Tuesday, 22 December 2009
1) Life changing trip to Bethel in February - Revelation of God's goodness; Sozo; Impartation (I'm hoping to go back for more in 2010!)
2) Provision of my good friend Becky to take over leadership of Innovation (King's Arms youth group) She has done an amazing job and Innovation continues to grow from strength to strength
3) Starting up of TSM - Training for Supernatural Ministry. Basically my dream job! It has been an absolutely incredible first term!
4) Provision of incredible friends and deeper healing in my heart to allow me to be me -I feel the most free to be and enjoy who God has made me to be at this point than at any other time!
5) God's Kingdom breaking out (both in the church and out on the streets) - Healings, deliverance, salvation, peace, joy, His presence...It just keeps increasing!
6) Discovering Costa (specifically Vanilla Lattes!)
Obviously 2009 has had its highs and lows. I have had to work through some really tough times in the midst of the joy of breakhrough and freedom...and I continue to do so. The amazing thing is that because my heavenly Dad is always working for my good, He has always brought good out of every circumstance. There are still goals that haven't yet been fulfilled (I still long to see cancer and deafness and blindness submit to the name of Jesus) But I feel increasing courage to go after these conditions. It is only a matter of time.
Most of all I'm grateful for how my relationship with the lover of my soul has changed this year. As we approach the end of 2009 I feel so much closer to my God than I did at the beginning. Now, more than ever, it feels like a relationship. I've recieved life changing revelation this year of who He is and who He says I am and I will never be the same because of it. I end 2009 being more like Jesus than when it began, That can only be a good thing!
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
One of my highlights happened along the waterfront in the freezing cold. Nothing 'outstanding' took place, but I was reminded again of how incredible God is at bringing clues together at just the right time and how He has such a brilliant sense of humour. I think God loves treasure hunting because His kids are totally dependent on Him and He gets to blow their brains!
So one of the clues I had was yellow coat. As we were waking along the waterfront, up ahead I spotted an older chap cycling towards us wearing a very bright yellow coat. I pointed him out to the team and then we spent the next few minutes trying to decide whether or not we should stop him - would it be too dangerous to try and stop him as he was cycling? He was moving pretty slowly so it could be done, but would it bless him?? He was literally a few metres away from us when I made the call that it would be too dangerous to try and stop him so we decided to move on. That's when God broke in.
I kid you not, as the chap in the yellow coat got directly next to where we were he slammed on his breaks and stopped to watch a flock of birds taking off from the water - UNBELIEVABLE!! God clearly wanted us to speak to this man and as we did we found a whole load of clues that showed us he was God's treasure; He attended St Margaret's church; He had problems with his knees; his name was Bob. As it turns out he didn't want any prayer, but he left feeling blessed and we left feeling very encouraged. Being in relationship with God is so much fun.
One team during the course of the afternoon had an incredible encounter with a bunch of teenagers where they saw God break in to heal 6 or 7 conditions in one hit! Listen to Nicky share the full story here.
(The journey back to Bedford was lots of fun too. We were playing the animal game in our car and I won! For more details about the game and how to lose all your points speak to my friend Ruth :o))
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
I felt He gave me a few words but one was particularly specific. He showed me someone who suffered with regular blackouts - about 2-3 times a week - that meant they weren't able to drive. When it came time for words of knowledge to be given at the end of the service I shared what God had given me and waited, but no-one responded. That is until I was praying for people right at the end of the meeting!
A girl I'd not seen before came up to me with her friend. She said she wasn't sure that she was the person God wanted to speak to because she doesn't really suffer with blackouts any more but when I asked her for details it was clear to me that she was the one God was picking out. It turned out that when she was in her teenage years she suffered from a-typical migraines which would lead to her having blackouts. These would take place about 2-3 times a week and meant that when it came time for her to learn to drive she wasn't able to (which was a big deal for her because she lived in a village and was desperate to be able to get about)
What was even more fun for me was that this was her first time visiting the King's Arms. She'd just moved back to Bedford from Cambridge and has been in and out of church for the last little while. She'd never experienced anything like this before and had come along that evening to see if this could be a place she could see herself getting involved. God picked her out - I'm fairly confident she'll be back!
And the next lesson for me in growing in my gift? Be asking God if the specifics of the word are happening right now or if what I'm seeing happened in the past. We'll see what next week brings!
Saturday, 28 November 2009
During the day on the Thursday at TSM I'd been teaching on how to grow in the prophetic and had talked about the importance of stepping out and taking risks. I love the fact (most of the time!) that when you teach on stuff you often then have to model what you've taught. One of the words of knowledge I felt that God gave me was a street address; 42 Victoria ___?___ (I couldn't decide if it was road or drive - neither really felt right) When I told a good friend of mine he suggested that I start the evening at the women's conference by bringing this word. My immediate reaction - FEAR! So I decided it would be a good thing to do!
So I brought the word and was totally blown away when a lady responded who lived in Victoria Gardens! She didn't live at number 42 but somehow that really didn't matter anymore. I got to prophesy over her about being royalty and having influence and she was moved to tears as God spoke into her situation. Wow!
I brought a couple of other words at the end of my talk. One about a frozen right shoulder which had restricted movement. A lady in the front row responded and I called a 13 year old girl to pray for her (I'd already prophesied over the girl about being used by God in a mighty way) After two bursts of prayer the shoulder was completely healed with full restoration of movement and no pain!
The other word of knowledge God gave me in the worship and was to do with someone who didn't have the ability to smell. To my surprise 3 woman responded. Later I heard that one of the women was also unable to taste but she had come to the meeting expectant of her healing armed with a bag of cola bottle sweets to test it out after prayer. Sure enough after she was prayed for and stuffed the cola bottle sweets into her mouth with excitement she discovered that she was completely healed! Yay God!
Thursday, 26 November 2009
When he came to small group on Tuesday night (the day after this blood test was taken) he told us that if his blood levels didn't improve dramatically he wouldn't be able to have the surgery that he so desperately wanted. He's been living with a poor quality of life for a while now - not being able to walk anywhere without having pain in his chest and taking ages to walk short distances due to shortage of breath. The last thing he wanted was for this operation to be postponed. So we prayed!
Apparently there's an ideal level for blood clotting and therefore having an operation. We didn't know what it was but knew that God did (since He created it!) So we commanded my friend's blood levels to reduce immediately to the level they needed to be. We knew he was heading back to the hospital the next day for a further check up - we were looking for an instant breakthrough.
So, I got a text earlier today. My friend had gone to the hospital and the consultant had given him another blood test to check his blood levels. When the result came back the consultant was totally blown away. The blood levels had gone down to 2.6 within 24 hours of the first blood test result. The consultants response, 'this doesn't happen!' As it turns out my friend also found out the ideal level for blood clotting and therefore having an operation...you guessed it; 2.6! God had not only lowered my friend's blood levels, He had lowered them to exactly the right count! My friend is now miraculously all set for his operation next week. COME ON!
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
I went to Stamford with some friends of mine to minister to a church there. In the prayer time before the meeting I felt God give me 5 words of knowledge, 2 of which were pretty specific. As it got towards the end of the night I got to share what I felt God had given me. Here's what God did:
1) Someone in serious debt - Had the amount £30,000: An older couple responded and we got to pray for them for financial provision from God. I think this time I got the amount wrong, but God brought encouragement and grace to this precious couple who were counting the cost of supporting a troubled son.
