Sunday, July 09, 2006

Together on a Mission - Day 2 - Session 3.

Hearing David Holden is always a highlight of any Newfrontiers conference - this year was an exception ... He was one of THE highlights for me! His message was just superb and I so desperately pray that the truths he enunciated will pay dividends in my church and the other Newfrontiers family for years to come.

Here again are the transcripts of my notes - I couldn't decide what to leave out!

2 Corinthians 3:3-6 - "Being Ministers of the Spirit".

"We are in danger of passivity when it comes to the Spirit ... thinking that something will replace Him. 3 key seasons of the Spirit in our lifetime. 1. The Charismatic Renewal. An outpouring of the Holy Spirit on traditional Christianity. A discovery of the gifts of the Spirit. 2. John Wimber. The first awareness of the tangible Holy Spirit as a Person. 3. 1994-95. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit from Toronto. Much phenomenon! God was trying to get us to loosen up and become channels of Him.

What do you do when you are not in one of those stages?

It is terrible to look back with nostalgia at the past moves of the Spirit. Just as terrible as to become passive - or lazy. The results of our ministry is a ministry of the Spirit that is even more glorious than that of Moses! This ministry will result in righteousness (v4). It will result in revelation (v12-16). It will result in freedom and liberty and will transform others (v18). We who have receieved the Spirit can now give the Spirit!

But you can only give what you have.

The minister of the Spirit must be constantly filled with the Spirit whatever the season. Are you receiving much of the Spirit these days? We must have more of Him rather than less - especially in Europe!

1. Actively pursuing and promoting the things of the Spirit.

(Acts 1) "Wait" - this is not a passive stance. (Acts 2) The Spirit comes! From this moment on, everything is in mobility - even in regard to the Spirit. There was a deliberate positive promotion of the Spirit. In the Epistles there is constant reference to the Spirit. These men were ministers of the Spirit who knew that He is key to everything!

"The reason Newfrontiers exists is because of an experience of the Holy Spirit" (John Hosier).

This is surprising! Not our commitment to Ephesians 4 ministries, or even our commitment to church initially but an experience of the Spirit. If we have begun in the Spirit, and are trying to continue in the Spirit - then guess where we are going? In the Spirit! Our own experience of the Holy Spirit should make us want to get everyone to experience Him.

2. Introduce people to the Spirit of God.

If you believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is fundemental to every Christian life, then you are compelled to take action. Are people receiving the Holy Spirit? We must be proactive in praying for; 1. New converts. 2. Our children and young people. They need an encounter with Him! 3. From other backgrounds. Is anyone asking - did you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit when you believed? What can we do?

i) Teach the baptism of the Holy Spirit again and again.
ii) Ask the Acts 19:2 question again and again.
iii) Lay hands on people!

3. An on-going dependency on the Spirit in every aspect of Christian life.

Are we really representing Ephesians 2:2 - a dwelling place place for God in the Spirit? What is the point of new wineskins without the wine? If He left - would anyone notice? Or would we carry on exactly as we had done before? We need tensions of Word and Spirit - of well-ordered and spontaneous to make church truly work!

Terry Virgo's prophecy on change proves that God doesn't want us to become well-ordered and predictable. Paul never bans contributions due to excess! (14:33). Is it a question of limiting tongues in your church to 2 or 3? Or are you having to ask when did we last have one?

We cannot deprive people of the power of God!


jul said...

I love this stuff so much. Thanks for your careful and detailed accounts. Though it's not like being there, it certainly is a little like being there!

Mark Heath said...

I got the CD so I'm looking forward to hearing this one. Dave Holden is one of my favourite speakers too.

Not sure we can really credit John Wimber with being the first person to realise that the Holy Spirit is a person though!

Don said...

This is absolutely wonderful. More, Lord!

Baxter's Boy said...

I'm so glad this is proving a help to people! I can't claim the pin point accuracy of Mark I'm afraid. I did go with the intention of wanting to "live blog" but I just got so carried away in the conference and couldn't quite face typing after each session! I rather needed to go to the amazing Brighton beach and just muse on the amazing wonder that is our God!!

