Fresh Hope – 30th April 2019

Today we continue with the five decisions that will affect the quality and outcome of your life.

If you’ve missed the first 3 then you can catch up by looking on the previous FH devotions over the last couple of weeks.

Decision Number 4 —THE ASSIGNMENT YOU DECIDE TO MAKE YOUR OBSESSION.

At first glance, the word obsession will be thought of only as a negative. If you’re obsessed with something, then generally you have a problem. However, in a similar way, doing something habitually can also carry the same connotations. Yet, brushing your teeth and taking a shower is necessary habit that is beneficial to your wellbeing. Without either, you will not have too many close friends.

To have an obsession can be a massive positive if used to drive you forward towards the very reason for you being on this planet.

Take the late Billy Graham for example. He was one of the most influential men that ever lived. He spoke face to face with more people than anyone else in history. High among his numerous honors: The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Billy and his beloved wife, Ruth, in 1996, the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to him in 1983 and the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion in 1982. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After his conversion to Jesus Christ, he made his call to reach the world with the Gospel, his obsession. That obsession kept him going and on track for over eighty years.

A less familiar name would be Bill Wilson. He runs the largest Sunday school in the world! Bill Wilson still drives one of the hundreds of buses utilized by his ministry each week, when he is in town. ‘Metro World Child’ in Brooklyn reaches an average of more than 220 0000 children aged 12 and under each week.

I have met Bill personally on a number of occasions and he has very little time for small talk. He is constantly thinking about reaching children and raising money to do so. He is a man with an obsession.

By taking just these two men and learning from them, we soon realise that having an obsession brings about incredible results on such a large scale that is almost unimaginable.

We are not called to do what either men have done or are doing in exactly the same way, but we are certainly all designed for a special assignment.

You are designed for a problem – fix it.

You are called for an opportunity – fill it.

You are called with a purpose – find it.

Humble yourself today and start to seek God as to what your assignment is; when you find out, make it your obsession.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 29th April 2019

Emotions are the killer of many dreams.

Feelings have to be brought into line through mental discipline.

Discipline says, “I may not like what I have to do today, or even feel like doing it, but I know what must be done and why I have to do it.”

Discipline gets you to the gym when your feelings tell you to stay at home because it’s cold and rainy.

Discipline says that the new car that you can’t afford right now should wait until you can.

The upgrade on your phone that will cost you more, but will make you ‘so much happier’ than the perfectly good one that you have, is refused by mental discipline.

Discipline says to skip the second helping because you don’t need it.

I’m sure, like me, that you have looked back on some of the decisions that you have made and have asked yourself, ‘what was I thinking?’

Disciplined thinking leads to right decisions.

We had not long been married when we decided to have a dog – a real dog.
I wanted a dog that looked manly on a lead, so we went to look at a Great Dane -fully grown.
His name was Jason, and was the size of a small horse!
We decided to have it…well almost. We talked about the pros and cons, and then realised that we needed to be mentally strong. This dog would eat us out of house and home and into the bargain wreck the place by eating the house and the home!
We called the owners and told them that we would not be having Jason.

Looking back…what were we thinking?

Now we all make mistakes, but the likelihood of mistakes is far greater if your life is governed by feelings.

Don’t rush into major decisions, but instead ask God to give you the wisdom and the strength to make the right ones whatever the cost.

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th April 2019

Ever had a bad day?

Get on the armour of God and take His word and quote it over your life and situation.

Here are 3 things to say to yourself, if you get one:


1. Jesus is with me.
Deuteronomy 31 v 6 “…be strong and courageous, don’t be terrified because of them, for the LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go”

Hebrews 13 v 5 “.. never will I leave you and never will I forsake you”

Matthew 1 v 23 “…He shall be called ‘Immanuel’ which means God is with us”


2. God has me covered
Deuteronomy 33 v 27 “…God is my refuge and underneath me are His everlasting arms”
Wow, God is at the bottom! He is holding me, His arms are underneath me.
You may fall, but you won’t fall through.  God is at the bottom.


3. I have faith for this.
Romans 12 v 3 “…in accordance with the faith, that has been given to you”
Faith is important, you have to tell yourself you have faith for this,even if it’s as small as a mustard seed.

Don’t let a bad day speak to you… instead, speak to IT!

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 26th April 2019

Do you have someone in your life who you know loves you dearly?

Hopefully the answer is yes, but either way, I think you’ll be able to see what I’m getting at.

Imagine if you thought to yourself, ‘because my friend loves me so much, I’m never going to treat them right. I’ll avoid speaking nicely to them, I won’t be buying them any gifts, and when they’re not around, you can expect me to backstab frequently.’

I’m sure we can all agree that that would be an extremely odd way to respond to your friend’s love – to abuse it rather than to honour it.

But believe it or not, though we would accept that this perspective is off, it is how many people respond to God’s love towards them.

It’s easy for us to see God’s love as a license to keep on doing whatever we want, whenever we want, treating Him like a credit card that we pull out each time we’ve messed up, swipe and know everything will be covered.

Now will God still love us in spite of where we have been and what we have done? Absolutely!

