6th Jan 2012

Dear Friends - November 2011

By Andy Jarvis

A significant word at the moment is transformation. We long for it in all sorts of ways: We long for our church to grow, to see friends and family members coming to faith in Jesus. We long for it when we go clothes shopping or simply when we look in the mirror. We long for pain-free bodies and restful sleep. We long for a decent wage or simply for enough to change a tired sofa, a clapped-out car or another rainy day. On a wider scale, we long for an end to wars, for good government and for a cure for cancer.
But wanting these things and realising them, even believing in their possibility, is another matter. We want to change and to effect change, but we have been unsuccessful, even weak and our hope falters as we realise we cannot do it. There is good news...
A story is told of an antiques auction at which an old violin is up for sale. The violin was rather battered and bore several scratches. The strings looked decidedly loose and some of the horse hairs in the bow were becoming detached. "What am I bid?" cried the auctioneer as one of the assistants held the violin up. "Who'll start me with a fiver? Three quid? Two pounds? Who'll give me a pound?"
"A pound", bid one man.
"Two pounds" cried another.
"Who'll make it three?" asked the auctioneer.
But no bid came. "Going once for three pounds...going twice."
The auctioneer looked around the room desperately hoping for another bid, when an elderly gentleman approached the front.
"May I?" He asked as he picked up the bow. He wiped the dust from the case and began to tune up each string. Then he began to play. Was it a folk tune? Was it Vivaldi? For the next few minutes, nobody spoke as the room rose and fell as one with the melodies. The sound was incredible and when he finished playing you could hear a pin drop.
"One thousand pounds," bid someone, breaking the silence.
"Two thousand"
"Three thousand pounds!"
"Anymore bids?" called the auctioneer. "Going once at three thousand pounds. Going twice? Sold for three thousand pounds."
What changed the value of the violin? The touch of a master musician.
You see that's the good news for us as we hope for transformation in South Molton. Whilst it may be true that transformation starts with us, the act of transforming is wrought by the touch of a master's hand.
Eph 6:10 says "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power."
How are we to begin to see spiritual, physical, economic, medical, familial and psychological change in our community?
Simply, by being willing to listen to the Lord, for His moment of call and by being obedient to what He asks us to do; to greet, to help, to speak, to pray, to embrace, to give.
Then we wait for Him to do His work.
Let the transformations begin. Here I am Lord. Send me.
God bless you all,


Andy was a schoolteacher for eleven years before training for ministry, while based on a large council estate just outside Portsmouth. Originally from Brighton, Andy has been the Minister at South Molton Baptist Church since 2001. He is married to Helen and has three children and a granddaughter.