Thoughts on the flowers of Abersychan

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

To support the Bees of Torfaen, the council have been planting!

You may have noticed the many pockets of wild flowers on grass banks, verges and parks throughout the county. None so beautiful than those in Snatchwood Park in Abersychan (Centre of the Universe).

Abersychan Flowers

Abersychan Flowers

The Bible is full of gardening narrative, many come to mind when enjoying these flowers.

Unlike the rest of creation that God spoke into existence (Genesis 1:3), we are told in Genesis 2:8 that He “planted” a garden (Eden). To “plant”, implies purpose, care and effort. A gardener tends his ground on his knees and works the dirty rough soil, he gets cut, bruised and bitten so that his garden can have life. It is a tough but intimate vocation. A labour of love!

Like a gardener, God strategically and lovingly worked the future home for those He made in His image (humanity) to live in (Genesis 1:27). When the garden grew wild, in love, He stooped low to tender it. He left the glory of Heaven and took on flesh in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. He got His hands dirty (in fact they were pierced), He suffered unimaginably to beat the last enemy (death) on the cross, so in faith His people can have life eternal!

In love God commands us to take care of the garden that He has so lovingly made for us (Genesis 2:15). He does this because He is a God of means, His creation is a tool for us to know Him and get closer to Him. (Romans 1:20)

In cultivating the land we experience God’s sustaining power every time we see a planted seed burst into life! (Psalm 145:16).

Each time we plant a seed, we do it in faith, as none of us can guarantee it’s success. (Ephesians 2:8).

Yes, we plant the seed, and yes various chemical reactions take place for it to grow, but it is God’s design and it is God that gives life (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Abersychan Flowers

Abersychan Flowers

These small exquisite oases throughout our fair county, were but dead brown patches merely weeks ago, but they are now vibrant with colour and busy with life!

What may seem dead on the surface, has the potential to be brimming with activity! (Psalm 104:30). Go out and enjoy them!

Let’s pray that The Lord will revive His church again in this Valley and that we would live to His Glory.

“When you send your Spirit,they are created,and you renew the face of the ground” Psalm 104:30

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Baptisms in the Welsh Valleys!

In recent months, we have been privileged as a church to witness three Miracles. The conversion of three very different people, from very different backgrounds.

On their profession of faith they were baptised earlier this month (I believe the first to be baptised at Noddfa for 18 long years).

In lieu of testimonies the message went through the three converts in Acts 16 (Lydia, the oppressed lady and the Jailer) as there were clear parallels to their conversions to the three we baptised that day.

We come before an eternal God, who works the same today as He did 2,000 years ago! “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Heb 13:8)

Our first person in our reading who we meet in Acts 16:14 (Lydia), was a comfortable lady, she sold purple cloth, which was reserved for the rich, and she had her own home (v15) that she could invite people to. She was what you may call, a nice, normal, middle class woman of today. We can see in verse 13 that when Paul found her, she was praying and not only that, she was praying on the Sabbath! The Lord ’s Day! So, here was a nice, normal, friendly, hospital, loving middle class lady who knew of God (the God of the Bible), she worshiped God and she said her prayers.

Noddfa Baptism

Noddfa Baptism

But wait! What else does it say here in verse 14? The Scriptures tell us that the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to Paul’s message and she was Baptised! Despite all of this women’s previous outward “religion”, despite her wealth, her social status, her prayer time, her acknowledgement of God and her worship of Him on the Sabbath (the Lord’s day).Despite all of this outward religion, up until this point in our reading, where the Lord opened her heart, she was not a Christian, she was not saved and because of her imperfections she was destined for judgement and Hell!

What the scriptures are reminding us here is quite simple, and a clear lesson to us all! Christian or not! You cannot earn your place in Heaven by being a nice person, by saying prayers, even by worshiping God on a Sunday! Christianity is totally unique in this respect.

If you are a person that thinks that because you give to charity, or because you and your children have been Christened, or because you say your prayers at night, that you are going to Heaven! Think again! This is all religious nonsense! It is all I,I,I,I!

This kind of thinking is a “religion” based on what you can do to serve God, so it is a religion based on your pride, your greed and your selfishness! This is not the religion of the Bible! If it was, Lydia would not have needed her heart opened, would she? She would have been fine on her own!