Does God’s forgiveness towards us run out after a certain length of time doing the wrong things? Never.

But you and I have a choice to make: do we allow this unconditional love to become an excuse to live our own way, or do we allow God’s unconditional love to lead us to change?

Romans 2:4 says “…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.”

Meaning, it’s not out of fear that I change, or else God might punish me, but rather, it’s out of an understanding that God loves me so much irrespective of whether I make the right decision or the wrong one that I now actually want to make the right ones.

When you realise that God never desires to have a relationship with you based on ‘have to,’ but ‘want to,’ you’ll be surprised by how you begin to enjoy having a relationship with God, rather than resisting one.

God is not mad at you. He loves you so much.

Are you going to abuse that love or honour it? Are you going to resist it or respond to it? The choice is yours.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 25th April 2019

Did you know that there is one question that God will never ask you?

He will never ask you the question…‘can you?’

But there is one question that God will always ask you, and that is…‘will you?’

There’s a world of difference between the two, as one is connected to your ability whilst the other is connected to your availability.

The reason He will never ask ‘can you?’, is because he knows what you can and cannot do, so the only thing left to ask is…’will you?’

Think about it for a moment; why would God ask you to do what He knows you cannot do?

If He commands me to do it, then it must be within my power to do so.

Here’s a great story that Jesus told to highlight this very issue…

Matthew 21:28-31 (NIV)

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, `Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’  ” `I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, `I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.

How often do we make excuses as to why we cannot do what God is asking of us?

There is only one issue here, and it’s not can you or can’t you, but will you or won’t you.

It’s a simple question of obedience.

Maybe you’ve said NO in the past, just like the one son that we’ve read about; if so, change your mind, and say YES!

There are people’s lives right now that can only be reached by your YES.

They are depending on you.

If you will, you can.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 24th April 2019

Have you every felt absolutely exhausted? Like you just can’t get enough sleep? I have!

In a day and age where ‘more, more, more’ is glorified and exhaustion is the norm, here are some things I am learning:

1. There is a difference between work, play and rest! All three are vital. Some of us know how to graft well, others know how to play well, and some of us rest all the time. The key is that we were made to do all three. We were made to work hard for God. There is a time to put in some real elbow grease. We are also made to have fun, make memories and enjoy life and the people in it! Rest is equally important and different to play. Rest is simply ‘to cease work or movement in order to recover strength’. We must have all three!


2. Rest well. We are expected to work well. We like to play well. But do we value and esteem rest? When we are resting, is it quality rest? Even after God worked on creation, ‘on the seventh day He rested from all His work’ (Genesis 2:2). If God himself rested, who are we to say we are beyond taking the time to rest?!


3. Boundaries are there to protect. When rest is made a priority, boundaries are in place. The purpose of boundaries are to keep safe what is within the boundaries. They are there to protect what is valuable. Your family, your marriage, your health – in order for these things to stay healthy, strong, and flourish, they need to be protected by the boundaries of rest. Put boundaries around your time, and energy.
Every season of your life is different. Carefully consider what your priorities are for the season you are in! Learn to distinguish when it is time to work hard, play well, and rest deeply.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd April 2019

We struggle to process pain. We are taught to avoid it. Cover it up with medication. Drink it deep down. Distract it away. Eat it away…but it’s for a moment. We feel it’s easier to bury the pain, than to face it head on, getting to the root, working through it, and finding deep joy and freedom on the other side.

Likewise, when we see others in pain, we can get awkward and perhaps struggle to get involved. It is easier to just say to a struggler, ‘cheer up!’, rather than get down with their mess.

The problem with this approach to pain is that it can cause people to feel like they have to have a happy face on all the time! This can lead to automatic small talk similar to this:

“How are you?”

“Yeah, good thanks”. (Holding back on both truth and vulnerability).

God is always desiring for us to walk in greater freedom. His heart is to see us whole in soul (mind and emotions). Christians should not be a walking wounded people!

Jesus was certainly not intimidated by pain. Rather than commanding a fleet of angels to take him off the cross, he instead ‘focused on the joy… he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation’ (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus knew that on the other side of the pain process was victory and new life! But the pain process was a necessary journey. Jesus wasn’t afraid to get involved with our mess, to the point of death even!

Pain is NOT a sign that you don’t trust God. It is a normal part of life. Jesus in fact said, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Matthew 5:4). Mourning is part of the process to finding wholeness. Therefore acknowledging and not hiding pain is the path to freedom.

Be vulnerable with the right kind of people on how you are REALLY going. Don’t push away what God wants you to face head on. Remember freedom is on the other side! Accept that a season of mourning is healthy. And if you feel healthy, be willing to help others through their pain and mess without being afraid of it.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd April 2019

Yesterday, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was a big day, observed by Christians all over the globe.

Truth is, after the intensity of such a big weekend, it’s easy to look at Easter Monday as ‘the come down’. Easter eggs have been consumed, songs have been sung and now…Monday, with the mundane of the week, is looming.