2) Someone who used to do ballet who now suffered with bad ankles: No-one responded to the ballet part but we did get to pray for a lady with bad ankles
3) Someone who had only 40% lung efficiency: No-one responded to this at the time, but as we were praying for people later on a girl was 'dragged' over by her boyfriend. She used to be a dancer but has a condition that's basically eating away at all her muscles. The most recent part of her body to be affected were her lungs.
4) Someone who was feeling fearful about their womb area: A young mum reponded saying she'd been ill at the weekend and the doctors thought she may have a cyst on one of her ovaries. She was fearful it would affect her ability to have more children. We got to command healing to her womb and ovaries - she has further tests on Monday.
5) Someone for whom March 2007 was a really tough and painful time: A lady responded saying that March 2007 was the time that her marriage started to break down - her husband has recently filed for a divorce. We got to minister God's love and peace to her.
When I met with PJ (an Elder in our church) a few months ago, one of the challenges he set me was to fail miserably at least three times when bringing words of knowledge from the front of church. In other words, to really go out on a limb with specifics. The fun thing is that I have absolutely nothing to lose because my identity is secure in Jesus. What risks are you taking?
Sunday, 8 November 2009
For a while now I've felt stirred to pray for people I see around the town on crutches. As we were going treasure hunting I thought I might as well put crutches on my map and I felt God specifically talk to me about a knee injury. As we were nearing the end of our hunt we spotted a lady walking on crutches wearing a red coat. She stopped to chat to a friend by a wall and so we decided we'd go over and chat to her.
As we explained what we were doing, the lady on the crutches seemed very open and interested. It turns out that she'd already been stopped by another one of our teams who had already prayed for her. As we were going through other clues on our maps she told us that she knew we were from the King's Arms. I hadn't recognised her, but it turned out that she was the lady from Russell Park Baptist who had come along to the King's Arms a few months ago to share how God had healed her of near blindness (listen to her story here)
Ann was on crutches because she'd broken some bones in her foot and they weren't healing properly - her friend owned up to having the bad knees! She'd been on her feet all day and was in a lot of pain. As we looked more closely we could see that she wasn't putting any weight on her left leg. We proceeded to pray for healing for both ladies. (What was also fun was that I had the name William on my map. We found out that Ann's boyfriend is called William and her friend had been caring that very morning at work for two men, both called William!)
So we prayed - short and simple prayers. Ann's friend said she felt something shoot through her knee. As we encouraged her to move it she said the pain had reduced from 9.5 to 2. As we prayed again, the pain completely disappeared! Come on Jesus! Meanwhile Ann felt a vibration in her foot after prayer - we're waiting to hear what God has done there. Ann's friend; a pre-Christian (this is how Bethel refer to unbelievers and I love it!) was understandably totally blown away. We were able to tell her that God had picked her out and healed her because she was incredibly precious to Him. She was visibly moved. God is so good!
(Since this encounter, at the ladies day I was involved with in Chelmsford, I've prayed for two more women with knee problems and both have been healed. If you're reading this and you need healing in your knees...recieve it now in Jesus' name!)
Saturday, 7 November 2009
I had the clues Body Shop and Pain in Stomach. As we stood outside the Body Shop in town deciding who it was we should speak to, we noticed that all three Body Shop employees were standing together in the shop chatting - there we no customers and so we decided to see if they were the treasure.
We explained what we were doing and started going through the clues on our maps - the women were very open to chat. I got to my pain in stomach clue and one of the employees swiftly raised her hand to indicate that was her. As it turns out, she'd been to the hospital that very morning to have a blood test to see why she was having pain in her stomach...WOW!
We offered to pray - after a moments thought, she said no and we didn't push it - I'd love to know what goes on in people's heads when God picks them out in such a specific way! As we were leaving we asked them about how business was. They said it wasn't good and so we told them as we left we would pray for God's favour on the Body Shop. They seemed very grateful and blessed by the time we spent with them. We were really aware of God's presence in the shop as we spoke. Here's to business at the Body Shop being turned around to the glory of God! I intend to go back often to pray for blessing...feel free to join me!
Thursday, 29 October 2009
That's certainly been my experience at conferences I've attended, where people have come along hungry and expectant for the goodness of God to be poured out. Guess what? That's exactly what's happened. Again and again, lives get changed; bodies get healed; broken hearts are restored. It's just amazing. When I went to Bethel earlier this year I was totally blown away by the corporate expectation there of the goodness of God. Everyone seemed to be utterly convinced that God was going to be very good all the time - after all, He's ALWAYS in a good mood! What we're expecting is so important. And so God seems to have me on a bit of a personal journey regarding my expectations. I hope that what He teaches me will, in turn, have an impact on the King's Arms as well as churches elsewhere. I'll keep you posted!
For the time being I feel stirred to be intentionally looking for, and recording, God's goodness in my life. To start, here are the many ways that He was good to me during the time of my operation:
1) When I found out the original diagnosis of my condition - that it could be cancer and I'd need an operation, I had my good friend Karen with me. I got to cry with her
2) Two friends spoke to me of similar operations they'd had and how God had been really faithful
3) A girl who had gone through 2 operations with the same incision happened to be staying with us when I found out what my operation would be like - She was an incredible encouragement.
4) A friend made 'truth' cards for me the day I found out that I needed an operation
5) The lady who saw me in the hospital before my operation said they'd do everything they could to save my ovary (even though the consultant had said I'd probably lose it) I didn't lose it!
6) A couple in the church drove me to a friend of theirs in Chelsmsford the day before I went to hospital so he could pray for me. I got a lot of freedom!
7) I went into hospital on a Sunday afternoon which meant I could go to church in the morning and have people pray for me
8) There was a lady in the hospital who'd had a similar operation a few days before me who was also a Christian - she supported me when I was having a tough time
9) God woke a friend of mine up to pray for me in the night when I was having a particularly bad time in the hospital
10) I recieved countless cards and people were praying for me all over the world.
I could go on, but I won't. What are you expecting?
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Being sensitive to God's presence in the middle of a worship time is one thing, but being sensitive to the Holy Spirit out on the streets feels entirely different (although I'm wondering as I write this if it has to be that way?) I've been trying to be more intentional about praying for the sick as I'm out and about in town. Praying for the sick in team (during treasure hunts) is one thing, but if I want to be naturally supernatural I'm going to have to be able to step out as I'm hanging out in Costa, or doing my food shopping; as I'm living my life day to day. So I have an agreement with God. During the month of October I will do my best to offer to pray for anyone I see on crutches when I'm out and about. There have been no shortage of opportunities!
So today a lady walked out of a shop infront of me on crutches. I was tired and heading home and had decided to take God's grace in this situation and not pray. But as I slowed down to say to God that if she turned to walk the same way as me I'd stop, she followed me - so I stopped to speak to her. She was a very friendly lady, originally from Argentina, who was recovering from a knee operation. As we were chatting, all of a sudden, my right hand got really hot! I've heard of others experiencing heat in their hand as a sign of God wanting to heal, but I'd never been so aware of it in me before. God was with me!
She was really happy for me to pray and so I did - twice. She said that she felt heat in her knee as I put my hand on it and that her knee felt a bit better after I'd prayed. As I walked away from her what felt most exciting to me was that I had been aware of God with me and had responded to His promptings. It feels like a step up in my ability to be sensitive to His presence when I'm out and about. Here's to much more!
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
It was so much fun being 'on the road' with such amazing friends. John, Mike, Phil, Philbe and I have the privilege of being part of a prophetic team at the King's Arms - There's never a dull moment when we get together to seek God. This time was no exception!
