Thursday, 24 November 2011

Red Hat!

This was the clue that led us to our first encounter as TSM took to the streets last week.  The team I was leading was heading to the hospital and as we were walking towards it we spotted a lady walking with her 2 children; 1 was wearing a red hat.

So we stopped this lovely lady (not without a bit of hesitation, the first is often the hardest!) and explained what we were doing.  We told her that we were Christians from a church up the road looking for people to bless in the area and that we felt God had led us to her.  She asked which church we went to and when we told her 'King's Arms' she told us that she was also part of our church - she'd been attending for the last 3 weeks!  Wow!

So sensing we were onto something we showed her our clues.  Sue had just one name on her list, it just so happened to be this lady's sister!  She was currently living in Kenya and trying to decide whether to move over here or not - it was clearly a bit of a stressful time so we offered to pray and she gladly accepted.

As we prayed, there on the street, the presence of God came in such an incredible way.  The lady was very nearly knocked off her feet!  She began to cry as Sue prophesied about God looking after her and her family - especially the unborn child she was expecting soon.  We hugged as we said goodbye and I encouraged her to come and say hi to me the next time she saw me at church.

The Sunday of that same week as church came to an end this precious lady came up to me with another of her sisters beaming from ear to ear.  She told me that she'd felt so much peace since we prayed for her a few days ago.  She went on to explain that she'd called a friend of hers, Sally (a name on my map) when she'd got home and that Sally had offered her everything she was going to need for her newborn baby.  She also said she'd had hip pain before we'd prayed that day but that as we prayed it totally went - we had no idea!

I love that God is the greatest networker around!  When I asked my new friend if she lived locally she told me that she lived on a street off of Ampthill Road.  It turned out to be the exact same street that a TSM team had adopted the previous year.  She knew Karen who led the team; in fact Karen is the reason she started coming along to the King's Arms!  TSM adopt a block started up again today.  They were able to visit my friend and her 4 day old baby to offer support and continue to show God's love.  Wow!  Wow!

(The final piece in the puzzle - this lady's sister in Kenya is now on her way over to the UK!  Sue and I had prayed that God would make it clear for this family the right thing to do.  There's someone in the UK who's offered her sister all the help she needs to move - needless to say the family is totally blown away!  Looking forward to meeting the sister from Kenya when she gets here.  Just amazing!)

Friday, 28 October 2011

TSM Class 2010-11

As I was flicking through some of my old blog posts I realised that I never introduced you to our second TSM class - the amazing bunch of people who graduated this past July.  We had 36 students last year and they ranged in age from 18-70.  It was such a privilege to see them all flourish in God.  The spiritual ceiling created by our first year of students definitely became the floor for this second year.  The breakthroughs they saw in their own lives and also in the lives of those we encountered out on the streets was outstanding!

Below are some of my highlights from the year and photos of some of the most amazing people you're ever likely to meet:

- The way that some of the students were described by friends and family as actually looking physically different because of the amazing work God had done in them through the year
- The time when TSM class of 2009-10 came and imparted all God had done in them through the first year to our new class.  The fire tunnel was quite something!                                                          
- Seeing students walk through fear as they sung out prophetic songs in front of their revival groups.  I love the freedom this brought! (To students and team alike)
- Revival group acting - 'Pick a story from the Bible that inspires faith in you and then act it out in a specified genre ranging from sci-fi, western, silent movie, soap, Bollywood, action.'  SUCH a lot of fun
- Seeing a girl who's still part of our church give her life to Jesus in the hospital car park during our last TSM outreach!
- Incredible freedom in worship; tongues, interpretation, dance, flags, scriptures, the prophetic, songs, raps!
- Seeing God's favour on our 'adopt a block' team.  Homes opened up to them, residents asking for prayer and halfway through the year a drug bust on the very block they'd been praying round.  God's Kingdom well and truly broke in!
- Graduation - hearing amazing life changing stories from the year; seeing a phenomenal group of men and women receiving the honour they deserved and then watching them take steps of courage once again bringing words of knowledge from the front of church off the back of Simon's preach.

