Sunday, 18 December 2011
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
Friday, 29 July 2011
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:-
'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
'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.
'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
Monday, 2 May 2011
Sunday, 13 February 2011
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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:-
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.
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.
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.