"Love constrained the Son of God to go to the Cross" - John Hosier
Thursday, July 30, 2009
"Love constrained the Son of God to go to the Cross" - John Hosier
Monday, July 27, 2009
Wednesday 8 July
Wednesday 8 July
Wednesday 8 July
Fini & Isi de Gersigny
Thursday 9 July
Thursday 9 July
Friday 10 July
Friday 10 July
Fini & Isi de Gersigny
Friday 10 July
Saturday 11 July
Saturday 11 July
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Awesome!! Get over to the website and get browsing - this is only going to grow!!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I've been unfortunately in some meetings where some (mostly male) worship leaders dominate the proceedings and make it all about them. They don't like being interupted even if God shows up and one in particular would look irritated if someone came to the microphone wanting to bring a prophecy or a tongue! Kate couldn't be further from that. I will never forget her leading at "Together on a Mission" 2007 when Rob Rufus was causing all sorts of chaos! Correction - God through Rob Rufus was causing all sorts of chaos! She loved it. You could see she didn't know what was happening but her God was present and that was all that matters.
My heart's desire is to get to go to Sydney one day soon and visit the church there where Peter Brookes is leading (another hero of mine!) and split my time somehow between Kate Simmonds, Darlene Zschech and Hillsongs and of course the wonderful Fini and Isi de Gersigny! What a blessed city! So here's the video clip;
This particular quote really stuck with me;
"How I would love to be remembered is ... as someone who loved God, loved people and help people know that they were loved".
Ryan Rufus's latest awesome book; "Sanctification by Grace" was so important in that respect because I believe the same passion grips his heart as Kate's. He wants to help people know that they are loved. And I think that is something that has become increasingly a burden to me. I've been in too many churches now for my liking where the leadership are too often focused on telling you that God is angry with you, that God is judging and watching you. How many like me remember the kind of poems our well-meaning parents would repeat to us? They often had a line like;
"And when we're good it pleases Jesus".
The unspoken implication being; "If you are bad then it makes Jesus angry and He'll 'get' you". Surely the cruelest thing that a church leader can ever do is to use threats such as; "We are casting you out to Satan". How far is that from the prodigal son account? The father who was watching anxiously for his son's return and came running down the road eagerly on his approach. I wonder how many church leaders would come running down the road if prodigals returned to church. My conviction is that many prodigals won't ever darken some church doors again because they are too scared about what will happen if they do. Even I - who have been in Christian and church life for 30 years - wouldn't go to some churches ever again.
No - I love this vision that is expressed by both Kate Simmonds and Ryan Rufus. To help people know that they are loved. What a thing to be remembered for!
Monday, July 20, 2009
What I didn't expect (maybe naively) was for that panic and fear to worm it's way through the Church. I took a fascinating but rather surprising question from someone in a church. They asked whether (based on guidance from the group of churches they belong to) - whether they should be pre-cutting up the communion loaf to limit the spread of potential infection. I did some research yesterday and I was increasingly surprised to find that this guidance is quite tame. Other churches are looking at sterile pre-packing wafers and a small goblet of wine. Other churches are banning communion altogether.
The most sensible advice I read was by a Lutheran minister in the USA who advices those with flu-like symptoms to stay at home until they are better but states that she will not stop sharing communion or shaking hands or hugging her congregation. This is precisely the advice that I gave - to me, taking the excessive step of pre-cutting the communion loaf is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. A Christian microbiologist did some research into what germs are in the communion communal cup and found some rather terrifying things. That being said, she concluded you stand more chance of catching something from your children at home than if you partook in communion every day.
Essentially the issue is this - someone with flu-like symptoms who potentially has swine flu should not be coming to church and sitting in close proximity with other worshippers for over an hour. If they are doing so then the flu virus will spread through their coughing and sneezing whether the communion loaf is pre-cut or not and whether each worshipper has pre-packed individual wafers and wine or not.
The Christian bloggers are of course busy debating whether this is the final wrath of God or not on the back of the economic collapse. What utter rubbish. What about the Black Death of centuries back? What about the seasonal flu pandemic of 1968 to 1970? God is not mad. He spent His wrath at the Cross and His Son cried; "It's done! It's finished!". Rather this is an opportunity. This is an opportunity for the Church to stop being afraid and to rise up and show the world that we are not afraid. This is in an opportunity to show the world that healing and signs and wonders really do exist now, right now and totday here in the 21st century.
What chance does swine flu have if the fire of God were to fall in response to the authoratative command of His people? Does He reign or doesn't He? Does He heal or doesn't He? If John G Lake could confidently take some infected saliva infested with bubonic plague in South Africa and put it on his skin and watch it die because of the anointing upon him, then why should swine flu stand any more chance?