It started in the car when Phil saw an angel running in front of us, preparing the way as we drove into London. The angel was carrying what was like a nuclear bomb and God's promise to us was that we would deposit something really significant with our friends at Revelation church in terms of the prophetic and the heart of God.
The highlight of the evening for me (apart from stopping off at Costa on our way home at 12.30 in the morning :o)) Was when I shared a word of knowledge I'd had where someone was practising putting a golf ball (Random!?) I'd seen a young boy practising, and his dad behind him holding his hands to guide his putt. As I shared the picture, one of the guys in the room told us that he practises putting in his back garden. As we began to pray for him it became apparent that God wanted to speak to him.
God wanted this precious son of his to know that He is incredibly patient and gentle with him. God had shown me and John that this chaps earthly father thad been just the opposite; impatient and violent. Now God was breaking in to speak healing and hope. I also felt I saw the Muslim world over this man. After Phil shared about seeing foreign lands over him, I shared what I'd seen. As it turns out, this guy and his wife are called to Iraq! (What was really fun was that 1 minute before he shared this with us, Phil had turned to me and said that he felt God had told him this guy was called to Iraq!) I love it when we hear God!
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
We have 22 students on the course - incredible men and women who are hungry for more of God and His Kingdom. The atmosphere when we come together to worship is electric and I am so encouraged that we're already feeling a lot like family. We have laughed together, cried together, eaten together, learnt together, prayed together and celebrated together. On our 3rd day together I asked if anyone had any stories to share that we could thank God for. Here were the highlights...
- One girl shared how money kept re-appearing in her pockets after she'd spent it. She also told us that £100 had been deposited into a bank account she'd closed and that she had been given more housing benefit than she'd asked for (MIRACLES!)
- One lady shared about how she'd prayed for a guy at a wedding who had broken his collar bone and had his arm in a sling. After prayer the pain he was experiencing reduced from 8/10 to 4/10!
- A guy shared how he'd injured his ankle while out walking with friends but it was instantly healed after prayer - all the pain completely disappeared! He also shared how a girl in his youth group who had a hole in her eardrum was healed after 5 times of prayer (Woop!)
- A couple shared how they'd been able to share the gospel with the people round their table at a wedding and how a guys back got completely healed after prayer!
These are ordinary people living supernatural lives! It's such a privilege to be part of what God is doing through this school. I've got the best job in the world! All these stories after only 2 weeks; imagine what's going to happen in the next 9 months!
Monday, 28 September 2009
A couple of weeks ago my friend Rory arrived at church and noticed that the table Mohammed would normally set up hadn't been done even though he was sitting on a chair waiting for us in the foyer. As Rory joked with Mohammed about why the table hadn't been done, he noticed that Mohammed was wearing a bandage on his elbow. When he asked him what he'd done, Mohammed said he'd injured his shoulder and elbow and that he was in pain (hence no table!)
Rory - buzzing from the Hit the Streets event the day before where he'd seen about 3 people healed, offered to pray for Muhammed for healing. Muhammed agreed! After about 4 times of praying and seeing the pain reduce and the movement get better there was one place of pain in his shoulder that still wouldn't shift. Rory turned to me and asked if I wouldn't mind coming over to finish off the job! (No pressure) So we prayed again and then once more, and after 2 more times of praying Muhammed was completely healed!
What was really fun was when Rory asked Muhammed to come into the hall during the evening service to show everyone what God had done. Our Muslim friend took great delight in raising his healed arm (elbow and shoulder) above his head. The smile on his face as the whole church wooped and cheered was priceless!
Monday, 21 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
This weeks breakdown of jogs/walks was proving rather challenging but thankfully I was nearing the end of my 20 minutes running (!) round my local park. Then I saw him! (Our eyes didn't meet accross a crowded room - time didn't seem to stand still - it wasn't love at first sight - that's an entirely different dream!) I saw a guy walking very slowly towards me on crutches and he clearly had a very bad knee!
My thought process as I continued to run towards him:
'I saw someone healed of a bad knee on crutches just two days ago'
'This surely is a God thing - it can't just be coincidence'
'There's hardly anyone around, it would be easy to stop him and offer to pray'
'But I haven't finished my specified time of running - if I stop now I'll be out of sync'
'Plus he's wearing head phones - he won't hear me'
'But surely I can't just run right past him - he might get healed - I've just seen it happen for goodness sake!'
Then...I ran right past him to finish off my 20 minute programme!
But, as I ran and then walked to cool down I couldn't settle with my decision to do nothing. God reminded me of the stuff He'd been teaching me recently about being ok with being inconvenienced and I knew the guy wouldn't have got far, so I ran back to the park to find him.
I caught up with him, he took his head phones out and I explained what I'd seen God do on the Saturday. He clearly didn't know what to think of it all and even when I said that He had nothing to lose in letting me pray he very graciously refused and went, very slowly, on his way. One of the key reasons I do treasure hunting in teams is to get me to a place of having enough courage to offer to pray for people when I'm out on my own in my everyday life. To help me become naturally supernatural. Feels like I'm finally getting there!
Monday, 14 September 2009
We've seen amazing breakthroughs in the past and this time was no exception (God is always faithful right!) Nine people were healed over the course of the day and countless other incredible encounters took place as we got to communicate the love of God to the people He led us to. One encounter stands out to me - it totally felt like a step up in terms of miracles I've seen.
We were coming to the end of our first hour on the streets when I spotted a guy leaning against a wall with crutches. He clearly had a damaged knee and two of us on the team had bad knee on our maps. I also had crutches. A fews months ago I remember having a vivid picture from God of me grabbing crutches and breaking them over my knee. Since then I've had a particular passion to 'target' people on crutches to see them healed. Here was another opportunity.
So we approached the guy and explained what we were doing and we asked him if we could pray. He told us that his parents and grandparents were heavily involved in church and so he was up for it. After the first time of praying there was slight improvement but he still felt pain as he tried to bend his leg (he really couldn't move it very much at all - he told us that he'd had 3 football injuries on his knee and that he'd also been hit by a car. His knee was in a bad way!) So we prayed a second time and that's when it happend.
As he tried to move his knee this time it kept on bending and bending until his lower leg was at right angles with his thigh! When I asked him what had happened he just kept on repeating, 'that is impressive, that is impressive.' His knee had been completely healed in an instant and as he started to walk around without his crutches he told us that he felt no pain at all. He could even stand with all of his weight on his 'injured' leg! Wow! God had broken in in an incredible way and this treasure was gobsmaked! Our God really is impressive!
Monday, 7 September 2009
14 years ago she injured her right knee. She can't remember how she did it, but she remembers having to wear a knee brace and that she would often experience pain in her knee which stopped her being able to exercise. She'd lived with the pain from then until about a month ago.
It was during a Sunday service and I had brought a word of knowledge about someone with pain in their right knee that gets aggrivated because of their job because they have to kneel down a lot. Sarah responded because she is a full time mom (spelling for Sarah's benefit - she's American!) and she's constantly kneeling to look after her son which makes the pain worse. Sarah had also recently started running which wasn't helping.
So, we prayed and to be honest, initially, absolutely nothing happened. Then God gave Sarah a memory about how when she first injured her knee she got a sense of value and security from the fact that she was injured; from the attention she got from people around her. Her injury made her feel special. As Sarah repented for finding security in being ill and we prayed a second time, God broke in. Since that point Sarah hasn't experienced any more pain in her knee, even though she's running 3 times a week and still constantly kneeling down to look after Sam! God is so good!