Today, I want to challenge that attitude! This is just the beginning. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to his loved ones and gave them a very clear instruction… “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

The disciples had no idea how the story was going to end when Jesus was crucified. They endured a time of confusion, uncertainty and grief. How privileged are we, to know the ending? Easter reminds us of the hope that Jesus’ resurrection brings with it; we can approach God freely!

This new life we’ve been given is described beautifully in Romans 8v15-17 (Message Bible) ‘This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!’

So get excited! What happened yesterday represents a new life for us. If you’re feeling trapped in the mundane, ask what’s next and listen out for the answer. God has gifts with our names on, if only we would ask.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th April 2019

It’s Saturday.  Easter Saturday. 

 
Yesterday, Good Friday we were thankful for the death of Jesus for our sins. 
Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, we celebrate His resurrection, when He conquered death. 
But what of Saturday?
I’ve been thinking a lot about it this week.
You see Jesus had told His followers that He would die, He also told them He would rise again. But I wonder how they felt when that horrible Friday actually arrived?
Fear would have potentially gripped them and such sorrow would have been so overcoming. 
 
I wonder if they actually believed that Sunday would be coming.  Sometimes we can be so overcome and consumed by a situation, that we forget Sunday is coming.  
 
We can go through situations, whereby we may get bad news, a nasty health diagnosis, a financial crisis, a real life tough situation, where we allow fear to grip us…the fear of a Good Friday.
It’s at those times my friend where we need a SATURDAY.  
The waiting day, the day in between the FEAR and the PROMISE.  
That day has to be called FAITH.  
 
We’ve experienced the shock, the fear, the heartache, the difficulty and now we are waiting for the promise. 
 In between those two things Jesus wants to see your faith.  
 
They went to the tomb early the next morning expecting to see the stone at the mouth of the cave…however, the stone had already been rolled away and Jesus was risen. 
Mark 16 vs 1-4. “When the Sabbath was over, Mary magdalene, Mary the Mother of James and Salome bought spices so they could anoint His body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and asked each other “who will roll away the stone?” But when they looked up, they saw that the very heavy, large stone had already been rolled away!”

Jesus will always keep His promise to you, just remember in the meantime, to be in FAITH.  

 
For all of our Easter Service times, check out our app or www.championschurch.org.uk
 
Pastor Gillian
A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 19th April 2019

I was moved to tears some time ago as I watched on TV the re-enactment of a true story titled ‘The Stranger On the Bridge’.

Viewers were captivated as they watched the story unfold of a young man that decided to take his own life by jumping from Waterloo bridge.

His life was only spared by a passing stranger that felt compelled to stop and talk him out of ending his life.

The ‘stranger’ was eventually found and reunited with the guy that he saved. He was thanked over and over again for literally giving him a second chance; a chance that he has never regretted.

Many years ago I found myself working at an establishment that had many staff of all ages and backgrounds. On one particular day I felt compelled to talk to one member of staff in their early twenties. I knew that I was to share the love of Jesus with them, but a battle was also raging inside of me as to why I was not the person to do such a thing. For the whole day I was so convicted time and time again about what I should do, but sadly I decided to walk away.

That night I couldn’t sleep for thinking about this person and made a pledge to God that I would talk to them at the soonest possible opportunity the very next day.

I went to work that morning not knowing how my approach would be taken, but after several enquiries as to the person’s whereabouts I was told that they would not be in work at all for the foreseeable future as they had attempted suicide after leaving work the night before.

I was totally stunned and filled with remorse as I realised that if only I would have spoken to them, things could have been so different.

That night, I visited them in hospital and told them the whole story. I felt so sorry for not going to their rescue when I had felt prompted by God to do so.

That day I said to God that I would do my very best to never question His voice again and when asked to do something, say something or go somewhere for Him, I would promptly obey knowing that I may be saving someone’s life.

All these years later I am committed more than ever to making the message of Jesus known to those I know and meet.

Today, I’m speaking to you on GOOD FRIDAY just as if you were the only person in the world right now.

You may be thinking that this is the end of the road for you. You may not be thinking about literally jumping from a bridge, but you just feel like there’s no point in going on.

As Jesus’ arms were nailed wide open on that cross 2000 years ago, He is still saying today I’m here to save you. If you’re going to jump anywhere, jump into His wide open arms.

YOU MATTER.

If you were the only person in the world right now Jesus would have still given His life in order to save you.

Right now you can experience His love and forgiveness followed joy and peace that you have never known before.

Just like the passerby on the bridge, so Jesus is passing by right now and pleading with you to allow Him to help you off the ledge of your life.

Why not humble yourself right now and ask Him into your life? You can do that by praying the simplest of all prayers…

‘Jesus, please forgive me. I welcome you into my life. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank you that you were raised again to life so that I too can receive a brand new life. I offer to you to my life right now. Please become my leader and Lord from this day forward’.

If you have just prayed that prayer, then you will already have begun to experience the peace of God flooding into your heart.

Why not now make a decision to be in Church on Easter Sunday at one of our three services?

9.30/11.30am and 5pm.

I can’t wait to welcome you!!

