Friday, 16 April 2010

Charles Finney = LEGEND!

I've recently finished reading the autobiography of Charles G Finney - The life story of America's Greatest Evangelist - in his own words. God has used it to impact me in so many ways! It's packed full of story after story of God breaking in and Finney experiencing sustained revival (just as God intended it) wherever he went!

It tells of a time when Finney was asked to say grace before a meal and how he was so overcome with compassion for the state of the soul of an unbeliever at the table that mid-sentence he began to weep. Before long, the unbeliever at the table left the meal and locked himself in his room until morning, at which point he came out having been converted overnight!

It tells of a time when Finney visited a factory and the conviction of God came upon the workers so strongly (just becasue Finney had walked into the room) that all of them stopped working in order to get their lives right with God. The whole factory was converted and revival broke out again!

I've felt convicted on so many levels - firstly because of my lack of compassion for those around me who don't yet know Jesus - secondly because somewhere along the line I've lost faith in the power of the gospel to radically and completely change lives - thirdly because I'm not regularly on my knees crying out to God for breakthrough, full of expectation that my prayers will be answered and His Kingdom will come! I've got so much to learn!

I am grateful to God that while on this journey of discovery we do get to see and be part of God's Kingdom breaking out on the earth. One thing Finney did was to encourage his church members to scatter themselves throughout the church building to keep an eye out for people God was impacting during his sermon so that at the end of the service they could go and speak to them and lead them to the Lord. 'In this way the conversion of a great many souls was secured.' Just last Sunday at King's Arms, a teenage girl came along for the very first time and God really met with her throughout the service. Inspired by Finney, at the end of the meeting I went to chat with her. Not long after we'd sat down together she was recommitting her life to God, tears streaming down her face, and then she was baptised in the Holy Spirit. It doesn't get much better than that!

This Sunday why not keep an eye out for who God is impacting at your church service and then, when you get the chance, go and speak with them. Who knows what God might do!

Friday, 9 April 2010

I've got a Courage Buddy!

Have you got a courage buddy? I've been wanting for a long while to see the deaf hear and the blind see in Bedford - after all it's what Jesus promises right? But, a few weeks ago my Heavenly Dad highlighted to me that the only way I was going to see the deaf hear and the blind see was to start praying for some deaf and blind people. I decided I wasn't quite brave enough to approach people on the streets on my own in this new venture, so I found myself a courage buddy - Anna Heasman! We've now been out twice in Bedford town centre to intentionally look for the deaf and blind to pray for. No breakthroughs yet, but we did have a really exciting encounter the last time we went out. Here's what happened...

Anna and I were talking about wanting to grow in hearing God prophetically for people as we meet them in town. It's all very well spotting that they're ill and offering to pray for healing, it's quite another thing to reveal the secrets of their hearts in the moment as you learn to tune in to God. So, we thought we'd give it a go!

I spotted a lady as we walked in to the Harpur Centre in town and about 5 minutes later I saw her again. She was on her way into WH Smith. I told Anna that I felt God wanted to speak to her and so we followed her in. As she spent time looking for DVD's we spent time trying to hear from God about stuff to do with her current situation...what did God want to say? When we 'compared notes' we had fairly similar stuff. I felt God wanted to speak to her about something fairly major that she was worried about, something to do with her job. Anna felt that she might be a teacher, so we positioned ourselves just outside WH Smith to wait for her to come out.

As she left the shop we stopped her and explained that we were Christians and that we felt God had spoken to us about her to encourage her. She was really happy for us to share what God had said. As I started to share with her, tears began to well up in her eyes. I talked about her being worried about her job situation and that she felt really lonely in it and I told her that God wanted to pick her out to tell her He was with her. She could barely hold it together. Here's what we found out...

This precious lady had arrived in the country at the end of December from New Zealand. She knew hardly any people and was feeling very lonely. She was also having a really tough time at work which she was really worried about. She was about to start a new job as she'd had to leave her last one under difficult circumstances. What is it that she does? She's a supply teacher!

How amazing is it of God to pick this lady out of the whole of Bedford town to tell her that He knows her and He's with her - that even though she's travelled halfway round the world and everything is feeling a little bit desperate, He's looking out for her. It was an amazing encounter and an incredible privilege to communicate God's heart to His precious daughter.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Black and White, Pig Pen and Bronchitis!

We ran a Hit the Streets event in Rushden a few weeks ago. It was TSM's second outreach weekend where we go and serve another church in another town. About 70 people turned up to be trained and equipped in treasure hunting and seeing God's Kingdom come on the streets. We had some amazing encounters throughout the course of the day, but one in particular sticks in my mind.

One treasure hunting team had the clues black and white, pig pen and bronchitis (among other things). At one point they walked past a hairdressers that had a black and white coat in the window, so they decided to venture in to see if they could find any treasure.

As they walked into the hairdressers they realised that the whole place was actually decorated in black and white, and as they approached the ladies behind the counter, they overheard them talking about an old man who had recently died who had been a pig farmer!

As my friends explained what they were doing and how they had the clues black and white and pig pen both ladies were totally blown away that God would lead them to their salon. As they looked through the other clues, they were even more amazed to see the condition bronchitis on the map - one of the ladies had a daughter who was just recovering from that very condition! My friends got to pray for her for a complete recovery.

Throughout the course of the encounter, the treasure hunting team got to pray for everyone in the salon. The last lady they approached opened up about the fact that her daughter had recently been diagnosed with the most serious form of ovarian cancer. As this hurting mother sat in the hairdressers in tears, our team got to pray for her daughter and demonstrate God's tender and extravagant love once again. How amazing is God!

(The thing that topped it all off was when we got back together to share stories of what God had done while we'd been out on the streets, it turned out that this hairdressers is the place that Phil Dowling - the leader of the church in Rushden - gets his hair cut!)