Spring Harvest Skegness has been exceptionally good this year. My only complaint is that it is just too short. The theme for this year of Game Changers has certainly resulted in some challenging sessions. We we have been blessed by some excellent speakers covering the following topics:
- Day One: Encounter (Exodus 3:1-18)
- Day Two: Enlist (Exodus 4:1-20, Exodus 5:1)
- Day Three: Everyone (Exodus 7:8-15)
- Day Four: Equip (Numbers 13:25-14:9)
- Day Five: Empower (Deuteronomy 34:1 – Joshua 1:11)
We are currently on day four, but Simon Ponsonby, our Bible Teacher for the week, deviated from the theme in the first session this morning. Why? Because yesterday Simon felt the Holy Spirit nudging him about what he should be saying today. This was a bit of a challenge as Simon was committed to the themes, and had spent some considerable time in preparation. He discussed the matter with one of the Spring Harvest leaders, he prayed about it, and then he slept on it having asked God to speak to him during the night. God did speak – in a dream about a disgusting toilet that had been repeatedly used but never flushed. Then finally someone came and flushed the toilet and all the filth was gone.Simon referred to the accumulation of filth in our lives and in society in general that needs to be flushed away. God does this, and we need to see it in our lives, families, churches, and in our nations. We need to be clean of the things that have defiled us and separated us from God.
Simon gave an example of a lady he came across when teaching on a short course at a Christian college. This lady was radiant. People were attracted to her. Her story? For most of her life she had been haunted by something she had done that had clung to her so completely that it had accused her, judged her, and condemned her. Then one day God planted some numbers in her head while she was shopping: Romans 3:23. She worked out this was a Bible verse and when home found an old Bible and began to read. As she read the Holy Spirit stepped into the room and freed her from the life she had lived in the shadows.
Simon then talked about sin and its effects:
Sin is universal: “Sin is a common as skin. All of us have shadows, skeletons, and things in the dark. There may be a lid over the toilet but lift the lid and it is full.”
Sin is miserable: “The consequence of sin is to place distance between humankind and a pure and holy God. No wonder God seems pie in the sky! We are falling away from the source of life – falling into the shadows where there is no colour, only shades of grey. This is the world that we live in.”
Simon explained that redemption from sin has involved God purchasing us out of slavery at no cost to us, into the life that he always intended for us. He said that a judge who ignores a crime is guilty himself, hence God’s Son taking the punishment. But why would He do that? Because of His love and grace.
The cross where Jesus died such a cruel and painful death shows us the seriousness of our sin, and the breadth of the love that God has for us. Simon reminded us that we have family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues who do not know the gift of saying no to sin. Then he told of a convicted criminal he knows who served a sentence for a particularly unpleasant murder, but has since been transformed by the Holy Spirit. Simon said: “THE GOSPEL WORKS! The goodness of God reaches out to humankind made in His image. All we have to do is say yes to His yes and have the boldness, courage, clarity and confidence to present the message: HERE IS LIFE!”
God has equipped us to be game changers. Whatever are we waiting for?
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. (Romans 3:22-24 NLT)