Rich Lush

Rich Lush

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 11:39

SOUL SURVIVOR

 

Over the summer we took a group of 30 young people plus leaders to Soul Survivor. This is always a special time for our youth group, where they build community and connection both with each other and the Almighty. As youth leaders we long to see them engage with God on a deeper level and this year was no different. However, we get really excited when the hunger for the Soul Survivor experience goes further and becomes a hunger to see God come in their friendships and communities beyond Soulfire. 

 
This year, we were praying that their connection would be deeper than an emotive moment led by a guitar chord to real revelation and commissioning in their hearts of what the Father wanted to do. Throughout the week, we started to witness these moments, as individuals who have come through their own personal storms chose to stand up and say “I will go for Him.” Others were having realisations of lies they’ve lived under and saying “I want to live under Christ’s truth”. Alongside this, others said, for the first time, “I’m in! I want to follow Jesus!” These moments are precious and it was clear God was moving among them.
 
At the same time, it’s a privilege to see our young people interact and honour us as leaders and honour their parents in how they act. Behaviour-wise this was one of the easiest years for us, and Soulfire are a credit to this church in their representation of the body. 
 
As they return to their everyday life, please pray for them, as they enter school or college or uni for the first time, that they would know the Father's will, that they would hear his voice, that they would know that he leads them on the greatest adventure that may not have been what they had been thinking, but is the best journey they will ever take.
 
And for us as a body, pray that we would catch the fire that they have, the zeal, the heart of what it means to follow Christ, that we all would know what it means to say “for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain!”
 
May you be reminded, through their adventure, of the adventure God has for you.
Tuesday, 24 July 2018 08:16

Under the Stars

 

It was 4:30 in the morning and the fire was down to small embers, crackling in the night. I was surrounded by the bizarre mix of beautiful birds singing and sheep baah-ing, mixed in with the repetition of snoring. The strangest part was the beauty that came from this sound. A sound that reflected the beautiful picture of community that was being built in that camp. 

 
As Soulfire, we took 13 of our lads away. 
All with different backgrounds, 
different abilities, 
different stories, 
 
and marched them six and a half miles to a campsite. Along the way, we paused for thought and were challenged about our reliance on tech, our obsession with being inside and lack of engagement with our world. The best part about this is that some of this teaching came from them! They left all of their phones at home and enjoyed the journey. 
 
One highlight was sitting on the top of the Trundle as one of our young people read notes on his phone then threw it to the side to say “this does not fill the void, only God fills the void!”
 
So they walked, they prayed for each other and they looked up, finding God in their community together and finding God in the nature all around. As part of it all, they ran around, laughed, occasionally yelled at each other and then beautifully came and all laid down together to sleep by the fire, under the starts, outside the tent. 
 
There’s a beautiful story in the Bible, in Genesis, where God comes to Abraham and says “come out from under the tent, come outside!” And it’s then that he shows Abraham the stars and reveals that he will be the father of millions; but to hear that promise Abraham had to come out from the tent. 
 
That night, like Abraham, God led us out of the tent and we found Him in the outdoors together.  
 
There is something about being outside - about nature - about being in God’s creation that reminds us of who God is, of the wonder of his nature and frequently it’s when we are outside, away from it all, that God reveals himself to us. 
 
In our lives we must give ourselves time to be outside, to engage with the God who isn’t just the buzz feeling in a guitar shredding worship service, but is the God who brings peace and rest when we sit in the outdoors and breathe Him in. 
 
When did you last go outside, and just rest, listen and pause? Many of us had the joy of community this weekend at our Summer Celebration, away from everything. 
 
Let’s not forget, in this beautiful weather, to take more of that time, as we enter the season of holidays, of kids at home...take some moments, maybe God is saying to you “it’s time to come out the tent.
 
Monday, 19 February 2018 11:10

Savouring the Word

 

Since January Soulfire (our 11-18s Youth Group) has embarked on a journey of "NT60" - reading the New Testament in 60 days. For the youth, the aim has been to touch base with every book of the New Testament at least once, with four readings a week. To help them on their journey, we've been reading the New Testament together on Sunday, providing videos in the week and reading together on some of our Friday sessions. 

As one of the Youth Workers for the church, it has been a joy to watch our youth delve into the word of God. For many of them, this isn't an easy feat, but when they find gold, you can see they are overwhelmed by the revelation they find. 
 
This is the second year that we have done this as there were concerns about whether Soulfire would buy in for a second year or be able to stick with it. I have found myself repenting of these thoughts as it seems the opposite is true - the youth who took part last year, rather than being disinterested, are delving deeper than before. One showed me their notebook, which is full of notes and thoughts of the wonders they are reading. 
 
And that is what the scriptures should be to us. A wonder. How often do we read the word as a dry text, rushing through it for our "daily bread" with no enjoyment?  I'm sure we've all tried to push ourselves in a legalistic way to read the Bible - yet watching the youth engage I am reminded that the word is alive, it just needs to be given time to be enjoyed and be fruitful in to our hearts. 
 
Think of it like this. We've all heard the food analogy before - that this is healthy food for us. Yet, I think we can think of healthy food as dull when compared to the sugary treat. Or we can shove our food down our throat and treat it as fuel, however this isn't enjoyable. 
 
The word should be like honey on our lips! Good, healthy, food isn't dull, but is full of flavour and to truly be enjoyed it must be savoured. I don't know if you've seen the film Ratatouie - if you haven't you defintely should - it's about a Rat that can cook, and cook food that completely blows people's minds. Whenever people take a mouthful of his food, the film zooms in to show the characters having a life changing revelation of taste - reminding them of precious childhood memory or life experience. They are literally changed by this experience!!
 
Today, my challenge to us as a church is, are we savouring the word? Do we "taste it" and find life changing moments, remembering precious previous times while knowing that God is still living and active today, tomorrow, forever? What are you tasting today from this life giving book?
 
Rich Lush