Sunday, 28 September 2014

Loving God

We have launched a new series called 'Loving God'that we are praying the Holy Spirit will use in power. Romans 5 v5 'God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us' This pouring out of love was a fulfillment of the prayer request of Jesus to the Father in John 17 v26 'I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.' Our vision is not functional but relational - it doesn't matter where we are it only matters who we are with and Jesus wants us to know by the power of the Holy Spirit the love of the Father. It is that love of the Father that will sustain and empower and motivate us into all ministry. Just as the Lost Son in Luke 15 returned to the loving arms of a father so are we called to make that same return - we may feel unworthy but he will call us 'son'or'daughter' and when we know the embrace of the Father then His love will spill over to others. Pray that we all get a fresh revelation of Jesus, a new empowering of the Holy Spirit and a deep joy in the intimate presence of our loving Father God.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Arise and Stand

Key points from the Arise and Stand conference (Steve Hepden and Emma Stark – see OCF websie for podcasts of the talks):- 1. we must metamorphosise from caterpillars into butterflies, from ordinary to extra-ordinary 2. stop simply seeking 'visitations' of God and instead become a 'habitation' for God (so wherever you are you influence others for the kingdom and in love) 3. be predictable in character but unpredictable in action (move out of our comfort zones and embrace change) 4. our destiny becomes clearer when our identity is clearer. Stop only seeking the gifts and seek to be the gift in our spheres of influence. 5. What is a prophet? a prophet is someone who shapes the future by speaking into the now 6. We must be eagles that soar high on the thermals of the Spirit not parrots that sit on our perches of religion and tradition 7. We must avoid just experiences with out Jesus by coming through the door which is Jesus (John 10 v7) 8. There is still an issue in church of rejected women and insecure men - both need to be healed for us to move forward as a church 9. we must BE a solution instead of just need a solution (Romans 8 v28) and bring the King's orders into places of influence. Have a heart to be a solution and use what ever is in your hand (Exodus 4 v2) i.e. your skills, gifts, position, knowledge, abilities 10. It is God who sets the agenda - Exodus 34 v10 - 14 11.Eagerly desire ('lust after') the gifts (1 Cor. 12 v31) and be eager to prophecy (1 Cor 14 v39) 12. Carpe Deum = 'seize the day' 13. Unity is crucial because Holy Spirit dwelling has a corporate nature. Acts 4 v24 & 32: we are members TOGETHER - a passion for Christ will lead to unity 14. What we think are giants have already been destroyed at the cross of Jesus. Jesus has already overcome the world - (we must take hold of our possessions) 15. We were made first and foremost to be face to face with God. We were not made for the outer courts but for the inner courts. 16. There is an emotion that comes with salvation and that is jOY! 17. There is a new call to love God and each other authentically and to embrace vulnerability. For 'arm pit living' when we are honest with each other and acknowledge that we get things wrong but to love first. 18. Many families will be saved 19. People will come not because of our programmes but because of our 'burning' (passion for Him) as we fix our eyes on the things above and as we become a habitation for the weight of the glory of God. Thank you to all those who organised the conference. So many people have been blessed by your hard work and love for God. He is the Alpha and the Omega.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Take courage