Those that think you are going to Heaven when you die because you are a nice person! Think again! If the entry into heaven is relying on what you do, then you are not relying on God.Christianity is not about what you must do to earn favour with God! It is not about your climb up to Heaven! Christianity is all about God coming down, because it is uniquely from God!

The God of the Bible says in His Bible, I made you, I love you and I know that you can’t meet the perfect requirements needed to come before my presence on your own. So, in love I will come to earth in the flesh, and live a life of poverty and suffer immeasurably on the Cross for you! I (God) will pay the price for your failures, for your imperfections, and I will open your heart to this truth, so that in faith of my works (not yours) you can be saved! All you have to do is accept this free gift in faith, just as our sister did in January.

See the difference, it is not I,I,I,I but God, God, God! What we are dealing with here is not a man-made religion, it is revelation from God! In love He has done the work for us!

Lydia ticked all the boxes of a nice religious lady, humanly speaking, but yet she did not have a saving relationship with God, until the Lord opened her heart!

Paul moves on, so must I!

Paul leaves Lydia to go to a place of prayer and on the way he meets another woman, one who has been trapped for many years, kept in bondage, she was (v16) a slave. This woman knew of spiritual things and as it says in verse 17 she could even recognize men that were servants of God. Similarly, our second sister to be baptised spent her life aware of God, but has struggled in her walk, she was a slave to her circumstance, a difficult divorce and illness.

Noddfa Baptism

Noddfa Baptism

The woman in our reading, during her bondage was aware of the spiritual; we are told that she even predicted the future! She was involved in fortune telling and other superstitions. Our Sister, likewise kept various religious mementos around her house (a cross, statues of Angels and various plaques engraved with Bible verse). The woman in our reading pointed out that Paul was a Servant of God (v17), likewise our sister knew to come to Noddfa. But none of these attributes gave her a personal relationship with God, a relationship of trust! None of these trinkets gave her the assurance and confidence that she now has in Jesus Christ.

Our sister has been worshiping with us for nearly a year now; she has heard the Gospel proclaimed in the name of Jesus and it is in Him that she has now puts her faith in.Like this woman in our reading, it was only when the truth of Jesus Christ was proclaimed to her, that her burdens were lifted!

Finally, we have the Jailer!

Paul and Silas find themselves in prison for preaching the Gospel (you see the world hated the church back then, just as it does today!).The Jailer was a typical man that suffered with the same pressures of life as most do today. He had a family (v33) and a home (v31).The jailer had everything he could possibly want, so like many men today he probably thought “why do I need God in my life?”

The jailer was also a very proud man, (v 27) he was willing to kill himself rather than deal with shame of loosing prisoners. Now I am not saying that our brother (before becoming a Christian) would go to such lengths to protect his pride, but, I think we can all agree that you will not find anybody on earth more proud than a Welshman! (And I have welsh blood so can say this and get away with it)!

Noddfa Baptism

Noddfa Baptism

When our brother first came to church, it was clear that he came reluctantly, and in the first service he laughed out loud when I confessed during my sermon that I was a Tottenham Hotspurs fan! However, after hearing a sermon about what the early Christian church went through, how men and women were persecuted, to hear that they lost their jobs, their homes,  they were killed and even cut in two because of their faith, our brother could see that there was more to this “church thing” than met the eye! Our brother began to offer his help to Noddfa, posting the Easter fliers around the houses of his area. He thought that if people can sacrifice even their lives for Jesus, he can post some letters and deal with the “embarrassment”.

Our brother started attending Bible Study, reading books and asking questions and then earlier this year he acknowledged the reality of God. Our brother asked Him for forgiveness and he put his trust in Jesus. Praise God!

So, what caused this change?

Paul and Silas, took a beating for the Gospel. They were being tortured in prison, we are told that they were in stocks (v24). Stocks were not simply vices like we may think of today, but torture devices that clamped on the base of your legs causing tremendous pain. Yet despite their pain, Paul and Silas were singing and praying to God. When they had an opportunity to escape the prison, they did not, they chose to help another man, they stopped the jailer killing himself, at the cost of their own freedom! Why? Because Paul and Silas have all they need in Christ! Christ gave Paul and Silas more than what the world could offer them, and this Jailer could see it! God used the witness of these two men to bring the Jailer to faith!