I have the best job in the world!  This year we have 40 students and it's already been a blast.  Let's see what the Father will do!  Here's to many more new ceilings!  

Thursday, 27 October 2011

One of my Favourite Things!

I love to prophesy!  There's nothing quite like it.  There's the mixture of fear and anticipation when you walk into a room knowing nothing about the people in it but knowing you'll soon be prophesying from the stage - stepping out of your comfort zone - keeping in check once again that your identity hasn't slipped back into your performance!  There's the thrill of the risk, when you begin to share a word of knowledge that you know could be totally wrong; the fun of making mistakes, modelling what it looks like to live free from having to get it all right and the absolute joy of getting it right and seeing another one of God's kids realising at a deeper level that their heavenly Father knows them and loves them.  Prophesying is one of my favourite things!

I feel like I've had some personal breakthrough recently in terms of accuracy.  The more I prophesy; the more I step out and take risks; the more I'm beginning to recognise my Dad's voice with greater clarity.  I was at a ladies day in Poole recently with some friends from church.  (As an aside, Carole Wilthew and Caroline Holley were speaking and were absolutely outstanding!)  I spotted a girl early on in the day and God started to speak.  He told me that she was a netball player and that she was captain of her team, that I was to share this and then prophesy over her about the leadership gift on her life.  So I stood her up and just so I could cover my bases (that's code for 'so that the possibility of me looking stupid was minimised') I asked her about hockey as well as netball:

Me: Do you play hockey or netball?
Her: I play netball - it's the only sport I play
Me: (note to self - don't add to what God says!) Are you the captain of your team?
Her: Yes!
Me: 'Prophetic stuff about leadership'

It turns out that this girl had been having quite a tough time at school - this prophetic word was just what she needed to feel encouraged that God was with her and had big plans for her life.  Result = massively encouraged girl, massively encouraged mum (sat over the other side of the room), massively encouraged me!

At another ladies event God spoke to me about a girl sat a couple of rows behind me, that she'd recently (in the last 2 weeks) had a horrible nightmare.  God wanted me to pray for her and encourage her that He wanted to start to speak to her through her dreams.  As I shared the word of knowledge with this shy and unassuming girl tears began to roll down her face.  She'd had a really bad nightmare about a week ago and I guess had just 'suffered in silence'  Now she knew that God had been with her. More than that, He had a plan for her sleep, she wasn't to fear nightmares because He wanted to begin to speak to her.  God is so kind!

I think some people believe I just woke up one morning and was able to hear God's voice with real clarity.  I'm so glad that's not what happened.  I have spent many years being intentional about hearing God's voice, about stepping out of my comfort zone and taking risks time and time again.  I've got a whole load of stuff wrong, but as I've continued to be faithful with what God has given me I've also got a whole load of stuff right.  Why am I glad I didn't just wake up with this gift?  Because the prophetic gift (like all the gifts) is rooted in relationship.  A growing relationship of love and trust between a Father and His Daughter.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  How's your relationship going?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Impact in South Africa - Adventures in Harding

View on route!
There's more to tell about my trip to South Africa; God was so good!  Even though I'm now well and truly back into the swing of things here in Bedford (we are into our 4th week of TSM with 40 students from all over the country and 2 different nations!) I wanted to blog one last time about my trip to Harding.

Drew had a genius idea for my second weekend in South Africa.  He and Megan are good friends with a couple called Paul and Shannon Simpson who lead a church in the farming town of Harding (about 2 hours drive from Durban)  The plan was to take a trip there over a weekend with about 14 people from Hope Church as ministry team.  Those who came as part of the team had received much from God during the previous 'Impact' weekend and now they had the privilege of giving it away.  (What was really fun was that during the Saturday evening fire tunnel most of those I would be taking were laying on the floor totally drunk in the spirit - I knew then that it was going to be a good weekend!)

