Fusion Weekend

I have just returned from the Fusion weekend and caught up on my sleep. It was a super time away with a fantastic bunch of young people and leaders. What did I learn during this time away? Never to eat from KFC in Coleraine, never to eat from the Chinese in Articlave, Mark Kirkwood makes a mean curried carrot soup, I suck at dodge ball, everyone loves a free t-shirt and last but not least PCI need to invest in new mattresses for Guysmere, I could feel every spring!

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How’s It Going?

I’ve just completed week six in my new job at Carnmoney and I have to say (in case anyone from church reads this) that I’m really enjoying it. Getting to know new people is generally something I enjoy doing and everyone has made a big effort with Rachael and I so we’re already feeling fairly settled in this new place. The potential here is huge and I guess I just have to pace myself and be patient (things which don’t come very naturally to me). There are so many ‘good things’ I could be doing but I need to discover the ‘God things’ He wants me to do. I am usually miserable at this and need to develop a clear sense of my priorities otherwise I will most likely drown in a sea of unnecessary commitments!

Jesus tells us in John 10 that He is the Good Shepherd who calls His sheep by name and they follow Him. His sheep flee from the voice of a stranger because they do not recognise that voice. I need to stop and listen to His voice, it often gets drowned out by other noises. At the beginning of this new ministry I am excited by what God will do here if I follow His voice. This will require a new level of discipline from me. The Shepherd’s voice leads us to the Shepherd- who offers a full life. The stranger’s voice leads to a person who steals, kills and destroys. I need to become more familiar with the voice of the Shepherd and run from the voice of the thief.

In case we get too self-centred and obsessed with how we’re doing spiritually Jesus reminds us:-

“I have other sheep who are not of this sheep pen, I must bring them also…”

Tony & Thierry

Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. This chapter also says that everything God does will endure forever. ‘

Last night I met with some young people in North Street to let them know that my ‘season’ as Youth Pastor there was coming to an end and that a ‘new season’ is in store for them and for me. This was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. I have no doubt that God’s timing is perfect and I have been so aware of His hand guiding me over these last few months, as I look back I have great hope and comfort in the fact that the things God has done will endure forever.

I also know that God is always at work and does not need me but has chosen me to join Him in the work He is doing. His work will continue and His Kingdom will come. It has been an unbelievable privilege to serve God in my home town and congregation, something I will always be grateful to God for and reflect upon. He is a faithful God who keeps His promises and a loving God who loves us unconditionally. God did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers…” (Deut 7:7-8)

Being a Christian is about becoming a new creation and therefore change in the Christian life is inevitable, we don’t always like it but the change God brings about is always for our good.

Tony Blair and Thierry Henry also say goodbye this summer but I’m not replacing either of them! I’m going to Carnmoney Presbyterian in September to be their Youth Associate and am looking forward to a new season with a new team under the same God.