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My commitment, 13 September 1998

Having been baptised, it was time to seal my commitment to the fellowship with which I had walked for almost two years. Commitment basically means saying that this is where I am, where I'm going, and who I want to go with - and all that that entails. The following is a full transcript of the rather lengthy commitment address I made, and also includes my testimony of what the Lord had done for me up until that time, as well as some of the many words other people had on their heart to share with me.

Danny ConibereThis is Dave, this morning. [Applause] Say hello to Dave. Dave wants to say today, he's just expressing today, that this is the family he belongs to. That's good isn't it? I like these times ... It's a great story how Dave met us, actually, so it'd be good Dave just to ...
Dave Gosnell... I'll get onto that in a moment!
Danny ConibereYes, well how about this moment, is that all right? And just say hello to everybody...
Dave GosnellThere was something I just wanted to say first actually, that's a little bit about faith and trusting the Lord and things, and it was just something that happened yesterday that I think rammed it home to me what faith was, and probably how faithless I am sometimes. It was yesterday, knowing that I'd got this coming up today, I thought I'd better get some peace, go for a walk round the lake, get some thoughts together and ask the Lord's help in what I was going to say and everything. And so I was all ready to go, and suddenly I noticed just how grey and black it was outside, and then it started tipping it down with rain. I got into the car anyway, because I said the Lord's going to be good because I'm going to get to the lake and it's going to be sunny and it's not going to rain on me. And I got into the car, it lashed it down on the way there. I got to the lake - fantastic, it was dry; there was thunder, black clouds, sort of rumbling all around, but right above it was blue sky, and the sun was shining. I walked around the lake - I managed to walk round both lakes, stayed dry. But... I trusted in the Lord that he would let me do this without getting too wet, but I didn't have faith, because I still took my kagoule. [Laughter] If I'd had faith, I'd have left the kagoule at home, but ... working on it.
Anyway, yes, just to give a little bit of background to myself and how I came here and everything, as Danny was saying.
I come from a non-Christian family really, I think you might just about describe them as agnostic sometimes. But generally no belief, there was no history of anybody going to church in the family or anything; I believe one of my grandfathers was actually fairly hostile. But nevertheless in 1994, I came to Christ by my own choice; I don't know exactly why I did it, it's one of those strange things. I sometimes think about it, and I sometimes think it was right reasons, sometimes the wrong reasons, but I did, and nevertheless in 1994 I joined my local Anglican church in the village where I was living at the time. That was, people I knew there, and there weren't a lot of churches there anyway, so there wasn't a lot of choice in where to go. But I'm not saying that was a bad choice, because there was a good family there, they were good to me. Met with a bit a hostility, indifference, from the family - nothing too nasty, though I think they thought it was a phase I was going through [Laughter], I'd get over it - I haven't yet. [Laughter] Don't intend to either.
When I finished my degree, I managed to go straight into a job with a mainly Christian-staffed record company down in Hampshire, not far from Basingstoke funnily enough, but not in Basingstoke, and I had nothing to do with the Basingstoke gang down there. But I went in there straight after graduating, thanks to Christian contacts while I was at college and stuff. Kept in touch with many of my fellow students, and even six months, a year on, a lot of those people were still looking for work. It wasn't fantastically well-paid, but it was a blessing to be there, because a lovely Christian family took me under their wing, and I joined their church in Hartley Wintney, down near Basingstoke, and though there were an Anglican church again, they had a far more charismatic and Spirit-led mode of doing things than I'd seen anywhere else at that time, so that really sort of got me into this side of things I think, and I was never going to turn back again.
Anyway, exactly a year on to the day, pretty much, I got my present job at the OU, the Open University. I think Satan tried to get in the way of me getting that job; I'd recently learned to drive two weeks, no, about a month before I went for the interview at the OU, and two weeks after I'd bought my first car, I drove it home to my parents, and just during the couple of hours it was parked outside my parents' house it got stolen, and that was going to be my means to get to Milton Keynes the following day, and it had gone. And, like, no car has ever gone before or since from that street as far as I know, and although it was obviously human agents who actually did it, and I think they've finally tracked down who it was, a couple of years on, I still think there's forces of evil there that were trying to get in the way of me coming here to Milton Keynes.