Like the Jailer our brother needed to be shown by the witnesses of other men. He came to Noddfa and could see that we were not snobs, claiming to be perfect because we come to church, in fact the very opposite, it was in the understanding of our own weakness and need for help that we come! He could see that like any other man in the Valleys, we too are all rough around the edges. But unlike any other men our brother has met in the Valleys, we had something that no amount of flat screen TV’s or the latest gadgets, or pub crawls, or football tickets, or fancy cars, or garden hot tubs or holidays in the sun could ever replace! Our brother could see that we have God on our side. So that when the trials of life come, we do not run away, we do not escape! We do not run off and hide, no, in God’s Grace we have the strength to stay and to do the right thing! Even if it means bad news for us!

As Christian men, we have to face mocking, we have to face embarrassment, we have to face peer pressure for not following the ways of the world! Being a Christian man is tough work! This maybe one of reasons why Jesus chose labourers, and fisherman to be His disciples. Strong men! That by God’s grace are willing to sacrifice all for their beliefs, men that will stay to help, rather than run from the church like cowards in fear of what others may think!

Ask yourself why would a man who has everything, the lovely family and the nice house, a man who could be sat at home watching his big screen TV, why would he choose to go through such a thing as being publicly dunked, if it was not for a genuine experience of deep repentance and knowledge of Jesus as His Saviour!

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” Acts 16:30-31

Love, Love, Love

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Luke 15:9-17

On Saturday I had the privilege of marrying my first couple at Noddfa. As you can imagine, I was incredibly nervous throughout. This was their special day, one that they would remember for the rest of their lives and I did not want to put a foot wrong.

The couple had come to me earlier in the year and was surprised to hear that as a church we would simply accept a donation for the wedding, there was no set fee (outside of the organist and registrar). Without the risk of sounding cynical, I understand that other denominations make a living from such a ceremony. But for me, I see it as an opportunity to reach out to the couple regularly, to share the Gospel with them and discuss the Biblical principles of marriage.The couple regularly attended services on the lead up – and we pray they continue to do so.

Noddfa Wedding

Noddfa Wedding

The other huge opportunity from the wedding was of course with the invited guests.

Over seventy people were invited from the community, most had never stepped foot in Noddfa before, and now know where we are and have now all heard the Gospel. Praise God!

The service was traditional, short  and simple, the message afterwards unashamedly evangelistic and (Praise God) it got them thinking! (Whether they remember it post celebration is another thing!)

After a few pleasantries and a laugh, I asked them all quite directly why is church now reserved only for the special occasions? “Hatched, Matched and Dispatched” Is it because you see church simply as a tradition? Or is it because you believe that God does not exist?

What makes people believe that God does not exist? Well the common and most obvious answer is because you can’t see Him, touch Him, or scientifically measure Him. This is why people choose to relegate His church to just one visit a year?

Unsurprisingly the majority at the wedding acknowledged this to be their viewpoint.

I believe this is the common thought of many throughout our Valley, and I argue this stance is simply illogical. Especially when those who maintain such thinking are quite happy to join us at a wedding ceremony without argument. As a wedding is a  time to see two people contradict nature and give themselves to eachother for the rest of their lives. “In sickness and in health, until death do they part.” The entire ceremony is a symbol of love! Love, Love, Love!

Love (like God) can’t be scientifically measured; love can’t be seen or touched. Yet none of our visitors doubt that love exists! If they did, why bother to come?

By the same logic that our guests judge the unlikelihood of God’s existence, they would have to dispute the very thing that they had come to celebrate! Love! Can you see the double standards in the logic?

So, if you can accept love as a reality, without being able to see it, or measure it. Why then do you doubt the reality of our loving God?

God is love! Like Love, He can’t be seen, He can’t be measured! But yes, He is real! Without Him, weddings would not happen, we would have no propensity to love and we would live like the rest of nature, without morality and in absolute chaos.

Just like the wedding day was a physical representation of the love that cannot be seen or measured! This church lives by God’s commands as a physical representation of what you cannot see or measure. So, if you accept love, I argue, you must then by the same logic accept God.

The comparisons do not stop there! Like God, love is not of this world, because Love is from God! Love is unselfish! Love, loves in times of sickness and in times of poverty and at times of sadness and death. Love stays with you through the tough times. Love stays with you long after the looks fade! (I am living proof of this).

God is real and because we are created in His image we have a propensity to love!

Noddfa Wedding

Noddfa Wedding

Jesus is love, Jesus is our example! 

