Sunday, 18 December 2011

What has God been saying?

In Acts 13 it gives us a description of the church at Antioch: 'there were prophets and teachers....they were worshipping the Lord and fasting......they placed their hands on them and sent them off' - what a great picture of church!
A church where they listen to the Spirit and to the Word, where they praise and pray, where they commission and send.

I have been catching some of the things God has been saying recently to us in OCF. I am certain there are other things God is saying to you personally but here are some of the things I have picked up:-

- we can have a clean slate with Jesus
- there can be a rainbow in front of us (a Biblical symbol of God's protection and promises) but we can't see it: God IS there, in front of you!
- 2 Corinthians 5 - we are called to be ambassadors for Christ: ministers of reconciliation and healing
- the power of the promise is real and is for us: 'I am God and I continue to work'

- are we building our lives around ourselves or are we building our lives around God?: He is before all things and in Him all things hold together
- we need to be so full of the Holy Spirit that we 'overflow and glow' - be sensitive to Him
- the faithfulness of God never fails but its our perspective that needs to be renewed
- put the sails up and catch the wind, stop drifting aimlessly with your sails down

- we need to be like a brazier that is full of heat, energy, fire: be filled with the Holy Spirit
- God has a deep affection for you: just as a perfect loving Father
- God doesn't want the church to be 'nice' or 'pretty' but dangerous (bulbs that burn brighter? or bulbs that explode and have an impact?!)

- Father, Son and Holy Spirit sit on a 3-seater throne!
- The Holy Spirit is the Ruach of God - the mighty wind: He can make dead things come to life. When 160 mile an hour winds blow then things move!
- God can do the impossible and all we need is grace sufficient for today

Friday, 9 September 2011

Increasing the blessing

As we gear up for a new year of ministry when I believe God wants us to step out in healing, prophecy and a bold witness to the glory and joy of knowing Jesus I sense God wants to do us good first!

In this age of austerity and cut backs God wants to do the opposite. He wants to increase abundance, increase hope, increase blessing. Let's stop living an 'it'll do' existence and begin to see there is so much more God wants to bless us with.

Let's 'press in' to the joy and healing and blessing that the Holy Spirit has for us and not put up with anything less. Get to the prayer times and the conferences and the meetings and the Life-groups and the worship times and seek His immense blessing.

Just being with the people of God does me good - I don't know why except that it's the Spirit in them that resonates with me and equips me for the next step of the way.

Chris had a picture a while ago of a street where windows overlooking the street were closed and people were looking through the windows (at the church) but as the season changed and it became warmer then they opened the windows and could hear the message of the church.

We are in a time which I believe is a 'window of opportunity' not just in OCF but nationally and globally when people are opening their windows to hear the gospel as we go out.

This coming year requires a people who are committed to their walk with God, who are seeking Him daily (we cannot glide on yesterday's winds or the hope of tomorrow's winds - only on the wind of the Spirit for each day).

Let's begin to listen again to what the Spirit is saying NOW in this moment and declare it and encourage each other with it and even challenge each other where it is needed.
The window of opportunity will only be open for a while - NOW is the time to listen and hear what God is saying. NOW is the time to speak out the message of a loving and powerful and risen Saviour.

Let's not put Him off to another day but let's choose today who we are going to serve.

Friday, 29 July 2011

What do we do?

What do we do when our heads and hearts become distracted by the cares and worries of this life?

What do we do when it's so difficult to hear and respond to God's voice because so many other voices have been given permission to be louder?

I have had a time when I've found those other voices overwhelming. Not because I've rebelling against God but just life itself has been allowed to be louder.

It becomes 'life in the red zone' and it's so easy to slip into a pace of life that is about pleasing everyone else and meeting the daily pressures, but ignoring the One who can help us through it all.

Just before he was thrown to the lions, Daniel's enemies found him praying and asking God for help – it was his normal experience to come before God three times a day despite the stressful position he had in Babylon and despite the opposition he constantly faced.

Daniel had aptitude for every kind of learning, was well informed, quick to understand and distinguished himself so much that the king was planning to set him over the whole kingdom (pressure!)

Yet Daniel did not fall back on his own abilities or fall out under the pressure but fell down before God and sought His help daily.

