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9 April 2018: Joe Gisbey joined us and gave a stirring talk.

After the fish and chips (or pie and chips) Mike Gibson reminded us of Helen Webster's word about walking along the seashore last Sunday then we broke into small groups to pray for ourselves and for Petersfield - and other towns and villages represented!

John Ide created the link between Mike and Joe with some suggestions for Men's Group during June, July and August - see the Future Meetings page for details.

John emphasised that with the Men's Group we should seek to establish Friendship, Fellowship and Trust.

John also mentioned that we might, at some future date, invite men from other churches to join us, perhaps initially for special events like the Skittles Evening and eventually for all meetings - John has a dream of having the Festival Hall (Petersfield) full of men praising and worshiping God.

Joe gave us his testimony and told us of his current work as heading up Links International and working with Arun Church.

Links International works with churches in 60 countries and one of the areas they are working in is micro enterprises. Joe reminded us of the doggerel: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you can feed him for life". This is not the complete story, Joe tells us, you have to provide the resources too: nets, fishing lines and storage facilities - and you may have to protect him from those who would seek to burden him with administration and overhead costs! Links International seeks to provide help to overcome these burdens.

Links International provide an umbrella for charitable organisations and work with IMC (In Ministry to Children) and Hope Connect - organisations that we know well! Joe asked us to pray for Links International and the organisations that they support.

In his talk Joe suggested that we are in a new season of activity and that we should step out of old schemes and into new schemes - stepping out from the church as it was in the 1980's and into reformation, healing and prayer. Out of House Churches we've come through a time of testing, like the Israelites through the wilderness, but now we need to be ready to get out of our cosy comfort zones and be ready to do anything the Lord asks of us

He reminded us the Moses lead the Jews OUT of egypt and that Joshua led them INTO the promised land.

He read from Joshua, chapter 3 and, after telling us an amusing story about a waterfall in Colombia, said that we shouldn't say safe and in control but look forward in faith, not looking back but stepping into our destiny. The priests carrying the Ark stepped into the water, then it stopped flowing - they didn't wait until it had stopped flowing before they stepped in.

We have to make the first move - God meets us in the middle - as they priests did in the middle of the Jordan. God adds super to our natural - extra to our ordinary!

Joe suggested that we should work through:

Inspiration - Investigation - Instruction - Initiation (i.e. action)

A powerful message, inspiringly presented - thank you Joe!

In the Grapevine for Sunday 15 April Mike Gibson wrote:

What do these stones mean? (Joshua 4:21)

We had a Men’s Group meeting last Monday evening and our guest speaker was Joe Gisbey from Littlehampton. As always, he was excited and articulate. He was a good encouragement to us all. He brought us a message based on the first few chapters of Joshua.

One of his points that spoke to me was his point that the priests walked into the flooded River Jordan and stood in the middle holding the Ark on their shoulders whilst the people passed over to the promised land on dry ground. God most often comes to us and stands with us in the middle of our adversity not on the side-lines. I was reminded of a verse in Isaiah 43:2 that says something similar: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

I guess many of you are acquainted with this verse but let me take it one step further. When the people crossed over the River Jordan, God instructed Joshua to get one person from each tribe to pick up a large stone from the river bed where the priests stood holding the Ark of God’s Presence. When they reached the other side near Gilgal they set up the stones as a reminder of what God had done. Verse 21 God says… in the future when your descendants ask ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that on this day Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’

We’ve all been through times of adversity. What if these times are the ‘stones’ that God has placed in our lives? Just as the stones in Gilgal stand as an eternal testimony of what God had done for Israel against all the odds, then your testimonies are the ‘stones’ to remind you of the times that God was with you in the middle of your adversity, worry, distress, depression, trouble, danger or whatever your own hardships were.

We all have a story to tell. When your friends or family or neighbour asks you, ‘How on earth did you manage?’ tell them ‘When I walked through the waters of adversity God was with me! I was not alone, I was not overwhelmed, even though it seemed impossible at the time I passed through and came out the other side with God’s help.’

Our story may be 5 years old, or 10, 20 years old or even more but these testimonies are standing stones that will never stop their ability to declare the truth of God’s presence and lead others to know Jesus as their Saviour. Pray that God will help you remember these stories and have them ready to tell them what they mean to you. Tell them often. Tell them confidently. Tell them knowing that God was with you then and he is with you now.









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