Monday, 31 August 2009
To be totally honest my initial internal response wasn't very Christ-like! I'd just arrived at the camp site and was actually more interested in getting some breakfast down me - Did we have to do it right now? But when Mike asked who needed prayer and they turned the push chair towards us to show us their son, I immediately felt compassion rise up inside. This precious little boy of about 18 months had burnt himself very badly on his forehead. There was a large, raised burn on his head and he was clearly in pain and distressed. His parents were on their way to take him to the nearest hospital.
So Mike and I bent down next to Peter and prayed our best prayers. We asked that the God of heaven would come and comfort this little boy and we commanded all pain to go and the skin to be made as good as new. My friends then left for the hospital.
About 4 hours later I walked past their campsite and spotted them, so I went to see how things had gone. She explained that once they'd left us after we'd prayed, Peter stopped crying. It was as if the pain had completely gone. Even when the doctor was cleaning the wound at the hospital there were no tears (which the doctor was totally amazed at as he said it should be very painful!) Then she picked Peter up (who was happily running around) to show me his head. Although the skin wasn't yet as good as new, the burn looked so much better.
What an amazing God we serve - A God who breaks in to heal and restore little children (in spite of the poor attitude of one of the prayers!)
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Monday, 10 August 2009
So, obediently I went into my house and wrestled with God for a good 5 minutes about why I shouldn't go and speak to them. Fortunately God won and so armed with a glass of water for security purposes (?!?) I ventured into my next God adventure.
I told them that I was a Chrsitian and what I felt God had said to me. As I asked if either of them had a bad knee to my surprise both of them said yes! One had a bad right knee and one had a bad left knee. Suffering from a bit of shock at this point one of the ladies began to tell me that she cuts the hair of a guy who leads a church in the town. The conversation went a bit like this:
Lady: 'I cut the hair of a guy in the town who leads a church. He wears glasses.'
Me: (Thought process) Simon Holley wears glasses - it won't be him!
Lady: What's his name....Steve? No that's not right'
Me: (Thought process) His name begins with an 'S' - could it be Simon?
Me: 'It's not Simon Holley is it?'
Lady: 'Yes that's it - Simon Holley.'
Me: 'That's the guy who leads my church - He's my boss!'
Lady: 'I've cut his hair for the past 13 years!'
(cries of shock and disbelief all round)
It also turned out that the other lady knew of the Nightshelter and works with a lady from the King's Arms. God was making it really clear that He was picking these ladies out. They went on to tell me that even yesterday they'd been watching something about religion on TV and commented to each other that they expected at somepoint that they would turn to God!
So with the ladies slightly bewildered I prayed for the left knee pain. During the second time of praying the lady felt heat in her knee and when she had a go at walking afterwards she said that it definitely felt a lot better. After chatting about my views on different religions for a bit and how I became a Christian, I ran out of time to pray for the other lady - seeing as they're not going anywhere soon I guess I'll get an opportunity soon enough.
Who'd have thought that walking through a bit of fear would open up such an incredible encounter. I wonder what God has in store for them next?
Saturday, 8 August 2009
So anyway, the girl in the wheelchair... I'd spent some time with God on the Wednesday evening asking him for words of knowledge about who He wanted to bless in the seminar I was going to share in. I'd had a picture of a lady in a wheelchair with weak ankles and a weak back and I'd pictured myself praying for her - her ankles getting strong and then as she stood up her back being strengthened too. I felt pretty chilled about the whole thing because as far as I could remember I'd never seen anyone at Newday in a wheelchair before. I thought I was safe!
About 2 hours after I arrived, as the worship was kicking off in the main tent, my friend and I spotted a girl being taken to the big top in a wheelchair. We hesitated for a few seconds as to whether or not to catch her up (we were on our way to the toilets!) but decided this was too important an opportunity to miss, so we went and offered to pray.
It turned out that this girl was suffering from ME which made her body very weak. She had weak ankles and a weak back and was in pain a lot of the time. We prayed for her and commanded the ME to go in Jesus' name. We prayed for her ankles to be strong and then encouraged her to stand up (like I'd seen in the picture). After a while of praying she needed to sit down again because of feeling tired. She then went on to explain that she also suffers with depression.
As we prayed against the depression (sharing with her about the people we've seen set free from that condition in our church) she began to giggle in the spirit. Something shifted in her and lightness came in place of the heaviness. I prayed that she would be able to dance and have lots of fun in God's presence. As she continued to giggle, she told us she felt God tell her she should go and dance in worship. So leaving her wheelchair on the grass outside the big top she walked into the tent and did just that!
I don't think she was totally healed this time but God definitely broke in and His Kingdom once again displaced the enemy's schemes. It felt like a significant step for Anna and I in our journey of walking through fear when it comes to wheelchairs and it was a great encouragement to me that I had heard from God. What an amazing adventure we're on!
Saturday, 18 July 2009
We started the evening by Simon sharing some e-mails that he'd recieved from people who'd been impacted at our Heaven Touches Earth conference and also the recent Brighton Leaders conference where we did fire tunnels at the end of his seminar. It was so encouraging to hear how God had broken in. There were 2 or 3 testimonies of people who'd been miraculously healed as they walked through the fire tunnel and other testimonies of how God had brought deep healing to people's hearts. He really is so good!
Then Simon asked us to share with people around us our personal highlights from the year so far! It was so difficult to pick just a few things...God has blessed us so abundantly this year. Off the back of these highlights we then went into worship and God came!
After we'd worshipped for a while we spent some time praying and prophesying over each other. As I turned to see who God would direct me to pray for I saw a lady at the back of the room who I didn't recognise. As I went to speak to her she explained that she was visiting her sister from Leeds and that as she'd been walking past the place where we were meeting she'd heard us worshipping and felt drawn in to join us. What was even more incredible was that as we spoke, she asked me if I could pray for her for healing. It turned out that she had cancerous tumours - on her brain and down her spine. She'd been prayed for before and had stopped treatment but she wanted to be completely healed! I explained that we hadn't seen cancer healed yet, but that we were going after it, so I prayed.
The headache the lady had come into the building with went as I commanded the cancer to go in Jesus' name. She told me that she's due to have an MRI scan in a few weeks so I gave her my e-mail address and asked her to let me know how it goes. I'm waiting to hear what God has done. One of the things God has promised us as a church is that people will start walking in off the streets to join us as they're drawn by God's presence. What an incredible 'coincidence' that the first lady this applies to also needs healing from cancer! Maybe she'll be our first breakthrough!
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Doesn't it make you arrogant when you get to grips with who God says you are? Doesn't it take the focus off of Jesus? Here's what I've found... The more I understand who God has made me to be, the more I am stirred to fix my eyes on the one who makes it all possible. The only reason I am royalty is because I have recieved God's mercy. I don't deserve it and I can't earn it, but it is who I am because Jesus has made a way. Recognising this makes me so much more full of praise and adoration for the God who has shown me incredible grace. He truely is breathtaking and becasue of the price He paid for me, I want to become all that I am in Him and live a life worthy of the calling I've recieved.
I got to preach on Sunday on the topic of 'we are royalty' sharing some revelation I felt God show me over the past few weeks. You can download it here. Let me know what you think!
Monday, 29 June 2009
As we approached the women we saw more of our clues on the Chiropractic Clinic's board - telling the public what conditions it treats; tennis elbow, headaches, backs, necks. It seemed we were on to something. I was slightly concerned that God was going to ask us to go into the clinic to offer to pray for those recieving treatment. As it happens our treasure was sitting on the wall outside! (Maybe next time!)