Sunday morning meeting
We had a great time speaking to the church in Harding about God as Father and our identity as His sons and daughters.  It was such a privilege to minister in a place with such diverse cultures in the same church - rich white farmers and poor black children from the townships, worshiping the same God and being family together.  Amazing!

In the afternoon we went out onto the streets treasure hunting.  I went in a team with Paul and we walked through Harding 'High Street' looking for clues.  We got a lot of attention as it's not common for white people to be walking in public - most drive.  It was so fun to experience a culture full of people so open to spiritual things and receiving prayer.  At one point at the local hospital we were speaking to a security guard who was mocking Christianity and saying that ancestral worship was the only way to go.  Then God spoke to me about a problem he had with one of his ears.  At that point, he began to pay more attention and he asked us to pray for his ear and also his heart which was causing him problems.

A highlight of the trip for me was the hour that I and the team spent prophesying over people in the church.  I experienced a new level of accuracy in the prophetic and for a much longer period of time than ever before.  One of the ladies I prophesied over experienced significant emotional healing as Jesus broke off lies she had been believing about her significance in God's Kingdom.  That afternoon as she took one of her children to a birthday party, she offered to pray for a friend of hers for the first time for healing - Her friend's headache disappeared immediately as she commanded healing.  Even this week I've heard more stories of breakthrough this lady has experienced as she's stepped out in confidence and boldness.  Absolutely love it!

Durban and Harding couldn't be more different in terms of their size, landscape, culture - yet the same God is powerfully at work in both places.  On the Sunday morning I spoke in church about the importance of creating a culture of honour,  At the end of the meeting, a girl gave her life to Jesus and a lady who a team had met on outreach the day before was healed of a painful leg condition - it was her first time at the church.  We are living in such exciting times!  I hope to visit Harding again sometime soon.
The Team (minus a couple)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Impact in South Africa - Unit 11

Church at Unit 11 - Church, but not in a church.  In an indie club, Unit 11.  I had the privilege of speaking at Unit 11 the first Sunday evening I was in Durban.  It was a first for me.  Church in an Indie Club!  The team had arrived a few hours before the evening kicked off to clear broken glass off the floor, left over from the gig that took place the night before.  The lighting in the club was low, the chairs were scattered around tables to create an informal feel and because I was a guest I got my first drink at the bar free!

After playing  a bit of table tennis with one of the guests, the evening got underway.  After a few testimonies from the Impact weekend we went straight into worship.  A guy called Dan led us on his guitar and God's presence was immediately tangible in the room.  Looking round the room, I noticed that this 'church in an indie club' was reaching people who probably wouldn't think to step foot in a 'typical church'.  I think that's why God was so quick to come.  Worship; in an Indie Club; attracting those who wouldn't normally go to church - now that's a great combination.  Just the kind of place that Jesus loves to be!

I got to share the gospel when the worship came to an end and we had a great time of ministering God's love to people.  I prophesied over a guy who'd been going along to church for a bit but had been struggling with homelessness and feeling hopeless and lost.  God spoke directly into his situation and began to speak about some of the dreams on his heart.  It was so fun to notice the difference in him by the end of the evening as he chatted freely with me and with much passion about his desire to one day be a church pastor.

Let me end with my personal highlight - Before I spoke I brought some words of knowledge for healing.  Towards the end of the worship time, God had spoken to me about someone in the room who had pain in the back of their neck at the top of their spine.  As I brought the word, a lady at the back of the room put her hand up to respond and receive prayer.  It turns out that she'd actually hurt her neck just before her and her husband had come out for the evening.  It had hurt so much that she was debating whether or not to leave the house at all, but they had come and now God had picked her out.  Even more I'd started to share the words of knowledge God had given me, she turned to her husband and said, 'if she says someone with a bad neck, then I'll be convinced!'  The next word of knowledge?  Someone with a bad neck!  Needless to say, she was convinced and as it happens, totally healed!  Yay God!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Impact in South Africa - The Father and the Kingdom

I arrived in Durban on the Wednesday and had a few days to chill before the Hope Church Impact Weekend, running on Friday evening and all day Saturday.  I'd decided to do two sessions looking at God as Father and two sessions teaching about the Kingdom (two topics that I am increasingly convinced are necessary foundations for every church - Jesus loved revealing the Father and demonstrating the Kingdom!)

