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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 & Bicycles: Rocks in a Glass Jar

words by Alice Bond / photos by Jake Anderson

The second in a six part series by Alice Bond

When we asked our friend Simon to speak at our wedding, my only request was ‘you can say whatever you like but PLEASE do not touch my wedding dress’. These days there is an uber eco, vintage, organic, authentic approach to acquiring a wedding dress: buy one from Oxfam, borrow one from family or friends or watch the Sewing Bee and make your own. But we got married back in the day when the only viable option seemed to be to walk into a wedding dress shop and buy a wedding dress.

I bought a vaguely designer dress. I say vaguely because who has actually heard of specialist wedding dress designers? In those – pre-thinking it through – days buying a wedding dress cost more per hour of use than the rest of my entire wardrobe put together.

Needless to say Simon managed to wangle opening a couple of beer cans far too close to The Dress. I had just declared calmly, with conviction, off by heart, my vows. But now I barely repressed screaming the sacred words: ‘get those FROTHY beers away from my dress’. Accompanied by a little (partially) dignified bunny hop backwards.

This experience only confirmed my suspicions that that there is something that happens to perfectly sensible, rational people when beer is introduced. However to Simon’s credit and my ongoing surprise the content of his speech was one of the most helpful pieces of advice Chris and I have EVER received on how to do life well.

Simon held up a glass jar and showed how if you put rocks in first, there will always be enough for stones. And if you next put in stones there will always be enough room for pebbles. And if you put in pebbles then there will always be enough room for sand. And of course, a couple of beers. But if you start with beers – or let’s say water – there will never be enough room for sand or pebbles, let alone stones or rocks.

In the same way if we intentionally prioritise the most important things in our lives, there will always be enough room for the trivial. But if we passively prioritise the trivial there will never be enough room for the important things.

One area, among many, I have particularly applied this to is how I approach relationships. I make sure that I not only contend for full heart connection with those I invest in and receive from, but I am also incredibly strategic: God, then Chris, then our children, then our parents and siblings and our lifelong close friends, then our Hope and Hotwells communities, then all those others I love beyond.

This process informs so much of my decision making in terms of who I spend time with and even how I spend my time. Life becomes simple when we make peace with who we are designed to invest in. And let’s not forget – there are two pedals on the bicycle which represents the dynamic, living nature of our relationship with God. As I pour into those God has given me, He pours His love into me through surprising me with a myriad of delightful, spontaneous, new and old friendships.

Having lived this way now for many years – strategically prioritising my relationships in this way – I feel that now I am daily reaping the rewards of these investments. If relational wealth could be measured I honestly believe I would be a billionaire. I have found that God is more than able to make flexible and vastly increase the capacity of any glass jar.

Rocks. Stones. Pebbles. Sand. Water. Life-changing wisdom. We have found that this applies to so many areas of our life: time, health, finances, work. Simon, I raise a toast, with a glass of water, to your wisdom: ‘when we get our rocks in place, there will always be enough room for a couple of beers’. Fresh, filtered, glass-bottled, not-too-mineral-rich, water. Wow, even acquiring the right water is a complex issue these days. Maybe beer is the way to go after all.

‘For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it’. Jesus. 27AD