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Unity in The Church

I believe that all of us would love to see His Church walking in the unity He speaks of.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” – John 17:20-24
I’ve heard it said that the enemy will attack the very thing that we are called to. Unity is under enormous attack, and we are called to walk in unity! You can see in this scripture how powerful it will be when we truly do it!
We spend a lot of time asking Jesus to answer our prayers, and that is right and good, but wouldn’t it be great if we would all desire to answer His prayer. This portion of scripture shows us what His prayer is…that we would be one. THEN people will know that we are his disciples. I believe there is a whole other level of anointing that will happen when we really do begin to walk in unity, when the body comes into maturity.
I have a passion for people to be secure in their identity in God, and that it’s from this place that we can truly celebrate each others successes and grieve together loss. Until we are secure in his love for us, and understand that we all carry his glory, it is very easy to fall into the trap of insecurity, jealousy, competition etc.
I ask myself practically, “how do we do this?” Jesus has told us, we need to quickly forgive, let go of offense, and walk towards someone rather than away from them. We have an enemy who is after our hearts. When we walk in unforgiveness and hold onto hurts and wounds, we are playing right into the enemies hands.
Let’s be a community of women who make sure Jesus has our whole hearts. Let’s pursue walking towards one another rather than away. Let’s be a people whose greatest desire is to answer the prayer of our king…to be one with one another, so that the world can see Jesus through us, and know that we are His disciples.
Jackie is married with three young adult boys. She loves Jesus, and is passionate about seeing people secure in their identity in God.
Hobbies include gym, reading, loves eating out and coffee with friends. Traveling and walking her gorgeous Bernese mountain dog, (preferably on a beach in France…).

New Years Resolutions for 2017

As 2017 is now here, what’s next? Making a resolution before God can be exciting, but also a little nerve racking. Sometimes my New Year resolutions can be unrealistic and emotional. Sometimes by the end of January, my nerves have come under self inflicted condemnation. Why did I make promises to do the impossible? I have now learned to receive from the promises of God and confess my resolutions to agree with Gods Word from the Bible. Jesus promises to never leave me or turn away from me, so as I make new plans to travel, work, or play….Jesus is with me! My resolution is to remember Him wherever I go. Jesus tells me to lean on Him and not my own understanding (Prov.3:5), and He promises to guard my heart and my mind (Phil.4:7). So my next resolution is to pray regularly, and read about Him in stories in the Bible. So every new year I begin doing these things little by little.

I usually put a Christian book in my handbag so as I wait for dental or hair appointments, I can lean on Him by filling my mind with godly things and not gossip things! I used to make big wild resolutions but I have realised that Jesus loves small beginnings. He loves the heart to heart talks, and He loves it when I tell Him that I can’t do anything without Him. So why do I still try to do things without Him from time to time? It’s true, Jesus in me in 2017, is the best New Years resolution!

Yvonne Grace

Yvonne enjoys worship and plays the guitar. She is a graduate of Embassy Bible College. She has led women’s bible studies and home groups for over 20 years. Yvonne was born in New York, into a life of great excess. Her powerful testimony shows God’s mercy and grace, as He turned her life into a beautiful story about Him! She loves to encourage women to move in their gifts.

REAL WOMEN VISION

REAL WOMEN exists to help unite women from all walks of life, to share REAL LIFE stories that points people to the REAL JESUS. Our mission is to equip the women of Bath, so that they can advance the Kingdom of God in every area of society, for the fame of Jesus.

Upcoming Real Women Events

Mark your diaries ladies! We’ve got a line up of fantastic REAL WOMEN events here in Bath.

Be sure to book your tickets early for our next event on our EVENTBRITE page as spaces are limited. We can’t wait to see you there.

Kitchen Table Culture

Hi! My name is Susie Romer, and I was born and raised in the City of Bath. Last year, I returned after 22yrs away, and have fallen in love, once again, with this beautiful City.

Over the last year, I have enjoyed reconnecting with many incredible women in strategic places across the City. Many, who I knew as a child, have modeled, through seasons of  ups and downs, joy in obedience, faithful service, and unwavering peace. At the other end of the spectrum, I have seen many women who felt pressured into the role of a “good Christian women” and to “keep up appearances”, when what they needed to share was an authentic relationship with their Father, understanding His relentless love and grace that has nothing to do with our performance, but a transformed heart. I have been saddened that some of these women have walked away from the faith. Other women who have been swept along by every wind of doctrine, and the loudest voice in the Christian world, that now shapes the way they live. They’ve forgotten the Living Word of God which is a lamp to our feet, a sharp sword to fight with, encouragement, comfort, correction and direction.