Happy Easter.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 18th April 2019

It occurred to me as I was reflecting on the events that happened prior to Good Friday, that when Jesus was being taken for crucifixion, the soldiers given that task would not have taken care to use a new set of surgical nails let alone wash their hands or clean His hands and feet.

A bit of a bizarre thought, but it came as I was watching Christine give a blood sample that was required for some tests ordered by the doctor. After carefully cleaning the area they were going to use, they took a brand new needle, drew the blood and covered it with a small ball of cotton wool.

Whatever was on those nails went into His hands. Bits of mud, rust, dried blood, everything. Although He had the power to not only clean them before they went into His hands and feet, He took them as they were, dirty and crooked.

In the same way when He took our sins to the cross, He took them all as they were, big and small.

When He invites you into His arms saying ‘come as you are, my hands are open waiting for you’, He isn’t asking for you to get cleaned up first before He goes to the cross. His focus isn’t on the wrong you’ve done, but on the new life He is going to give you.

Revelation 21:5 says Behold! “I am making EVERYTHING new!” Make a decision this Easter season to connect with Jesus. Make a decision to reconnect with Him, and allow Him to renew the things in your life that are bruised or broken. Whether it’s your faith, your relationships or your health…there’s nothing that He cannot resurrect.

Why not come to Church tomorrow at  7am for our GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE or EASTER SUNDAY at 9.30/11.30am and 5pm? 
Noble Mudenha
A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 17th April 2019

I recently started reading a book on habits. The book teaches that when we want to start a new habit e.g. going to the gym, we often focus on the result – having a new body, but this is in fact the wrong way to develop a habit.

The book, grounded in physiological study, encourages us to instead focus not on the result we want, but on how we see ourselves first. For example, if we view ourselves as a healthy person, we will then act like a healthy person. We will think like a healthy person thinks and make healthy person choices, like going to the gym, because we believe that is who we now are. Then we will naturally develop a habit. Instead we often drive all our energy into getting an outcome or maintaining certain behaviour, without first focusing on our belief system of how we see ourselves.

I can see the connection as Christians. We think ‘I must give more, I must do more, I must love more, I must act more this way and not that way’ – we focus on the outcome and behaviour, but God calls us to look at who we really are first. Rather than being behaviour and outcome focused, let us instead look at our identity and who we are first.

Before I even act, God says:

I am blameless and free (Colossians 1:22).

Christ himself is in me (Colossians 1:27).

I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10).

I am chosen, holy and dearly loved (1 Thessalonians 1:1-4).

I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

I have been saved and set apart (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5).

I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in a time of need (Hebrews4:16).

I have been born again (1 Peter 1:23).

I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a People for God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9,10).

I am an alien and stranger to this world in which I temporarily live (1 Peter 2:11).

I am an enemy of the devil (1 Peter 2:11).

I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God (2 Peter 1:4).

 

 

I could go on and on stating who God says you are. The point – that before we act, we are! Don’t become consumed with behaviour. Instead, focus on who God says you are first. This isn’t positive thinking, this is reality and truth! You will find that you will act a certain way because you know that is who you are and you will avoid certain behaviour because that is not who God says you are, it is contrary to your design.

Meditate today on who God says you are and let that change that the way you behave. You aren’t working your way into a being a child of God, you are a child of God and therefore you behave like a child of God!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th April 2019

Continued…5 decisions that will affect the quality of your life

The importance you place on the voice of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is NOT a feeling, a white bird or an invisible force like electricity, but is the third person in the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is never referred to as ‘it’ in the Bible, but ‘He’.

Jesus speaking in John 16:12-15 ‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.’

The Holy Spirit exists to speak, lead, empower and to guide you into all truth. He lives inside of the Christian believer and is exactly the same as Jesus. When Jesus was raised from the dead He sent us His Spirit so that we would not remain alone. The closer you are to Jesus, the closer you are to God and the Holy Spirit. You cannot separate them. If you honour Jesus, you honour God. If you honour God, you honour the Holy Spirit.

When was the last time you asked the Holy Spirit to fill you? Do it NOW!

He will empower you to live for Jesus. He will speak to you. He will become your senior partner in life.

Watch how this story unfolds in the New Testament…

Acts 8:26-36, 38-40 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake which means ‘queen of the Ethiopians’. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation, he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.’ The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and travelled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Be willing to step out and obey His voice. You may not always get it right, but at least step out and see what happens.

Tune your ears to His voice.

Be willing to learn from your mistakes. Ask questions of the Holy Spirit along the way. He wants to communicate. He is the ultimate director of your affairs. He knows which way to take and what to do in any and every circumstance.

Start to trust His voice today. Place importance on what He has to say whether you like it or not!

Why not ask Him to lead you to just one person this week, that you too like Philip, can get alongside and explain to them the true meaning of Easter.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of life.

Fresh Hope – 15th April 2019

A few mornings ago we started to look at the five decisions that will affect the quality of your life.

Today we continue with decision no 2; ‘The mentor you decide to trust.’

There are two ways to receive wisdom into your life —by making mistakes or by making friends with a mentor.