But anyway, I got here, I started my job here in September '96. Moved into a shared flat in Oldbrook; the guy there it turned out was Christian - I didn't know this when I moved in, but I suppose I should have, it made sense really, didn't it? He was a bit of a backslidden Christian, but he was a Christian nevertheless and he had Christian ideals, so yes, if the Lord wanted me in Milton Keynes, then that makes sense that that should have been the case. So anyway, I didn't join a church immediately; I sort of looked around a little bit, I'd noted a few phone numbers and things, but I'd never actually got around to ringing any of them, or I got engaged tones or answerphones and things.
And then one day, I was attracted, when I was walking through the city centre, I was attracted by some ... I think I called it a racket once before ... some beautiful music [Laughter].
Danny ConibereWas it Gareth?
Dave GosnellI don't remember Gareth being there, actually.
Gareth Brocklebank[Something about it not being a racket if he was there!] [Laughter]
Dave GosnellI think Seamus was doing a bit on the piano or something. [Murmurings from Seamus] I can't remember who it was ... I'm sure it was Seamus.
But anyway, so that attracted me, because I mean, I think a lot of people here know I do love music, and I love making music, listening to music and everything else, so that really attracted me, and that brought me across to see what on earth was going on outside Marks and Spencers, and I think I was met with Giles, and his mob. So thanks to Giles, and hundreds of people since, I think the rest's been history.
Now I'm sharing a house with Mark on Springfield Boulevard. I think he's being a good influence, I think was it you Danny, was it Danny here who said ... I think Danny said when I moved in, I think he said that Mark would be a good influence, it'd be good living with a good strong Christian. I think it was you, wasn't it?
Danny ConibereYes, I'm sure I said that... [Laughter]
Dave GosnellYou didn't say anything about him being a sort of rather unorthodox strong Christian ... [Laughter] But as I say, I think he has been a good influence, I mean, now I think I know every Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds in the city [Laughter & applause]. No, but seriously, I think it is true, that thanks to Mark, because I'm now - and whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, you can ask Gareth - involved in the worship team, and helping with the Kids Club on the Friday, which I hope to extend now. And I don't doubt there's a lot more to come, and I really look forward to that.
So yes, I think God's had a great influence on my life so far; nothing's been amazingly spectacular and knocked me flat at the time, but I think it's one of those lives where I look back and I see just how amazing ... you put the whole thing together and this couldn't have happened without his help, and that's really great. He's continuing to do that; as I say, it's not earth-shattering, but it's ways that are profound for me.
Danny ConibereBless you, Dave. [Murmurings & laughter]
Dave GosnellSo ... so that's me, anyway. About a month ago, who was at the Kings Centre on the Sunday afternoon? Sally, Trev, Claire ... a few people. A lovely afternoon, wasn't it? I think it was probably the best Sunday afternoon of the summer, and I was baptised, in the River Ouse, behind the Kings Centre. It wasn't an easy decision to make, actually, because I had been baptised as an Anglican, as an adult, you know, it had been my own choice that I'd done it; I wasn't just some baby who didn't have any choice in the matter. But I think both baptisms were the right things to do at that time; I think both were a step forward in faith, and I think this was the right thing to have done then.
It was a releasing thing; I think Dave Oliver recently at some seminar thingy, was saying that anyone who thought baptism would take away all their troubles obviously wasn't held down for long enough. [Laughter] But it did release things, and I think I'm able to accept the way I am a lot more than I was before; I'm not exactly content with the way I am, and there's quite a few things that need to be changed, but I can accept the way I am and I can look at myself more rationally, more sensibly. I was reading Nehemiah the other day in the Bible, and they were talking about the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, and rather than just saying "and they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem", it was going through intricate detail of who was rebuilding which gate and everything like that, and it was fantastic detail; it involved hundreds and hundreds of people, and lots and lots of different tasks. So, I think to "sort my life out" is impossible in a sort of sweeping move, but if I can attack specific things that are problematic and everything - and there are various things in my life that aren't the way I'd like them to be - I think if I can attack them individually, then I can improve, rebuild, strengthen, with God's help.
