Holland Road Baptist Church

Debbie Varney

I joined Transform with two goals in mind,to get to know and understand God better and to learn how to serve Him. I felt very strongly that God had called me away from my job at the school I had worked at for many years and had other plans for me but I had no idea what those plans were.So,how is Transform helping me to succeed in meeting those goals and am I any closer to knowing what his plans are for me?

Transform is helping me to get to know God better in many ways. I go away for Training blocks with other people doing a similar year where we study such subjects as “God’s nature and sovereignty”,” The world Jesus lived in” and “Getting to grips with God”. In January we spent 5 days at Centre Parcs where we listened to teaching on ” Freedom In Christ”,as well as having the occasional dip in the Tropical Paradise swimming pool! But closer to home,I am blessed to be around people at Holland Road who know and love Jesus and share that knowledge and love with me. Being around other Christians is the best way to learn by far.
And am I learning to serve? Definitely. By helping in the Friday Friendship Centre,Alpha and Tadpoles I see how the love of Christ in us can impact those who come along. We can witness in many different ways,through words ,actions and deeds.I recently read in the UCB Word For Today that many people are held back from doing what they feel God wants them to do because “they do not feel qualified”.However “God doesn’t always call the qualified but He always qualifies the called”. So even if we are not able to serve in our own strength, God will empower us by his Holy Spirit so we can serve in His.

So am I any closer to knowing what God’s plans are for me? I think I am living them out at the moment, one step at a time. I hold on to the truth of Jeremiah 29v11 ” For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

Topics: Transform
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Debbie Varney

Amazing Alpha?

By Debbie Varney

I’m Debbie and I serve as part of our Alpha team, maybe you’ve heard of it? Naturally, I think Alpha is truly amazing for a whole load of reasons…

Is it the Alpha team, who give up their time week after week to discuss their love of Jesus with others and try to help the guests wrestle with life’s difficult questions? Possibly. Is it the fantastic food served up by the lovely kitchen team? That is definitely a bonus. Is it the informative talk given after dinner that makes people think and causes them to question? It surely plays a part. Or the prayer team who are dedicated to offering up prayers of thanks, hope and need? Alpha certainly needs prayer desperately.

Yes, Alpha is amazing because of all these things, but what makes it really amazing is the constant presence of the Holy Spirit, who causes our wonderful guests to transform when they open their hearts and minds. I have witnessed it first hand in my son’s life, my husband’s life, and my own life, which has been completely transformed. I personally came to Alpha with a pre-conceived opinion both of Alpha itself and of religion in general. Basically, I thought Alpha would be “preachy” and a bit scary, full of people who would spout stuff at me that I wouldn’t understand. How wrong I was. Jesus broke into my life through Alpha and I have seen it happen to many other people since.

So, how can we convince people that Alpha is amazing and that it is a fantastic way to encounter God, either for the first time or as a renewal of a faith which has become cold? We tell them about it. We share our experiences. We point them to people whose lives have been touched by their own Alpha experience. We tell them to look on the internet and see what they can find out about it. We tell them that it isn’t “preachy” and boring – it is fun and a great way to meet other people. We also tell them there is great food involved!

Alpha couldn’t exist without the presence of the Holy Spirit, as it would be fruitless. Jesus said “No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4) Please pray that God continues to bless Alpha and make it as fruitful and amazing as it can possibly be!  Visit our alpha page for more information on our next course.

Topics: Transform
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Debbie Varney

Who are you?
Debbie Varney.

How long have you been at Holland Road?
18 months.

Why did you apply for Transform?
I felt compelled to leave a comfortable job & follow where God led me. He led me to Transform.

What are you most looking forward to?
Bible teaching, and finding out where God wants me to serve.

What can you see yourself contributing to the Transform Team?
Enthusiasm, maturity, and a very supportive & encouraging attitude to others.

What can you see yourself contributing to the life of the church?
Having worked in a school for 18 years as a Teaching Assistant, I have good team skills and communication skills and would like to use these here.

Do you have a testimony of your journey on Transform so far?
It’s a very scary prospect, as it’s taking me out of my ”comfort zone“, but very exciting.

What can we pray about for you?
Courage! This is a huge change in my life. I need to link all the facets of my life together – Transform, home, family and a poorly Mother. Please ask the Lord to help it all run like clockwork.

Topics: Transform
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