In love, God left the glories of Heaven, to be born a babe, not in a palace, but in a stable. In love God Himself took on flesh in the historical person of Jesus and lived a life of poverty. In love God came low, to be rejected by the world, (just as He is today), He was mocked (just as He is today), He was ignored (just as He is today), He was dismissed (just as He is today), He was beaten and eventually nailed to a cross where He slowly died in the most horrific way in the heat of middle east Why? So that come the day of judgement, those who He loves, those who He has chosen, who know Him as Lord and Saviour, and are obedient to Him, will not face judgement.

This is what we came to celebrate together! That in a cursed world, of wars, of social deprivation, of economic turmoil, of death and tragedy, by God’s Grace we still have people that reject the ways of nature, and do not do whatever their selfish genes tell them to do. Instead they sacrificially give themselves to each other just as Jesus gave Himself for us..

Just like God, Love is real and it contradicts everything that this world is teaching you!

Rejoice today.Thanking God, that in His Son, Jesus Christ, we have the ultimate source of Love, that His death on the cross is sufficient to pay for the Sins of those who know Him, and that all that love Him can defeat the curse of this world and live in Love.

Noddfa Wedding

Noddfa Wedding

Amen

Art in Brynmawr

“and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze” Exodus 35:31-32

Although I grew up in North London, I spent a lot of my childhood in south wales coming up to visit family. For this reason I have always viewed the area with rose tinted spectacles.

I have lived in Wales now for 12 years and despite having a clear London accent I can honestly say that this is my home and it is where my heart is! Wales has given me my education, my family and it is where I came to faith! So, I can now say that I was born (again) in Wales.

I love the people and the culture. The beautiful mixture of rural landscapes and heavy industry gives a great romanticism to the area that the Lord has called me to serve.

No other artist better captures what my heart sees of our beloved country than Goff Danter.

I had the pleasure of meeting Goff earlier this year and he kindly gave me a tour of his studio and gallery. Goff took time to explain his paintings that all refer back to his personal recollections of the area he grew up in.

The paintings are not of any particular place, but of memories of many places. So, to the consumer, Goff’s art embodies and excites memories that could represent anywhere in Wales.

Goff’s paintings are both exciting and soulful for this reason, they leave you with some work to do, so you can tell your own story about them.

Being a Pastor I sadly can not afford the original works but have two prints at home.

Raise the Ashes

Raise the Ashes

“Raise the Ashes” depicts an early morning scene, Goff’s memory behind the piece was at the start of the day you had to raise the ashes from the fire to start it, for heat, water and food. For me, it shows of a Valley town where the Gospel light has burnt out and the Lord has brought us here as His means to raise the Ashes.

A bit of Blue Sky

A bit of Blue Sky

“A bit of blue sky” is Goff’s depiction of Sunday School trips down to Barry. They took the bus, leaving behind them the dark clouded valley as they head toward the bit of blue sky to enjoy a nice summers day. I bought this for my wife, as she used to look for bits of blue sky (and still has to in Abersychan).

We love the prints as they have there own story, yet they allow us to put our own to them. This, I believe, is what makes Goff’s work so special.

The Coalstream

The Coalstream

Lastnight we were invited up to his gallery again for the BNB Arts and Heritage Festival. It was a wonderful evening of live music from “The Coalstream” and another oportunity to learn more about Goff’s art.

The picture at the bottom of this page is of the “Dirty Wall” where Goff paints. What fascinates me is that behind all the splatter and flicks, you can see echoes of the art that had been created beforehand.

The evening was again inspirational and I would recomend everyone to go to Goff’s gallery on Brynmawr.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

God created man and woman in His image, so we do, in our nature, reflect God’s own attributes. God created us, so we can create.

God gave Adam two jobs, the first (Genesis 2:15) was to work and keep the Garden of Eden. Our Lord reveals to us in His word that Eden was a place “pleasant to the eye” as well as a source of sustenance. So, working the Garden could not simply mean just harvesting it, but maintaining its beauty. Hence why God has given us a propensity to define what beauty is, to define “art”.

The Artist then is fulfilling God’s instruction to keep the garden by exercising the skills and tools that God has given them.

We must thank God for the beauty of His creation and that He has given us the ability to appreciate it and replicate it to some extent in artistic form.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Goff Danter and Pastor John

Goff Danter and Pastor John in front of the “Dirty Wall”

A day in Parliament

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish [from] the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Psalms 2:10 – 2:12

Let me start by stating that I follow King Jesus. I am not a proponent of “church and state,” neither is the below piece intended to show any favouritism or indeed an affiliation toward any party.