I have learnt some lessons through this:-

  1. 'get together' – I recently went to Lifegroup with some friends and found a refreshing as we talked together about prayer and studied the Word of God as a group – it revitalised me to be with others who love God and who also face life in all its ups and downs

  2. 're-align' – just because I can't reach the high expectations I set for myself don't give up. There are times when I will read 5 chapters a day and other times when 1 chapter is all I can manage. 10 minutes of crying out to God is better than ignoring Him because I can't do my usual 30 minutes.

  3. 'fix your eyes' – on Jesus but also on those who struggled in the faith. When Peter walked on water with his eyes on Jesus it was a 'high' that not many would experience, yet so quickly it turned into an all time 'low' as he became distracted by the wind and the storm. What happened? Did Jesus ignore him in his failure? No, Jesus reached out and lifted Him.

As a church we are busy. There are many ministries happening and great things are going on. People are passionate about serving Jesus and making a difference.

But let's not forget what Daniel and Job and Peter and countless others had to realise, and which I have realised many time over - that we are human and God is God, and without Him the centre will not hold.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Filled with the Holy Spirit (summary of Acts 2 talk)

Jesus said in Acts 1 "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

We need the Holy Spirit to touch our ministries.
So the great things that we are already doing FOR God can be anointed BY God and the things we are doing which are OF God will be done WITH God.

The Holy Spirit is for witnessing and to enable us to reveal Jesus to others as we are filled with Him.

The Holy Spirit is God and when we are filled with God everything else (moaning, complaining etc) gets out of the way because something greater has arrived in the person of the Holy Spirit.

We need to pray with anticipation and desperation just as the disciples did at Pentecost and the Holy Spirit will come, in His own time and in His own way.

We need a 1st hand experience of God - not just watch everyone else doing it.
As we are filled with the Holy Spirit we won't need to struggle or strive to be witnesses anymore because the Holy Spirit will overflow from us and when He does then we are:-

re-positioned and new things begin to happen

able to speak other languages - the languages of those around us. Our work colleagues, those we meet in the pubs and clubs, university lecturers and young people, whoever we think we can't speak to now - we will be able to speak to them as the Holy Spirit enables us.

part of something that attracts a crowd - church becomes interesting and noticed instead of something people see as irrelevant or obsolete

provocative! - people ask 'what does it mean?' - a great question and we have the answer in Jesus!

Without the Holy Spirit we cannot grow, witness, understand, experience joy or do anything to the full measure that God wants us to.
Yet when we are filled with the Holy Spirit all these things can be done and more!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Letter from Ellise

To my beautiful OCF family,
It's truly astonishing that a mere 8 months ago I had never had the pleasure of meeting any of you. Now I can't imagine life without you.
When I came to England I prayed and prayed that I would find a home away from home.
God answered my prayers in an unimaginable way.
He blessed me with all of you. Ormskirk Christian Fellowship is what God's fellowship is meant to be.
From the very beginning every single one of you has been so very welcoming and loving. I want to thank you for that.
It has been such a blessing to be a part of your family over the past year. I have loved getting to know you and seeing you grow as a church.
Your zeal for God and for His people is overwhelmingly beautiful. You have inspired me. Know that I go home refreshed and energized to live each day for God, as I have seen many of you do.
I have grown closer to Him in the past year than I have over my entire life.
Thank you all. God has influenced my life through you more than you will ever fully know.
I am so thrilled where God is leading OCF. He has grand plans for this church and this town.
I offer up my prayers and encouragement to each of you.
I can now appreciate the difficulties of living in a largely non-Christian community and pray for your continued strength. This place and the people desperately need God.
I have confidence that you will be paramount in their hearing and receiving of the Gospel.
Please keep me updated on your endeavors and successes!
You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Until me meet again!
All my love and God's blessings
Ellise Williams

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Knowing the will of God for your future

At this time of change for so many, whether through redundancy or coming to the end of a course or relationship, or regime change in Egypt, the question is - what next?

In Genesis 24 v1-27 we see some challenges that, if we truly determine to meet them, will draw us closer to the will of God for our lives.