The ladies told us that they were advertising a re-launch of the clinic and that we could go in and have free treatment if we needed it. We managed to get into conversation about what we were doing and it turned out that one of the ladies had a painful neck and shoulders. She'd received treatment at the clinic that morning but was still experiencing discomfort. We offered to pray and she was incredibly open. God's spirit was really tangible as we laid hands on her neck and commanded healing. She said she had a cold feeling go all through her spine and then tingling in her neck. As we encouraged her to move her neck to check how it felt, she was blown away at how easy it felt and how peaceful she was. God had broken in again!
The other really amazing thing was that when I said I was part of the King's Arms Church she asked if I knew someone she'd used to work with called Jennifer. Jennifer is a really good friend of mine! They haven't been in touch for a few years but the lady wondered if this was a sign that thay should reconnect. God clearly isn't done with her yet!
Saturday, 27 June 2009
We were walking through Bedford Park on our way into town. We had the option at one point of leaving the park and walking along the road or staying on the park path. One of the girlies opted for the park path. Little did we know that God was in the process of orchestrating an encounter - the park path led us to our first treasure!
The same girl who suggested the park path had the clue German Shepherd. As we started to walk past the lake we spotted a lady on the other side of the water walking a German Shepherd dog. As we made our way round the lake hoping that she'd still be there when we reached her, she sat down on a bench to have a rest.
It never ceases to amaze me how open some people are to what God is wanting to do as we meet them on the streets. We explained what we were doing and how we had the German Shepherd clue. As we told the lady we were Christians who were looking for people to encourage and bless it was clear that's exactly what she needed. She began to tell us that she was visitng the UK from Australia because her partner's step-dad was ill in hospital. Her partner was actually at the hospital when we met her and she had come out to walk the Dad's dog as a way of having some time for herself. As we approached her she'd been thinking about everything that had been going on and feeling quite heavy with it. God's timing is perfect!
We spoke with her for quite a while and at one point discovered that she was suffering with some stiffness in her neck. She was really happy for us to pray, so we did; for her neck, for her partner and for her partner's step-dad. God's presence was so tangible as we asked Him to come and love on this precious lady; a treasure He had brought half way round the world to encounter and bless. When we finished praying she said her neck felt lose. God had broken in and she was completely blown away. AMAZING!
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
When our lead Elder, Simon and another guy from our church arrived at the hospital they found Jon in quite a state. They began to pray and an urgent prayer request was quickly sent out to the King's Arms family. After a little while Jon's symptoms began to improve. The doctors couldn't explain what was going on but simply encouraged everyone to keep doing what they were doing because it seemed to be working!
Throughout the course of the night Jon continued to improve. By 7am he was completely back to normal. After a full body scan the next day the doctors could find no evidence of what they suspected to be a stroke. They were totally blown away. Apparently it's normal for people who have strokes to have some lasting damage. Jon had been totally healed!
Listen to Jon and Amanda's story here and let it stir your faith in the goodness of God and His ability to break into any situation you may face. Let it also prompt thanksgiving to rise up in your heart. He is absolutely incredible!
Monday, 8 June 2009
I have a very good friend John who has had similar experiences of God speaking to him 'in the moment' about people and their situations. The other day he was walking home from work when he spotted a lady on her own. God told him to go and tell her that life is not always going to be like this. At that point she sat on a bench and burst into tears. John knew that God had told him he didn't have long to speak to the lady. Unfortunately fear got in the way again and as John was wrestling with himself over whether to speak to her or not, her boyfriend turned up.
I am becomming increasingly frustrated with the fear of man that causes me to be disobedient to God 'in the moment'. Of course there is grace for these times - there's always grace - but I'm getting to the point where my desire to see God glorified is overtaking the need for me to maintain my reputation. At some point soon, someone is going to push through fear to obey God 'in the moment' and there is going to be incredible breakthrough. At somepoint soon someone is going to have to approach someone in a wheelchair and not just pray for them but encourage them to stand up. At some point soon someone is going to have to speak to someone with a guide dog to offer to pray for their eyes to be opened. If this is the kind of breakthrough we want to see someone is going to have to lead the way and trust that God will come through to back them up.
Am I prepared to lay down any reputation I may have to see God made famous in this town? I think I am increasingly getting to that place. How about you?
Saturday, 30 May 2009
The team I was with spoke to a few people who weren't really interested in stopping, but then we spotted a lady cleaning the windows of a gambling shop who was wearing a red coat. It turned out that she was the treasure!
The lady in question was originally from Italy but she now lives in London. As we went through the clues on our maps she had quite a few matches. She had a good friend called Michael who was struggling to find work (she asked us to pray for him before we even talked about wanting to pray for stuff! Always a good sign!) She had weak wrists because of the window cleaning she was doing and her dad had died of stomach cancer. As we told her that she was God's treasure and that He had picked her out to bless and encourage, she got quite emotional. She was completely blown away.
After about ten minutes of chatting to her and praying for Michael and healing for her wrists one of her colleagues came out of the shop. My initial thought was that he was going to come and tell her off for not working; instead he came and joined in our conversation. It wasn't long before he told us that he was a Jehovah's Witness and started using scripture to suggest that what we were doing was wrong. I chose not to get into a debate but just kept talking to him about the relationship I have with Jesus and the breakthroughs I've seen in my own life and as I've prayed for others.
Maybe the most impacting thing about the whole encounter was the lady's comment to her colleague. She told him that when he speaks to her about God she often feels like he's teaching her and it feels quite pressured. She then went on to say that as we'd been speaking to her it had felt a whole lot more natural and that we'd made her feel very valued and loved. I took huge encouragement from that. Treasure hunting is all about communicating and demonstrating God's heart to those He leads us to. If we can leave those we meet on the streets with an awareness of God's passionate love and care for them then we can't go far wrong. Love is what sent Jesus to the cross and it should be love that compels us to reach out to those around us.
(As an aside - I've just ordered Heidi Baker's book 'Compelled by Love'. It has been recommended to me by some very close and trusted friends. My prayer is that it will completely ruin me for anything else than to simply love those around me. I'll let you know how God speaks when I'm done!)
Monday, 25 May 2009
It turned out that Lorraine was suffering with very bad pain in her lower back and that she had been for just over a week. She grabbed my hand that was on her shoulder and placed it on her lower back where the pain was. After two very brief prayers she tested her back out (I like to encourage people to do a little hip wiggle to check if God has healed them) The pain had completely gone! After a full on morning helping in King's Kids she came back to the main hall and proceeded to touch her toes and demonstrate a more energetic hip wiggle! She was totally healed!
At the end of the service, having briefly shared with the church what God had done with Lorraine, I got to pray for another friend of mine who was suffering with lower back pain. After a few simple commands and more hip wiggling her pain had completely gone too! God is so incredible.
(I heard recently that the NHS spends vasts amounts of money on back conditions in the UK every year. The King's Arms is heading towards becoming a bad back free zone! We'll save the country some money in the process!)
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Monday, 11 May 2009
Since my trip to Bethel in February I've felt more and more stirred about the importance of us as Christians really getting to grips with who we are in Christ. That we're to really believe who God says we are in His word. I believe as we do that we'll be much more effective at seeing His Kingdom break out on the earth. A couple of verses I read in Matthew confirmed what I have been feeling.
