This week Hurricane Eta (category 4) has been travelling from Nicaragua through Honduras. It is the most severe hurricane to hit the country in decades. During Tuesday and Wednesday it was moving at 5mph, with winds gusting up to 145mph and rainfall estimated to be 25-35 inches. Rivers have become raging torrents, overflowing their banks, washing away bridges leaving some cities inaccessible.
There is widespread flooding, with some areas needing to be evacuated as water was several feet deep. In some places water was up to roof level. Housing in many areas is flooded, ruining family possessions as most properties of the poor are single storey.
Some areas of La Ceiba have needed to be evacuated, including the local prison with water up to chest level. Added to the flooding there have been landslides caused by the volume of water, particularly in the area where Pastor Hector lives, leading to severe damage/partial demolition of his house. His family evacuated the house shortly before this occurred and sustained no physical injury, but his wife and children were traumatised seeing it happen. All their possessions were lost, including work tools; they have only the clothes they were wearing.
Many thousands of families are affected, and were already struggling because of Covid quarantine leaving them with no income or food. Due to communication difficulties the full extent of the damage is not yet known. There is no electricity, no tap water, no TV for info; only intermittent mobile and internet signals.
Mary and the boys at Los Niños are safe. Pastor Fredy and his family are safe. Pastor Héctor and family have taken refuge with his younger brother on higher ground. So far they have been unable to communicate with the church plants in nearby towns, so their situation is unknown.
Finances will be needed to help the people recover, particularly for those whose houses have been damaged or demolished, but also for food and replacing personal possessions.
It will be a prolonged period of recovery from the effects of the hurricane for the country, with infrastructure needing replacement.
Please continue to pray.
If you would like to contribute to the gift that Melton Vineyard will be sending in support, please follow the link below to the Honduras giving fund. You can add Gift Aid to increase the value of your gift and all monies donated will be used to help relieve the situation.
For many of us, encountering God’s presence daily and growing in our life with him is a real and deep desire. However, very few of us have ever been shown clear models for exactly how we might build a life lived in the presence of God. We may have been taught the importance of things like prayer and Bible reading, but weren’t given any tools or training in how to do them well. We may have spent years trying to do our best, but it has often felt like homework that we should do rather than being able to spend life-giving and life-changing time in the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
THIS BOOKLET is designed to help with that. It is a step by step guide to building a life of encounter with God one day at a time. This brings change and transformation to our inner life and also allows us to see the presence of God beginning to soak through and influence every situation and place we find ourselves in each day.
This week in our Sunday service we looked at the concept of Sabbath; a whole day to stop, rest, delight and worship. Hopefully, you were challenged to think about how you might practice the Sabbath in your life so if you’d like so ideas to help you get started we’ve collated some resources here that you might find useful and inspiring.
Check out Pastor and Author John Mark Comer’s website which has a really practical digital workbook you can download for free which gives you four weekly step by step guides to help you build up your practice of Sabbath: HOW TO UNHURRY
We’d also really recommend his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry which has a whole chapter on practising the Sabbath.
If you’d like to explore the Jewish perspective on the rich tradition of Sabbath check out this classic work by Rabbi Abraham Heschel.
If you’re interested in exploring Sabbath as an act of resistance to our modern culture then you might like to read Theologian Walter Brueggemann’s book:
If you’re wondering how to get started with Sabbath with children at home, have a listen to this brief and helpful advice from Children’s Pastor and Writer Rachel Turner:
CHILDREN & SABBATH
We’d love to hear if you’ve been inspired to give Sabbath a try and what you’ve found helpful so do get in touch!
As a church family, it's really important that we know what we're about and what we're for. Over time we've refined our mission statement in various ways to try to communicate this as effectively as possible and we've got it down to just three words: Bless, Serve, Pray!
Our mision is to:
BLESS others as we share the unconditional love of Jesus
SERVE each other and the wider community
PRAY in order to do all this in the power of the Holy Spirit
So next time someone asks you what Melton Vineyard is all about, just
remember the three little words: BLESS, SERVE, PRAY.
Ok, I'm just going to come right out and say it: I believe that the moon landings of 1969 were for real. And yet 21% of 24–35 year olds are convinced that the whole thing was staged for the camera. "It's obvious", they say. "There are no stars in the pictures. There's no blast crater under the lunar module. The shadows are all wrong."
As Richard Godwin pointed out in an article for the Guardian newspaper, "It took 400,000 Nasa employees and contractors to put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969 – but only one man to spread the idea that it was all a hoax."
My personal take on that particular conspiracy theory is a very simple one: as an ex-actor, I know how many people it takes to make a film (actually, you don't even need to be an actor – just read the list of credits at the end of any major film or TV programme). If the whole thing was manufactured in a film studio, are we really saying that not one of those hundreds of people would have come forward in the last 50 years and said, "Actually, you're right. We faked the whole thing"?
In a similar way, I'm sceptical about claims that the current Covid-19 crisis is one huge conspiracy. Since governments of all stripes around the world appear incapable of reaching agreement about anything, it's quite a stretch to believe that they have all agreed to treat a "trivial" disease as a major threat.
In a recent podcast, Jay Pathak reminded us of the biblical injunction from Isaiah 8.12: "Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it."
As Christians, we are called to trust God and to love our neighbour as ourself. For me that means taking appropriate steps to safeguard ourselves and others, even as we share the good news that Jesus has conquered death and there is no longer anything to be afraid of in this life.
We've been really impressed by this app from 24-7 Prayer that "turns one of our biggest distractions – our mobile phones – into a portable prayer tool". It's really simple to use and will encourage you to become more faithful and regular in praying for your needs and the needs of others. Follow the link below to check it out.
Have been re-reading Jack Moraine's excellent book, Healing Ministry, in preparation for this week's podcast. It's so good. It says everything you need to know about healing without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail. It's clear, concise and practical. I recommend it highly!
So excited to hear that Dreaming the Impossible has been re-imagined as Streaming the Impossible for this lockdown summer!
Over the weekend of 31July–1 August, young people from around the UK will be joining together for worship, talks and prayer live from DTI HQ. With a load of seminars on Instagram live.
We believe that with God, nothing is impossible and we're praying that even though we're not together physically, God still meets with young people.
Tickets are free and available from the DTI website.
This week we watched the first two episodes of The Chosen, the first ever multi-season TV show based on the life of Jesus. It's early days, but so far it's looking original, engaging and very moving. The show's writers have come up with some imaginative back stories for the first apostles and Jesus is introduced only very gradually into the narrative. It's not being produced by Netflix or a big Hollywood studio, but is crowd-funded by supporters. Why not check out the first episode and see what you think?
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been reading a fantastic book by Tom Wright called, The Day The Revolution Began. It challenges us to rethink our picture of the gospel and, in particular, our understanding of what happened on the cross. Rather than divine wrath being poured out on an innocent person to satisfy God's "anger", Tom Wright demonstrates that the cross is the fulfilment of God's promises to a broken world and the ultimate expression of His covenant love for us.
"Jesus died for our sins, not so that we could sort out abstract ideas, but so that we, having been put right, could become part of God's plan to put his whole world right. That is how the revolution works."