It seems to be the time for goodbyes. I leave Bristol today for good (although of course I will be back visiting my parents and family regularly) but I am properly moving up to Birmingham later today. It's quite a weird feeling. I wish I could say that I am sad but I'm not. I'm excited. Bristol hasn't been a particularly easy 5 years at all. Everything that could be shaken in my life has been shaken but as the Scripture says - I have found out what is unshakeable! And praise God - I have realised that the perseverance of the saints has absolutely nothing to do with the saints themselves really! I've learnt so much - as we do in times of trouble. As Jesse said quite rightly;
"Work gets done and generations rise to their challenge, embracing the new work God is doing when those alarm bells are sounded and Christians begin to gasp, perhaps even panic, at how much work needs to be done, and how short the time we have".
Maybe if Bristol had been the retreat and the rest that I hoped it was going to be, I wouldn't have been motivated and stirred to try and accomplish what I have. I have definately had my faith shaken in the local church - yet once again, praise God, I leave Bristol realising that my belief is still unshakeable that the local Church IS the hope of the world! So I am meeting with a pastor in Birmingham on Thursday to get to know him and to find out about his church and (God willing) find out where my place is within it. It's a church that welcomes the Holy Spirit and is passionate for more of His Presence but it honours the Word of God too.
I'm full of expectation and excitement for the future. Birmingham isn't the end of the road (I think). I am going to be there short term (I also think!). The reason I sound cautious is because I've learnt not to map out my own future anymore. God tends to have other ideas sometimes! But I know it's going to be a vital step and I pray that somehow I can play a part in His grand scheme of covering the earth with His glory. While I know and recognise that God isn't in a rush in His divine timing, I desperately hope that I may be part of the generation that sees the people of God go in and take the Land!
So goodbye Bristol! Here we come Birmingham! (Oh yes I updated the Charismatic Resurgence post one last time before I go).