'...He said to them, 'But who do you say I am?' Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it...' (Matthew 16 v15-18)
Having asked the disciples who people say He is, He then turns His attention to them and asks the same question. Peter's response gets high praise from Jesus. He has recieved revelation direct from the Father that Jesus is the Son of God and Jesus calls Him blessed because of it!
It's Jesus' next words that I'm facinated by, '...and I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church...' What rock? What's the rock that Jesus is going to build His church on? He surely can't mean Peter the man. Just a few verses later he's stuffing up again. Peter is no rock. Why did Jesus insist on telling Peter who he was before His statement about the rock He'd build His church on? The verses could have read:
'...Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.'
The church being built on the revelation of Jesus. That makes perfect sense doesn't it and I believe it's the first of two keys that Jesus is eluding to here. The church of Christ will be built on the rock of the revelation of Christ! This is absolutely crucial and we all need much deeper revelation of who our saviour is. But there's another key and it's why Jesus made a concious decision to tell Peter who He was after his revelation of Jesus.
The second key is us knowing who Jesus says we are in Him. At the beginning of the passage Jesus calls Peter Simon Bar-Jonah. Just before He talks about the rock He will build His church on He gives him a brand new identity. 'And I tell you, you are Peter' It's like He's saying. 'this is who you are now - the old you has gone and the new has come (sound familiar) and you getting who I say you are is just as crucial as you knowing who I am. It's these two things that I will build my church on.'
The rock on which Jesus will build His chuch? Revelation of who He is and revelation of who we are in Him. The promise when the church is built on this rock? The gates of hell will have absolutely no chance!
Thursday, 7 May 2009
The possible draw back with sharing stories every week is that we could get immune to them. We could easily get to a place of not being amazed at God's love and kindness as He breaks in time and time again. We could lose our sense of awe and wonder. That is unless we determine to be incredibly thankful for everything He does! Thankfulness is so key in seeing God break in again. The minute we stop being thankful we're heading into dangerous territory (the grumbling Israelites come to mind!)
The truth is that anytime God breaks in it's an incredible demonstration of His mercy and kindness to us. When we see headaches healed it's amazing; when we see deaf ears open it's amazing; when we see movement improve in backs it's amazing; when we start to see the dead raised that will be amazing too! I used to get caught up in what God wasn't doing and so I missed the joy of being thankful for what He was doing. I've realised that when I choose to be thankful for even the 'littlest' breakthrough it does me loads of good and I expect His kindness to be shown again.
I believe that as Christians we should be the most thankful people around. Whether you're hearing a healing testimony for the first time or for the one hundreth time; whether you're seeing your first back healed or it's your fiftieth. However God is breaking in, get excited about it and never lose a deep, deep sense of gratitude for His incredible kindness. I challenge you to make the words THANK YOU a much bigger part of your vocabulary as you see God's Kingdom break out around you. More than that, let your spirit also respond (in other words make some noise and shout some woop woops! Don't be British about it!) I promise you that it will do you good!
Monday, 4 May 2009
We were standing on the bridge that goes over the river (the one by Nando's) when we spotted two ladies walking towards us. One was wearing a purple jumper. As we stopped them to explain what we were doing we found out that the other lady had pain in both of her ankles. She explained that it was painful for her to walk and they'd just that second been talking about it right before we stopped them! The lady let us pray for her and about 30 seconds later all the pain had completely gone! They were blown away!
Later on one of the guys with us who was on his debut treasure hunt said that he had pain in his right knee. The pain had been there for 2-3 days. As we prayed for him, sat on a bench by the river, the pain instantly left! He said that he felt it leave the first time I commanded it to go (even though I'd prayed on in order to give God more time to break in! A little lesson to me that it's not always necessary to pray for a long time - after all Jesus often only said one or two words!) All in all it was an amazing afternoon!
(Just as an aside - yesterday was also an amazing day for breakthrough in the church. We had a lady share about how God had given her a brand new vertebra in her neck a week ago and off the back of that testimony we saw God do more really exciting things. Two necks were healed, pain in two backs went and ligaments in shoulders were tightened. His Kingdom really is always advancing!)
Monday, 27 April 2009
I've also experienced COUNTLESS lows. Many of the people I've prayed for have not been healed; a good friend of mine just recently died of cancer even though we were contending for her healing; but perhaps the most difficult lows for me have been my own experiences of sickness that haven't been healed.
In Januray of 2007 I had to have a major operation to remove a large cyst from one of my ovaries. It was at risk of being cancerous and I had to consent to the surgeons giving me a hysterectomy if they deemed it necessary during the surgery. I was desperate for God to break in and heal me miraculously without needing the operation, but He didn't. I'm incredibly grateful to Him that the cyst turned out not to be cancerous and that I am still able to have children, but the trauma of going thorough the surgery and recovery has had a lasting impact on me in many ways.
I was at a conference last week where Bill Johnson (a guy I respect massively in the area of seeing breakthrough in healing) spoke for about 10 minutes during one of his teaching sessions on how he personally deals with disappointment. It was so incredibly helpful to hear and so releasing to realise that he experiences disappointments too. His own dad died of cancer - a condition they see healed regularly at their church in Redding California - so he knows what he's talking about. Here's what he said about how to work through disappointment:
1) Be brutally honest with God about how you're feeling. This may take several hours or days. Never accuse God, but tell Him how your circumstance makes you feel.
2) Go the the Psalms. Read them through until you hear your own voice in them, then camp there; reading it through and declaring it to God.
3) Hold your pain as close to you as you can and then from that place start to praise God and declare His goodness. As you give this offering of praise and thanks (something you'll never be able to do once you're in heaven where there will be no more pain) He will draw near
4) Give up the right to know why? The only way to get peace that passes understanding is to give up the right to understand.
5) Don't go introspective or take on any kind of guilt or shame. No-one ever comes out of times of introspection in a better place - it just doesn't help. Trust God to bring up anything that needs to be worked through in your life. Assume all is good unless God says otherwise.
I spent Saturday night working through the disappointment I was still carrying to do with my operation and it was so incredibly helpful. I can definitely feel God closer now than I did before and I feel like I'm able to trust Him more. Someone once said that the biggest barrier to God breaking in to the UK is undealt with disappointment. I hope that what Bill suggests and what I've now experienced will help those of you reading to work through any barriers of disappointment you're carrying in your own life so that God can do all that He longs to do in you and through you. Let me know how you get on!
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Part of the vision of the new training school we're starting in September (TSM) is to train people to be naturally supernatural. God spoke to me about my school being the place that He wants to train me to live like this so that I can model it to others. I used to see my two days in school as a bit of a nuisance; as something I had to endure and get through until I got to what I felt was more important - working for the church. Now God has completely changed my perspective. He told me that my expectations of what He wants to do in my school have been way too small. He reminded me that because I carry the Kingdom of God I can expect it to break out wherever I go; that I can expect the very atmosphere of my school to change just because I walk in the room. He reminded me that nothing is impossible for Him; that it is possible for the entire school to come to know Him. So I've been much more intentinal at looking out for opportunities and as it happens, they're actually all around me!
It's important for you know that offering to pray for my colleagues or bringing a sense of what God might be saying does not come easy. I often give into fear in the moment, usually because I'm scared about how people will react and what they will think of me. However I'm really aware of God's grace in these times and I do my best when other opportunities come up to behave differently. Amazingly I have begun to see some breakthrough. I had the opportunity to share at church a couple of weeks ago about 2 colleagues I've seen healed as I've prayed for them. You can listen to the interview here.
