Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Open Doors - Literally!

Our 'adopt a block' team had the genius idea of going carol singing on their street for their last outreach before the Christmas break.  The plan was to sing (obviously!) and then have some homemade cakes to give out to anyone who came to the door.

Before the teams went out we prayed for each other.  I remember praying for someone on the adopt a block team for open doors.  That God would put His favour on the team so that literal doors would be opened to them.  God loves to answer our prayers!  Even though the weather was horrible, the carol singers ventured out with song sheets and cakes in hand.

When all the teams returned, we heard from the adopt a block team that God's favour had indeed been upon them.  They told us that multiple times when they'd started to sing they could hear people in the houses frantically searching for some money to give them.  They then shared about the shock on people's faces when any money was refused and instead cakes were offered in addition to the singing.  One resident shared how they'd lived on the street for 16 years and had never had carol singers at the door!

At one point in the afternoon, a lady from across the street to where the team was currently singing, approached the team to ask if they were Christians.  When they replied 'yes', she asked if they could come into her house to pray for her and her children.  Who does that!  When was the last time you heard about carol singers being invited into someone's house for a cup of tea and some prayer!  A literal open door that two of the team had the privilege of walking through!  God is so amazing!

What was even more incredible was that when I shared this story at our church prayer meeting that evening, a guy in the church came over to me and explained that back in June he'd had a dream about people in the church going carol singing along streets near the building when it was freezing cold. He'd seen, in the dream, the carol singers offering gifts of light to the residents they sang to.  Incredible!  We got the idea a few weeks ago, but God had it in His thinking way before and He shared it in a dream with someone else in the church!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A Side Plait and a Hat!

Every Thursday afternoon we do outreach as part of our 'Training for Supernatural Ministry' course. There are 6 teams that head out to 6 different locations in Bedford to learn how to release the Kingdom of God wherever they go! One team goes to the hospital, another offers to pray for the sick in the town centre, another looks to impact students at Bedford college, two teams are what we call 'creative' which means they ask God on the Thursday what He'd like them to do to bless people and then go and do it. The last team is our 'adopt a block' team which is looking to serve a particular street off Ampthill Road.

God is doing amazing stuff as we try to step out in obedience to Him, but I just have to share a particular highlight; something that's happened in the last couple of weeks with the adopt a block team.

A couple of weeks ago a girl on the team got a word of knowledge before heading out about meeting a lady with a side plait and wearing a hat. Towards the end of their time on the streets, they popped into a local shop to speak to the owner. While there, a lady came in pushing a pushchair wearing her hair in a side plait and a hat! Bingo!

Two of the team got into conversation with her - explained that they were Christians and that God had spoken to them about meeting her. The girl who'd had the word of knowledge then went on to prophesy over the lady, stuff God had said to her when she'd first got the word of knowledge before they'd ventured onto the streets. The lady was visibly touched by the encounter and what my friend had to say. When the team asked if there was anything they could pray for her about, she mentioned her sister in law who was currently in hospital recovering from an operation. The team offered to go to the hospital to pray for this lady's sister in law and the lady thought her sister in law would really like that, so she took their numbers.

A few days later one of the team got a text from the sister in law in hospital asking if they could go and pray for they did! They spent an hour with this precious lady - chatting and praying and generally encouraging her and learning some more about her life. What they learnt was incredible...

The lady in hospital is a Christian. One of the team who went to pray recognised her from when she worked as an LSA at a school in the town. She's been saved out of a Hindu family, one of 5 siblings. All the sisters are also Christians, but the brother isn't yet and she's been praying for him and her dad for a long time (the mum is also saved!). Who's the brother married to? The lady God led the team to that Thursday afternoon with the side plait and hat! It seems that God has His hand on this entire family!

The following Thursday as we shared what God had done in this encounter another student on TSM, Joy, worked out that the lady in the hospital used to live with her when she was 16 with a young baby. Joy had been instrumental in several of the sisters giving their lives to Jesus and hadn't seen her old friend for a number of years. That afternoon, as teams ventured out onto the streets again for more outreach, Joy got to go to the hospital for an incredibly precious reunion with the sister in law! They prayed together and caught up, and later Joy got a text to say she was hoping to be out of the hospital the next day!

