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Prayer Army trip to Christ Church Clifton. 90 of us went to pray Original Design Prayer for 60 young people. Brilliant evening. Thank you Jesus. ... See MoreSee Less

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Fresh art in the chapel! Thank you Malcolm Bourne for this gift, painted in 2014 when we had a visit from the Korean prayer team and Archbishop of Canterbury.
Four Rivers
11th September 2014

Acrylic on Board

By Malcolm Bourne

The rivers in Genesis 2, Ezekiel 47, John 7 and Revelation 22 form four images of spiritual rivers that have significance to Bristol. Bristol is a place of connection for all four rivers.

Each river has a slightly different form. Genesis was the first, the source of the river almost like a fountain celebrating Gods goodness. This passage also depicts the branching of four different rivers. Ezekiel was a still deep river with trees on the bank bearing fruits and leaves for healing the nations. John was the human river, a river of power like a wave. This is depicted in the painting as a hand and called the Korean wave in response to the South Korean prayer missionaries. Revelation is glorious water, a crystal sea forever spreading like the Genesis original design.

The depiction in these scriptures is that the source of every river is a temple. Genesis the garden temple, John the body temple, Ezekiel and Revelation a temple building. The centre of this painting also has a temple; Temple Meads is the central train station of Bristol with its Cathedral like building and water canals running under it (meads meaning meadow). It also has much symbolism being a centre for travel, people coming and going on a system of river like routes. What God creates in Bristol will travel to London and beyond.

The circle on the painting surrounding Bristol Temple Meads is a compass showing the North, South, East and West. As Jerusalem had the physical gates (as depicted in Ezekiel) the spiritual version in Bristol could be significant. Who are the spiritual gatekeeper’s of Bristol?

Wells, rivers, gates, temples, waves, provision, healing, trees and revival are all strong themes that God could be highlighting for Bristol in this season.
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Thank you Silas for fantastic teaching this weekend. We're struggling to find an analogy to go with this video...
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Bluebells and Bicycles: Three Acts of Generosity

words by Alice Bond

The fifth in a six part series by Alice Bond

Of the many things which have shocked me in the last few years, the three that stand out most clearly in my memory were all simple acts of generosity.

The first one was definitely back in the day (in my 20s). I was invited to a party where it was a given that we would bring some minor contribution of food and / or drink. Now usually my approach to such an occasion was  –  bring as little as possible / try and get away in bringing nothing at all so as to ‘get’ out of the party more than I ‘give’.  After all, the hosts have chosen to throw a party:  they should be the ones to come up with the goods. There is definitely such  a thing as a free lunch I would regularly reason.

I cannot for the life of me remember what I contributed ( probably nothing) but I was completely blown away by Annie, another (only slightly older) party-goer (who, for this sort of reason, became not only a precious friend, but also an inspiration). Annie’s  contribution was a large fresh baguette and a massive round camembert. Now even in those days I understood that it was probably socially appropriate the older one became to bring something of substance. But certainly not something bigger than would be personally consumed. And CERTAINLY not, therefore, something delicious, which someone else would consume. I was genuinely confounded.

The second occasion was in one of our regular visits to my in-laws. My wonderful sister-in-law Madeline was staying there too. One afternoon she not only cleaned the inside of her car, but also the two other cars (one of which was our car) which happened to be on the drive. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I found it virtually impossible in those days to dig deep enough for a vision to clean our own car, which we would receive the benefit of, but to clean other peoples? It made no sense to me. Curious, I asked her why she did it. Well, I was out there cleaning mine anyway, so it just made sense to clean any others which needed cleaning. She explained, shrugging her shoulders, as if what she had done was the most normal thing in the world.

I like to think there are two forms of logic in the world: demon logic and divine logic. Her logic made as little sense to me, as my logic (the demonic kind) meant to her. Why would you spend your time, energy and hard work doing something practical and, well, boring, for someone else with no reward, beyond possibly a sense of satisfaction at a job well done, a heartfelt (but let’s face it, cost-free) thank you, and possibly a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I knew about the five love languages – one of which was acts of service (the one I didn’t express my love through very often) but, quite frankly, that still didn’t cut the mustard. There was seemingly no ulterior motive. Especially when one could spend one’s time… chilling out.

Ahhhh. A warm fuzzy feeling. Was there something in that perhaps? I once read an article in a newspaper about a warm fuzzy feeling when one is generous to charity…

There was also a third occasion when a friend Clare completely redecorated the aforesaid Annie’s large kitchen, just before Clare was due to leave and live in America. Never one to withhold surprise, I asked her why she did it. She always liked to leave a place in a better state than she found it. She liked to leave a blessing. She explained, smiling, getting on with the job. It felt like she had introduced me to another language – something like Italian. Beautiful, but entirely incomprehensible.

Anyway, it transpired that we then had three children and I am not sure how it happened exactly but something changed in me. Maybe it was through those years of practical hard work with very little instant reward. Maybe it was through the influence of my husband and these, and many, incredibly generous friends. Maybe it was through facing deep, tormenting childhood fears of abandonment, and the ensuing ‘every one for themselves’ mentality. (And having those fears gently removed and replaced by a touch of the vast goodness of God). I don’t know – probably a combination of all of the above.

All I know is that the lights went on. I realised I was designed to be a contributor, not a consumer.

Wow! If this really is a superior logic, I thought. I am going to test it. I decided as a sort of experiment to take seriously Jesus’ words about giving generously and see what happened. I started to consider in any and every situation – how could I leave a person more blessed than when I met them, or a place in a better state than when I found it or an event where I could bring more than I could foresee receiving. In another words I decided to live with a continual consciousness of how I could ‘give’ rather than how I could ‘get’.

Well, blow me down with a feather. Every time I stepped up and contributed, I felt more empowered, more alive, more of that warm fuzzy feeling, than I had ever felt  (back in the day) when I would spend most of my energies trying to get something ‘for free’.

It was all true after all. It was something to do with feeling re-connected to God as my heavenly Father who really, really loves me, and, therefore, not having to worry about how my needs were going to be met or feel the need to protect myself anymore.

I had recovered my design as one of the billions of human conduits of His immense, overflowing, generous heart. And the funny thing was that I began to notice that whenever I gave in the smallest of ways I felt like I was receiving a hundred times in return for what I was giving. And in such surprising, spontaneous, deeply personal ways. The sort of ways where I knew that I knew that I knew that I was known, by Him. I understand you now Annie, Madeline and Clare. I was definitely colluding with the dark side. But now, you would be pleased to know,  I have turned to the light. It really is more blessed to give than receive.

‘Give and it will be given to you. Shaken down. Fully pressed. A measure poured out and overflowing into your lap’.  Jesus.  AD 30.

(PS. Incidentally, it transpires that God was right there, loving me, all along.)