Saturday, 11 April 2009

A Word From The Moderator

Dear Ian,

I spoke on Sunday to children on the subject of 'Jewels' from Malachi 3:17: "And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels."

We then sang the hymn, 'When He cometh, when He cometh to make up His Jewels.'

I was interested to read the following concerning the author, William Orcutt Cushing. He wrote this hymn for the children in his own Sunday School in 1856.

Several years later, William Cushing suffered a period of deep despair in his life. After the death of his wife, he developed a creeping paralysis and the loss of his speech at the age of 47. He was forced to retire from the ministry after 27 years as an active and successful pastor.

When he pleaded, "Lord, give me something to do for Thee," God answered, giving him the gift of writing appealing hymns. He composed more than 300 gospel hymns during his remaining years. Such hymns as:

'Hiding in Thee,'
'Under His Wings,'
'Follow On,' and
'There'll Be No Dark Valley,'

are just a few of his texts that have since contributed much to the lives of Christians everywhere.

I was struck that this believer was willing to ask the Lord for something to do for Him and that he was willing to do it.

His willingness reminded me of the campaign and was a challenge that surely each of us could "do something for Him."

I trust the Lord will guide and prosper this ministry and that all our people will be stirred to, "Do something more for Him."

Ron Johnstone
(Moderator of Free Presbyterian Church)

Friday, 10 April 2009

Making The Promotional DVD

Given the amount of time and effort required in organising this advertising campaign, it would be impossible for our 'Team' to visit our churches and explain our plan in its various stages.

We therefore thought that a short DVD could be produced, then circulated to the ministers so that they could show it in one of their weekly prayer meetings. By this means our people would be 'clued in' regarding the details of our campaign.

Today this DVD was recorded, with myself in the 'hot seat' (note the heater positioned behind it!) ... well, truth be told, it was hot at times, freezing at others! The sun shone, then the clouds dropped over it, then out it came again – playing havoc with our lighting system!

Our technical wizard is Mr Robert Campbell (soon to depart for Tasmania, Australia). He organised the lighting (left to myself, I would have been staring into the webcam of my laptop!) and did the filming. I think we learned much – but that doesn't mean the DVD will be top standard. My fault, certainly not his!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

'The TEAM' of Organisers

A sub-Committee has been set up of four men from within the Government & Morals Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church to draft the plans for our 'Doing Something More For God' Campaign.

This consists of the Chairman, Rev. Ian Brown (Londonderry), Secretary, Rev. Robert Ormerod (Cloughmills), Rev. David Smith (Ardarragh), and Rev. David McLaughlin (Carryduff).

To date, these men have travelled many miles across the country to meet at various venues on 5 occasions – all necessary so that we can compare notes and take the project forward.

Please do pray for us.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

How The Campaign Was Born

When the atheists brought their advertisement campaign to the English transport system in January 2009, proclaiming, “There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” some Christian groups (notably the Trinitarian Bible Society) immediately responded by sponsoring buses that carried the words of Psalm 14:1 throughout London: “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God’.”

As the chairman of the Government and Morals Committee, I suggested to the General Presbytery in February that if this ‘Atheist Bus Campaign’ was brought to the transport system in Northern Ireland, a response would be appropriate.

(I have preached a message on the subject of the Atheist Bus Ads - as the sermon link above demonstrates).

However, over the course of February, 'scouting missions' failed to detect the appearance of any Atheist Bus Campaign on the Ulster horizon. They had transferred their resources to Spain, Italy, Canada, United States - but did not seem to have plans to spread their blasphemies in our part of the world.

This fact facilitated a thought that had already been forming in my mind:
“Why should we embark on a purely reactionary campaign, allow the atheists to dictate our agenda, and end up sending out a negative message?” Surely it would be much better if we could give a positive presentation of the gospel?

Ignore the atheists - and preach the cross! Let’s channel our energies into a solid gospel campaign that will be Christ-centred and Christ-exalting.”

Such a campaign would focus our energies, remind ourselves of our chief purpose in the world, and show to the country what we are about.

This idea was unanimously adopted by Presbytery when presented in March 2009. Therefore this campaign was born.

Our overall aim is to present the Gospel to as many people as possible, using every facility of the media, and to enthuse our congregations with an evangelistic zeal.

“Excite and unite”
is our unofficial theme – to stir up the hearts of God's people so that they bring their energies to bear on this Gospel Advertising Campaign.

It is helpful to remember that we are in the commemorative 150th anniversary year of the 1859 Revival. This Campaign can be our attempt to,
“Do something more for God” – to borrow the words of one of the preachers who played a prominent role in that awesome work of God, Rev S. J. Moore of Connor Presbyterian Church.