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Lucy Abbott

This is it. My last Transform article, and I have to say, it feels very strange. Especially being at home on Tuesday in the middle of the day! A few weeks ago and my head would’ve been full of the things I needed to do to get ready for the Hub. I can’t quite get over how quickly this year has flown by. Packing up my desk, finishing last jobs, and reflecting on the year gone by ends up getting quite emotional. This year has come to a finish and wow, what a year it’s been.

Getting involved with many different types of ministries this year has been truly exciting. There are so many aspects to church life and getting the chance to be involved with so much of it has been an amazing privilege. Before starting Transform I was already volunteering at the Hub and Discoverers for the children’s ministry so I was looking forward to being able to work alongside Matt, our children’s ministry leader, in the planning and preparation. Co-leading on Sunday mornings, leading 2 dance options at the Hub, dramas and leading one of the teaching groups at Holiday Club, and running assemblies at different schools. It’s safe to say there was always a lot going on with kids work! But I loved it. Getting to know the children even more and seeing them grow was really incredible.

A fairly new area for me, though, was becoming a youth leader. It was also fairly new for the youth as we had the launch of HRY (Holland Road Youth) this year, so it was a pretty exciting time for everyone. I’ve absolutely loved being part of the youth team. One of the areas I have enjoyed the most has been discipleship. I’ve been able to meet up with some of the girls in our youth to help and disciple them. It was always a really fun time at the youth, whether at Encounter worshipping God or throwing pies into leaders’ faces. Through all these times God has been really working in my heart, leading me to want to carry on working with young people.

Another area is my photography. I’ve had a great opportunity to grow and learn in my photography, to use it for God’s work and have so much fun using it. At the end of this article will be some photos for you to enjoy!

Another huge highlight of the year for me was our mission trip to Ethiopia. Trying to put this trip into a few words is proving to be quite difficult. I’ve never had an experience like it before and it blew me away. My heart grew. God spoke to me in so many ways. I got to meet some of the most incredible people. And I saw the need. Oh, how much need that city has! I felt God working in me, opening my eyes to his world. And opening my eyes to what role he had for me in his work.

I also learned that to an Ethiopian child I have big, yellow hair (wasn’t sure whether to take it as a compliment or not?!) Attached at the end is a video I created as a highlights video of the trip. Feel free to watch it to get more of an idea of what we did and what it was like out in Ethiopia.

As part of Transform we also got to join in on a training programme called Impact. Many different leaders taught us a variety of subjects ranging from the Old Testament, Church History, to the Trinity, Ephesians, and much more. I’ve loved being able to both learn and get to know an amazing group of people over the year. It’s given me the chance to gain confidence in speaking in front of people, in preparing blogs and mini sermons, and in my knowledge of the awesome God we have. We also got the chance to go to Center Parcs as a big training week with many other Impact groups from around the country. This was an amazing week filled with teachings, healings, breakthroughs, deepening of relationships, and of course the really fun water slides!

This year has given me so many experiences and opportunities that have been so close to my heart. One of them was being able to work at Holland Road itself. I was involved in designing the verse for the year, making and editing a variety of videos, writing articles, organising and co-leading teams for Hope, cutting and laminating, helping in the kitchen at Tadpoles, chatting to people at the Friendship Centre, speaking at the Tuesday Afternoon service, and working with a brilliant group of people who are ever so loving and supportive.

Reflecting on the year I can see how much has happened, how much has changed, and how much God has been working in me. That’s why I found it so hard clearing up my little desk. It’s a place I loved to be, with all the pretty decorations I put around it. Packing it up marks the end of this season. But of course, also the beginning of a new one. In September I am starting at Sussex University studying Childhood and Youth: Theory and Practice. It’s a scary change. Going back into education after a year out. Will I enjoy it? Will it be worth it? Will I be able to make friends? Will I grow? Will I be a great light for Jesus? It’s funny; I seem to remember wondering similar questions last year about Transform. God is good. He is here, guiding and helping me. I don’t need to worry about those things. I am secure in him! As he promises:

“Remain in me and I will remain in you” (John 15:4)

Ethiopia highlights video:

 

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Lucy Abbott

In January, Lena and I went to Center Parcs for five days of biblical training. Whilst there, I learnt a lot about God, my identity in him and who I am as a person. One of the things I was challenged by the most was a session about our feelings and emotions. As humans, we feel many different emotions. Happy or sad, excited or bored, overjoyed or miserable, we have all come to experience them.

