Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel and giving up your Christian commitment?
Personal failure, hostility from the world and painful disagreements with other Christians may all point in that direction, yet God has given powerful encouragements in his Word to counteract setbacks and urge us on in the Christian life. That was the theme of this year’s Stanton Lees Bible School, on 26-30 August – ‘Don’t lose heart’.
The chapel was well filled and local Evangelical ministers Spencer Cunnah (Sheffield), Chris Hand (Crich) and Gareth Crossley (Belper) alternated in bringing God’s word. Their themes complemented one another in a remarkable and helpful way.
Each message was an exhortation – Wait on the Lord, Stand on the promises, Consider Him, Endure chastening, We have the Spirit, We have the gospel, Fight on in the battle, Keep on praying, Glory in suffering, and, finally, Look up. Each was relevant to ‘Don’t lose heart’. (Is this a command, a challenge, a comfort – or all three?)
Perhaps our difficulty is that we think of England’s comparative gospel freedom as being the norm, when the biblical pattern is ‘we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God’.
The school was enhanced by a lively and interesting lecture on the ministry of Stephen Olford, given by Jonathan Bayes. This was chaired by Ken Lewis of Derby, who recalled Stephen Olford’s 17-day Derby crusade in 1958. This led to over 500 serious enquiries. Many were soundly converted and some entered the Christian ministry or missionary work.