Monday, September 26, 2011

I love the Prophetic!

I was so incredibly blessed to read this prophetic song that was shared last Sunday from my old church in Bristol - Grace Church Bristol - by an old friend Angi who is the worship leader there. The song lyrics really hit home directly to where I am at at the moment.

It's great that the prophetic can bless others in a greater sphere than the local church! Here is what she felt God tell her;

Sunday 25th September 2011

Prophetic Song for those Struggling with Doubt.

"I hear your cry, I see your tears in the night
You are weak and you wonder why
You feel alone but I am with you

So let my grace, let my grace be enough
Find your strength in me the solid rock
for my power never ends

For I am the God who draws near unto
Those who call on me
I welcome you to my throne of grace
To find help in times of need

I hear your cry, my promised good you cannot see
Your situation’s not what you want it to be
But it’s my design and sovereignty

So let my peace, let my peace bring calm to your soul
In stormy trials I won’t let you go
Rest in the shadow of my wings

For I’m the God who heals the brokenhearted
I stoop down to seek the lost
I’ve shown my love and compassion for you

In the mercy of the cross
I’m the father to the fatherless
The defender of the weak
Always watching over you
Put your trust in me

So lift you eyes to me your Coming King
Lift your heart and voice to sing
Hope in my love that’s unfailing
I’m the sustainer of everything
I’m your God, trust in me"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vision of Church!

I am always on the hunt for faith-building definitions of church. In this day and age there seems to be so much to affect our belief in the Bride of Christ. Denominations make much of changing of a name (confusing to me!). Others downgrade their once held positions. It's vital to hold to a Word-based expression that inevitably leads to glorious reaching of the lost.

"Sadly, many churches in the UK struggle to catch this vision. The reason, I believe, has to do with their foundations. Many are built fundamentally on pastoral foundations. This means that the leaders of these churches see it as their duty to only care for ‘their people’, not necessarily to be released to go and reach new people. Members of this kind of church see having their needs met as the primary reason for being in the church. If this doesn’t happen then they become easily disappointed. They may well even leave and go and find another church in the hope that they might do a better job! They may even object when the church starts to grow, realising that the more people there are, the less likely it is that attention will be given to them!

If, however, your church is built on apostolic, prophetic foundations as described for example in Ephesians 2:19-22, your church has at its very root a passion to be sent and to send. In other words, we exist not only to meet the needs of our existing members, but to constantly desire to go and meet the needs of those who are not yet a part of us".

Oh for more churches with this apostolic/prophetic foundations!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The SGM Saga Rumbles on ...

So the latest in this less-than-God-glorifying saga is as follows apparently from Brent Detweiler;

For those who don't have the time or inclination to follow the link, briefly a meeting was set up between C J Mahaney and Josh Harris "with their advisors" to attempt reconciliation. We were told (I believe) that this period is for C J himself to "consider" his own sins. Apparently he has time to air his grievances against his young protegee.

It's a pricey business - this resolving of disputes;

Mediation costs around $150 an HOUR. Money which could be spent on furthering the gospel, helping out dying children in the Third World. And so on. I am reminded of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians to a similar people who were taking their fellow Christians to court because they couldn't settle their disputes;

1 Corinthians 6:5 “I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers?”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm a Published Author!

I know this doesn't have much to do with theology or Kingdom or the usual charismatic historical blogs I normally publish - but it's something I am very personally excited about. I have just had my first article published in medical journal on vaccinations/immunisations.

Long term readers may know that for a couple of years I worked outside of my normal clinical area and focused on Emergency Planning and especially H1N1 (Pandemic Swine Flu). The hospital authorities didn't know whether the H1N1 virus would be more serious than it eventually turned out to be (even though I still feel the death toll was too much for a preventable disease). So my role was to support the nursing staff on the wards with care of H1N1 positive patients alongside working with Microbiologists to prevent impact of the virus.

Another key role was to coordinate the immunisation campaign of all healthcare workers at the hospital. Traditionally the uptake of vaccination of healthcare workers is quite poor. For whatever reason, nurses don't like being told they have to have a flu vaccine. However for the two years I led the campaign we had an outstanding response - from around 90 to 98%.

I wrote the article with some thoughts on why we had such success - and I was interested to see that another article in the journal was by a senior immunisation doctor in the Department of Health - who had also noticed our results and took a more national perspective.

So there it is ... I wonder if I will ever fulfill my dream and have something published in the Christian world on Ern Baxter or Kingdom principles?!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Calling for a New Charismatic Resurgence!!