Enough fear. Enough cutting up of communion bread. Stop! Do we believe or do we not? Does He reign or doesn't He?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
"New converts need to encounter not simply a series of meetings and events but a family dwelling together in love and light where grace is not simply ‘in the air’, but in personal relationships which communicate life, support and strength".
Saturday, July 11, 2009
The sessions will be made available here over the next few weeks. Here's a few bloggers that were there and were covering it;
Dave Bish wrote up an excellent summary post of what sounds like three outstanding messages from Terry Virgo. "Past, Present and Future". I will be doing my best to get hold of the DVD's of these sessions! I was especially encouraged by this statement;
"When we speak of being charismatic we say we are people who want to experience the Presence of God, knowing God actually is among us, who want our affections effected by Him and who eagerly desire the gifts that Christ and the Holy Spirit give to the church for her upbuilding. We are a charismatic people".
What better definition than that? It's not quite fashionable for many former charismatics to sneer at this term and speak of their "child-ish" days but now they have "grown up" and are into doctrine and theology. What utter rubbish. If anything it's more childish to reckon that there is something more spiritual about sitting with theology books than the very Presence of God! "Charismatic" needs a re-statement and it sounds like Terry has done an excellent job - as always. I'm sure there are many who would love to see Terry Virgo join the ranks of the "former charismatics" and begin courting him as a trophy for the cessationists. I'm glad that's not happening!
Phil Whittall - an elder from Shrewsbury Community Church wrote his posts here;
TOAM: Day 3 (the rest)
TOAM: Day 3 (so far)
TOAM: Day 2 (the rest)
TOAM: Day 2 (so far)
TOAM: Day 1
TOAM: Session 1
Off to Brighton
The Mobilise blog also followed the events from their side;
Together on a Mission day 1
Together on a Mission day 2
Together on a Mission day 3
Together on a Mission day 4
I was most excited to see that the CCK Life blog was also following the conference;
It seems clear to me that Terry Virgo's three sessions were one of the key points of the conference. I listened to his first session - "The Past" driving down to Bristol and it was truly amazing. Here's a couple of key quotes that stood out to me;
"The gospels promise the Holy Spirit is coming, the epistles write as though the Holy Spirit has come but Acts says how it happened.
This sounds so familiar to some excellent teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit that I learned at my home church in Dunstable. One of the common arguments often heard is that the baptism of the Spirit was limited to some promises in the Gospels and then the events in Acts. Stanley Jebb once wrote an article called "The Quiet Shout" documenting how the epistles are full of teaching about the baptism/sealing of the Spirit. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones taught the same - the epistles write to a people who have received this down-payment from on high!
Back to Terry:
We will never understand how the New Testament church grew without having the dynamic of the Presence of the Holy Spirit - it is absolutely vital.
It is not whether you are worthy - it is whether He is glorified".
One final but rather unique perspective on the Brighton conference. Nigel Ring is well-known and well-loved in Newfrontiers circles as the administrator of their conferences and often faces the unenviable task of choosing when to interupt the flow of heavenly worship to bring those much-hated essential part of all services - the notices. He writes here about a breakfast meeting to keep the conference running smoothly - something not seen but much appreciated;
Monday, July 06, 2009
"Men wouldn’t die for something they had not experienced first-hand. These men were willing to die, to be burnt alive and crucified upside down for this One because they had seen Him. You don’t go and steal a body and hide it in a secret grave somewhere, claim He is resurrected and then be prepared to die for that. There was no money gained for them – only martyrdom and suffering and death.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
"... there is some biblical justification for a moderate typological approach. But the danger of this hermeneutic is that of thinking that the relationship between the believer and God is highly emotional or even erotic".
He then goes on to state that it is "safer" to "the straightfoward and explicit admonitions of the NT". Dave responds;
"So Gledhill says a moderate typology is fine, but we're to abandon it because:
a) we might take it too far, but can we not restrain ourselves? And what if we permit ourselves to ask whether a less cautious hermeneutic might be fruitful? I'm not saying be wreckless, but let's not run scared. Sounds like an argument for abstinence from alcohol for risk of drunkeness...
b) the NT gives us 'straightfoward' words but Matthew Henry suggests: "when the meaning is found out, it will be of admirable use to excite pious and devout affections in us; and the same truths which are plainly laid down in other scriptures when they are extracted out of this come to the soul with a more pleasing power" Can we not have poetic theology?
c) it's prone to excessive allegoratization, but it's ok for Mark Driscoll to follow Gledhill's lead and interpret the foxes as sexual temptation? Excesses all round I guess, but might we miss some of the riches if we pass over details?I appreciate there are dangers, but I think Gledhill over reacts. Given he concedes there is some basis for this typological approach it seems a shame to throw away the opportunity for this book to testify about Christ and the church for fear of getting carried away with it. I accept it's possible to over-read the text, but perhaps we're more likely to under-read it...".