My hope as I share my encounters with people at work is that you will feel encouraged to join me on the adventure of bringing God's Kingdom wherever you go. And that when you give in to fear (which you inevitably will at times) that you'd pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go again. Breakthrough is just round the corner!
Sunday, 29 March 2009
1) Always point your young people to Jesus: My hope for all the young people I serve is that they would continue to fall more and more in love with Jesus. It's tempting when you lead young people to want them to look to you to boost your self-esteem and to make you feel good about yourself, but the truth is that we cannot be their saviour. Only Jesus can do that! I want my young people to look up to Jesus and have Him as their hero rather than them focussing too much on me. Pointing your young people to Jesus also helps to guard against them being too inward looking and focussed on themselves. If the young people I serve head off to university in love with Jesus and with their own personnal walk with Him (a relationship that isn't dependent on me being around them or them being around me) then I am happy! Never happy to see them go but totally happy with where they're at!
2) Be the best role model you can be: This is a biggy! Young people watch you when you lead them. That's the main way that they learn. Are we living what we're preaching? I hope very much that I have. So in what ways can we model how to do life; there are so many...
- Model being in love with Jesus, His Church and His Kingdom
- Model purity - whether you're single, in a relationship or married
- Model integrity - Live the life that you speak. Don't be too proud to apologise when you get stuff wrong (which you will) Be open and real about your life
- Model reaching out - We can't expect our kids to reach out to their friends if we're not reaching out to ours!
- Model how you speak - Honour yourself, the youth and others with what you say
3) Pray, pray, pray: Prayer works! That might sound like a pretty obvious thing to say, but it's easy to forget and is often the first thing that goes when we get busy. I remember when one of my young people was anti tongues and I was gearing myself up to have a conversation with her about it. I prayed that God would intervene and sure enough, before I'd had the chance to sit her down He had! One week at small groups I noticed she was speaking in tongues! When I asked her what had happened she told me that she'd had a dream where she was speaking in tongues and that when she woke up she'd decided that she must already have the gift and so she might as well start using it! God is so good! Pray, pray and pray some more and see what God will do!
Working with young people is an incredible privilege. Do your best not to take it for granted! Be their biggest fan and look to big them up whenever you can while also challenging behaviour where necessary. Whatever you do, don't be small minded in your expectations of how God will use them. He has plans worked out for each of them to do and we get to help them on their journey. I can't think of a better way to serve the church! (Except for maybe leading a new training school called TSM! :o))
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Throughout the course of the day 7 people got healed on the streets; backs, ankles, necks. Pain instantly went from people's bodies as God's kingdom broke out. One man who described himself as an agnostic said he wasn't sure he could stick with that anymore as the pain in his ankle disappeared after prayer. The lady I prayed with had literally just sat down to rest her back because it was hurting when we approached her with a treasure map with the clue lower back pain on! After two short prayers all the pain had gone and she went on her way. One lady was so overwhelmed that God had picked her out that she gave my friend her address and asked if she'd go round her house to pray for her some more!
Perhaps one of the most exciting things that happened throughout the course of the day was when we got to pray for a lady who'd been doing the training who was partially deaf. As a church we've been longing to see breakthrough in deafness for a few years now. Jesus identifies it in His word as a sign of His Kingdom coming and so we want to see it (along with blind eyes opening, incurable diseases being healed, the lame walking and the dead being raised!) As Simon prayed for this lady and she took her hearing aids out she was able to hear noise around her and Simon speaking from a distance behind her head like she hadn't been able to before! How exciting! Breakthrough is on the way!
Sunday, 15 March 2009
One of the things that really struck me about my time at Bethel was the worship. The incredible sense of God's presence among His people; the hunger in people's hearts and the amazing sense of expectation that God was going to do something remarkable. I'd always felt that our worship at the King's Arms was something really special. That it stood out as quite unique from other churches I've visited. But when I came back from Bethel I felt that there was a whole new realm that we weren't yet tapping into.... We tapped into it this weekend!
Saturday evening was, I think, the most incredible time of worship I have ever experienced. It went on and on and on and on and God just kept coming and coming and coming and coming. At different times throughout the worship there was peace and incredible intimacy; there was shouting and marching and warfare; there was dancing and celebration; there was laughing and weeping and lying down and kneeling as Jesus Himself came into the room.
A couple of the musicians commented this morning that they'd been playing chords on their guitars that shouldn't really have worked but that had sounded amazing. They were totally blown away. Other people said that they'd never known God's presence like how they felt it during that time - people who have been Christians for years entered into new realms of God. It really felt like we were joining in the worship of heaven. How did it start? By pouring out our love to the only one who is worthy of it all - Our precious King Jesus.
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
We've had two guests on our latest course. Amazing young people who have come week in week out to learn more about the God we worship. And so the Holy Spirit day arrived and there was a whole lot of expectation. A couple of our young people did 2 of the 3 talks on the day. (Just as an aside here; they were really incredible. It was the first time TJ had spoken and I was really impressed - she's a natural. Andy has done talks in the past, but this time showed a marked increase in his maturity in God. I love seeing young people growing in God - what a privilege!) The last talk was down to me.
After we'd finished worshipping I knew that these guys were ready to commit to Jesus. I knew that if I offered salvation at this point, they'd recieve Him. God told me to shorten my talk so that we could get onto more important things quickly. I probably spoke for about 10 minutes and then it was the moment we've all learnt to know and love on the Holy Spirit day. I asked those who wanted to respond to Jesus for the first time to assume the classic 'prayer' position. Our two guests responded as God's Kingdom invaded earth. What followed was an incredible time of God ministering His love to our new found friends. A love like none other they'd experienced before; a love that competely overwhelmed them and blew them away. It was such a privilege to be part of that moment. It confirmed for me just how much God longs to show His kindness to those who don't yet know Him; how He longs for all to come to a place of repentence.
We have Youth Alpha tonight and we're covering the topic 'Does God heal today?' I'm fully expecting God's Kingdom to come again. After all, it is an ever increasing Kingdom!
Monday, 2 March 2009
1) Know who you are - It seems at Bethel that one of the main things they teach over and over again as part of their school is 'who we are'. I was on a journey of wanting to grow in my identity in God and get to grips with who He says I am before I went away. Now that I've been and come back I'm even more convinced that knowing who we are in Him is a massive key to us seeing all that we dream about seeing in God. And there's a massive difference between knowing who you are in your head and really knowing it (do you know what I mean?) I could reel off loads of truths about who God says I am because I've learnt stuff from the Bible and I know it in my head; but when I stop to assess how knowing these truths are affecting how I live on a day to day basis the honest answer would have to be not a great deal. I am convinced that if we were to really believe what God says about us in His word; if we were to get revelation of the truths so that they affect the very core of who we are; we would be a mighty force to be reckoned with (which as it happens is what I believe has always been God's intention) Some truths to really get to grips with:
- We are Royalty
- We are children of God
- We are in Christ and He is in us!
- We are seated in Heavenly places
- We are Saints
Wow, wow, wow!
2) Prioritise your relationship with Him - God spoke to me while I was in Bethel about the importance of our relationship. He spoke about how much He loves it when I take time out to be with Him; to chat to Him and let Him chat to me. He talked about the fact that the time I get on my own with Him is more important than anything else I do; more important than any responsibility I have or any calling I'm trying to fulfill. The truth is that if we prioritise spending time with God; spending time just loving Him and letting Him love us, it's then that I think we'll start to see loads more happen by accident than we ever will on purpose. In order to develop a deep and lasting relationship, time has to be invested. Often I say that I have a relationship with God, but if I were to stop and look at how I spend my time it's not really a relationship atall. I want that to change. Spending time with God is the most important and most fulfilling thing we can do and He just loves it. Think back to Mary and Martha. Jesus described what Mary had chosen (to sit with Him and be with Him) as the best option. He's a jealous God. He longs for intimacy with us. What an incredible privilege!