The long way round in receiving wisdom is simply by making mistakes. This will always happen if you are too proud to receive the coaching and correction of a mentor in your life.

Your mentor is much more than a cheerleader. A cheerleader stands at the side and merely encourages you in what you are already doing. However a mentor is someone that has the courage to inspire you by telling you what you are doing wrong as well as what you are doing right.

The most dangerous person to have around you when you want to grow into all that God has for your life is a friend. Now we all need good friends, however good friends are notoriously not the people that will honestly tell us the truth about something in our lives. They are usually afraid to risk the friendship. However a mentor is not there as a friend but as a coach; someone that will tell you something you don’t want to hear in order to get you to a place that you want to go. A friend is often too comfortable with your weakness.
A mentor is not just someone that gives advice, but is someone whose advice you follow.

Time is not the ultimate teacher, if it were, why is that we all know someone who is now old but still has never mastered what they are doing?You can be 80 years old and still very immature, but you can be 20 years of age and mature beyond your years. Your mentor is your teacher.

The person that values your success more than your affection is someone that holds a golden key to your life.

Who do you have in your life who can be that person?

Who would you like to have as that person?

What is stopping you from having the input of that person in your life?

Understanding that this relationship, for obvious reasons, should be male to male and female to female, then why not make the approach and ask them to be your coach and mentor?

Afraid that they may turn you down? However, they may be delighted and honoured.

Don’t just rely on mistakes to get you through life, find someone bigger than yourself and watch how much more you will grow.

Proverbs 4:1-2 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 13th April 2019

What do you do when things don’t go your way?
Do you sulk or complain, do you go in a mood or even rant?
In the book of Jonah, we read that Jonah was running away from God’s plan for his life. He was on his way to Tarshish, when God had asked him to go and preach in Nineveh.
He got on a boat and things started to go downhill. A violent storm broke out and everyone feared for their lives.
I love what the men on the ship did…they asked Jonah to ask his God! Vs 6 “Get up and call on your God.”
Why is it we talk to ourselves or anyone else that’s listening, but we don’t inquire of God?
God answered and the problem was solved. It was Jonah!
The minute Jonah got thrown overboard (at his own request) the sea became calm.
(Please read the rest of the story if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s awesome!)
When you’re in a difficult time and the storm is raging, go to God, He will give you wisdom and show you the way.

In the book of 2 Samuel 5, David had become king, yet there was a lot of trouble, fighting and bloodshed and David needed help. In verse 19, in the middle of a big battle, David stopped and asked God for wisdom and advice.  God gave it to him, David listened and David got the victory.

Today, don’t look everywhere for your answer, firstly, go to God, He’s the one who can lead and guide you; He’s the one who wants to impart wisdom and He’s the one who can show you the way.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th April 2019

I was so annoyed last week when our hugely expensive Easter advertising campaign was ground to a halt. The deadline had been set for the billboard to display the ‘YOU MATTER’ theme we had chosen to be shown for a good two weeks before Easter. We have been paying for the huge hoarding on the outskirts of our shopping mall for a couple of years now, knowing that it’s a great way of attracting people to think about Jesus and consider coming to church.

The frustration was that the advert that should have been posted last week was now running too late to make the impact that we wanted. Surely, the whole point of paying top whack for a huge advert is to get maximum coverage for the event you want to advertise?

No amount of apology from the company was going to remedy what was being lost every day that it was delayed…or was it? Apparently the delay was down to a health and safety issue at the shopping mall and was ‘beyond their control’. I was not happy, but decided to calm down and see what transpired. Our office asked the billboard sales team what they could do in order to reimburse us for the loss of paid advertising.

They came back with the following:

Free digital advertising on some of the largest LED screens on the local motorways

Free LED advertising inside the Showcase Cinemas.

As you can imagine, we didn’t have to think twice about their offer. Today as I write, we are being contacted by people that are seeing the Easter advertising slogan all over the place. Into the bargain, a few days after the advertising was due to go live, we received a call that our original billboard was now fully up and back on track!

This whole package would have been so far beyond our budget that we would never have been able to stretch that far. We have literally received thousands of pounds worth of advertising…for FREE.

Something not going to plan for you right now? By all means get annoyed, do what you can, but then get over it quickly and let God do what you can’t. He may well want to do something far beyond what you could have done yourself.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.



Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th April 2019

There is a perception of God as this lightning bolt, mad miracle-maker of the supernatural realm. We read in the Bible the parables of Jesus opening blind eyes from spit, talking animals, splitting seas, walking on water, the casting out of demons into pigs, and the dead raised to life…and then here we find ourselves, simply asking for real-life breakthroughs in our very normal life, with our present problems of today.

While God is not bound by anything, He truly is able to do the wildest of things, I want to remind us that God is also incredibly practical and present among the norm.

When Abraham walked his son up to the mountaintop to sacrifice him, at the last moment he found a substitute sacrifice in the bush – God had provided a lamb for Abraham to sacrifice instead. To find a lamb stuck in a bush would have been a very normal situation in that time. Yet for Abraham at that moment it was a miracle. It was divinely practical (Genesis 22:13).