MKCF has been great to me over the last two years; you've been very supportive, I'm sure you'll continue to be. Thank you for love, patience, selflessness - even if I might not have been all those at all times... Nobody's nodding - you're all too kind [Chuckles]. But I know there have been times, and I'm sorry about that. But we move forward. I doubt I'd have stayed here in Milton Keynes for as long as I have if it hadn't been for you all, because it's the longest I've held down a job, two years. I'm a bit restless in that job at the moment; I don't know how long I'll be in it, but I certainly intend staying in Milton Keynes.
Because now I think it's time to acknowledge that Milton Keynes is my home, it's where God has put me, for one reason or another, through these chains of events, and MKCF is the family within Milton Keynes that he's chosen for me. And so, and this'll sound like a formal bit now; there's going to be lots of sort of saying that I ... and that I ... that I ...
So I say to everyone here, and to God, that I acknowledge and support the goals of the Fellowship, and will stick my them as best I can with God's and everyone's help.
That I acknowledge and trust in God's authority invested in our leaders, value their advice and guidance - even if I don't always agree with them. [Chuckles]
That it is my genuine desire, I want to grow in faith with this family, that I can both encourage and be encouraged as we walk together. There will be joys and troubles I am sure, but we can walk together and support each other.
That I will serve you people practically and spiritually, and both, as the Holy Spirit will lead me during this time.
And so I just pray that I can do all this, fulfil all this, and be a constructive member of this group. [Applause]
Danny ConibereYes, thank you Dave, God bless!
Dave GosnellWas that OK?
Danny ConibereWasn't that good?
Pete CrookWell Danny asked me to do the formal thing, but he's already done it. [Laughter] So he's already committed himself to us! Well, Dave Eyeington, thanks for coming, but we don't need you now, you can just preach...
Dave GosnellI probably missed something!
Pete CrookWell that's tremendous isn't it, eh? Praise God, isn't it good? Yes, thank you Lord. Well, Dave, it's a joy to have you with us, and we want to walk with you, and as you've said, you want to walk with us, and together we can, as a fellowship, be those who make an influence in this world and enlarge the Kingdom of God, and you're very much a part of that and we welcome you in Jesus' name, hallelujah.
We're going to pray for Dave in just a couple of moments, but - and I need to be quite brief on this - I wonder if there's anyone who has just a word that you feel God has dropped in your heart for Dave. We'll give the opportunity for that to happen; if there's so many people, we might have to say "hey, write it down" and then let him have it. But we're going to give that opportunity now, if anybody has...
Cally CameronCan I just say, this is not exactly a word from God, it's more of a word from Cally really ... but I just want to say, Dave, that you've really encouraged me, because so often we do evangelism and stuff, and we don't see fruit, and I believe that perhaps in other churches, people have committed themselves to other churches, through the seeds that we've sown, but we haven't seen the fruit. But you really bless me every time I see you, and I say "Yes, it's so good" that you know, we were just singing songs up at the city centre and present-wrapping or whatever, but you know, that you are fruit from that, and that's so exciting, and I feel that as a church we should be encouraged by that as well, so bless you!
Pete CrookAmen for that, very true.
Sally MellorDave, I just hear God saying one word: "walk". Don't run, don't dawdle, just walk.