Here’s a little bit of my own experience:

I have always been quite an emotional person, but a lot of the time I have let those feelings and emotions control me and take over. One of the big emotions that I struggled with was frustration, especially when things weren’t going the perfect way I had imagined. When I would experience this I would become task-orientated, shut out other people, deal with things on my own, and ultimately shut out God. I let it control who I was and how God wanted to use me that day. I wasn’t thinking about other people. I thought of myself and let my to-do list become more important than loving others around me.

Before I go any further, I want to say that our emotions aren’t bad! God created them in us and because we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), Jesus experienced them too:

Sadness/Grief: In John 11:35, it states, “Jesus wept” at the death of Lazarus.

Anger: In John 2:16, Jesus said “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” He turned over tables, made a whip and chased animals out of it. He was angry at how His Father’s temple was being used.

Tiredness: John 4:6 says “Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.” He was human. He got tired and needed rest, just like we do.

Compassion: “Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick” Matthew 14:14

Jesus was moved by the things around him. His feelings provoked different kinds of reactions. Just like us. The difference is that He knew how to channel them correctly.

2 Corinthians 5:21 states that “For God made Christ, who never sinned”. We learn from this that it is not the emotion that is the sin, it’s our response that determines whether we sin or not. And that response can then start to determine our base, our foundation. Feelings or God?

Good and bad days…

Imagine you chose to base who you were and what you did on your feelings. On a good day the little things may not bother you, you may be a lot more loving towards people around you and spending time with Jesus is something you really want to do.

But what happens on a bad day? On a day when you just don’t want to get out of bed and face the day? A day when the little things cause you to become distraught? On a day when you are just so angry at the world that you didn’t want to talk to anyone and you can’t bear the thought of praying or reading your Bible? What happens on those days? The answer is that we end up missing the call that God has for us. We miss the point altogether.

To go a little further, let me share a quote that really stuck in my head:

“The will can act independently from the temperature of the heart”

Jesus knew the Father’s will for Him: to be our sinless sacrifice on the cross. Was that something He took lightly? I don’t think so. It says in Luke’s gospel that when praying on the Mount of Olives “He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood”. Jesus was not in any way ‘buzzing’ for doing this. Yet–hallelujah–He did.

The Great Commission says that we are to “go and make disciples of all nations”. We are called to go out into the world, being that light for Jesus. Paul explains in Ephesians 5:2 that one of our callings as a child of God is to “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ”. So as “Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20) and “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 3:20), let me ask you a question…how are you representing Jesus today?

This is why it’s so important to not build our foundation on what our heart is feeling on a day-to-day basis. We need to build it on Jesus. Grow your roots down into the one who loves you every day no matter what you’ve done and the one who can bring you peace every day no matter what the day holds. He is the one who sustains us, not our own sinful nature. We can’t let our emotions rule us, but let Jesus rule us instead.

This could be choosing to help the single mother carry her shopping when you’re already feeling stressed yourself. Choosing to pray with a friend in need even when you’re not feeling ‘right’ with God. Choosing to listen to someone’s heartache even when you’re just getting annoyed with people bugging you that day. It’s difficult to do on our own but here comes the wonderful, life-changing bit! He hasn’t left us on our own to do this.

Matthew 28:20 “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.

“Always” means every single moment. Through both the good and the bad. For every day we face, Jesus will be there. What this also means is that we don’t have to pretend or hide how we’re feeling. He wants to have an honest and intimate relationship with you. Feeling down? Let Him give you joy. Feeling upset? Let Him bring you comfort. Feeling overjoyed? Rejoice with him! Walk with Him each day, knowing that everything that you are comes from Him. Lay down how you’re feeling onto the one who cares for you and let Him take reign of your life.

Topics: Transform
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Lucy Abbott

Remaining in Him

By Lucy Abbott

It seems like only yesterday that I was deferring my university offer to start this year with the Transform team. I remember feeling uneasy while making that step. All sorts of questions were flying round in my head; is this really what God wants for me? What if I don’t like it? Will I really grow and transform through this year? Well almost three months in, I am no longer fretting over those doubts and worries.

‘Is this really what God wants for me?’

Quite bluntly, yes! Of course it was. He was always there, gently pushing me in the direction He wanted me to go. It was just about making that step of faith. It was new, different, but all in God’s hands.