Alex Salmond and Pastor John

Alex Salmond and Pastor John

For those of you that do not know, I have agreed to be the assistant Chaplain to the Mayor of Torfaen. Why? Because I believe Giles (the Mayor) to be a man that has a genuine love for the community and a burden for those he serves (regardless of his or their political background). The role is voluntary and  (Praise God) already opened many opportunities for the Gospel in the community.

One of the duties of the position is to join the Mayor (Giles) on a trip to Parliament of which I have just returned home from and it was a day I would never forget!

We got to Parliament at around mid-day. Just like in an airport, security requirements had to be met, so our belts were removed and our wallets and phones put into trays. (Good job Giles did not wear his livery collar as it would have set all the alarms off).

We were greeted on entry by Nick Symmonds-Thomas MP for Torfaen (and local Abersychan resident). As we walked with Nick into “stranger’s corridor” things instantly got real! I noticed a number of heavily armed police among the masses of busy people. It was like a bee-hive of activity, filled with very serious looking individuals that I could only assume were; runners, researchers, assistants and the press buzzing around. Amidst the organised chaos, Lord West casually strolled past me befitting his stereo-type with top hat and cane and as we sat down I could see many recognisable faces, the closest being Nigel Lawson,  I also got to speak with Alex Salmond.

Nick has a very busy schedule, so was very kind to take some time out to show us around Parliament, where I soaked up the history. In the central lobby I saw the crack in the Sword of the statue of Viscount Falkland, this had to be repaired after the the Suffragettes chained themselves to it when fighting for the vote. There were many statues of some great men of History, the decorations and artwork throughout were awe inspiring.

We had the privilege of entering the gallery to see our democracy at work and by providence it was during the maiden speech of local MP Chris Davies (Breacon), sat next to him was David Davies (MP Monmouthshire) and on the other bench Jessica Morden (MP Newport) – with us in the gallery you could be forgiven in thinking that the Welsh were taking over! (None of us were asked to toe the line).

Chapel of St Mary Undercroft

Chapel of St Mary Undercroft

One of the high points was yet to come! The opportunity to take a rare view of the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft situated under the Palace of Westminster, built in 1292. This was a truly amazing space of unrivaled beauty, laced with gold leaf, stain glass, statues and carvings, the craftsmanship was exemplary!

Although I do not agree with such grandeur, it is a reminder that these fair isles are governed on a foundation of Christian belief and principles, a historical fact that each parliament sadly seems to drift further away from.

It was a wonderful day – London is of course impressive! But it is no Abersychan!

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour.”  1 Timothy 2:1-3

IMG_6058

A year in the Valley

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

In June 2014 my family and I moved to Noddfa Baptist Church to serve the Lord in Pastoral Ministry. This move was made in partnership with ReformissionWales and Emmanuel Evangelical Church, Newport, under the mentoring of Rev Bernard Lewis.

Like so many churches in the Eastern Valley, Noddfa was without a minister. It had a predominately elderly, but very committed, congregation that had become increasingly disengaged from the wider community. Noddfa was struggling to survive with just 15 regularly attending the Sunday morning Service, a handful of children at the Monday night Club and a Mothers and Toddlers’ group on a Tuesday. We took on the challenge knowing it was a Nehemiah work that was needed.

Noddfa 2014

Noddfa 2014

Making contact with people in the community

Noddfa evangelismInitially I distributed a personal letter to all the immediate homes in the area. This letter introduced myself and our family, explained why we have moved to Abersychan, and included my contact details if people wanted to get in touch with me. This had a huge impact as many thought the church was, in fact, closed. It gave me a great opportunity to speak to many people as I went door to door and began to understand that the darkness was not due to “atheism”, as I had first assumed, but to “nominalism”.

This was a game-changer. I understood then that as a church we had to re-engage with a mission field amongst those who, sadly, think they are Christians but who do not feel they need to worship God and receive his Word in fellowship with his people.

I was encouraged that many people still had affection for Noddfa and would be sad to see it close. They had a loose assimilation to chapel tradition that we could use to our advantage. But the general opinion was “the world has moved on and I have other things to do on a Sunday morning.”