  1. We must 'believe God' as Abraham did - in verse 1 of Genesis 24 it tells us that the Lord had blessed Abraham in every way. Abraham believed that God loved Him and wanted the best for him even in the middle of Abraham's failure and tests. Abraham continued to beleive even when he heard God tell him to sacrifice his son. Abraham continued to believe even when his wife didn't have the child that had been promised. Abraham continued to believe even when his wife was taken from him. Blessing does not depend on us but on God in us and for us (Romans 10 v12)
  2. Abraham knew the next steps because he knew and remembered what God had said. We too need to spend devoted lengths of time reading the Bible - it is a lamp and is alive and is active. The more we read it the more we will be able to discern the will of God. The word of God reveals the ways of God, the character of God and the trajectory of God's will.
  3. Follow the Holy Spirit and love Him. Patiently get to know Him and spend time with Him. Talk to Him as you go about your daily walk.
  4. Prayerfully watch - Genesis 24 v21 'without saying a word, the man watched her closely' - God answered his prayers in the midst of praying - as we pray and live in a constant place of prayer then God will answer our questions and guide us into HIs ways.
  5. The will of God for our lives is God - what is the next step for you? God - delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart - lean not on your own understanding but acknowledge Him - He will direct your paths.
Such basic challenges - the question now is will we do it?

Friday, 14 January 2011


Have you ever wondered why you are here?

Did the wise men wonder why here? Why now?

They simply followed and when they got to the stable they must have thought – why here? Why now?

The answer to why here, why now, why you is found in the gifts we can bring when we are walking close to God.

Gold announces the Messiah, it proclaims the rescuer-King: Jesus Christ. We need to bring the message of Gold to the society we live in, to the people we live and love amongst.

Myrrh is a gift of sacrifice: it speaks both of healing and of death – ultimately it’s fulfilment came at the cross – we too are called to carry our cross and be part of what God is calling us to do and to be for others.

But Frankincense is the main gift for here and now.

It is the gift we must bring no matter how hard the journey is in bringing it, no matter how far we have to come to bring it.

Frankincense is the gift for here and now, and you and I are being called to bring it.

It stands for intercession, a deep and determined connection with God.It stands for the prayers that go up from the saints into the heavenly places.

There are 3 things we need to understand about this gift:-

  1. Exodus 30 v34:.

Intercessory prayer comes from time at the Testimony.

The Testimony were the commands of God – the words of God from the mouth of God received by Moses in the presence of God.

Our intercession for our community must come from the same place – Frankincense is only Frankincense because of the tree it comes from. If it came from any other tree it wouldn’t be Frankincense.

Effective intercessory prayer comes from time at the Testimony – spending time with the commands and the words of God – no other tree will do.

Do we as a church have a word that we have found in the testimony that we are praying in and claiming for ourselves and our community? That we are allowing the Holy Spirit to wield for us in our intercession for those we are called to, here and now, to pray for.

  1. In Psalm 141 v2 the psalmist says: ‘May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice’ - prayer is intercession when it is in the presence of God: in the thin places, in the worship places, where God-encountering connections take place.

  1. In Revelation 8 we see the incense of the prayers of the saints on the altar before the throne of God. Intercessory prayer is not something we do to God or apart from Him or towards Him but with Him.

God does with our prayers what He wants. There is a process that happens that we offer our prayers and then leave it to God to move in His sovereign power.

Prayer is not wish fulfilment, intercessory prayer is not about always getting what we want, it is summoning the power of God to have His way and pour out His sovereign and majestic judgement. It is aligning our heart with His.

We can call on Aslan but we cannot contain Him, we cannot tame Him – all we can do is trust Him.

We are determined that this year we begin to truly pray – to join with other churches and begin to intercede for our community.

We now have a prayer room in the middle of Ormskirk which we are calling the boiler room and we will be having 24 hour prayer events there.

We have lifegroups to pray for each other and our mission fields.

We have a RiSE meeting at 9.45 every Sunday in E7 to prepare our hearts for encountering God.

We have Barnabas club where we will be words of God for each other.

We will be spending times seeking the power and leading of the Holy Spirit in prayer events in homes and venues around the area.

Prayer that comes from in front of the Testimony of God out of the presence of God in the power of God - for here and for now.