not only are they engaging speakers, but they have written excellent books too! We decided to ask some people within Commission to read and review them, and as you’ll see they’re well worth a read. Their books are available on Amazon and will also at our onsite book store at Westpoint.

 

“Hannah Anderson: Humble Roots” A review by Liz Blaber 

After Andrew Wilson described ‘Humble roots’ as one of the best books he’d ever read, I was keen to read it. I love to read something that feels fresh and different, and this book certainly is that. If you’ve ever felt a sense of despondency that the work you do is not quite as groundbreaking or world changing as you may have hoped, then this book is an antidote, and a genuine route to peace and happiness in the wonderful every day… 

Embracing the everyday call on my life has been particularly important for me as I’ve been parenting four young children for the past 7 years, where a feeling of groundhog day can sometimes creep in. By seeing the significance and beauty in the people and places around you, and realising the privilege of investing in even a small God-given task or person, can literally almost make you burst with pride.

I so enjoyed and benefited from Hannah’s wisdom speaking from every page. I was particularly moved and helped by her chapter on death ‘the ultimate humiliation’  – a subject often avoided and not easy to grapple with from an honest and creative perspective. To look death square in the eyes and to talk about what it is and what it isn’t and to reflect on the great, immortal God we love and worship brings hope and perspective. I applaud Hannah for managing this so well. 

This really is a book for everyone, it never sits on my shelf long as I’m always keen to share its goodness with friends and family – my 70 year old mother enjoyed it so much she read it twice back to back! – Can any book receive a higher commendation??!!

 

“Global Humanity: Andy McCullough” A review by Simon Walker

Our world is changing.  Where I grew up everyone looked similar to me, ate similar food, talked in a similar way.  Today my local high street is full of different smells, languages, colours and food.  I love it!   Global Humility helps us to make sense of what culture and worldview are and walks us through a biblical approach to understanding how to engage in serving the world with the gospel. 
 
Andy writes as someone who has lived as a pioneer working across cultures to present the claims of Jesus to people who hold a different worldview to his own.
 
Andy explores how different cultures find their identity, how they think and how they approach life.    He shows us how to listen and understand others before we humbly open our mouths to share the stories of Jesus.  Contrasting East and West cultures covering hot topics such as collectivism, honour and shame, and language, this book will equip you to go to the nations and connect with those that make their home in streets alongside you.  
 
Global Humility is a superb guide that will encourage you to live and serve the gospel at home or travelling to new nations.  It comes out of rich reading, thinking, research and practice and will serve its readers well.  A superb read and an outstanding piece of work that I think will be a key resource in mission for years to come.   Brilliant!
 
 
 “Spirit and Sacrament: Andrew Wilson” a review by Tom Davis
 

In Spirit and Sacrament Andrew Wilson lays down a simple challenge – are we as faithful to the New Testament ideal of church as we think we are? Regardless of our church affiliation or style of worship, it’s very easy for us to call out the biblical references to practices we put into place on a Sunday morning (gifts of the Spirit, weekly Eucharist, communal confession…) and glide over the references to those practices. This short book sets out the biblical reasons why we may want to expand our current practices, wherever we’re starting from, and gives suggestions as to possible places to start.

Wilson has a relaxed and engaging style of writing, equally likely to make you laugh out loud, or wince. And regardless of whether you end up feeling changes should be made to your Sunday morning or not, the early two chapters in this book on Gift and Joy, underpinning the later ideas, are ones to keep coming back to.

 
Working with refugees

Working with refugees

Stories from Lebanon

Karen Priest, Lebanon

God has continually shown His blessing and provision to us, and the team we are here with, since before we started preparing to come out.

A Muslim refugee family known to us have 3 young children. The middle child has leukaemia which has also spread to his brain and has been receiving treatment for many years. Although registered with the UN as refugees, and partially supported by an NGO, the family constantly have to raise money to pay for the little boy’s treatment and the time that he has to stay in hospital. By God’s amazing grace, often through the generosity of their families, they have managed to pay everything. The hospital bills are often at least double the father’s monthly wages, and no-one else in the family works. Many times God has provided at the exact time the money has been needed. Now they have been granted medical asylum in a European country where all of their medical bills will be paid for.

At one point the boy had a blood clot on his brain which he received treatment for, although this was necessary it also delayed his cancer treatment. After this he deteriorated quickly, growing more and more lethargic, unable to run around, not even walking, sleeping lots and not really responding to anyone. The problem(s) in his brain had also been making him fit. One of the doctors at the hospital said that he wouldn’t recover or improve from this state but would only get worse and would soon become fully paralysed. The Dad didn’t tell anyone but, remembering all the love he and his family have been shown by believers, decided to go to a place in Lebanon where Christians go to pray, although he didn’t know where it was or what it was, because he wanted to pray to Jesus to ask him for help for his son. He slowly made his way there and sat there
for hours because he felt a deep peace and as though God was hearing his prayers, which he had never felt before.  He saw that there were oils for healing and asked about them, so they gave him a bottle, praying over it in the name of Jesus.  He went straight back to the hospital and covered his sons chest in the oil, leaving the bottle there for his wife to do the same thing the next day, before leaving and coming back to his house. Two days later the doctor came and saw his son.  She was amazed and said that she couldn’t believe how he was recovering! The little boy could move smoothly, talk with people, and was even able to stand a little on his feet and so she released him from that stay at the hospital! Since then he has got even better and stronger, he can now walk and run, calls out and talks with people.  The doctor said he should be getting worse but
he is getting better! His dad has told our team that he knows that his son is getting better because of Jesus!

