Both of the messages that I heard were amazing, and each was extremely relevant to this summer, but also to my life in general. I'm going to start with the message given at Branon Friends. The title of the message was "A New View" and the objective of the message was to examine many of the ways in which Saul's life was changed after he was converted (and later became known as Paul). First of all, the mission of Saul's life changed. He was no longer a man persecuting Christians, instead he was sharing his faith with anyone and everyone who would listen. Another point being that the lens of persecution has been turned, Saul is now the one persecuted rather than the one persecuting. Thirdly, Saul became a member of the family of God. The people who knew him were probably afraid at first, given his history among the Christian people. Over time though, that changed, Saul became a great leader among them. Lastly, the Holy Spirit came to live in Saul's heart.
Over all, Saul was a changed man. It was visible in the way he lived his life. Applying that to myself, I sometimes wonder, when people look at me who are they seeing? Do they see me? Or do they see Christ? The change that comes can be drastic, it should be drastic. The entire way that we view the world around us should be changed when the burden of the sin of this world is taken from us.
That leads me into the message I heard at New Hope. This one was titled "Keep Calm and Carry On", and I'll admit that when I read that in the bulletin I wondered if it was a reference to the poster that has become so popular lately, or just a coincidence. As it turns out, it was a reference, not only to that poster, but to the set that it belongs to.
As some background, keep in mind that these posters were issued by the British government in 1939 to keep morale up during the war between Great Britain and Germany. They also offer great lessons for Christians today as well.
Starting with the blue poster on the right, it was pointed out that three things that
I should have the church should have, are courage, cheerfulness, and resolution. Without these there is no chance that the Christian faith will spread in the manner God intended. I took notes during the service, but the exact scripture references for each of these traits I did not catch. Let's remember that while Jesus was alive, he and the disciples were radical. They turned the lives of the people they encountered upside down. The same thing happens today. Even though in the US Christianity is the dominant religion, when someone truly becomes a disciple, a follower of Christ, their life is turned upside down.
Moving on to the green poster in the middle, remember that Christianity has been in peril for centuries. In order for us to be able to defend it, we must know where it comes from, which means that we must know the Word. Inside and out, we must take in everything that God has given to us.
And finally, the one that has become popular again recently. It's become a meme, and is often used and misused, with words being replaced and such. - I am able to carry on because the Lord has given me his power. He has given me peace, a peace that I cannot find anywhere else. Just as Moses told the Israelites: "The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still." (Exodus 14:14)
I know that the Lord has a plan for me, and that He will lead me if I am willing to follow him. All I need to do is keep calm, and carry on.