I don't think I need add anything to this outstanding rebuttal. Once again the danger of no use because of overuse - when rather we should be holding to right use. Fantastically written and I urge you to follow Dave's blog and his teaching.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
The words are just pure grace!
"That we might be the righteousness of God! ... It's our time to arise! I am not ashamed ... I know I am changed and all You've given me - this hope, this love, this life - I can't deny Your power within me! So here I am send me! ... Be reconciled to God - Your favour is here! Now is the time - let Your glory arise!".
It reminded me so much of Rob Rufus's absolutely AWESOME song he sung in Hong Kong last year. So often gospel preaching is talking about the anger of God and that salvation is from His wrath. And yes there was an aspect to that - but the Cross finished that! His wrath is done! His wrath is spent! So our message to Hong Kong, to Birmingham, to London and the world should be;
"Turn your hearts to Me! Turn away from misery! Turn away from unbelief! Turn away from every offence! Turn away from all bitterness and turn to Me your God! For I am turning the hearts of the city of Hong Kong! ... This is your day! This is your hour! Let's cry out to Hong Kong! He doesn't visit you with judgement or rejection - He is pouring out His glory on you Hong Kong! He is pouring His glory and grace! Fathers will find their sons and sons their fathers!".
Oh let our message ring out to the lost. Favour is here! This is the time! This is the hour! Let ALL come and find salvation!
Ryan's two incredible books; "Sanctification by Grace" (that I've just finished reading for the tenth time!) and "Do Christians Still Have a Sinful Nature?" are available there along with ...
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
This book was different. I've not read anything by David Shearman although I've heard of him. I was wandering around Wesley Owen on my lunch hour and saw the title;
But then I also happened to be reading through my most recent copy of Evangelicals Now that I get and was interested to read an article by E M Hicham on "Receiving Muslim Converts?". He is a Muslim evangelist and writes with that as his focus but some of his comments gripped me;
"There is perhaps no more baffling, unsolved problem than the care of the new convert ... our churches need to receive converts from Islam with open arms and to share in their trials ... many local churches are often unwilling to receive Muslim converts for fear of the consequences ...
Such cowardliness and faithlessness are inexcusable. Do we have any idea of what conversion may mean for a Muslim? Do we realise the cost for any Muslim who wants to be a disciple of Jesus? ... Shall we give them a cold shoulder because our own comfort and complacency may be threatened?
I cannot conceive of any justifiable circumstance where a local church could refuse to extend a warm hand of fellowship to a convert brother from Islam and I have little doubt that wherever this does occur, it will be nothing less than the church's concern about its own vested interests that will be the root cause of it.
For a local church to reject a brother or sister in order to protect it's own security is to surely anger God".
He then goes on to discuss his view that Muslim converts must make a complete break from Islam and join the local church but honestly admits he has no easy answers. For someone who lives in Birmingham with such a high cosmopolitan community I have often thought the same. The church has many evangelists looking to reach converts. But does the church have apostles and prophets who are building grace foundations in those churches to receive the converts and disciple them when they come?
A key Newfrontiers prophecy is "It is too small a thing for you to restore the house" and goes on to address that the heart must be reaching the lost and indeed that must be so. But the house must be still built properly at the same time! For a house built without proper foundations surely will never reach the heady heights it was meant to.
I found while I was reading the article in Evangelicals Now that my heart and my thoughts went to the issue of reaching people with same sex orientations with the Gospel of grace. Surely the very same issues face them! For instance;
1. Our churches need to receive converts with same sex attractions with open arms and share in their trials - most specifically we are asking them to live a life of celibacy.
2. Many local churches are unwilling to receive converts (maybe not for fear of consequences) but because of their own prejudices.
3. Such cowardliness and faithlessness surely is also just as inexcusable as not receiving Muslim converts.
4. Do we have any idea of what conversion may mean for someone with a same sex attraction?
5. Shall we give them a cold shoulder because our own comfort and complacency may be threatened?
It is rather sad that the very same issue of Evangelicals Now does indeed mention homosexuality but only to bemoan the fact that the new Equality Bill coming through Parliament will soon mean that churches must employ gay youth workers. I can't imagine many gay youth workers who would actually want to work in a lot of churches - but I wish that the same issues would be discussed and challenged for the many tens of thousands of gay men and women sitting on our doorstep who surely need to hear the same gospel of grace as Muslims.
How many church elders and pastors have sat down and discussed how best to care for - say two lesbians who are converted as a couple and come into the church and welcome them with open arms and see them discipled? If there are churches out there that do this - then praise God! But my experience of spending my entire known life in church is somewhat different and sadder.
The spreading flame of the gospel means that sooner or later all nations and all people groups will come - so this issue must be faced one day and one day soon. Maybe that is why the tidal wave of glory and revival hovers on the horizon still. Are we ready for what's coming?