Billy Butlin would be rolling in his grave. There are potholes all around his Skegness resort. Not only are there potholes, there are also many areas where water gathers in large puddles, even on recently laid paths. Consequently, it can be a bit of a minefield navigating between the various venues and the chalets, especially in the dark.The puddles that the adults try (often in vain) to avoid attract the younger generation with a vengeance. There is a puddle on a path outside our window. The kids go crazy for it. They jump in it and ride scooters through it, and on occasions fall over in it. Their parents are probably not that keen on their offspring using the puddle as a playground, but when we see the joy on their faces from our window we remember how much our children enjoyed splodging in puddles.
The theme yesterday at Spring Harvest was ‘Together.’ Together we are stronger: in our families, in our churches, and through our churches working together for God’s kingdom. In our togetherness we need to understand that nobody else can play our part. God has called us all uniquely because He made us individually, and He quite deliberately placed us where we are in the season that we are in. We all have potholes in our lives, and we are prone to slipping over in puddles and getting muddy. God knows about our potholes and puddles. As we grow in Him we realise the importance of the times that we have fallen over in our lives and ended up soaking wet and covered in mud.
In the Spring Harvest Bible teaching session yesterday morning Simon Ponsonby spoke on Exodus 17:8-15. The Israelites had reached a place where they could rest, but they could not let down their guard because the God-hating Amalekites were preparing an ambush. Simon reminded us that we are at war, and that we have to work together to fight the enemy. The Israelites provide a good example with Moses the visionary leader supported by the loyal and faithful Joshua who knows how to fight. Aaron is the prophetic voice, while he and Hur hold up Moses’ arms as the battle rages. Simon Ponsonby tied this in with the need to hold up our hands in prayer.
There is so much more I could share on potholes and puddles, on working together, and on the desperate need for prayer in our personal lives and in our church lives. But here are just a few one-liners from yesterday at Spring Harvest Skegness:
- We (the church) do not need a (spiritual) retreat; we need an advance.
- God needs warriors not worriers.
- If we want to change the game we have got to fight with warrior hearts.
- We are God’s Army not Dad’s Army (reference to the Home Guard in the UK during WW2).
- What victories we achieve in prayer.
- Who ever heard of a God who loves sinners?
That last point is but one way in which God stands out. No other god loves sinners. No other god is capable of redeeming humanity through a single act of divine sacrifice. But while no other god exists except in the imagination of the deceived, all other gods are lined up to do battle against the One True God and those who follow Him. Simon Ponsonby is right. If we want to change the game we’ve got to fight.
So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. (Exodus 17:10-13 NLT)