One of the things our culture has lost, is what I call ‘the kitchen table culture’. Real, transparent discipleship that happens over a cuppa around the kitchen table. Older women, teaching the younger women how to honour the Lord in their lives. A time to share stories, read scripture, and walk through life together. Our current Christian culture so often evolves around ‘meetings’. There’s nothing wrong with organized church programs, except, when they take away from walking life together. The discipleship of the nations through the shared experience of the generations.

God gave me a vision to gather women from across this City to a room that feels like a large kitchen, and to chat publicly with these statured women. Through real, transparent stories and testimonies, lives will be changed. At these ‘REAL Women’ events, we gather in small groups to discuss how God’s Word, and a REAL relationship with the REAL Jesus, transforms the way we live. Women need each other! Generations working together. Women from various church families, sharing lessons of life with others. God’s Word doing, what only it can do, as it is allowed to encourage and direct us. Sisters, to spur us on, and pray for us. Hearing how another woman has lost a child, walked through a difficult marriage, fought cancer, lost everything, and learned to love and honour Jesus through it all…that changes you.

I want to encourage you to join us as we meet every other month through 2017. Bring your friends, Mums, sisters, daughters, and together, let’s turn this City upside down through discipleship that keeps Jesus at the centre of our stories.

Subscribe to this page, and you will receive weekly encouragements from women across the City.

I look forward to meeting you!
❤️Susie

Susie Romer was born and raised in Bath, graduated from Covenant College in the Midlands, then moved to the USA with her husband in 2000. They spent 14yrs in the States, leading a school of discipleship, church planting, and raising their 7 children. They returned to Bath in 2015, excited to make disciples, and see the Gospel reach every man, woman and child in the City!

DISCIPLESHIP: UP, IN, OUT.

A gospel community is essential to making mature disciples. A healthy gospel-shaped community should have some observable patterns.

When Jesus arrived in our world he got started on his disciple-making strategy by calling a carefully selected group of friends into his plan and sharing life together so closely that all mission, teaching and miracles happened in the context of this new family we can call a ‘gospel community’.

We want to help others understand this idea of how to make fully mature disciples of Jesus. And even more than that, we want to say that you cannot make fully mature disciples of Jesus without a healthy, gospel-centred church family.

This church family should be the place where you are hearing and experiencing a living relationship with God, through Jesus, and in the power of the Spirit, centred around the gospel, in a living community, and on mission.

Here are 3 things we do in our gospel community to follow the model that Jesus showed us. They are easily remembered with the following hook: “up, in & out’.

UP – We teach disciples to follow God.

In our community we are devoted to the Word of God and prayer (Acts2:42). While it is a good endeavour to teach people information about God, it is a more excellent exercise to teach people how to follow Him in a life-giving relationship.

We believe far more than ‘knowing about’ God it is important to ‘know’ God and hear His voice. In John chapter 10 Jesus said:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

– Jn. 10:27

IN – We teach disciples to be devoted to their community.

One of the marks of authentic gospel community is a people radically devoted to caring for one another and helping meet the needs of others. A modern view of generosity might say “If I have extra, I will give”. A gospel-centred view asserts “If my brother has need, we will be sure it is met”. 

The early church heard the news of a Saviour so passionately devoted to them and their eternal wellbeing that they outworked that reality in their devotedness to one another. They also had a conviction that where God had placed them was to be their spiritual family where they would live and work and celebrate the goodness of God. This is radically different to the modern idea of ‘choosing’ a church based on personal preferences. 

“They devoted themselves….to the fellowship”

– Acts 2:42

OUT – We teach disciples to be makers of disciple-making disciples.

The fruit of a disciple is not another church member. The fruit of a disciple is shown in them maturing to where they make other disciple-making disciples. Paul explained how his disciples should multiply themselves – 
Phil. 3:17 ‘join together in following my example…’
 
2 Tim. 1:13 ‘what you heard from me, keep as a pattern…’
 
2 Tim. 2:2 ‘the things you’ve heard…entrust to faithful men who will teach others..’ 
 

1 Cor. 11:1 ‘Follow my example…’

 
When we meet we want our gatherings to be reproducible, as well as our beliefs and way of life. Reproduction happens in healthy church communities. But when the church becomes such a professionally managed outfit where ministry is only accomplished by high-level and highly skilled leaders then we have lost our way. 

Take your people “UP” to Jesus and they will learn to follow him in every area of life. Model how your community can be committed and devoted “IN” to each other. And finally bring your people in to your way of life in a way they will reproduce “OUT”. Then you will have a reproducing and multiplying gospel community on mission with Jesus. 