‘What if I don’t like it?’

I absolutely love it! Everything about it. I’ve been given this beautiful opportunity to do so many things: from singing kids’ songs at the front of church to chatting to people at Friendship Centre. From speaking at the Tuesday Afternoon Service to working the PowerPoint for the speaker at Alpha; from cutting out leaflets to leading a dance option at The Hub! I’ve gotten to know new faces, and lots of familiar faces on the staff team. All of this is such a blessing from God, and it’s only just started!

‘Will I really grow and transform through this year?’

Let me share a verse with you that God placed on my heart for this year right at the start. “Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me”- John 15:4.

Through my time so far on Transform, I have become so much closer to God. I’ve come to realise how much I am in need of Him. To guide me, to strengthen me, to bring me happiness, and, like the verse says, to produce fruit that only comes from Jesus. In training, someone gave us an illustration of this, which I found really helpful.

At some point I’m sure you’ve blown through a straw into water to make it form bubbles. If you have then you’ll know that you eventually start to run out of breath and the bubbles become less until they finally stop altogether. However, if you had a flame making that water boil, the bubbles would naturally flow…without stopping. Jesus is that flame. He is the one that keeps on supporting us. If we try in our own effort to create those bubbles of life, yes it will work for a while, but eventually we will run out of breath. We will grow tired, weary, less motivated. Then we’ll just come to a halt altogether.

You can keep trying to blow that life in your own efforts, but after a time that will start to take quite a toll on you. You’ll keep searching for that breath, and find that it becomes harder and harder to produce. We need Him – our everlasting light that will keep us going. That fire of life that we can only get from being in an intimate relationship with our high King! He will never fail you. He doesn’t run out of breath, He doesn’t give up on us and He is ALWAYS there. There are going to be a lot of things this year that are going to be testing and challenging. If I remain in Him, then I will be prepared for them; the big things and the small things.

Growing Every Day…

So in answer to the question I had for myself…yes! I will grow this year. I know there are so many more things God wants to reveal to me throughout this year, and for the rest of my days on God’s path for my life if I keep myself deeply rooted in his truth, life and beauty.

And hey, I still make mistakes! I definitely haven’t got it all sorted out. I sometimes find my comfort in other things instead of God, I sometimes make quick judgements about people, and I sometimes let my own insecurities run my life instead of trusting in God’s truths.

That is why this relationship is on-going. I constantly have to grow and learn and repent. Choosing each morning to surrender everything I am to Him, because I know that who I am comes from Him.

Topics: Transform
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Lucy Abbott

Transform is our internship programme which runs every year and is made up of people who are giving a year of their time to serve full time at the church in mission, ministry and through training. Lucy is the second member of our team for 2013/14. You can read about our other team member, Lena, here.

Who are you?

Lucy Abbott.

How long have you been at Holland Road?

For 2 years now.

Why did you apply for Transform?

I wanted a year to serve God, grow in my faith and experience new things. I’ve loved being at Holland Road for the past 2 years and I wanted to continue to be involved with what goes on.

What are you most looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to the Impact training we get to go on and the overseas mission trip. I can imagine them both being big highlights in my year of seeing God at work. I am also especially looking forward to getting involved with the different ministries in the church.

What can you see yourself contributing to the Transform Team?

I want to be a positive and joyful member of the team. I want to able to help out where needed and work hard in what I do.

What can you see yourself contributing to the life of the church?

I am hoping to get more involved with the children’s work in the church and be able to take on more responsibilities. I also have a passion for photography, which I hope I can use to serve the church. I am ready to be able to help out at any events and any area of church life.

Do you have a testimony of your journey on Transform so far?

I was originally going to go to university this year, but God gave me a change of heart. I suddenly felt like I should apply for Transform. After talking to my mentor Katie and my friends, and being prayed for, I knew this was what God wanted me to do. For various reasons, it took a while until I was able to apply. All those involved were very supportive of me and everyone has been really helpful through this application process. I was scared about making the wrong decision and deferring university for a year for this internship. I knew though that this was God’s plan so I didn’t need to fear. When I started I knew it was the best decision!

What can we pray about for you?

I really would appreciate prayer for my faith and relationship with God to be stretched and that I can grow massively in this year. Please also pray that God will use me in a number of ways and that when things are challenging and hard, I will remember to lean on Him. Thank you!

 

Topics: Transform
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