Yes that's a good point Mark - I don't think Wimber had the monopoly on personalising the Spirit! It did get me wondering though whether the danger of the Charismatic Movement was that the focus became on the Spirit's baptism and the Spirit's gifts - because they were the things that were restored at that time. And as a result people did begin saying things like "I received the baptism in 1975". "Have you received the baptism?". "You HAVEN'T received the baptism?!!?". "What gift do you have?". And so on and so on! All footage to upset Stackhouse of course!

Wherever it came from I am so grateful that the emphasis from Brighton was on the Person of the Spirit and the fact that He points us to Christ.

tigger said...

'Lay hands on people!'

Okay! I know, I know that this is a huge bit of proof texting but...

1 Timothy 5:22 'Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands...'

I recognise that we are discussing different contexts (i.e. the early church versus the restorationist version ;-) but....) within the early church, the laying on of hands was:

a) Sacramental and thus conferred Grace (i.e. mediated the Holy Spirit)
b) Reserved for use by the leaders of the church and for the purpose of ordaining someone into a role within the church (certainly the context which Paul is discussing in the above quoted passage, but also again see 2 Timothy when Paul discusses Timothy's 'ordaining').

The roles (or orders) were:

-Clergy (Bishop/Priest('elder') and Deacon)
-Laity (the people)

Incidentally this laying of hands upon the laity by the leadership(actually the bishop/elder) was a 'baptising with the Spirit' so nothing new there either then!


Baxter's Boy said...

I think that 1 Timothy 5:22 is very interesting. It was a verse that I noticed when the elders in my home church were attempting to argue for cessationism - i.e the gifts had ceased and were not to be used. So I tried a bit of reverse argument.

Why would Paul say don't be hasty in the laying on of hands ... IF nothing happened when you laid hands on someone anyway? I mean - if the baptism of the Spirit was received non-experientially and automatically at conversion, and there were no gifts to be conferred - then whats the bother?

I realise that I am avoiding the context of the verse, but I think this verse actually fits into the flow of Rob Rufus's argument at Brighton. That something does happen when we lay hands on fellow believers and pray for them.

Which is why Paul makes it quite clear that we mustn't be hasty. Because if we let just anyone lay hands on us, then damage might be done. This is something I suspect is addressed within the Newfrontiers boundaries because it is not a free-for-all when ministry time is invited. Only ministry team and elders come to pray for people.

So I would actually support what you've written Richard! I think the laying on of hands should indeed be reserved for leaders. I wonder if the Newfrontiers team would support that too - particularly as it was a leaders conference that we were at??

tigger said...

Hi Dan,

I completely agree with you that something happens when hands are 'laid on'.

In fact the laying on of hands is a 'sacrament'. Go to my blogsite and you'll see a recent post all about 'sacramentality'.

Within Woodside church, however, everyone and anyone was 'allowed' and happy to lay a hand on someone for prayer. It wasn't something that was only restricted to the elders/overseers - so I would challenge that NFI see 'hands laying' in quite the hierarchial way I am describing ;-)

However, I think there is a world of difference between laying a hand on someone (as an expression of empathy during intercessory prayers) and 'laying on of hands' ordination-style and maybe the distinction has become blurred within charismatic/evangelical thinking?

Hope you're well!


Baxter's Boy said...

Hey Richard!

Thanks for that - I do apologise for writing in such a broad way! I guess my experience of Newfrontiers has been limited to Stoneleigh, Brighton, Church of Christ the King and my church in Bristol - not the hugest sweep and I guess there are variances indeed with what is expressed from the main platform at Brighton.

That is a really interesting distinction that you draw between an expression of love and support and the ordination style. I think a valid distinction most definately! Can it be wrong to lay a hand on a friends shoulder if you are praying for them in a personal situation where they are needed the touch of a friend? Surely not.

But I think you would agree that maybe we should be a bit clearer and draw the lines a bit more definately in the midst of our "charismatic grace!" and define why we are laying hands on people - especially in a community context.

V v interesting! Thanks again!!