We had amazing times of ministry as God showed up and revealed Himself as the perfect Father.  Earthly parents were forgiven and many received revelation of their adoption as sons and daughters of the King.  Those who'd lost their parents, or never known their parents wept freely as they received ministry hugs from others in the church.  It was such a precious time of internal healing and freedom.

I talked about healing on the Saturday evening and spent some time equipping the church to get words of knowledge.  At the end of the session about 8 people from the church who'd never brought a word of knowledge before came up the front to take a risk and have a go.  As they all stepped out one by one it was so exciting to see people responding all over the room.  We spent time praying for the sick and had testimonies of God breaking in and bringing healing!  (I've realised during this trip just how passionate I am about equipping and releasing everyone to hear from God and see God's Kingdom break out - I never want to leave a place with people thinking that the naturally supernatural life is something just for me - or particularly 'spiritual' people.  I want entire churches to be mobilised and all believers to realise that this is the normal Christian life!)

We did a prayer tunnel at the end of the evening to do some impartation.  God came and many were impacted by His power and presence.  The meeting was meant to finish at 9pm but I don't think we left the building until about 10.30.  God was in the house and people were hungry to meet with Him.  Hope Church was impacted and the fruit we began to see on the streets off the back of the two days was so encouraging.  See just a few of the testimonies below:
Courageous Eloise (far right)

'Mini Revival at Pick n Pay Hyper By The Sea- I went shopping this morning and saw a lady walk past with a bandage on her ankle - so I asked if she is in pain and she said yes - so I prayed & pain instantly left her- she tells people around her - the next thing, I prayed for about 10 people - back pains, stomach pains, chest pains etc ALL healed - Thank You JESUS!!!!'

The beautiful Nobu
'This morning I prayed that I'd be able to spread a little of GOD's love today. And He put the lady that helps clean at my place in my heart. I was a little scared cause I thought oh man what if I am wrong, what if it's my imagination. Went to her and she said she had a head ache for past week and a sore throat.  Said a quick prayer for her. And BOOM. She said ALL the pain is gone!!!! Praise GOD'


My Friend Megan
'So I got to pray for a lady in the coffee shop this morning. She is a mom I know a little from the kids school. She was tearful and having a hard day. I knew I just needed to pray for God's presence and peace to be with her. She let me pray and kept saying she knows she needs to come to church.'

Amazing stuff!  Well done Hope Church!! Keep going for it!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Impact in South Africa

At 4.45 this morning I was coming in to land at Heathrow Airport having spent just over two weeks with friends in Durban, South Africa.  To try and sum up what God did over the course of my stay in a few blog entries won't do it justice, but I want to just share a few highlights anyway.

God is so very good!  This was my third ministry trip abroad and my first on my own.  I went back and forth for a while trying to decide if I should have a team with me for this trip or not.  I even asked a few people if they could come, but no-one seemed able to commit.  In the end I felt God speak to me about going on my own.  That this was to be an adventure for just me and Him and that it would be a significant time of me growing in my identity in Christ.  I quickly realised what a blessing it was to be on my own.  Not only was there no-one around for me to be responsible for, being alone also meant that I had the privilege of connecting with the people I met and spent time with at a much deeper level.

I have met some INCREDIBLE people and I am the richer for it!  Those of you who know Drew and Megan will know what an outstanding couple they are.  I absolutely loved spending time with them.  They are doing such a great job leading Hope Church!  I got to re-connect with friends I met during last years trip and I also met new friends.  Amazing people, in an amazing city, hungry for God and pressing in for all He has for them.  Facing different challenges to the kind we face here in Bedford, but just as passionate about seeing God's Kingdom break out in everyday life and choosing to take risks to see a city transformed.  God is doing a great work in Durban.  I feel like I left a bit of my heart there (Shame...I guess I'll just have to go back!)

