Saturday, 30 May 2009

Treasure in Chelmsford

I love seeing people's faces when they come away from an amazing God encounter on the streets. Recently 3 of us from King's Arms made our way to Chelmsford to train about 15 people in the 'art' of treasure hunting. As always God was incredibly faithful. It seems that He has people He wants to minister to no matter what town you're in :o)

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

Your Hand is Hot!

I was walking through our church foyer yesterday morning as we were setting up and getting things ready for the service. I happened to walk past a lady called Lorraine putting my hand on her shoulder just to say hi (I am a very tactile person!) She immediately commented on the fact that my hand was really hot and so I joked that it must be the healing!

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

Heaven Touches Earth


King's Arms is hosting their second ever 'Heaven Touches Earth' Conference. Julian Adams is coming to Bedford from 11th -13th June. It's going to be an amazing time of spirit-filled teaching, God honouring worship and God's Kingdom breaking out all over the place. If you're hungry for more of God and more of His Kingdom 'on earth as it is in heaven' then you must get along to this. You can register here.
(Just as an aside, Julian has recently returned from a week long trip to Bethel in Redding, California - Bill Johnson's church. He shared some of the stuff he'd learnt at our Sunday services last week (listen here). Basically he got completely blasted by God. We're expectant of a massive overflow at this conference!)

Monday, 11 May 2009

On this Rock I will Build My Church!

In January of this year Julian Adams prophesied over me that I was coming into a new season of revelation from God. It was so exciting to hear God promise that as I'd been praying for a while for new levels of revelation in my life. As usual God has been true to His word. Recently as I've been reading my Bible there have been moments when He's spoken to me through very familiar scriptures in exciting new ways. I want to share one such revelation with you here.

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

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

We share stories most weeks at the King's Arms about what God is doing in the church. Who has been healed, who has been set free, who has come to know Him. You can hear some of the interviews here.

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

The Lady on the Bridge!

I went treasure hunting yesterday; the first time in a long time and to be honest I wasn't hugely up for it. I was tired and would have preferred to spend my afternoon between two busy church services on my own with Jesus. When you're leading something however you don't have the luxury of bailing at the last minute, so I mustered some energy to head out onto the streets and as always God was amazingly faithful!

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!)