Fell asleep before Rosslyn got back from the Women’s Evening. Got up before she was awake to head off for early morning elders’ prayer meeting. Morale was high. Which is extraordinary considering that we meet at 0630! Reports from wives were hugely encouraging. The Women’s Evening was a massive success. It had been sold out days in advance. The church building looked fabulous. The food was magnficent. The mix of ages and cultures was wonderful. And most importantly, Rebecca Davies did a great job of explaining the gospel. Her talk is available here. Rosslyn and I caught up at breakfast and she was delighted at how it’d gone. Finally AP4L had started!
There are lots of encouraging things happening at the moment. But I’m especially loving how servant hearted our crowd from CCB are. It’s a sign of the Spirit’s work amongst us that people are giving up their free evenings to come along and help run the events. The CCB boys on Tuesday night did a great job; serving food, clearing away and washing up. Last night a team of CCB girls served the food at the Men’s Curry Night and then a group of willing volunteers stayed late to wash up the plates and so on. Before that they’d trawled the streets of Balham distributing fliers. I don’t think the boys at Quirky have had time to eat or sleep in the past week. It may be unseen but it’s not unappreciated. And though I’ve not mentioned them so far, the real people making lots of this stuff happen our Anna, our administrator and Pete, our Assistant Minister. They’re working like Trojans.
Got two knock backs today. From one of the CE lads who was supposed to be coming to the Men’s Curry Night. It was a fair call but still disappointing. I just want these guys to hear Al talk about the gospel in a straightforward manner. And one from a neighbour who, in different circumstances would definitely want to come to the Lennox evening. But being days away from giving birth to triplets is as good an excuse as I’ve had so far! I think he was mustard keen. But the look in his wife’s eye said more than words ever could!
Skipped lunch and went for another prayer run. Not sure my body can take this punishing regime of physical exercise. It’s been a while. Time noticeably slower than the day before. But lots of praying done. Prayed for the men’s event especially, but also a friend who ought to come to the science event. I don’t think he will but it’s his reason for keeping God at arms’ length. Who better than John Lennox to deal with it. Better than my amateur ramblings, for sure.
Spent the whole day genuinely excited by the prospect of the Men’s Curry Night. What could be better than 120 blokes, a curry, beer and permission for men talk about spiritual issues? In the middle of the kids’ Bible story the phone went. My heart sank. More knock backs? Not this time, someone accepting my invitation to the Lennox evening. Deep joy!
Men’s Curry was fabulous. It was really, really good. It’s hard to think of anything that could have gone better. I even got away with my opening gag. No e-mails of complaint just yet! Al and I had an enjoyable interview that let the blokes know that we’re allowed to be straight talking. People got a taste of who he is and what matters to him. There can’t be many marathon running, pig shooting, V6 Holden Commodore driving Bishops who leave that behind to plant churches out there! Al then spoke from Luke 12 on the Parable of the Rich Fool and warned us about the danger of greed. He explained that we end up worshipping whatever we think wil give us status and security. And for most blokes, that’s money. But we’re made for God and we need to factor him into our thinking. We encouraged people to submit written questions, which they did. I then fired them at Al who did a great job of handling them. But I was amazed that no one wanted to ask questions from the floor. In previous generations we’d have been gladiators but something’s clearly neutered us!
Drove Al home and went back home for a late night lukewarm Sauvignon Blanc with Rosslyn. Watched the heroic Helen Skelton finish her Blue Peter Amazon adventure and went to bed priasing God for his kindness.