I received this prophetic word for our week of prayer from a member of my congregation. Thought I'd share it. We use the word ‘encourage’ frequently in the Christian life, so much so that its meaning has become diluted. We talk about something as being encouraging if it makes us smile, or cheers us up a bit and when we say we’re feeling discouraged we mean that we’re a bit low or a bit down in the dumps. However in God’s kingdom these two processes – encouragement and discouragement are hugely significant, they powerfully impact our effectiveness in serving God. Both of these words; ‘encourage’ and ‘discourage’ are based on the word ‘courage’ and courage is absolutely central to our walk with Jesus. · It takes courage to commit yourself wholeheartedly to serving God. · It takes courage to really ask God to show you what your part is in His Kingdom and it takes courage to then ask Him to work with you and in you so that it actually happens. · It takes courage to live for others rather than meeting your own needs. · It takes courage to listen when you feel you need to talk and sometimes it takes even more courage to talk to someone about what’s going on for you. · It takes courage to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal your wounds and weaknesses and allow Him to work in you to bring about full healing and wholeness. · It takes courage to change your lifestyle and habits so that you make time to hear His voice and get in touch with His heart and become sensitive to the Holy Spirit. · It takes courage to step into something new when He asks you to · It takes courage to let go of your plans and yield yourself to the unknown in God. God has a plan for you which involves laying down your life; your hopes and dreams, your fears and anxieties, your plans and ambitions and risking everything for Him. He then reshapes your surrendered life and to take hold of that life requires real courage. The dictionary definition of the word ‘discourage’ is this: “To deprive of courage, to dishearten, to dissuade, to obstruct by opposition or difficulty” That is the enemy’s job description – he spends his time trying to stop us, block us, make us lose sight of God and lose sight of who we can be in God. If he can diminish our courage he can reduce the effectiveness of our lives. The dictionary definition of the word ‘encourage’ is; “To inspire with courage or confidence, to stimulate by assistance or approval, to promote or advance” And that is the Holy Spirit’s job description - He spends His time building us up, moving us on, speaking words of life to us - through the Bible, through living in us day by day and through each other as we are obedient, hear God for each other and care for each other. If He can inspire our courage and confidence in Him, He can use us to be truly effective for God. Has God been stirring something up in you? Something that when you think about doing it you get excited but scared? Has He been challenging you to go beyond what is safe and comfortable into territory that you have never walked before, a place where you don’t know exactly what lies ahead? It might be to step into a new area of ministry; praying for healing for somebody, listening to God for somebody else and risking giving them a word of encouragement, telling a friend at work that Jesus is the most important person in your life. God may be asking you to start something new or to stir up gifts that you have allowed to become dormant over time. It may be something in your own life – there may be unforgiveness stashed in a cupboard in the back of your heart, there may be hurt or sin lying half buried, which you try to ignore but sometimes pops out unexpectedly and God is saying the time has come to bring it into the light and get it dealt with. He might be asking you to have faith for something that seems impossible or asking you to trust Him for an unknown future ... job, family, location. Whatever it is.... God wants you to have courage. He wants to ENCOURAGE you; He wants to instil courage in you and He wants us to instil courage in each other. When we stand side by side facing the land before us and the giants ahead – both as individuals and as a church – He want us to look to Him and know that He leads us and to look along the line and know that we follow His lead ... together. This is what God spoke through Moses to the people of Israel as they stood at the edge of the Promised Land. There were enemies lying ahead but there was also promise for the future: “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them for the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you”. Deuteronomy 31:6 Take courage and step into what God’s got for you.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Rebecca's word - freedom

on Sunday 25th November Rebecca Burgess brought a word from God for us:- God is going to do huge things in OCF which we're all going to be a part of. Exodus 14 & 15 God wants to bring freedom to us (like He did to the Israelites). He guides us and protects us (13 v21) He is in front and behind. 14 v10 - God wants to move us out of safety (the places we've been in for years that we've got used to - our 'miseries') Lord set us free and we will move towards you! The next plan God has for us:- 14 v13 = key "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today." God doesn't want us to be afraid but wants us to stand firm because He will set you free. God fights for us. Engage with God. They walked through the sea!!! that's amazing! v28 Not one of the Egyptian pursuers survived. Not one part will survive from what we are being freed from. The people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him (15 v8) We must make ourselves accountable for this to be a turning point word. How will we respond?

