Welcoming our first Commission church in Serbia!

Welcoming our first Commission church in Serbia!

Together with Doug and Duncan from Christchurch, Guy and I have just come back from a trip to the Balkans. The aim of our visit was two-fold. The first was to speak at the annual Balkan leader’s conference in Croatia, and the second to welcome our first Serbian church into Commission. We have been working with the leaders Miro and his wife Sneza for a couple of years now, although Doug has been faithfully serving in Serbia for much longer.

It is a complex area, as the former Yugoslavia now consists of six different countries broken apart after the war some twenty-five years ago. It is hard for us to appreciate how difficult this must have been, although evidence of conflict is obvious in Croatia with roadside fields full of unexploded mines and buildings in the city of Osijek pocked with bullet holes. The history of conflict makes unity difficult, but Miro and Sneza have gathered together about seven churches with leaders who would have been unable to sit in the same room previously.

Life is tough here, salaries low, the distance between the churches considerable and Miro spends many hours driving hundreds of miles between Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovakia. Between them, Miro and his wife Sneza lead the church, publish Christian books in the local language, run a Christian television channel and preach tirelessly. Their energy is inspirational and together they make a formidable team!

The conference was a real joy and one of the highlights was seeing all the leaders at the front of the meeting with banners flying, the shofar blasting and the congregation cheering and dancing. Even without understanding the language it was a powerful and moving time. Another highlight was meeting a pastor from Bosnia and hearing his story of growing a church in a country with a Muslim majority, where there are only about 400 Christians in the whole of that nation. What a challenge!

 It was amazing to see Siloam church which Miro leads, coming into Commission. It was packed with people and the atmosphere was one of joy and celebration. People there have seen denominations and foreign Christian leaders come and go, but we know that we will be able to commit for the long haul and see churches drawn together for corporate strength and vision. We are praying that it will be the first of many throughout that region.

Portugal blog

Portugal blog

Guy Miller

Apostolic leader, Commission

I felt as though I had arrived in Narnia, sitting in a magical garden with stone towers, exotic sculptures and moss covered boulders with bubbling streams. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a faun or centaur trot past or even for Aslan to make an appearance!

This is Sintra, a range of lush green hills to the North of Lisbon, an area once fought over by Moors and Christians which later to became a playground for the rich, building sumptuous palaces and gardens. After WW2 much of this area was left unloved and neglected to be reclaimed by nature, awaiting those with the vision to restore and replant.

I sit and think of the church, here in Iberia and across the globe, so much ignored and neglected by the modern world. Buildings tired and dilapidated, gardens strewn with rubbish, springs dry, congregations like frozen stone statues with sad expressions.

 

The breath of Aslan, the end of winter, the restoration of the church must be our prayer for this day. Springs to flow, seed sown, lives like flowers in full bloom full of colour and fragrance. Restoration is about glory and majesty. People loosing themselves in something bigger and beautiful. It is that sense of awe and wonder, seeing beyond our limitations and to a God who created and in whom is life.

I believe in restoring the church to all the New Testament says she should be, though many critics, she has no equals. Our nations may like quaint dilapidated church but they deserve more. A generation that rolls up its sleeves to reveal all the beauty that belongs to Christ’s bride, the church.

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Catch the moment

Catch the moment

Guy Miller

Apostolic leader, Commission

It’s June, flaming June, the sun beats down upon the green slopes of Maiden Castle in Dorset, and a young boy chases up and down swinging his net wildly at butterflies. These tiny beautiful flying jewels have captivated his heart and he is desperate to catch one, to see it up close, to examine its delicate wings. Blues, browns, whites flit and float and eventually this boy triumphantly holds a Meadow Brown in his clammy fingers.

Fast forward 40 years to another hot June day, and this now man sits on another hill, Collard Hill, and patiently waits for one of Britain’s rarest butterflies to join him for lunch. He is not disappointed. After a few minutes flopping lazily among the thyme a large blue lands upon a nearby flower and I slowly approach and marvel at this winged miracle.

As we begin 2018 I am aware how swift these precious, beautiful years fly past. So many opportunities exist to visit, spot, entertain, marvel and enjoy. We can rush into a year swinging wildly at this conference, that holiday, this experience or that show. We are surrounded by beauty, by new experiences and in wanting to catch them all we can miss the deeper joy of encounter moment that comes only in resting.