Phum, Me, Nox and Nobu
Over the course of the two weeks we saw people healed emotionally and physically.  We had incredible times of worship and encountering God as His presence came.  We had encounters on the streets (both planned and unplanned!) We saw one girl give her life to Christ.  We had incredibly accurate times of prophetic ministry that brought healing, freedom and destiny to people.  To summarise, God broke in!  I don't think Hope Church, Durban or Grace Community Church, Harding (we took a team there during the second weekend to!) will ever be the same again!

A little story to whet your appetite.  On the first evening of the Impact Weekend before I spoke, I brought a word of knowledge about someone who had pain in one of their shoulders.  A guy responded, and without praying I asked him to check it out.  As he moved his arm back and forth and rotated his shoulder he found that all the pain had gone - No one laid hands on him and no one prayed.  God just broke in and did it because He can and He loves to heal.  Great start!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Saved in the Hospital Car Park

One of my dreams has been to lead someone to Christ on the streets. I've heard stories of others having the privilege and have celebrated their breakthroughs as if they were my own, always with the longing that one day I would have my own story to tell. Not for my sake, but for His - He is mighty to save and seeing those who don't know Him come into relationship with Him should be part of the normal Christian life.

A few months ago we had a girl referred to us for prayer from a local GP. She'd badly injured her knee and was on crutches and in pain. She came along to one of our morning services and received prayer. Her knee got a lot better and the following week when she came to church she was off her crutches and walking with mostly no pain!

Over the course of a few weeks she was kind of taken in by a family in the church who invited her over for family meals and demonstrated God's love to her. At the same time another of our church family who worked where she lived was talking to her about Jesus and His love for her.

I had met this precious girl a couple of times at church. While on our last TSM outreach I met her again in the hospital car park. She'd just been in the hospital to collect some medication and now she was on her way home.

We got chatting and she began to talk about how life was getting better for her but how she felt held back by stuff from her past that she felt guilty about. I asked her if she realised that Jesus could take all that stuff away and give her a brand new start. She said she did. I asked her if she understood what Jesus had done for her on the cross and if she were to give her life to Him what might have to change about her lifestyle. She had a good understanding (it turns out that the lady who works where she lived had recently explained the gospel to her)

I asked if she wanted to give her life to Jesus right there in the car park rather than waiting for Sunday. She said yes! So there and then Chloe and I led her through a prayer to give her life to Jesus. She prayed from her heart and then received the amazing love and peace of God as the Holy Spirit came and her filled her. Amazing!

This isn't one of those dreams that you tick off once you've seen it, satisfied and ok not to see it again. This is one of those dreams that makes you realise how big our God is and what the normal Christian life looks like! He is mighty to save. Here's to loads more salvations on the street!

- Posted using blogpress from my iPhone

Location:Kimbolton Rd,Bedford,United Kingdom

Saturday, 18 June 2011

We Missed our Meeting!

I had a cluster meeting on Thursday evening.  That's where 3 or so small groups gather to do community and God stuff together.  I decided to leave my house well before the evening was due to start because I fancied a walk and an opportunity to spend some time clearing my head with Jesus after a full on (outstanding) TSM day! (As an aside - a visitor to TSM this week from New Zealand (!) got to pray for a lady who had injured her back in 1960 and it was miraculously healed...50 years worth of pain gone in an instant!  I hope you're celebrating!)

As I walked up and down past the flat we'd be meeting in I got chatting with a girl and her friend.  She asked what I did and when I told her I worked for a church it opened up a 2 and a half hour encounter.  It was a good work that God had prepared in advance for me to do that I literally tripped over...I did nothing except be friendly!

During the course of the encounter, another friend of theirs joined us and God began to speak to me a bit about her.  Karen Rowland had joined me by this point.  She'd seen me chatting to the guy and girl as she'd arrived for cluster and decided that she wanted to get in on the action!  We got to pray for and prophesy over both the girls and the guy.  God spoke and hearts were impacted.  We spoke about evolution, suffering, God's heart, forgiveness, the need for love and much, much more.

