There is a great story in Joshua 4. The children of Israel have just crossed into the Promised Land. They have crossed 2 rivers - the Red Sea and the Jordan. They have wondered about in the desert for 40 years. They had received the 10 Commandments. They had been fed with Manna falling from the heavens.
Joshua asks 12 guys to go back into the river and lift 12 stones. They were to serve as a sign among them. In the future when the kids would ask, "What do those stones mean?"
Joshua said, "These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever"(v7)
Last night I was at the most inspiring meeting EVER! Now if you know me, I can't really meet over an hour. I love interaction. I can't just sit there and listen. But last night - WOW!
Our passionate President, Mrs Evelyn Knox, spoke like William Wallace, I wanted to yell "FREEDOM!". El presidente declared "What a faithful God!"
Our National Director gave an annual report based on the 4 seasons. So many highs and so many lows, but amazing what we actually got thru last year, or should I say amazing what God brought us thru this year, or got thru with God's help....
Jude went round the staff beforehand and asked what our highlights of the year were. At first I let out a big sigh as its been tough and I feel as if I've been stuck in an office all year. BUT actually when I went thru my diary and filled in the ministry report forms, I was quite shocked.
So here are some of my 12 stones, which I want to place down, so that I can look back and declare the greatness and faithfulness of God.
- Getting married to the lovely Katrina Boucher - I am so happy! This includes our wedding, honeymoon in Egypt, doing up the house, our families being together more - good times!
- Hearing my sister was pregnant - I'm going to be an uncle in July! And so many of my friends are pregnant and/or have had babies this year. Jackson Charles, Charlie Thomas, Nevaeh Currie, Abbey Jackson, Reuben Robinson, Allison Buchmeyer, Josiah Cowan - still to come Peanut McCready, Kate + Andre's, Nick + Heidi's, Dave + Heather again!
- Taking Mannafest deeper - I've learnt that greater things aren't necessarily bigger things. Mother Teresa said, "There are no great things, only small thing s with great love"
- Getting up once a month at 6am to come down to MANNA. I'm still humbled and excited how people get up early and come to MANNA. I have loved building, growing, sharing this small group of amazing people.
- Bringing XXXChurch over last year - something radical, dynamic and risky
- Being on Staff Retreat and hearing Alan Wilson share about the importance of looking after the condition of my heart
- Speaking at 4 weekends. I always find it such a privilege to come into a group and speak into their lives, challenge them, inspire them. So thanx to Shore Street Presby (DJ's group), First Ballynahinch, Wallace High CU and Ballyholm Parish
- Being involved in Celebration of Hope. It was great to build bridges and new friendships with John, Jasper, Michael and Denise
- Ignite the Flame was an amazing event of churches coming together and organisations working together. SO proud of Mannafest volunteers who helped make this event happen
- This year I have actually spoke more in Churches than in schools and I love it and pray for more opportunities
- On the sporting front it has been a great year - going to the Norn Iron matches with Neil and nearly qualifying for Euro 2008 - the nights at Windsor have been immense. GAWA! Also been playing a little more golf this year, starting up our golf society with the McCready bros, Charlie, Nicky but I think I've found my course over in Bangor. I had had some great rounds at the par 3 with Alan Cowan
- How could I not mention the Double for Manchester United. Winning the league in the way that we played was an achievement in itself but I will never forget the night at our house with both our families over watching the drama unfold in Moscow. All I can say to John Terry is that 'It couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke -except maybe Cashley Cole!" Great for my hero, Ryan Giggs to get the winner against Wigan and score the decisive penalty. Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs running down the wing....