In her forth post on Talking Jesus, Sophie Jelley says: “450 events and counting: Reasons to be cheerful”.
With just three weeks to go I want to share three reasons to be cheerful as we count down to Talking Jesus Durham.
First – we counted up all the events that you lovely people in deaneries have been working on to make the most of ‘Talking Jesus’ Durham. We are completely thrilled by the fact that so far there are 450 events planned across 15 deaneries as we look forward to welcoming 25 Bishops and their teams to join us.
Second – Nearly every parish is doing something and it not too late to join in. Whatever it may be, every event is a chance for people from our churches and visitors coming to join us, to Talk Jesus. It is incredibly encouraging that parishes are working together to put on a whole range of creative opportunities and some tell us there are more to come. We have flash mobs and feasts, academic debate and angel bombing (?), messy and meditative moments, curry nights and pig races and everything in between. Thank you for being willing to try new things. We hope we will have tremendous fun. Not everything will go to plan and more opportunities will come spontaneously but I want to share a couple of thoughts as you continue to work towards this time and pray.
Third – Feedback from Bishops who have had the chance to visit so far have been tremendously positive. One shared the fact that more people are asking to come along because they have been so encouraged by what they have heard. Another said they were stunned by the work that has already gone on at a deanery level. We want to recognise that God has provided all that is needed for blessing our communities in Jesus name through Talking Jesus.
I want to share just two thoughts in the light of this:
- However well prepared we feel (or not!) It will feel scary at times. Even the most experienced and gifted in this work have to overcome their nerves and the fears we can all face at times when we talk Jesus with people who don’t yet know him. I am so grateful for all the learning I have done and am still doing as I watch others whom I respect and trust doing the work of an evangelist. We may have many questions: I wonder – what will he/she say afterwards? What will they think of me? Help – I don’t know what to say!
The bible reassures us….’do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say’. (Luke 12:11-12)
Ask God’s help as you speak, don’t go it alone – ask Jesus – Lord, help me to listen and help me to talk Jesus.’
- Expect the unexpected. We are giving the gift of time to God. A few days to go out and share his love with the people of our area. This is an act of faith. We will have a whole range of thoughts and feelings but as we dig deep and uncover our roots, we recall that we go in the footsteps of St Aidan and St Cuthbert and others whose legacy we are. God did surprising things through these men who simply dedicated their lives to his purposes. This is our God and we have every reason to be confident that as we tread in their steps, that he will also do surprising things through us.
Good news spreads. 450 events. Reasons to be cheerful. May God continue to bless us and use us to Talk Jesus for the transformation of us all.