God began to speak to me about one of them having a bad back.  The guy said it was him.  I asked if he had one leg shorter than the other.  He didn't know.  We encouraged him to sit on the pavement with his back against a wall so we could take a look.  It turned out that one of his legs was just under an inch longer than the other.  As we prayed, with both girls looking on, his leg slowly grew out and his back pain totally disappeared! 

One of the girls had quite bad hip pain.  I prayed for her and nothing happened, so I called on the guy who had just received healing in his back to come and pray instead of me.  He put his hand on his friend's hip and repeated after me...'Hip pain, go now in Jesus' name'  When the girl checked it out this time the pain had massively reduced.  She was 90% healed and totally blown away!

The other girl also had hip pain and tight joints all over body that she was receiving physio for.  Her recently healed friends layed hands on her and commanded the pain to go in Jesus' name and for healing to come.  After praying a couple of times, the pain in her hips had gone and her joints felt like they'd loosened up!

Our new friends asked us on a number of occasions during the 2 and a half hours if we needed to go and get to our meeting.  We told them we didn't - that this was much more fun and what the church is meant to be doing; displaying the love of our perfect heavenly Father to those who've never encountered it (no disrespect to our cluster - it is amazing - just wanted to say!)  

Karen and I both commented as we reflected on the evening that we both felt the most alive we've felt in a long time.  This is what we've been made for; the adventure; the uncertainty; the supernatural; the opportunity to show love; the risk taking; the power.  This is the normal Christian life - what a privilege!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Two Words of Knowlege and a Prophetic Word!

Back in June 2010 I had an encounter in a pub as I was out for a meal with some friends.  A friend of mine and I got some words of knowledge for the lady working behind the bar that were totally spot on and led to us praying for her for healing and also inviting her along to church.  She seemed very keen, you can read the full story here.

Just over a month ago a friend of mine (an amazing lady called Karen who is interning with me this year) was having a meal in the same pub and inspired by my story from several months earlier began to tune into God for a word of knowledge for someone behind the bar.  As it turns out she heard God for a guy who happened to be the partner of the lady I had the encounter with (this couple own the pub).  Her word of knowledge to do with finances was spot on and hugely encouraged the guy.  As she left she too invited them to come along to church.

The following Sunday evening this amazing couple walked through our church doors for the first time.  It was so exciting to see them again.  As we talked at the end of the evening, they shared about how God had been on their case for such a long time.  They'd really enjoyed the service and planned to come back again.

The following week Julian Adams was preaching.  At the end of his talk he picked people out to prophesy over.  There was much excitement in the church when he picked out the couple from the pub sat on the back row.  What he shared from God's heart was really accurate and left the couple knowing yet again that God knows them and is definitely on their case!  I just love the way that God pursues His children!

Two words of knowledge and a prophetic word later, this Sunday evening the couple had three of their friends in tow.  Two are colleagues from the pub and one used to work at the pub but doesn't anymore.  What was really fun was that at the end of the meeting some friends and I got to prophesy over each of the visitors stuff that showed them God knows them and loves them and is on their case too.  One of the lady's was crying before I even got to her because she felt so overwhelmed.  Another said that she'd felt immediately safe as soon as she'd walked into the building.  Wow!  I'm so excited to see how God continues to work in these precious lives.

(It seems that asking God for words of knowledge for newcomers to the church is a great strategy for seeing breakthrough!  The same Sunday evening we had a guy visiting for the first time off the back of a TSM encounter on the streets during the week.  At the end of the meeting I got to share some stuff with him that I felt God was saying that turned out to be accurate.  A few minutes later a friend of mine was leading him in a prayer of re-commitment!  Yay God!)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

More Breakthrough Outside A & E!