He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.” (Psalm 23: 2)

Stop, pray, thank God for this day, this New Year, and ask Him to open your eyes to the beauty that is all around you. See it in a sunset, hear it in the heart beat of a loved one, feel it in the touch of a child or grandchild. Catch these precious moments by sitting and waiting expectantly.

A great opportunity to catch those rare moments, to sit to get a bigger view of God and the plan he has for your life is our Commission Students and Thirties (CST) event.  I believe that CST is a must for all those in their 20s and 30s, J.John is a magnificent speaker and I know this day will be life changing.

I am also really looking forward to Westpoint as this year we look at the kingdom and ask God for His kingdom to come, to see more of His power and glory in our day.

Heather and I wish you a happy and very blessed new year.

Find out more about our Commission Students and Thirties event.

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Guy’s Christmas Poem

Guy’s Christmas Poem

Guy Miller

Apostolic leader, Commission

Shepherds outside on dark hills tend their sheep,
Flocks to keep watch, fires they keep,
Stars shine above in blackest of ink,
Outsiders all mired in detritous stink,

Mary and Joseph outside Bethlehem’s town,
Cattle straw manger not feathers soft down,
New born child in rough wooden cradle,
Outsiders all in crude cattle stable,

Magi on camels, summoned outside the nation,
Bright star guides with great tribulation,
Herod’s disguise fawning worship to bring,
Outsiders all to Isaiah’s promised king,

Jesus the king, outside earth’s finite time,
Eternity enters King David’s blood line,
Outside of space, now clothed in flesh frailty,
Outsiders invited to see heavens divinity,

Insiders now each Church God’s display,
Once Lonely, bewildered, confused or dismayed,
Jesus, He saves, God’s love reached those lost,
Heavens door open, God’s Son the full cost.

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Guy’s Christmas Blog

Guy’s Christmas Blog

Guy Miller

Apostolic leader, Commission

I love Christmas, it has always been such a magical time of the year for me. I grew up in a loving home but money was always scarce. In my home as a child, treats were saved for special occasions, particularly Christmas, with masses of food, drink and a pillowcase stuffed with goodies at the end of my bed. Oh how I looked forward to Christmas with the tree, the lights, the carols and the turkey – so magical and thrilling to my young mind.

Heather and I always emulated all the fond memories with our children, festivities and food traditions, (i.e. you must have bread sauce!). This year will be no exception as we all gather together on Christmas day to pull crackers, eat far too much food and open presents. What a joy, what generosity given and kindness shown but I must be honest and say I find it hard sometimes as a Christian when surrounded with so much need around me to know exactly how to respond.

I am reminded of an old German legend of a shop keeper who had a vivid dream that Jesus was going to visit his home that Christmas day. He cleaned the house, set garlands, candles and lit a fire. He ordered the finest of food and had it all ready and prepared for this most important of guests. At mid-morning the doorbell rang and he sprang from his seat to find a shabby beggar asking for bread. Moved by this poor man’s plight he took the very best off his table and wrapped it in the tablecloth and gave it to the man. The day wore on and another visitor rang the bell. This time an elderly women in a black shawl stood shivering at his door so he invited her in, sat her by the fire and cooked a steaming bowl of soup. No sooner had she left, than the final visitor came. Not Jesus but a child crying lost and searching for home. The man put on his coat, wrapped the child in his arms, and set out to face the freezing snow in search of the child’s home. Returning later to his house he realised it was nearly midnight and he fell on his knees and prayed “Jesus I wanted so much to see your face this day, why did you not call on me.” A gentle voice replied “three times today my shadow crossed your floor and you welcomed me, I was the beggar and you fed me, the woman and you welcomed me, the child and you cared for me.”

Contained within this sweet story is a wonderful truth and challenge. With all the receiving we experience this Christmas, let us remember it is more blessed to give than receive. Here is my challenge; take time out to walk to your neighbour’s house with a gift to bless them, invite them in for a meal or mulled wine. Walk the streets of your town and find the lonely, the rough sleeper and talk to them, buy them some hot food. See if you can visit the elderly, the prisoner, the shut in and take with you a gift that puts a smile on their faces.

Heather and I wish you all a very blessed Christmas.

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