I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but New Wine this year was most inspiring, yet again. Part of it comes from worshiping God alongside several thousand others – but it’s also about the stimulating teaching and spending time with good friends.
One of the main speakers was Robbie Dawkins, a Vineyard pastor from gangland Chicago. He’s a big unit – you wouldn’t mess with him even if he is a pastor! Who could forget his story about the gang leader nicknamed Hitler, who vowed to kill him in Church, who was frozen by the Spirit when he turned up, and then turned to Christ when he was in jail for multiple murders?
It was also exciting to hear about the effect that prayer for healing has had on his area. He was keen to emphasise that when he prays for someone, he does not wait for a word from God to give him permission to do so – he prays and trusts that God will respond. He encouraged us to do the same, saying that too often we hold back for fear of looking stupid.
It was inspiring, in a rather different way, to hear the Bishop of Worcester give one of the seminars – partly because he’s the Bishop in this area, but mainly because of his backstory: of the battle his wife is currently undergoing with cancer. He spoke on ‘Healing: the entirety of the Gospel’, and stressed the need that everyone has for both healing and forgiveness. Both he and Robbie Dawkins stressed that if we think the main arena for God’s healing is in the church, then we’re sadly mistaken – it’s primarily a sign for those that don’t know Christ that he is real, alive and that he loves them.
One of the audience members at that seminar also told us about the healing his wife received after an 18 year battle with multiple sclerosis [read about it here] – it’s a remarkable story.
The worship this year was outstanding, led in particular by Martin Smith. He’s a great performer, certainly, but above all he’s someone keen to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
One of the joys of New Wine is spending time with friends, and our section of the Trinity Cheltenham site soon became know for its top-quality dinnertimes!