We started by holding reunions for former Sunday school attendees who are still living in the area and have now grown up and have families of their own. They were well received. We enjoyed Fish and Chip Suppers and a Summer BBQ. Old pictures and fond memories were shared, stories told and, more importantly, local people left those meetings knowing that Noddfa is still here and continues to run activities for their children.

Picture3

Through these meetings and speaking with the families that attend the weekly clubs, it became clear that, despite having a desire to attend and be affiliated with Noddfa, Sunday morning has become a struggle for many in our community because of work or sporting commitments. This is the world we live in today and we must be pragmatic in these situations just as the early Christians were in Acts. So we planned to run another Sunday Service at a time that suited people living in a secular society, so people will no longer have an excuse. This ‘family friendly’ service is called “Look Up”. This great name was coined by an 84 year old church member and allowed us to put a big sign on the road that guides the eye to “Look Up” the hill to see Noddfa Chapel. The “Look Up” service includes Bible readings, hymns and a 20 minute message, followed by fellowship with refreshments and a seasonal activity.

Initially we thought we might get a few families from the youth ministries, some who came along to the reunion and supporting families from Emmanuel. To our amazement the service now welcomes, on average, more than 60 people from the local community, many of whom have never experienced church or heard the Gospel. This peaked on Firework night 2014 with more than 120 people attending. They heard the Gospel proclaimed as well as “looking up” to see some fireworks after the service.

Capturing all of this activity and putting it on Facebook has also been a great opportunity for people in the community to discover what actually goes on inside the chapel walls and to see pictures of their friends and family being involved.

Victoria Village School

Victoria Village School

By simply living in the area we reach out to the community at every opportunity and encourage the congregation to do the same. We have had the privilege of meeting some wonderful people and have made some great friends. We make an effort to buy locally whenever possible. This allows us to get to know the shopkeepers and speak to those in the queue. It also helps when it comes to putting posters in the shop window! As funds allow we try to eat out at local cafes and restaurants once a month. Our oldest boys attend the local school and are involved in the local music group, football team and boxing club. The Lord has opened doors in the local schools for me to take assemblies and to visit the local care homes. My wife, Harriet, is a member of the slimming club (not that she needs it) and attends other pre-school playgroups in the area with our younger children, she is also involved in a local choir. We try to attend most community activities; charity nights; pub quizzes etc and are constantly building bridges, knocking down walls and simply being accessible to people so they know where to go when the Lord puts that desire in their hearts.

Throughout 2015 opportunities continue to develop and I was appointed assistant Chaplain to the Mayor of Torfaen, a dear friend Giles Davies (who I have got to know well over the last 12 months). Giles is unique in that his office has not come out of ambition or pride but as a consequence of the genuine love he has for the area and I thank God for raising Giles up in the community during this early stage of my Ministry. Working in this capacity of Chaplain to the Mayor has opened many other doors into the community for me to witness to the truth of Jesus Christ.

Pastor John with Mayor of Torfaen, Mayor of Blaenavon and Welsh Labour MP for Torfaen

Pastor John with Mayor of Torfaen, Mayor of Blaenavon and Welsh Labour MP for Torfaen

We praise God for the way He is blessing the work. From June 2014-15 attendance at the traditional Sunday services have doubled, requiring us to start a Sunday School to cater for the children during the service. The Monday Club has five times more children attending and the Mother and Toddlers’ group has also seen significant growth.

By God’s Grace on July 19th we are baptizing three people who have come to know the Lord through this evangelism.

Noddfa June 2015

Noddfa 2015

Noddfa 2015

Please continue to pray for us

The last 12 months have been amazing, the Lord has worked beyond our wildest expectations, but the church at Noddfa is still in a desperate situation. I have to support myself financially in secular work, the core membership of the church remains small and elderly, and although the numbers have been a great encouragement, it is all superficial if we do not see souls being saved.

This is our burden for the people in our community and we ask that you continue to pray for the work, so that we can continue to do everything possible with what God has given us. Please pray that God will do the impossible, as only He can, and revive this land once more bringing many people to saving faith in Jesus.

“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest,” Isaiah 62:6

Concerned about the budget?

George Osborne budget

George Osborne budget

Concerned about the budget? Are you worried about how the welfare changes will affect you and your family?

Below are some Bible verses about God’s provision for us that we hope will comfort you.

Matthew 6

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Philippians 4 

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Hebrews 13

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

6 So we say with confidence,“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

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