We were at the hospital again last Thursday afternoon.  The timing was amazing (as it always is with God).  My beautiful god-daughter had been having trouble breathing and her mum had taken her to A & E to have her checked out.  We arrived about half an hour after she'd got there and so head straight to A & E to see if we would be allowed in to see her and pray.  Sadly we weren't allowed through (family only...I wanted to say 'I am family' but didn't think the Christian family or god-mother thing would cut it - even though it totally should!)  So, we prayed outside A & E and I spoke to Sarah over the phone.  What was amazing was how God used one closed door to open another.  Let me explain:

We'd spent about an hour wandering around the hospital and had a few fun encounters before we head back towards A & E to meet the rest of the team.  As we did so, outside A & E sat on a bench was the lady who'd been in front of us in the queue in A & E as we'd waited to seek permission to go and see Rae (we recognised her as she had bright red hair!)  Chloe, who I was with spotted her.  The more you do outreach on the streets the more you come to realise that when you see the same person multiple times God is trying to get your attention, so we went to speak to her.

It turns out that she'd ruptured her achilles tendon and was now walking with the aid of a crutch.  The hospital had said it would take about 6 weeks to heal and she was in quite a bit of pain with restricted movement.  As we were speaking to her God told me that she worked as a waitress in a restaurant and so needed to be on her feet all day.  She shared that this was true and because of her injury she had to be off work for quite some time.

She was so open for prayer and so Chloe and I prayed a total of 4 times for her healing.  After each time of praying the lady commented that she couldn't believe what was happening. She was totally blown away.  After we'd finished praying, the pins and needles that she's had in her toes for about a week had gone; the pain she felt shoot up her leg whenever she put her foot on the floor had gone and she was beginning to get increased movement in her ankle.  Come on Jesus!

Just before the lady was picked up by her Father she shared that she used to attend church with her Nan before she died suddenly several years ago.  The shock of her Nan's death had meant she'd given up on God.  Clearly He hasn't given up on her.  I'm excited about the prospect of seeing her walk through our church doors in the next few weeks pain free.  She seemed pretty keen!

Oh, and just to put your minds at rest, Rae was fine...God is so good!

Friday, 11 February 2011

More Treasure in the 'Chest'

You may remember a post I wrote back in December about how a word of knowledge to do with a side plait and a hat, led one of the TSM teams to an encounter with a lady in a local shop.  After chatting to the lady for a while and sharing God's heart for her, the lady told the students that her sister in law was ill in hospital and would they be willing to go and pray for her.  Later that week two of our TSM students went to pray for the sister in law in Bedford hospital.  The encounter didn't end simply with praying.  You can read the full story of what God orchestrated here.

The encounter we had that day and what it led to was just amazing, but here's something even more amazing to be totally blown away by!  This Sunday just gone the sister in law from the hospital and her husband came along to our guest service at the King's Arms.  J.John was speaking and when he invited people to respond at the end of the service to either give their lives to Jesus for the first time or make a re-commitment, they both responded!  Two days later they attended our Alpha and Beta evening which they're planning to commit to for the entire course.

When we met the sister in law in hospital a couple of months ago we knew that she had some kind of faith.  What we didn't know was that a few weeks later she and her husband would come along to one of our church services and make a decision before God to surrender everything to Him again.  More treasure in the 'chest'!  It's difficult to find the words to express how blown away I am by the way God works...immeasurably more than all you can ask or think.  Thanks Dad!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

We found Felix!

Back in November we were doing our first ever week of outreach as part of TSM and we were all treasure hunting.  One team had the clues Felix, fish and eye problems (among other things).  They knew that there was a fish and chip shop near the bus station and so they head there to see what treasure they could find.

As they approached the bus station they saw a young guy walking with a white stick waiting for a bus.  They went over to him to explain what they were doing...that they believed He was God's treasure as he was by the fish and chip shop and suffered with eye problems.  When they asked him his name they were totally blown away when he replied, 'Felix!'  Sadly, Felix had to leave to catch his bus.  The team left hugely encouraged that they'd found their treasure and Felix left knowing that God knew Him and loved him.