I had the clue flower stall (the one in the entrance of the Harpur Centre). We went there right at the end of our hunt (God's timing never ceases to amaze me!) When we arrived we found the guy who runs the stall sweeping up before shutting up shop and heading home. He was the only guy there so we decided to go and speak to him.
As soon as we approached him with our maps, he asked us if we were doing the list thing too?!? It turns out that the other team had already spoken to him earlier (what are the chances of that happening when there are only 2 teams out hunting? I guess pretty big when God's orchestrating things!) Someone in the other team had got the clue flower pot and window in the floor. As we kept speaking to this guy he pointed out the window (pane of glass) in the floor right next to his stall and followed it up by saying he wasn't on our list.
We explained that we had different things on our maps to the other group and so he was happy to let us go through our clues. Imagine his amazement when my friend Jennifer had his name written on her piece of paper - Steve! She also had the ailment bad back which Steve has suffered with for years due to a car accident. He takes pills everyday and has been told that he just has to live with it. He let us pray for him when we explained that we regularly see people healed at the King's Arms. I felt heat where my hand was on his back and he described it as feeling wierd when we had finished praying. He said he wouldn't know if anything had happened until the pills started wearing off later that evening.
Perhaps the most precious thing about this encounter was right at the beginning when we'd found out that the other team had already been to speak to him. I was amazed that God had picked him out twice and said to him, 'you know what that means don't you!' His reply was priceless - 'that I'm special?' Jennifer and I were able to give a heartfelt yes to his response. That's exactly why God picked him out twice in the space of one hour yesterday afternoon!
Friday, 27 February 2009
How do I feel different? It's difficult to put into words, but in a nutshell I feel so much more in love with God as my Papa, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit. I feel like my perspective of God has completely changed and that I know His love in a deeper place than I knew it before I went. I went for a walk along the river with Jesus this morning and I felt that He was playing hide and seek with me! I feel so much more intimate with Him now - He has answered the longing of my heart and I know there is still so much more!
I wanted to take some time to write about some of the things I feel like I picked up from Bethel and have brought back with me to Bedford. I'm sure there is more God did that I'm not even aware of yet, but these things will do for starters:
1) Worship is key - God spoke to me during a worship session about my relationship with Him being all about love. Him loving me, me loving Him and then me loving other people. Love is the fuel that spreads the fire of God. Love is the fuel that attracts God's presence. It's all about love and worship is all about love. Worship is the main place where we get to express our love to God. It can't be an add on to our lives because that's what Christians do. It's got to be time where we fully engage with the one who is totally worthy of everything - the one who is head over heels in love with us and who we're head over heels in love with. And it can't be a quick fix. We must learn to linger for longer. I used to get really distracted when I worshipped. I'm expecting it to be different now!
2) Expect God's Kindness - I talked about this in my last post, but it's been such a profound revelation for me that I want to talk about it again here. Before I went to Bethel I thought I believed that God was good. I didn't! Something has shifted in my thinking and deep in my gut that convinces me that God is ridiculously good; that He's incredibly kind and that because of that His favour rests on me. Even this evening He's been so kind to me. I've borrowed a projector for a youth day away we're running tomorrow, but for some reason it came without a power lead. God gave me the idea of heading to the church offices to find the right kind of lead, which I did and the lead was duly found! He's always working for my good!
During the 3 worship sessions I attended while at Bethel we didn't once sing a classic 'up-beat celebratory jumpy song'. Since I've been back I've reflected on that. We generally always sing songs like that at the beginning of our worship at church - why didn't they, and yet the presence of God was so tangible and the worship so intimate. My theory (rightly or wrongly) is this; people at Bethel know that God is good and they live in that reality. They don't have to try and stir this belief up in themselves by singing celebratory songs at the beginning of a worship set because it's just part of who they are. For some reason this truth hasn't got hold of us so deeply so we have to remind ourselves of God's goodness through celebration at the beginning of our worship times. Don't hear what I'm not saying; I think it's important that we celebrate God - I also think that we need a much greater revelation of how lavish His kindness is (It's really lavish!!)
Monday, 23 February 2009
When I arrived at Redding airport the flight I was supposed to be getting had been cancelled because of bad weather. Amazingly, the flight that was due to depart before mine had been delayed for 3 hours so it still hadn't left the airport. I was able to get on that flight and as I was checking in and getting my tickets changed, the lady behind the desk upgraded me to Economy Plus on the long haul flight for no apparent reason (Economy Plus gives you about 5 inches extra leg room which when you're my height is a real blessing)
The Turboprop from Redding to San Fransisco was pretty bumpy, but God kindly sat me next to a very friendly Canadian man who talked to me throughout most of the journey to distract me. At one point he asked me if I was royalty because I had a kind of Queen look about me! (We laughed and joked about this, but deep down I knew that God was demonstrating His kindness to me again; I am actually royalty and in my Sozo session one of the ladies prophesied over me about being a Queen!)
On the long haul, the guy who I was supposed to be sitting next to was upgraded to first class so I got two seats to myself. This meant I was able to stretch out during the sleeping part of the trip to get some good rest before heading back to work tomorrow. I'm beginning to realise that the favour of God rests upon me because I'm His Daughter and that that means I should expect His kindness all the time.
Steve and Philippa Wilson met me at the airport and when we got back to my house I prayed for them that God would give them everything that I got. The presense of God was so thick. It felt so easy. God really has done a deep work in me and changed me over the past week. More evidence of His amazing kindness to me that never fails.
Saturday, 21 February 2009
I have to be honest - I was nervous before the session began. It was the part of the trip that I was most apprehensive about. I'm happy to be open and honest with people about where I'm at but it's important to me that I know these people really love me. When you're praying through stuff with strangers this can't be guaranteed in advance. I had to make a choice to trust my prayer team so that I didn't hold anything back. I'm glad God helped me to do that. When I say prayer team, I really mean prayer team. My nerves weren't helped when I realised that I'd actually have 5 ladies in the room with me - yes, I did say 5! It made me laugh a little on the outside at God's sense of humour while on the inside I was quite keen to run away! (Just to clarify - I had a lady leading the session with a seconder and thirder. Then I had two other ladies who were just sitting in to learn about how to do Sozo! At one point the 5th lady was taken out to another room but it wouldn't have mattered if she'd stayed!)
So what did we do for the 2 hour session? Well, as I've already said it's difficult to put it all into words as it felt like we covered so much ground in that time. I spent quite a big bulk of the time praying through my relationship with God as Papa, God as Jesus and God as the Holy Spirit. The principle behind this praying is that our relationhip with Papa God is affected my our relationship with our earthly Dad; our relationship with Jesus is affected by our relationship with our siblings and our relationship with the Holy Spirit is affected by our relationhip with our Mum. In the past I've prayed through a lot of stuff to do with my Dad and how that has affected how I relate to God as Father, but I'd never really addressed stuff to do with my Mum or brother in this way. Suffice to say, it was incredibly powerful and I genuinely feel like a different person becasue of it. I feel like it's possible for me to relate to Jesus and the Holy Spirit with a new depth that I've not known before. They also feel more real to me now and I'm really excited about learning how to relate to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in new ways from this point onwards.