Since January the buzz word has been “consecration”. Well not really a buzz word as we are reticent to utter a word knowing it carries weight and implications. Something will happen, something will change … and it might have to be me!
Joshua says to a fearful and uncertain people, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (
What happens next? Some amazing things (crossing the River Jordan on dry land, seeing the walls of Jericho fall down) and some consecrating things (celebrating Passover, taking off shoes and - wait for it – circumcision).
God has done amazing things among us – not least giving us a venue in which to worship which is in, in my opinion, the best location in Leeds. And there is a consecration happening too. He is “preparing us for what he has prepared for us.” Some of this has been personal and some has been for the church.
As for me, I have had an unsettling few months since January. Jesus has led me into new places which I haven’t enjoyed or found easy but which have taken me through a process of spiritual formation – consecrating me perhaps. One of the most challenging places he led me was into linking arms with my brothers as we carried our niece’s coffin (for one brother Naomi was daughter).
Although we walked slowly along long paths to and from the church, the moment just flashed by as a million thoughts spun round my mind: the weight of loss on our shoulders, the living carrying the dead, the myriad “why” questions hanging mournfully, mist-like, around the congregation and just trying to stay in step as grown men sobbed and shoulders shook around me.
Rick Warren (who lost his eldest son to suicide last year) said recently, “We can’t handle pain unless we understand there is a purpose. The gospel doesn’t offer a painless life on this earth, but it does offer us meaning and a hope, which makes the pain bearable.”
Consecration means change and there is no change without loss. Loss isn’t made okay because it leads to consecration but I am learning that if I see it through and allow Jesus to love me and change me then I find meaning, peace and fruitfulness. I encourage you to consecrate yourselves, doing what it takes, so that we will be there to see the Lord do amazing things among us.
If you want to read about some amazing things already going on among us go to this article about news from Vineyard Kids
And if you would like to hear of more amazing thing Jesus has been doing come to weekly worship and meet the people being baptised
on Sunday. It is a shorter all-age service after which you are invited to bring a picnic (or fish & chip money) and come to the river in Ilkley where we will baptise Annette and Tom.
It might mean a long day but then I commend the Bunker
to you in the evening – the last Bunker (of the current series) at which we will be sharing our hearts with you about changes we are making and where we think God is leading us.
Last week's sermon, "Short Prayers Count" is on the website for you to read
or listen to.
Alison and I will be taking a couple of weeks’ holiday from 6 July – we’re going somewhere far away, on our own, to sleep and read and look at the view.