THE TWOS & THREES OF DISCIPLESHIP

My most meaningful times of life change have occurred in small gatherings where two or three of us shared our hearts freely, prayerfully and sought God through the Scriptures. God was there in our midst!

The missional discipleship practices of the early church are seen in the Scriptures with small groups of dedicated friends. Paul’s relationship with Titus changed a nation. Timothy’s spiritual ’sonship’ with Paul led to multitudes of churches. Lydia’s hospitality at her kitchen table led to a planting movement in Phlippi. 

In the life of Jesus we see him spending time with the 12, and often with the 3. There we see brotherly affection and heart transformation that cannot occur exclusively in larger settings. 

Who is your Paul, and who is your Timothy? There God will be in your midst.

THE GENIUS OF JESUS EVANGELISM

“…and if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him…”

– Luke 10:6

Jesus sends his disciples out in complete dependence on his grace. They are told not to do any door knocking whatsoever (v.7). They are told not to worry about their evangelism budget (v.4). And they are even told that they should ‘shake’ and ‘leave’ when not received (v.10-11). Best of all they are told the feasting will be provided free of charge, and that they deserve it (v.7).

Most people I talk to about evangelism have bought into the depressing and guilt-driven idea that we need to regularly find someone to harass about our christian faith, and act like we’re enjoying the awkward conversation and see if they’ll come to church.

Here are 3 things we can learn from Jesus instructions on sharing the gospel that are different to what we learned –

Jesus sends them to look for the person of peace.

#1 IT’S A GRACE-DIRECTED STRATEGY –

Jesus is saying that there are already people upon whom he has already begun showering his affection in very real ways. This is what theologians call ‘prevenient’ grace. It’s the biblical idea that God works out our salvation before we even knew we wanted to be saved. It’s all through the Bible.

Jesus explains that our gospel-witness is a grace-directed strategy. We aren’t finding someone we can persuade! We are simply watching for a household we come into contact with where we can say “Peace be to this house!” (v.5). In modern vernacular that might sound like when you or I say, ‘can I tell you about the kindness of God’.

We see numerous examples of the early disciples in the Bible being directed by this gracious leading of God. Peter is led to Cornelius who already has had an angel ministering to him and is set up to hear Peter share the peace and grace of God (Acts 10(). Paul is led to Lydia by a river who is already calling out to God in prayer and is set up to share the gospel with her. She then is thrilled to hear of God’s love and simply won’t let them leave without sharing her food and generous hospitality with them (Acts 16). Philip is led down a road to an Ethiopian who is already hungry for God, busy searching the Scriptures and just needs someone to explain to him the gracious offer of God’s peace to mankind. He is then immediately baptised (Acts 8).

#2 THE MAN OF PEACE WELCOMES YOU –

The person of peace welcomes you. They are even someone who serves you! Often we want to do everything for everybody else, but God has set up a road ahead of ‘eating and drinking’ for his labourers and has said that the ‘labourer deserves his wages’.

People of peace are open to you, and they are open to the life you live. Jesus has not stated here that they will necessarily immediately become a fully-fledged theologian overnight, nor is he saying anything about an invitation to a church meeting. Rather Jesus is giving us a picture of an enjoyable meal to be had over peaceful conversation. It gives us the picture of the host being very open to your kingdom-lifestyle, your convictions and the peace of God that is evident in your life.

The peace that Jesus describes is not just a topic of your conversation, it is also a tangible power that rests upon your new friend – “your peace will rest upon him” (v.6). The transaction leads to an act of friendship and communion over a meal (v.7). Jesus also sets the expectation that he provides gifts of healing (v.9) for you to perform the miraculous manifestation of his kingdom. And at the same time we are to explain how God’s kingdom has come near to their house (v.9).

#3. THEY ARE OFTEN A PERSON OF INFLUENCE –

It would appear that the persons of peace in Scripture are sometimes a person of influence. Lydia was a woman of note in business. Cornelius was a centurion, an upright man we are told, and who was well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation.

Jesus provides us with a ‘cultural key’ to our community. Jesus wants the gospel to spread. Jesus is the ultimate evangelist.

Persons of peace are found in the normal course of life. Who is your people of peace? Write down the names of your people of peace in your prayer journal and pray for them.

If you don’t have one, then we need to get out more. You should party more! Maybe you should eat and drink more! I’m sure there’s a gym or salsa club near by!

REAL WOMEN

This Gospel Co sponsored event is a gathering of women from across the city of Bath. The next Real Women event will be held at the Revolution Bar on Friday, 30th September, at 7pm. It will be a time to enjoy fellowship, interviews, discussions, and a time to encourage and pray for one another. All are welcome.

FREE REGISTRATION HERE