Wednesday, 23 July 2008
SMC at New Wine North and East
Well a whole load of us from SMC are going to New Wine - joining the Harrogate encampment on Red 8 at Newark. Delegate numbers are heading towards 5500 and team members bring us up to over 6000 for this 4th northern conference/holiday. Penny and I are involved in helping to lead and have worked out that this is probably the 17th New Wine Summer conference we have been to. Wow! We love New Wine and how through it we have met with God, others and been able to be equipped to beter serve God in our daily lives. We have seen his kingdom come in our lives through new Wine and want that for our children and for SMC.
I was reading Mark 6 and 8 this morning and thinking about the miracles of 5000 and 4000 being fed by Jesus. I noticed 5 common areas in Jesus feeding thousands (there may of course be more).
1) Thousands had gathered - yes obvious I know - but in a culture that constantly emphasises the selfish individual need and undermines corporate community life it is important to remember that Jesus related a great deal to crowds and not just me! One of the reasons why New Wine is great is that it gives us the chance to get involved in something that is bigger where normally we are in our own little worlds doing our own little thing.
2) Jesus had compassion. In the feeding of the 5000 his compassionate response was to lead them as they were like sheep without a shepherd. There is a desperate need for leadership in our day which is why it is one of our priorities as a church - to lead like Jesus. This is a compassionate response to the need around us.
Secondly in the feeding of the 4000 his compassionate response was to feed them - there is of course a desperate need in our times for people to meet with Jesus who is the bread that satisfies.
If people are led without feeding they will collapse and if fed without leading they will become fat - neither of which are things that we want to encourage. Jesus knows we need leading and feeding and in his compassion he does this and calls us to partner with him in it.
3) Jesus did a lot with a little. We are, at present, a small church with correspondingly few resources to work with. The tendency for us is to think we can't therefore do much because we have so little. This is not kingdom thinking - Jesus did a lot with a little and will do a lot with the little we have. Where he calls... he equips.
4) There was food left over. I believe that the true merit of things like New Wine is that they give us food to be distributed after the conference is over. Because we come hungry we are filled, and the overflow is of blessing to others. We can, though, leave the baskets of left-overs sitting unused and we have to resolve to say that we will not let that which God has provided go stale.