NEWBOLD EXPLORES THE MESSY CALL OF GOD
12th October 2017
Around 120 students from Newbold College and youth from Newbold church came together every night throughout the week of 30 September to 7 October to explore 'The Messy Call of God' through the College's Week of Spiritual Emphasis, with guest speaker Pastor Jeff Carlson, young adult and worship pastor from Asheville, North Carolina.
Pastor Carlson, who has a great deal of experience with youth ministry and worship through music, used a selection of stories from the Bible, including those of Abraham, Lot, Leah, Jacob, and Joseph, who struggled with making mistakes, misinterpreting God's will, or with events in their lives generally not progressing as they had hoped or planned.
Through the story of Abraham's family and his descendants Pastor Carlson explored how, although many mistakes were made, God used the imperfect to accomplish His purpose and bring about Jesus' birth.
"This week was a real blessing for me", said undergraduate Theology student Anton Tostesson. "The messages from the story of Abraham were big but still practical and relevant. I sensed the Holy Spirit was present and touched my life for a better future walk with Jesus."
Pastor Carlson also used the story of the seven-mile journey in the wrong direction to Emmaus, where Jesus walked alongside the questioning and grieving travellers, to illustrate the way that God pursues us. He also used the story of Joseph to remind us that integrity – even under pressure – is possible when we keep our eyes on Jesus.
"It was easy to see burdens
around the room lighten as those who listened saw story after story demonstrate
the immeasurable and unconditional love of God – even when things get messy,"
said Angeline Tyrokomos, a Newbold staff member who was part of the workshop
team for the week.
"The message of the week was to hear the call of the kingdom and to let the light of Christ shine through us. I can say with great confidence that I have seen this light in all the students that put their best efforts into this week. I feel very blessed to have been a part of this experience", said Humanities student Naomi Grit, who was also part of the worship team for this event.
"It was wonderful to see such large numbers of students, youth and even families attending. Jeff engaged very well with the audience by using personal anecdotes and familiar Bible stories, applying a practical approach, and incorporating a twist in each message to highlight the reality of life for Christian living today", said Pastor Alastair Agbaje, Newbold College Chaplain and coordinator of the College's Campus Ministries activities. "I've known Jeff for many years, since I recruited him to serve in Japan as a missionary teaching conversational English and the Bible! We kept in touch over the years, and he even came out to speak at the summer meeting for young adults when I was in Norway. It was great to host him here at Newbold."
The week also featured special musicians Mikael Takamaa and Minttu Rantanen, from the Finnish high school Toivonlinna, who many will remember also performing at the Adventist European Youth Congress in Valencia, Spain, in August.
"We began planning this event a lot earlier in the year than we usually do, and for the first time we created a core planning group of staff, students, and youth from Newbold church," said Pastor Agbaje, "and I think this was reflected in a richer experience for those who attended. I would particularly like to acknowledge the support we received from Newbold church pastor, Andrew Davis. We are already planning our next Week of Spiritual Emphasis programme for 24 February to 3 March, 2018."
The programmes were live-streamed and attracted almost 600 views. Videos of the programme will be available in the coming weeks on the College website: newbold.ac.uk/wose