By all accounts the lady who God picked out in the shop is totally blown away by what has been happening, both with what God said to her through the prophetic, but also with how God is working things out with her sister in law. I'm convinced that God is going to continue to do a mighty work in this entire family. To top it all off, the lady in the shop lives in a house that backs onto our new church building!

Who knew that serving the local community could be so much fun and open up so much stuff; and all this off the back of a word of knowledge! I absolutely love watching God at work!

Friday, 17 December 2010

A Bitter Sweet Day

For the past 8 years I have been working for the King's Arms church 3 days a week and teaching at an amazing local Upper School - Biddenham - 2 days a week. Over the course of those 8 years I have had responsibility in the church for student work, youth work and now I have the privilege of leading our training for supernatural ministry school - TSM.

Ever since I was offered 3 days a week with the church (in a meeting with Simon and PJ in the Swan hotel one Sunday before an evening service - I remember it well!) my ultimate dream has always been to be full-time; to give up teaching in order to be able to fully commit to what God is calling me to in the church. About 4 months ago this dream began to look more like a reality when the guys said they'd like to offer me an extra days work as of January.

In the past I've really struggled being at school and so the offer of an extra day at church - which would mean being able to stop teaching would have been a very easy decision; 'yes, absolutely, when do I start, can't wait?' However, over the past few years God has really worked in my heart and I have grown to love Biddenham, the kids there, the amazing friends I've made on staff and the general feel of the school. The decision, when the opportunity came, wasn't as easy as I'd expected.

One evening I was hanging out with some good friends of mine and I asked them, as I often like to do, if God was saying anything to them for me at the moment. One girl after a short while said she had the word school come into her head. With intrigue I asked her what she felt God was saying to her about school. Another pause and then the response, 'I think God is saying that your time at school is coming to an end.' Wow God! I asked another question, 'do you get any sense of the timing of that?' 'Christmas' came the reply!

After much prayer and having received further prophetic confirmation that means I know this is the right next step for me I handed my notice in at Biddenham just before the October half term. It was a difficult decision to leave something that I love where there are people that I love, but I know that means my heart is actually in the best place to be moving on. (it seems that God loves to release us into new things when we're grateful for where we are)

I'm so excited about the opportunity to fully commit to what God is calling me to in the church. To have time to develop TSM and to be able to say yes to more ministry adventures. God has been so good to me! Perhaps more than anything I'm grateful for the way that having to wait for this dream to be fulfilled has shaped my character and prepared my heart for 'such a time as this'. To say I'm excited would be an understatement!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

'Do you sing?'

I was at Alpha on Tuesday night to do some prophetic stuff. I wasn't intending to go, but last minute they needed more people so I agreed to help out. To be totally honest I was feeling the least prophetic that I've felt for a very long time. I was tired and feeling a bit under the weather. As I looked around the room at the 30 or so people who needed an encounter with God I felt overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. It's a good job that my ability to hear God's voice isn't dependent on how I feel!

God was so incredibly faithful! At the end of Steve's talk I had the opportunity to bring a couple of words from the front that were really accurate and that blessed the people being prophesied over. I love the look on people's faces when they realise, often for the first time, that God knows them. It's such a precious moment.

One girl I prophesied over reminded me of someone I know who is an excellent singer and performer. I felt God remind me of this person because I was to prophesy over this girl about singing. That's all I had. So I picked the girl out and simply asked the question, 'Do you sing?' Immediately she put her head in her hands and began to cry. I had nothing much else to say to her except that I felt like God was highlighting her singing ability. That He wanted her to enjoy it.

When I got to speak to the girl later it turned out that just the day before she'd been speaking to her boyfriend (who's really into music) and he'd said to her that she really should sing because she's so good. She had immediately rejected this suggestion because she didn't believe she was any good. Even though she used to sing and perform as a young girl she had lost a huge amount of confidence over the years. It had got to the point that she wouldn't sing at all.

Through the seemingly vague word I brought, God spoke truth into this girl's heart. He highlighted the very thing that used to bring this girl life, that the enemy was trying to steal away and started this precious girl on a journey of freedom and restoration. What an incredible Dad He is!

(I also got to bring a house number; 38. There was a guy there who lived at number 38. He felt God speak to him and encourage him even though I had nothing else to bring. Thank you Jesus!)