When Jesus told his disciples (who were fishermen by trade) to fish from the other side of their boat, ‘so they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it’ (John 21:6). That was, in fact, a very practical solution to a very normal, and practical business problem for them. Jesus was divinely practical.

We see in Luke 13:10-13, a woman appeared with a spirit that crippled her for 18 years. She was bent over and unable to stand upright. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free of your ailment.’ When He laid hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. There wasn’t a boom, a song and dance, and a huge display. It was simply a sentence that released the healing power of God. Again, divinely simple and practical.

Recently a mother at church told me she was struggling to get her daughter to sleep at night. I felt God say that she needed to pray over her daughter’s room and tackle the problem from a spiritual angle. The mother did just that. The next day, this mum rushed up to me to say that her daughter finally slept through the night! A very normal problem, but God provided a divinely practical solution.

God is not airy-fairy, and irrelevant. He is involved in the details of your life and more practical than we are! He has simple solutions for our big questions. He will often provide a way – not in a lightning bolt, but in a supernaturally, natural way. Tune into Him for answers on the small things, boring things, and normal things. Allow Him to provide practical.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 10th April 2019

Reflecting on the death of Jesus, I got thinking, ‘why did Jesus have to be buried?’ Surely He could have been raised to life on the cross? And why three days dead?

Did you know that after fire has swept over grassland, the surviving grass in fact grows better than it did before? This is because the plant material that didn’t survive is suddenly turned into nutrients, which the grass can now use. More space also means more sunlight, which also promotes growth.

What can be learnt from burnt grass? Sometimes things have to die in order for a new lease of life to come.

The powerful resurrection of Jesus wouldn’t be possible without His death, and for three days, because according to Jewish tradition, a person’s soul/spirit remained with his/her dead body for three days. After three days, the soul/spirit departed. If Jesus’ resurrection had occurred on the same day or even the next day, it would have been easier for His enemies to argue He had never truly died.

For God to bring new in your life, some things have to die. Our salvation in itself is a testament to this.

‘This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!(2 Corinthians 5:17).

For our new self to be birthed, our old self had to die at salvation.

What in your life now has to be put to death in order for something new to begin?

There is something special about springtime after a long, dark, and cold winter. The longer days, the blooming flowers, the open windows – it really is a breath of fresh air! But in order for the season of spring to come in all its colour and glory, the pervious season of winter had to put to death some plants in order for the new to be birthed.

Maybe for you it is a relationship, a thought pattern about yourself, or an ongoing issue in your life that finally needs to be put to rest, in the tomb, for some new life to come!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th April 2019

I went to the gym early this morning. I didn’t want to get up and I didn’t want to exercise, but I am determined to do whatever it takes to keep this body as fit and healthy as is humanly possible. When I look around at others in the gym, it’s very easy to lose heart, but I choose instead to be inspired by those that are younger and fitter than I am in order to get myself into shape.

I have to say to myself, ‘Mark…you may not be where you want to be, but you are not where you used to be.’

Don’t give up! In much the same way in your relationship with Jesus, you’re closer than you think to becoming the person that God wants you to be. You WILL make it through this difficult season and come out stronger. The prison bars that you have erected for yourself are only real in your mind and God will give you the strength and wisdom to take them down. He wants to set you free from the attitudes that have held you back for so long, and release you to live in your full potential.

Beginning is the hardest part, but after the first step, it gets easier. But watch out, those old attitudes have a way of knocking on your door and demanding that they are let back in. Resist them and they will soon get the message.

You can always tell when you’re on the road to success — it’s uphill all the way. So be patient. It will take time to get there, but anything worthwhile is worth waiting for. Right?

James 1:2-5 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 8th April 2019

How you treat people can have a great impact on the degree of blessings and favour from God that you will experience.

You may have people in your life who have done you great wrong. You may feel as though your whole life has been stolen away by someone else but if you choose to forgive them, you can overcome that pain and difficulty with love.

Many years ago, I had to go through the most severe trial of my life. For many months, the pain of a broken relationship filled my every waking thought. People took sides, and decided that I was at fault, leaving them no option but to walk away.

I made a decision to not fight back, retaliate or to justify myself in front of others, even though that would have made me come out on top, as people would see that I was not to blame.

Instead, I decided to let God stand for me as I made a choice to forgive those involved; I also made a choice to ask for forgiveness from those that assumed that I had done wrong, as I wanted to have a clear conscience before them and God.

To be honest, it took months for me to get over the pain. I didn’t ‘feel’ like forgiving, but made a choice every morning to pray for each person involved to be blessed.

The more I prayed for them, the more I got released from the pain.

Today I am free, even though I walk with a ‘limp’ because of the experience. This non-physical limp helps me to appreciate that life and relationships are often fragile and need to be handled with prayer. As someone once said…’never trust a leader without a limp’. It simply means that they have had to battle through some stuff.

Romans 12:17-18 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th April 2019

All of the ‘Bible greats’ had the favour of God on their lives.

God doesn’t have favourites…well He does, but that’s all of us.

Favour is not random; favour comes when we apply God’s principles to our lives.