Pete CrookOK, praise God. Dave, I feel I had just a little something for you. I felt it was from God, but, hey, you know, check and test these things out. There's a lot of hidden talent in Dave that I don't think we've actually seen yet. We've seen a couple of snippets, but I think there's a lot in Dave that we've not yet seen. And I believe we are going to see them, but, more than that, what I saw sort of over you as you were sharing there, I suppose the best description is like a bowl, and there was a lot of gifts in there, and these were God-given gifts. And you're going to be in a position where you're going to be asking God to release those gifts to you, and you're going to be surprised how much he's going to give you, and they're going to enhance, more than supplement, but enhance your talents. Don't confuse the both, but they're going to be very important and positive to you; I think we're going to see this guy going far, really, actually, so we bless you in that, Dave.
Dave ChurchYes, can I just confirm that?
The God who has said to you, let light shine out of darkness, has made the light shine in your heart, to give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God and the face of Christ, and you have this treasure in a jar of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God, and not from men.
God bless you.
Martin BrocklebankDave, I'd just like to confirm what Pete and Dave were saying. There's a lot more in you, but I feel sometimes you're a bit wary, a bit frightened, about letting it out. You know, who was the first person to milk a cow, and what did he think he was doing? [Laughter] You know, somebody had to do it! Who was the first person, who thought about getting a load of bark from a willow tree, and boiling it up and drinking it to get rid of a headache? You know, that was the forerunner of aspirin. This is probably why woodpeckers never get headaches, you know... [Laughter] But the fact is, somebody had to do it, and I believe that God's got things in you, that people are going to say "what is he doing?" But you know, you've got faith; God will see you through these things, and it doesn't matter what other people are doing, because you know that you're doing what God wants you to do. It may seem strange at the time, but, you know, when we get headaches now, what do we do? Take an aspirin and then pray? Bless you Dave.
Pete CrookI think Dave's got something, just make this the last one, and then George. Anybody else, please write it down and give this man a message.
Dave ReesWhile you were speaking, I just really saw a picture of a squirrel, and he was sitting there, on a tree, and he was just storing away nuts - that's what squirrels do - and when Dave read out his scripture he talked about treasure, and this was the only scripture that was on my heart, and I'm just going to read it, OK?
Do not store up for yourselves - yourself - treasure on earth, where moth and rust steal, but store up for yourself treasure in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal; where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body, if your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then, the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness? No-one can serve two masters; either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
George AssibeyAmen, right, time has gone, so just a quick word for you, Dave, and just one word that is general. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that as many as were saved were being added to the Church daily. These days it's fashionable that when people are saved, we say "right, I'm going to try out all the churches in Milton Keynes, and then see what happens". Just a general word of encouragement: If you don't find roots and put them down, you will never grow, and you will never find a perfect church if you are going round and, as it were, sussing them out. There is blessing in commitment, and that's what I have for you, Dave. You know the story of Ruth; Ruth found commitment; as she found friendship and belongingness she committed herself to it. And as you are committing yourself to the Body of Christ, as has been said, all the talents and gifting in you will be shaped, and the Lord will bless it. It comes out of commitment; you are committing yourself to the Body of Christ, so that you will be guided and helped and nourished in that, and the blessing of God will come in that. Bless you.
Pete CrookAmen. Let's pray for Dave. You know, we do this from time to time, would those who are committed to the Fellowship here, and who really have a heart after God in terms of what's happening, would you like to stand and we're just going to join together and pray for our brother Dave, really part of the family - he's been for some time really...
Father, we want to thank you for Dave. Lord, we want to thank you Lord, that he's brought great encouragement to many of us. Lord, thank you for his willingness too, to receive from you. Lord, we've seen that willingness, and we've seen you impact his life on several occasions. And we want to pray Lord, for now and for the future for Dave; we want to ask Lord, that all those aspects and those words that have been from you, I pray Lord that they will truly be a part of Dave's life. And I want to, in the name of Jesus, release the words of God - not the words of man - the words of God, and that they will come into true fruition and bear much fruit. Dave, bless you in the name of Jesus; we welcome you, we receive you, and may the Lord shine upon you, and may you be a great witness for him in these coming days. In the name of Jesus, Amen. [General murmurings of Amen]

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