Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't Forget the Past!!

One of the most impacting sermons I've ever heard (and there are a few!) was by David Holden at Stoneleigh Bible Week 2000. He preached on the past, present and future and showed how each must be held responsibly in tension. He warned against living sentimentally in the past but not forgetting it. This sermon was even more impacting because a large group of us had come to Stoneleigh for the first time fresh from the dramatic changes at our home church in Dunstable. The eldership was relentlessly taking the church where they wanted it to go - into conservative reformed evangelicalism with no room for the Holy Spirit.

One of the most upsetting and concerning things to me was a decision the eldership made to erase the entire audio ministry of the church prior to 1991. Essentially everything that had a hint of the charismatic movement about it. I suggested to them (perhaps not very sensitively) that this reminded me of Nazi Germany and moves made to erase the past there. It didn't go down well! But it didn't change the decision. I decided then and there that I would devote my life to refusing to allow the past to be forgotten.

Much of my flat (and my extended library in my friend Pete Day's office) reflects this - books, magazines, audio tapes and now CD's - that speak of the great things that God has done in the past. Heeding Dave Holden's warning I don't want this to be a sentimental memory but an impetus to expect even greater things for the future. I don't want to go "back" to the charismatic days of Dunstable and the Anglia and Dales Bible Weeks (awesome though they were). I want so much more - I want everything the Bible promises! Promises of the nations flowing to Zion! Promises of Zion being a light to the world! Promises of the latter house being FAR greater than the former!

One of the framed pictures in my home is posted below - it reminds me not to forget how God can use great men and women to great purpose;

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