About 2 months later one of our creative teams decided that they would head to the bus station to do their outreach.  One of the lady's remembered that it had been around the same time of day 2 months before that they'd met Felix.  'I wonder if we'll see Felix again today?'  The fact that we're in a relationship with a God who's sovereign and seems to be able to put the right people in the right places at the right time, meant they did indeed 'bump' into Felix again (how mad is that!)  After a while of chatting to Felix and reminding him of what had happened 2 months previously they were able to give him details of the church and invite him to come along one Sunday.  Little did we know what God had in store!

Later that same week we received an e-mail from Felix saying that he was really keen to come along to church but that he lived in Marston (a way out of Bedford) and had no way of getting to a Sunday service.  After a small amount of investigating we discovered that there was a family who lived in Marston who could possibly give him a lift.  The wife in the family just happens to be in charge of integration in the church!

Since God has orchestrated these incredible, mind-blowing encounters, Felix has been along to the King's Arms for the past month.  Last week he was sat on the front row and before the service began he helped out on the welcome team!  This guy is still yet to meet with Jesus and come into relationship with Him but God is thoroughly at work in his life.  I got to pray for Felix for healing for his sight a few weeks ago.  Nothing has happened yet, but I'm trusting God for a miracle. The blind will see in Bedford!

What I absolutely love about this story is that it's an example of one of God's treasure's (in this case Felix) being brought into the treasure chest (the church).  That is after all why we do what we do.  To see people encounter God on the streets in such a dynamic way that they can't help but be drawn into church family.  3 years of faithfully plugging away, treasure hunting and taking risks on the streets and the treasure is finally beginning to walk through our church doors.  I love how God adds to us when we're faithful with what we've got.  Felix is our first of many!  Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A Side Plait and a Hat! - Part 2!

You might remember my post from a few weeks ago about one of our TSM outreach teams encountering a lady in a local shop with a side plait and a hat (a word of knowledge one of our students had before they went out onto the streets).  The encounter led to an amazing opportunity to pray for this lady's sister in law in hospital.  You can read the full story here.

This week just gone another of our teams (called the 'creative team' because they literally ask God on the Thursday what He'd like them to do and then go and do it) felt God speak to them about taking a trip on a bus and as they went to be looking out for people with pushchairs.

Before they'd got to the bus they spotted a lady walking with a pushchair so the girl who'd had that specific word of knowledge was encouraged by her team to step out and take a risk (as an aside I love that Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs...outreach in team is so much more fun than outreach on your own...He knew we'd need friends to give us courage!)

The girl approached the lady and explained what they were doing and what she'd felt God had shown her and then she asked if there was anything she could pray for the lady about.  The lady's response... 'I met someone else from your course a few weeks ago when I was in Londis.  They ended up paying for my sister in law who was in hospital ill at the time'  It was the lady with the side plait and the hat!  God had picked her out a second time in the space of a month!!!!

After chatting with the lady some more her passing comment was this, 'I'd like to come and visit your church.'  God is clearly in pursuit of this woman.  Don't you just love that His love is relentless!  WOW!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Pain Didn't Stop Play!

I got to play badminton with my good friend Claire yesterday.  We haven't played for a very long time and so it was nice to get back into it again.  We're hoping to be able to work it so that we can play once a week.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good we both still were!

About halfway through the hour long session, Claire injured her right shoulder.  She started to hold it as we were nearing the end of one of our games and she explained once we had finished that it was hurting - she wondered if she'd pulled something.  So I offered to pray.

Claire is a friend I used to work with at Biddenham.  I've told her stories before about God healing people and obviously she knows that I work for a church and that I believe God loves to do that kind of stuff, but she's never had anyone pray for her before.  Tentatively she accepted my offer and after 3 short prayers followed by a quick test of the shoulder after each time, the pain had completely gone!  In Claire's words 'it's like I never even hurt it!'

Pain didn't stop play, instead we got to enjoy the full hour of Badminton that we had paid for...God is so amazing and He loves to heal!

(Did I mention that I won 3 games to 2?)