New Horizon: perfumed handshakes and the return of an exile

A little later this year – “in order to get the first dry Saturday of the summer”, as Barry Forde suggested – New Horizon 2012 is underway. Still recognisable, but with a few changes here and there. The stage set up is a little different, complete with new side screens, there is a new chairman and there we even have an addition to the most popular part of the evening – the safety announcement: now complete with a siren.

And an exile was welcomed home. Malcolm Duncan, pastor of Gold Hill Baptist Church, is originally from Rathcoole, north of Belfast, though he has been away from Northern Ireland for 27 years. He still has the accent – “This is what God sounds like” he says. Interestingly he is the third Gold Hill pastor to speak at New Horizon – Steve Gaukroger and Jim Graham having been here before.

To mark 25 years of New Horizon next year, this year a live CD is being recorded, featuring music from some of the people who have led worship from the platform over the years.

Malcolm Duncan is going to be working from the opening verses of the fourth gospel: tonight he spoke about Jesus as the Source.

It’s important to properly understand who Jesus is. If we end up making Jesus look the way we want him, following him will never challenge us. But he is God, enrobed in flesh.

As our Source,
He is God
He has always been
Creation depends on him
He is our life
He is our light
Re-creation depends on him

And the perfumed handshake? At the end of his message, Malcolm Duncan invited everyone to get up and spend 90 seconds shaking as many hands as possible. When we smelled our right hands, they smelt of perfume! Magic? Not exactly. Seventeen young people had doused their hands with after-shave before mingling with the crowd. Most of the 2000 odd people had been “infected” from only seventeen infecters. What if we followed Jesus like that?

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