Obedience to God’s word and God’s ways

will ALWAYS bring blessing.

We should expect God’s favour when we are living by God’s ways.

What does God’s favour look like?

-Doors will open before us – sometimes supernaturally.
-We will see increase, promotion and success.
-We should expect restoration of everything the enemy has stolen from us.
-We will see honour in the midst of adversity.
-Expect to see increase in land and debts to go.
-See greater victories in the midst of great impossibilities.
-Recognition even when you seem the most unlikely.
-Prominence and preferential treatment.
-Petitions granted by ungodly authorities.
-Policies, rules and regulations will be changed to your advantage.
-Battles won when you don’t even have to fight.

If you’re not seeing these things in your lives, ask God to help you see things His way. Ask Him to reveal to you the principles that maybe you should be living by.
God wants to bless you, He is your Father.
Joshua 1 v 8 tells us that if we are careful to obey God’s word, we can expect blessings and success and prosperity in our lives.

You are God’s favourite…believe it today!

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th April 2019

Over the course of the next week, let’s take a look at five decisions that will affect the quality of your life.

As we do, be careful not to confuse the bad decisions that you make, with the belief that God has dealt you a bad hand.

Making wrong choices will always lead to a life of misery, but don’t be drawn into believing that that misery is sent to you by God. You can turn your life around, starting today, by applying the wisdom that you are about to receive.

The first decision that will affect your future is found in No.1 ‘THE OFFENCE YOU DECIDE TO IGNORE’.

Let’s start with a news flash: you will be offended and you will offend someone!

There is no escaping offences of one kind or another, however, what you do with those offences will massively affect the quality and outcome of your life.

How many people do you and I know that use all their daily energy on stewing over someone that has offended them? It completely dominates their day. What they never realise is that the only person to be affected is ultimately themselves.

Don’t allow yourself to become a hostage to people’s words.

Proverbs 18:19 ‘An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.’

Proverbs 19:11 ‘A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offence.’

When Billy Graham was asked at times to explain his actions, he replied…..’my enemies won’t believe my explanation and my friends don’t require one’.

At times, no amount of talking will seem to heal a situation that has gone painfully wrong. Sometimes the more you go over old ground the worse it gets. When faced with moments like these we just have to forgive in our hearts and make a decision to overlook the effects of the offence and move on.

There are even times when an offence is God’s way of disconnecting the people from your life that you are no longer required to walk with. Forgive them, and let them walk away. Their absence in your life will make room for new relationships that are waiting to come to you. However, if you hold onto bitterness and have an unforgiving spirit, then though they may walk away from you and you from them, they are still present every single day of your life.

If you choose to live with the wounds of offence or even choose to stay around offended people, you are likely to sabotage your future.

Forgive, forget, move on, be free.

Change your heart – change your life.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th April 2019

Someone once said, ‘show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future’. Who we let influence us, determines where we are going.  Paul said in Corinthians, ‘Bad company corrupts good character’ (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Sometimes making good friends takes hard work. It can be a process than requires strategy and intentionality.

Here are a few tips for finding good friends:

1. Understand that great people aren’t necessary just the famous or public people. You a narrowing the possibility of finding good friends, by assuming that only people with profile are the only great people around. Our attraction to famous people can be unhealthy in that we feel like we get our identity from who we know instead of who we are. God may have exactly the friend you in need in your life and it could be in the most unassuming individual.

Jesus himself was a great leader who was unknown from the crowd for the majority of his life. Some of the most encouraging, spiritually impacting people in my life – full of wisdom and experience, are the most unassuming, low-profile, beautiful people!

2. Find people who are more gifted, smarter and more experienced than you. People tend to flock to those they feel most comfortable around. Most people feel intimidated by greatness, and some feel better about themselves if they are ‘better’ than those they hang with. Comfort never challenges though. Be secure enough to find people who are ahead of you. Don’t be intimated by greatness, instead be encouraged by greatness in others.

3. Seek to serve one another. People often seek relationships for what they can get. But all relationships – marriage, friendships, parenting, are built and sustained, not on what you can get, but on what you can give. Serving breaks down walls, requires vulnerability, and places value and honour on someone else – all of which bears mutual fruit over time.

You are too precious to waste your time and potential on people who aren’t taking you to better places. Get intentional about who is in your inner circle!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd April 2019

The love of God towards us is unconditional, unending and unchanging. He doesn’t love us any more or less, today, than He did the day we were born! The favour of God towards us however, can increase. We know this because scripture says that Jesus himself grew in favour with both God and man! (Luke 2:52).  

What does favour look like?  

Favour on our lives looks like increase, divine opportunities and connections, blessings and open doors.  

How does favour grow?  

We all have a degree of favour in our lives. The fact that we have been saved by grace is proof that we are highly favoured people! Still, favour is a gift that increases through stewardship. Stewardship of something looks like faithfulness, obedience, and spirit-led management of whatever we have – regardless of how big or small.  

 Why does stewardship matter?  

