Monday, 26 March 2012

Adventures in Auckland

View from top of Mount Eden
It's been over a month now since we were ministering in Auckland.  Phil, Pete, Laura and I have such fond memories of our time with Grace Church; A group of outstanding men and women hungry for God's presence and passionate about impacting their city.  We can't wait to go back!  I wanted to write down some highlights of the trip before they became too hazy in my mind

(N.B Remembering is a key Biblical principle.  The Israelites didn't enter the Promised Land because they forgot what God had done for them! How are you doing at recording what God is doing in and through you?)

Highlights from our time in Auckland:
- Staying with one of the most generous and loving couples you're ever likely to meet, Andy and Kath.  The Pacific Ocean 20 metres from the front door, freshly caught snapper for dinner, lots and lots of laughing
- Laura and my first meeting with a group of 5 ladies from the church.  Accurate prophetic words that prepared the way for further breakthrough and freedom in their lives.  A very quick sense of heart connection and love for each other
- Freedom appointments - One hour slots that people from the church signed up for where Laura and I (and Pete and Phil for some) prayed through whatever the Holy Spirit brought up.  Such a privilege!  I've not seen the kind of freedom we saw in such a short space of time for a long time.  God was so good!
- Church ladies evening - 30 plus ladies crammed into Andy and Kath's front room.  A real sense of God's presence in worship, provocation from the Holy Spirit as I spoke, corporate repentance, a strong sense of God's commissioning and then a very fun prophetic action to end ('Goooooooo Team!')
- Church camp - Our week with the church culminated in their church camp near Hamilton.  An amazing sense of family; lots of God; accurate prophetic words; healing; freedom; lots of joy; beautiful weather; an outdoor pool; good food; masses of heart connection (felt like home!)
- Stories of courage and breakthrough we've received since leaving the country.  Be inspired by the following exerts:

'Well...... you've only been gone for a couple of hours and I find myself praying for a woman to be healed of Diabetes outside the supermarket - I am a new creation. You guys are awesome in helping me discover that!'

'Spurred on by your courageous stories, Kath and I are now 'courage buddies'. We did go out a couple of days ago, armed with a few clues...God was so kind to us and we found our treasure..a young girl, just arrived in the city, hugely unhappy, who just happened to be sitting asking God for help moments before we approached her.  We had a great chat and got to pray for her and give her our details. When we left she was so sure that God was looking out for her and said she hadn't been so happy in weeks'

Pete, Laura, Kath and I enjoying smoothies by the Pacific!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Encounter at Dee Why Beach (Sydney)

I had the privilege of spending a week in Sydney after our two week ministry adventure in New Zealand.  The plan was to have a bit of a break before heading back to the UK and back to work.  Pete, Laura and I had a great time catching up with the amazing Amanda Bezer (pictured below).  We were also hugely blessed to meet some outstanding people who are part of Grace City Church, the New Frontiers Church in Sydney.

As part of our week I was asked if I would lead a treasure hunting morning on the Saturday.  An opportunity to train some people from the church in treasure hunting; to encourage them with stories of some of the stuff we've seen in Bedford and then to have some time to go out and do the stuff.  I was blown away by the number of God encounters the teams had in just one hour on a very busy bit of beach called Dee Why!

I teamed up with an amazing lady called Johanna and we had an outstanding encounter when we approached a lady wandering away from the beach.  I had the clue white hat; the lady's hat was cream, but after a bit of deliberation we decided to approach her anyway.  I'm so glad we did!

We explained what we were doing and showed the lady our treasure maps.  She could relate to some of the ailment clues, to do with bad knees and a painful wrist so we offered to pray for her.  I asked if there was anything else we could pray for as God obviously wanted to pick her out.  At that moment she started to cry and then she explained why.

It turns out that she was a Christian but hadn't been going to church for a while.  She'd been having some difficulties with her marriage and had that morning been reading a book on the beach by Rick Warren about how to stand firm in life's crisis'.  Basically she was in need of some intervention and encouragement from God and then we stopped her!  How kind is God!  We got to encourage her and then pray.  As we prayed I felt God speak to me about music being important to this woman and that it gave her life.  That this was a gift from God and she was to feel free to listen to music more.  She started to cry again as she told us she'd written in her journal that morning that music was important to her and gave her life.  She was so encouraged.

As we left we exchanged details and invited her to church the following morning.  It was so exciting to see her there the next day and to watch her fill out a 'stay in touch' card.  God had not only picked out this lady for an encounter on the streets, He'd brought her into a new family.  Johanna has been in touch with this lady since and been out for coffee with her with another friend.  God is building His church (and to think we nearly didn't stop to say hi!)

Johanna, Me, Amanda and Laura

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Other Side of the World - Same God!

I recently had the privilege of being part of a team sent by King's Arms Church to minister in New Zealand.  After a gruelling 25 hour journey (and that was only the time spent on 3 separate planes not waiting times in airports!) we got to the furthest place you can go from the UK before coming back on yourself again.  What we found during our time there; the same God who is about a great work here is about a great work there!

I love how God works.  Had you told me a few years ago that I would be involved in going to the Nations to see God's Kingdom break out I probably would have laughed in your face!  I didn't like flying (so going as far as New Zealand was totally out of the question) And I felt really content to stay in the UK for the rest of my life.  That is until God spoke to me clearly through a prophetic word about travel and going to the nations.  That word woke something up in me that was laying dormant and I haven't looked back since.

Our first weekend in New Zealand was spent in Wellington, the Capital City.  It was a short flight from Auckland (where we spent most of our time) and once there we ran a series of meetings talking about God as our Father, removing blockages to the Kingdom and our identity.  The freedom that individuals received through our short time there was quite staggering.  Men and women sobbed as God put His finger on hurts and pain from their past that were hindering them in their walks with Him.  I was reminded again about the importance of openness and authenticity.  The more authentic and open you are, the quicker you will enjoy freedom (note to self!)

On the Sunday I spoke about how to create a supernatural culture.  There was more freedom as individuals expressed disappointment they'd been carrying that was impacting their expectations.  Then we got to pray for the sick in faith that God wanted to break in.  I did some quick training on how to get words of knowledge and then 12 people who'd never got one before come to the front to have a go.  One after another the words of knowledge shared were accurate.  I never tire of seeing the look of disbelief on people's faces when the word of knowledge they bring is responded to.  This stuff is for everyone!  Then God did what He does best and people got healed:

Thumb pain
Wisdom tooth and jaw pain
Shoulder pain
50% deafness
3 day headache
Back pain went without prayer!

Perhaps most exciting for me was an e-mail I received after the following Sundays meeting about how God had broken in in a new way.  Here's a small excerpt:

'The coolest thing happened at our church on sunday! We were worshipping and everything was going wrong with the sound gear and it was super distracting.  I felt the holy spirit prompt me to get up to the mic and talk about grace and our inheritance as children of the kingdom. I shared that it felt like some people really needed God's Joy, Peace and Comfort. 

We went into a time of free worship for a bit then Pete Henare said to me "you have to go back up to the mic" to which i replied, "what do you want me to do or say?!! to which he said, "i dont know just sing in tounges or something!" (Really???!!!)

So i did! and the Holy Spirit turned up in such power!! the spirit was moving people came up and shared words of knowlege for healing and 3 people got healed!! I think it was 2 shoulders and wrist pain, gone!  All over the congregation people were crying and responding to God, so coool!!!! His presence was so tangible it was amazing!

There is such a new hunger and expectancy among us as a church, you guys imparted such faith to us! 
Be encouraged!'

(Sunday afternoon on the beach was pretty cool too!)