Another family

The Dad of a refugee family we know had a problem with his blood, and possibly his liver, needing regular blood transfusions to alleviate symptoms and prolong his life. The time between these transfusions got shorter and shorter until doctors refused to do any more as they weren’t helping him and were costing the family a lot of money. They sent him home to die within the next few days. His wife had been attending a local church for aid and asked the pastor to come and pray with the Dad. The pastor came and prayed, but also insisted that all of the family should also pray with him, including the children. The family waited for their Dad to die, but he didn’t. One month later they took him back to the hospital where the doctors tested his blood. When the results came back they were astounded, not only was there no illness, but the Dad’s blood type had also changed. He had completely new blood!! As a result of this, the whole family have now chosen to follow Jesus.

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One Way group

One Way group

Drop-in and support group

Harvest Church, Alton, UK

About 11 years ago, we were prompted to start this ministry because of unmet local needs. ‘One Way’ is predominately a Drop–in providing a place to be and somewhere to feel safe, receive practical, emotional or spiritual help, to set a direction for the future.

We do various activities throughout each day; CV writing, bidding for housing, form filling and administration, art class, craft, talks/testimonies, games, quiz time and jigsaw puzzles. We provide a hot meal for £2 on a Wednesday for those who require it. We signpost to other services including CAP and have an agency who work alongside us on a Wednesday providing professional support with housing and needs around benefits.

Many of the group members suffer social isolation, depression, anxiety, some have autistic issues, mental health struggles, learning difficulties and struggle to communicate effectively. A number have said that ‘One Way’ is the highlight of their week and is a place where they feel safe, accepted and valued.

We provide a drop-in between 10am to 4pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, for vulnerable people in the Alton community. We have an age range of 22-83 years old, with an average attendance of 12 plus 3 staff on Tuesdays and 16 plus 3 staff on Wednesdays.

  • We have seen 5 members of the group come to faith and be baptised
  • 3 others are attending Alpha
  • We hold a simple bible study each week which we have average of 4/5 attendees who take away hand out sheets.
  • One is now learning to cook with a volunteer chef and helps provide food on a Wednesday for those who require a hot meal.
  • One, who has major anxiety issues, is now volunteering in the Centre’s Café once a week
  • All attendees state that they feel safe and feel at home –it is like a family.
  • In 2016 the group grieved the loss of 5 members during the year.

If you are considering setting up a similar group, make sure you do your research, and communicate the project idea and consult with the community mental health team, doctors surgeries, support workers, social services, CAB and other local social housing support providers to find out what is the need.

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Wimborne Folk Festival

Wimborne Folk Festival

In the Wimborne community

Good News Church, Wimborne, UK

It has been really exciting for us to be able to partake in community events and projects in Wimborne over the last two years. Good News Church started meeting on Sundays in October 2015, and since then we have been involved in:

  • The Wimborne Folk Festival 2016 and 2017
  • St. Michael’s Fireworks Display 2015 and 2016
  • The Save the Children Parade 2016 and 2017
  • Last year we also started collecting for Wimborne Food Bank.

These events have given us the opportunity to serve the town, and to show Christ’s love in the community.

Wimborne Folk Festival

In 2017 the Wimborne Folk Festival attracted over 60,000 people to Wimborne; what an opportunity! Good
News Church got involved in stewarding the event having offered to help where needed. Because of our
involvement with stewarding, the main events organiser made contact with us about Good News having a
trade stand in 2018. The events team are giving us this space next to the first aid tent, so that we can pray
for people! The team have also asked us to run a church service on one of the main stages on the Sunday
morning. We are excited to see what this weekend in June brings. Please pray for us!

St. Michael’s Fireworks

Another large event in Wimborne attracting thousands of people is the St. Michael’s Fireworks evening. Over
the past two years we have helped to steward the event and to keep the community safe.

Save the Children Parade

The Save the Children parade takes place in Wimborne each year in December. We have taken the
opportunity to remind people about the true meaning of Christmas through our church floats. In 2017 we
gave out 2000 mince pies and invites to our carol service where the gospel was shared, and ALPHA invites
given.

Wimborne Food Bank

During 2017 we started collecting for Wimborne Food Bank on a Sunday morning and have delivered many
bags to this brilliant project.

We are looking forward to seeing what other opportunities God brings our way in 2018!

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Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Community lunch

King’s Church, Ringwood, UK

The original idea was to hold a lunch for 10-20 old folk that our home group visit a couple of times a year in sheltered housing. However a friend in church who is a chef agreed to be a part of it which meant we could go much bigger! It was advertised as friends of King’s church and was a community lunch in a local church hall. A lady from the URC church in Ringwood had had a similar idea and we joined forces. We had 62 people attend this free event (including helpers). 4 homeless people came as well as all generations. We had decided not to charge anything and were so blessed by people’s generosity from the town and surrounding area. The council also gave us money (more than we asked for) as well as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. In fact we couldn’t spend all the money and have passed some on the the local food bank and started a new homeless project. Two ladies who do not attend church wanted to buy presents for everyone who went, and so Santa visited us with gifts for all.

Non church people also got involved and helped and so we have made connections with them too. We have also had a couple start attending our church as a result of the lunch. It was the most wonderful day and I could tell you so much more but you get the idea!

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