I've been having a fantastic chat with two former members of my home church in Dunstable about the "coming upon" of the Spirit over on Facebook - provoked by Alex Buchanan's wonderful ministry. Not everyone is aware that during his unique ministry, Alex was a co-pastor at our church in Dunstable and actually dedicated me as a baby. Alex was more famous for his prophetic ministry as a "pastor to pastors" with people such as Terry Virgo and R T Kendall.

I was reflecting on the current life of the charismatic empowering gifts in the local church and it seems to me that once again there has been polarising in the church (especially in the UK). Classic "charismatic" churches have happily settled down into what is "normal" seeing a few manifestations on a Sunday. Cessationist churches most certainly do not. And "open but cautious" churches accept the concept of the charismatic but I guess rarely see it. There is rarely (I think) the "heavenly divine intervention" of spiritual gifts where non-believers are profoundly affected to the point of falling down and saying; "Truly God is among you!".

John Piper wrote famously; "Mission exists because worship does not".

It seems to me that churches are pouring resources into mission - when no one seems to be examining the desperate need for a revival of life, of a charismatic resurgency in our churches - seeing God in the risen Jesus Christ walking among His churches. 2006 and 2007 were years of some excitement and anticipation for me personally among other friends - Rob Rufus's presence at the Brighton conferences here in the UK seemed to suggest that God was moving in this country.

I began to collate a post on the "Spirit of God" blog called "A List of Online Resources for the Charismatic Resurgence". I have loved re-reading it - it reminded me of so much encouraging material I wrote with friends back in those times! The actual post was inspired by my friend Jesse Phillips - an SGM pastor in Florida - who asked the question;

"... if blogs could contribute to a reformed resurgence, could not the blogosphere also contribute to a charismatic resurgence, particularly by increasing people's faith for gifts such as prophecy, faith, miracles or healing?".

In his excellent book, "The Tide is Turning!" - Terry Virgo wrote;

"On the whole we too have grown up in a generation that has not seen the mighty acts of God as our forefathers did. We have not seen revivals during which thousands flock into the churches to get right with God. Unlike our fathers we have not known whole towns change, with demonstrations of power and incredible manifestations of the glory of God. The majority of our generation knows nothing of these things so we may closely identify with the Israel of Gideon's day".

One of the reasons I love drawing people in my parent's generation out about the events in their days - the life that they saw in the 1970's and 1980's was because it is faith-building! It reminds us that God can and does intervene in life! Just because we do not see the mighty acts of God directly here in the UK at the moment - does NOT mean that He cannot and does not do it! Yet so many Christians adapt their theology to meet their experience and as a result our faith drops.

My dearest pastor friend Pete Day wrote this in a blog post;

"I would encourage anyone who God prompts to begin to contribute to the charismatic resurgence! Let's fan the flame in each other's hearts and fan the flame for revival".

I am challenged and would like to re-devote this blog to doing exactly that and "fanning the flame for revival". Of course my other concerns and interests remain - such as my friends in Sovereign Grace and the troubles they are going through - but revival surely must be our primary concern and (as Dr Lloyd-Jones said); "The greatest need of the hour".

Monday, September 05, 2011

Alex Buchanan on the Song of Solomon

I am always on the hunt for positive and encouraging insights into the Song of Solomon - a favourite Book of the Bible to me. Through a conversation on Facebook I have been having today with a friend and fellow member of my home church in Dunstable, I have been drawn to Alex Buchanan's website and found a downloadable book on his insights into this great book.

"I regard the Book as a wonderful illustration of the relationship between Jesus and His Bride. Between God and Christians. It is a love story, but as we read on we will realise that, although it is romantic, it is also demanding and at times dangerous.

The themes are -

The strong love between bride and groom, i.e. the Shulammite woman and the shepherd -

His utter faithfulness and her relative faithfulness – she failed hin twice.

His jealous love, and loving anger (ch5:6).

The seduction of the world and the flesh (assurance of and trusting in our own resources)

The dangers of the unequal yoke. Supposing the woman had married the king and not the Shepherd! It would be like a Christian marrying a non- Christian contrary to what the Bibe says.
No need for inhibitions. What is wrong with speaking of sexual union in a pure context? The Bible is frank and wholesome in it’s treatment of sex. After all, God invented it!

Personally my greatest passion is to know God better than I do and to be more like Him than I am. The Song of Solomon has been a great help to me in realising my ambition. I still have a long way to go – but I am going! I hope more than anything else that this Book will help some to be more deeply in love with God, and therefore more obedient to his commandments".

I am looking forward to reading more!