New Wine


Hands raised up skyward
Your love is better than life
Lord, we worship You

written in further response today’s daily prompt at The Daily Post

Somerset Hills

Come rain or sunshine
Rolling lush Somerset hills
Green fields bid come, rest
New Wine bids come share, be filled
Living water flows freely

dVerse Poets Pub today challenged writers to pen a poem inspired by the Southwest suggesting, “Bring lots of water and take a walk in the desert. Relax on a mesa, take in the beauty of it all or mosey on back to the ol’ days of the Wild West.”

Of course the internet is global, and not everyone’s south west is filled with sand and tumbleweed . . .

Counting the weeks to this year’s New Wine summer conference in Shepton Mallet

Be More Dog

“Be more dog:
When loved ones come home, run to greet them;
Never pass the opportunity for a joy ride. Allow the experience of wind and fresh air in your face to be pure ecstasy, rather than an inconvenience;
Take naps;
Stretch before rising;
Run, romp, and play daily;
Thrive on attention, and let people touch you;
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do;
On warm days, stop to lie on your back in the grass;
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie down under a tree;
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body;
Delight in the joy of a long walk;
Be loyal;
Never pretend to be something you’re not;
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it;
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
Be more dog.”

– Rev Kenny Borthwick, New Wine Summer Conference, 7 August 2015

Come taste the New Wine


Written following this week’s Haiku Challenge on RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge #61 – “Tears and Wine” :

The tears of a King
Flowed to wash us and refresh –
Come taste the New Wine

“Your heart will take you places your head can never go”

This is the fourth of a series of posts on summarised Lessons from New Wine – United 2014. @ChristyWimber, Senior Pastor of Yorba Linda Vineyard spoke on this topic in Week 1.

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Where the Enemy tries to divide, God’s purpose is to unite. Praying to love more each day leads to unity. Loving individuals leads to a loving church. Love underpins unity. Jesus’s love for us should naturally lead to our love for others, leading to the church’s love for the world.

Loving Jesus first, living in that place – everything in the kingdom stems from how we receive God and from God: salvation, faith, healing – these are all gifts we need to learn to receive.

The toughest thing for many people is to love themselves, and to accept that they themselves are loved.

The greatest anointing of the church, the greatest of its riches, is love. If you don’t have love, any other gifts mean nothing. It’s not about what we know – we can know plenty of the wrong things. It is about love, and never getting over our encounters with God.

Unity stems from the community of Jesus – we are one body. Jesus unites us for a purpose as a community of unity and diversity. “Unity” does not mean “agreement”; unity means choosing love and grace, a “commitment to other” which is bigger than simply understanding our differences.

How did Jesus reach the broken, bitter, the hardened? He loved them anyway. There is power together with all of the saints when love is present. Where love is, there is overflow of blessing.

Your heart can lead you to people you would never dream of. Be vulnerable to where God wants you to go, love the differences, rooted and grounded in love.

A Vision for Britain

’15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.’
– Ephesians 1:15-23

This is the third in a series of posts on summarised Lessons from New Wine – United 2014. @stevemclifford, Director General of the Evangelical Alliance UK spoke on this topic in Week 1 of the conference.

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The Prime Minister used this year’s Downing St Easter event to describe the UK as ‘a Christian country’. Question: is it? Is it an important question? The UK is a nation where it’s okay to disagree; where we defend people’s freedom to choose any faith or no faith. So how does the excerpt from Ephesians 1 make us feel about that?

Bishop James Edward Lesslie Newbigin was a British theologian, missionary and author who said, ‘The way we understand human life depends on what concept we have of the human story.’ Bishop N. T. Wright has said, ‘The whole point of Christianity is that it offers a story which is the story of the whole world – it is public truth.’

How does the Christian world narrative impact issues such as human trafficking, and debt. Trafficking offends Western secular morality, and is abhorrent to the average person, but what about society’s attitude to the root causes such as the sex trade, or sweatshops creating cheap goods in the developing world? Managed debt feeds the western economies, and we seem to have blame culture for those people in debt rather than blaming our own society for the greed which crashed the world economy to begin years of austerity which hurts the lowest incomes the most, or for societal priorities which can feed debt – our obsession with consumerism, with image, and celebrity.

We, the church, are called to be a hope-filled people, and that should be our vision for Britain [and beyond! – FaithUnlocked].

Desmond Tutu said, ‘Hope should not be confused with optimism. Hope is a choice. Hope believes despite the evidence and then works to see the evidence change.’

To paraphrase Ephesians 3:10, “It’s about the church, stupid!” We must not cave in to the media stereotype that the church is irrelevant, homophobic etc; God is to fazed by the rise of secularism, or other faiths: His will, will be done. Wec may be living in the ‘good’ of the prayers of the 80s and 90s – the church has got out of its buildings and is doing some amazing stuff – street pastors, foodbanks, marriage guidance, debt counselling, and more . . . ecumenical unity movements are seeing different denominations working together as the church of Christ. The church may be smaller, but stronger – more passionate, more involved; challenging the prevailing secular narrative, praying for revival, taking responsibility, being salt and light.

We have a hope for the future of our nation [and the world] which is not based on political, economic, or human factors, but on God’s plan and care for His people. “God wants to change stuff, and he tends to do it through people.”

We are called to leadership of, and ministry to our neighbourhoods, our workplaces, our world. Leadership requires discipline, commitment, and training: turn up, be courageous, do what we say, get to know people, ask ourselves, “How can I lead change today?” The Holy Spirit will power, equip and guide us to make every day an act of worship.


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‘Spiritual renewal will only happen when local congregations renounce an introverted concern for their own life, and recognize that they exist for the sake of those who are not members, as sign, instrument and foretaste of God’s redeeming grace for the whole life of society.’
– Lesslie Newbigin