Stewardship matters because stewardship develops character and character allows us to carry favour. As we steward what is in our hands, we learn patience, perseverance, humility and integrityThese traits ensure that we don’t crush ourselves under more favour when it comes.  

It is not uncommon for people who win the lottery to end up in a worse financial state 12 months after winning than they were before they won the money. Why? Because they didn’t have the stewardship skills and character to carry the blessing. God is a good dad. He will make sure we have what it takes to manage the blessing well. Even when we want it, he isn’t going to drop us into Year 11 only to fail, until we have graduated from Year 1, then Year 2, Year 3, and so on.  

Imagine going to the gym and lifting the heaviest set of weights with no previous training. It would literally crush us! Faithful training and building of muscle develops strength in us to manage the big things! The same works for God’s favour in our lives.  

 How do we respond when others find favour?  

When others around us are in a season of success, how we respond is really important. God is always looking to increase us, but are we ready? How we respond to the success of those around us says a lot about the condition of our heart and if we are ready for success ourselves. Harbouring jealously only creates walls, against the very people who we should be drawing close to and honouring, in order to release the same blessing into our own lives!   

 Consider what area of your life you are seeking favour in. Ask yourself: am I stewarding the small thing I already have? What character traits could God be building in me in this season? What does God want me to do with the favour I have now? How am I using that favour to point to Him?

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd April 2019

It’s pretty normal for me to get up in the middle of the night to go to the loo! However, just a couple of nights ago, I had quite a fright when I walked out of the bedroom and onto the landing. There it was, lying right across my pathway and seemingly not fazed by the fact that I was standing there.

The moon was shining through the upstairs landing windows, and added to that we have a very small sensor light that plugs directly into the power socket and just gives off enough light at floor level. It took me a few seconds to gather my senses, compose myself and decide what to do about wherever it was lying on the floor. I then realised that what I was staring at was more than a figment of my imagination, but was a very real…shadow! I know, sounds daft doesn’t it, but to me it was very real in that moment.

As I made my way to the bathroom, I pondered as to why I had never seen that shadow before. It became apparent that our Dyson vacuum had been left in the doorway of the spare room the night before and was the reason for the ‘monster’ like shadow being cast onto the floor. Yes… I was scared of a vacuum!!

Isn’t it amazing how things that are not real can make themselves so life-like in your darkest hour?

One of the most well known Psalms in the Bible has got to be Psalm 23 ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…’

In verse 4 it reads like this: ‘even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I feel no evil, for you are with me.’

We learn from this Psalm that the valley of death is actually a shadow that is being cast over our lives when we are in our darkest hour and most vulnerable time. It’s not real! I’m being scared by something that is projecting an image of itself across my life. It’s just a shadow and cannot harm you or even touch you.

What are you walking through right now as you wake to another new day?

What are you fearing?

What are you cowering from?

What is causing you to retreat?

Don’t worry, it’s just a shadow that is meant to scare you.

Even before you go any further into today, meditate on these ancient words… ‘I feel NO evil, for YOU are with me.’

And remember: whenever you’re walking through a valley…keep walking, it’s not your permanent address.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st April 2019

A couple of years ago, we were hosting an event for youth and young adults at our church. We had a guest speaker travel a couple of hours to be with us that night, and after the event had finished, we took them to a restaurant before they headed back home.

I was 19 at the time and it was late on a Friday night…

We arrived at the restaurant and myself and the guest got out of the car and began to walk towards the entrance where I saw two security guards standing. It was at that moment I realised I had made a mistake…

I had overlooked the fact that I would need an ID to get into this restaurant due to the time of day it was and that it was a weekend. Not only did I not have any ID with me, I soon realised that irrespective of whether I had my ID or not, I’m pretty sure I would be too young to get in either way.

So here I am, stood beside our guest at the front door, being told that they can come in but I can’t. A slightly embarrassing moment to say the least…

The only thing I could think to do was ask one of the security guards to find the owner of the restaurant who knew us well, and hopefully they would be able to help me out.

Thankfully we found them and they did just that! In I walked, grateful that I wasn’t going to have to wait in the car while my friend ate by themselves.

It’s possible that the experience I had on that night is similar to your perception of who God is. That if relationship with God was like a restaurant, you would love to venture in and see what it’s all about, however you fear as though you would be stopped at the door and asked to show that you have what it takes in order to step inside.

Maybe people have given you the wrong perception of who God is, and they have led you to believe that you must work your way up to God, or do enough good deeds in order to earn His approval, then there’s a chance He might accept you.

However friend, you’ve got it all wrong.

I want you to begin to see a new picture, one where Jesus Christ meets you at the entrance, overrides what everyone else has had to say about you and welcomes you in, despite where you have been and what you have done.

One thing we say often in our church is ‘God’s grace is so good that it receives us as we are, but it doesn’t want to leave us the same way it found us.’

The message from Heaven to you today is ‘Come inside!’

However, don’t be surprised when God then begins to take your life to another level because He knows more than anyone, there is so much more to you and so much more for you than what you’re experiencing right now.

Instead of resisting God’s unconditional grace, choose to embrace it and watch as it starts to change you from the inside out, if you’ll allow it to.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.