Back from Brighton, and back to a decent internet connection.
Its been a very good week, but as always fairly exhausting and will take a few days to process through in my thinking. I love the preaching and worship, but probably the highlight for me is catching up with friends from around the world. It is great to hear encouraging stories. I was particularly excited to see photos of Tom Eaton baptizing two Japanese converts at the Nagoya church plant. Tom & Julie have been in Japan four years and it is simply inspiring to see what they are doing and the fruit they are now beginning to reap. It was also brilliant to have a big gang of us from Gateway at the conference this year - thanks for coming along guys!
While writing this I'm listening to Evan Rogers' new CD, Devoted, and looking forward to him leading worship at Gateway on Sunday. Evan led worship last night at the prayer celebration and there is no-one with his ability to get a praise party going! It is all so familiar to me now that I tend just to think of it as normal, but for people new to the conference, and new to Evan's energy it can be somewhat overwhelming. Someone who used to be part of a Newfrontiers church years ago and was at the conference for the first time commented, "I'd forgotten how Newfrontiers celebrate when they give!" The offering was tremendous with nearly £1 million given for the mission; it is an indication of how high our expectations are that this magnificent total was actually somewhat disappointing...
A quick summary of the good bits:
# Grace being able to attend for the whole week with me for the first time
# Some young men being allowed to step up to the plate - Mbonisi Malaba and Stef LIston opening up the conference with the first two sermons and hitting huge home runs; Stuart Gibbs anchoring the meetings
# Hearing Terry Virgo share his heart as he spoke about the past, present and future of Newfrontiers
# Evan's worship leading!
# Scott Marques and team leading us in prayer for Southern Africa - just got to love those Zimbos!
# Having PJ Smyth round up the conference this morning
# And then there was Fake Warnie! A wonderful slice of humor snaking through the packed schedule.
I had a lot of fun speaking on Manliness in a seminar but unfortunately something went wrong with the recording so it won't be available to download. I received an unusual level of positive feedback about the seminar, so will try and blog my notes next week.
If you are in the Poole area this Sunday do come along to Gateway where Evan Rogers is leading worship and Stephen Manhanga from Zimbabwe is preaching. We are expecting a crowd so are running two meetings - you can join us at either 9am or 11am for what is going to be a memorable time.
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