Monday, 20 August 2012

OCF 2012-2013 worship

God is calling us to a season of worship - He called us to set this year aside to worship 4 years ago and over the last few months he has sent people to us who either love worship or have experience in worship leading. Coincidence? Why is God leading us into this worship season? Our Sunday talks will give some understanding so listen to the podcasts from September 2nd 2012 but here are a few key points:- - Closer to God: when we are worshipping all other things fade away and our perspective is renewed - we will experience a deeper and more vital union with the maker of the universe. It says of the wise men in Matthew 2 v10 that when they saw the star above the place where Jesus was (before they even met Jesus Himself) 'they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy'. Worship restores the forgotten altars and brings a union with God that submits our circumstances, fears, future and hopes to the one who knows our paths. - Closer together: when we are worshipping our union with each other gets closer because we see each other with God's eyes and love each other with God's heart. Worship is best as a corporate encounter with the living God - just as the apostles experienced Him in the upper room in Acts 2 together, God wants us to know the power of His transforming presence in homes, in Sunday morning events, in families, on campus and off campus. Worship brings us together because where the presence of God is then all bitterness and resentment and tiny quibbles with each other disappear. The wise men were rich and powerful and knowledgeable and yet when they saw Jesus in the stable 'they fell down and worshipped him' as one. - Closer to others: when we are worshipping our love for others increases and we capture the heart of God for those who are lost and in need. When we are connected to the compassionate One then we become compassionate ones and our eyes are lifted from our own circumstances to others around us that are crying out for an encounter with God (whether they know it or not) - worship turns us into missionaries and witnesses to the presence that we have experienced. Vital union fills us with His presence that spills over and radiates out to those we come into daily contact with. This coming year we will be worshipping in how we live our lives, in homes and in the Boiler Room (in the centre of the community God has called us to) and in our corporate gatherings and in those places the enemy says we cannot worship we will worship - this is a year of bold and brave encounters with God.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Donkeys or horses?

Are you riding on a donkey or are you riding on a horse?!? Yesterday my youngest daughter Grace went to Southport beach and went for a ride on a donkey called Toby. She had a good time but when she got off she said, in a slightly disappointed tone, "It's ALMOST a horse". It made me think about salvation and our walk with God. Are we on something that is 'almost salvation' or 'almost a walk with God' but not quite? If Grace was to shout out half way down the beach "Look at me riding on my horse" we'd shout back "No you're not! You're on a donkey". It's easy to see how younger children could possibly mistake a donkey for a horse - they have 4 legs, a tail and you sit on them. But those of us who are more knowledgable about the animal kingdom realise that a donkey is NOT a horse. So many people think they're going to heaven on something which is ALMOST salvation - but it isn't. And so many of us are going through our days on something which is ALMOST a walk with God but isn't. A donkey is only half way there - and being half way there is the same as not being there at all. Grace will ride on a horse at some point this holiday and she will be able to get off and say "Now that IS a horse!" In Acts 4 v11 Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood up and said "This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Saturday, 28 April 2012

I am what I am

John Newton once said, "I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world. But still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am." I have had a busy time (who hasn't? everyone seems to live at 90 miles an hour these days!). I went for a job interview this week and was successful. Within the space of 10 minutes of being told I had the job my emotions spun from elation to fear to determination to doubt to hope to overwhelming confusion to peace! Then I remembered a verse that had sunk into my heart that week Psalm 62 verse 1 'My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.' By the grace of God we carry on, by the grace of God we face our fears, by the grace of God we believe our beliefs, by the grace of God we are who we are. Our souls NEED to rest in God and I praise God that He is the rock, the fortress that will not be shaken. When the fortress of Jericho fell it was because God was on the outside. We will not fall because God is on the inside and He is our fortress that will not be shaken - no matter who is walking around the outside shouting and threatening. We are God's children and we can find rest in His arms - are you anxious? fearful? feeling shaken? Then find rest in nothing else except God - get into a place where His presence is as soon as you can. Worship Him so He is enthroned within, pray to Him and notice His attention, read His words and let them sink into your heart as an anchor and a truth that will challenge the lies and the doubts that jabber, fellowship with believers and find those who can connect you again to the one perspective that matters - closer to God.