21/07/2007

Church on fire

I have been listening to Hillsongs for quite a while now, but yesterday, the lyrics of the song Church on Fire, hit me. Here are the words that spoke to me:

The Holy Spirit is here and His power is real.
Anything could happen and it probably will.
Something very good something good is going on around here...
(©1997 Russell Fragar (Hillsong) (Admin. in U.S. & Canada by Integrity's Hosanna! Music)
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.)

Anything could happen, and it probably will. This is something that came out in Dave Holden's training track on the Holy Spirit and your Church at TOAM07. If the Holy Spirit is present in our meetings, then we should not be bound by programmes, and the service should be predictable, the same every week.

I wrote this summary in my notes at the conference:

"Meetings were spontaneous. Did not know what was going to happen. Worship leaders do not have authority, elders do. Those don’t know moments (where the Lord has spoken or something has happened that we don't know how to respond - we need Him to lead). Need to have that liberty to flow. Don’t liven up the PA to make it more interesting, ask for more of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit does not want to boxed in, or dominated by anyone. Let’s be those who are out there. A good leader brings people in and then back off. Holy Spirit doesn’t like formality, we are family. He doesn’t like repetition. New things are always coming. Not don’t plan, but plan that is totally committed to the unseen conductor. So we can say at the end, that this is what God is saying to us."

Without that liberty, church can become boring. In many service we know what will happen next (even as charismatics one can be in a situation that we can predicit a certain song will lead to a time of singing in the Spirit, or that we will normally get a word of prophecy after the third song). We need to be set free from that. It's scary, but once the Holy Spirit has His way, we will surely know fresh waves of blessing in His awesome presence.

Please, Lord, do a new thing in our churches!

18/07/2007

A publishing landmark!!

My dear friend Dan has just posted his 500th post! He started writing around 2 years ago, and there is so much on this site. It is a tribute to Ern Baxter, containing many transcripts of his awesome sermons, plus much, much more. I am so grateful to my brother for his faithful publishing, which is food to my soul, and also for his regular prodding me to continue with publishing on this site.

Dan is currently reporting back from Together on a Mission. His latest post covers an awesome prophecy from Rob Rufus:

"Suicide bombers will be heading to targets when they themselves are hit by the nuclear blast of the glory of God and they will be felled like Paul on the Damascus Road. They will find themselves lovers instead of haters!"

I really believe we should expect such things in the days that lie ahead. Dan's vision and mine (and indeed Newfrontiers) is summarised by Habakkuk 2v14, quoted by David Devenish in his awesome message The Ephesus Mission – Pattern for World Evangelisation (there are helpful notes of this message done by Andrew Fountain).

Habakkuk 2v14 and other glorious scriptures such as Ps 2v8, Psalm 110v1 and Isaiah 2v1-5 speak of what will happen in the days that lie ahead. This was Ern Baxter's vision, that Dan so faithfully imparts through his site.

For a list of all that Dan has transcribed, see the Ern Baxter Archive. I thank God for Dan's contribution to the blogosphere.

17/07/2007

Downloads from TOAM available

Just to say that the first downloads of the main sessions from Together on a Mission 2007 are available at the downloads section of the Newfrontiers site!

Praise the Lord! I missed the first two sessions, so I'm starting to download now...

12/07/2007

We must have Spirit-filled churches

Today I have been struck again by the vital importance of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. At Together on a Mission, Dave Holden taught on the role of the Holy Spirit in our church meetings. It was so helpful to hear practical teaching on this. Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not optional. They are an essential part of church life. It is not about making church more contemporary, but about the Holy Spirit having freedom to move in our midst. He is the leader. He delights to glorify Christ and to draw us into the Lord’s presence.

Yet nothing of the liberty of the Spirit will happen without the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Dave Holden said, “People move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit with greater freedom once they are baptised in the Holy Spirit.”

In the revival of joyful, passionate worship, joyful passionate people can be drawn into churches, but without them being baptised in the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to build a church on people who have a temperament that means they enjoy a particular style of worship. It’s not about having services full of shouting, dancing, and hand-raising, but rather having God break in. It’s about having God lift us up through a tongue and an interpretation, speak to us through prophecy, to heal and deliver, to give us and awesome experience of His power in each meeting. As Dave Holden concluded:

“If we are a charismatic community it is not about modern and contemporary but about having a deluge of the Holy Spirit upon us. A people being ready to move in gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
For this vision for be fulfilled, the vast majority of church members to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. That means new Christians must be properly taught and prayed for. And for those that have been Christians for longer, we must not assume that they are baptised in the Spirit. We must lovingly teach so that they become fully persuaded that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for them. Moses prayed “oh that all the Lord’s people were prophets” (Num 11v29). God has laid on my heart, “oh that all the Lord’s people would enter into their inheritance and be baptised in the Holy Spirit.”

As each member receives the mighty drenching of God – which is the birthright of every Christian – the church becomes filled with God-saturated people and so the gifts will start bursting out, and we will have the breaking-in of God in every meeting. Glory!

The Weight of His Glory

It is difficult to describe the time so far at Together on a Mission in Brighton. I think I had great hopes of posting much, but the things that are happening are difficult to put into words. Dan had intended to post as well, but we are just too overwhelmed with the goodness of God. There are others who are blogging more detail about the conference, and the messages will soon be available on the website.

But to just give a flavour…

The presence of God in this place is so heavy. In every meeting we seem to be worshipping before an open heaven. Sometimes it is impossible even to stand in His presence. And much of the worship is about the glorious Kingdom purposes of God – that His reign shall cover the whole earth.

The prophecies are awesome. A repeated emphasis concerns a new day, that God is turning a new page that will see great ingatherings, healing and even people being raised from the dead. There has been a call for spiritual fathers to lead by example and to pioneer new things. I find that a great challenge as a pastor leading a group of people who need to step into new things.

There is amazing, equipping teaching. Not least Terry Virgo’s session yesterday morning on leading people into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The key thing he shared was the need for truth. The reason many do not receive is that they are confused. Terry didn’t give us methods as such (like some of the false methods of getting people to copy you speaking in tongues) – in fact he cautioned against any such methods. He simply masterfully explained the doctrine and the errors to avoid. For example, the conservative evangelical position of receiving it all at conversion.

Terry said this on Acts 19v2 (“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”): If you received it all at conversion, the question would be like saying, "Were you converted when you were converted?” It was such a helpful seminar.

There is amazing, inspirational teaching. Last night, David Devenish taught on The Ephesus Mission – Pattern for World Evangelisation. He asked, “What is the mission?” The answer is contained in Habakkuk 2v14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God, as the waters cover the sea.” It is so encouraging to hear the restoration vision trumpeted from the platform here!

There is awesome impartation. Yesterday Rob Rufus prayed for lead elders, and also for everyone generally to receive a ministry for healing and deliverance. All I can say is that I could not stand in the presence of God. My hands were on fire, and it felt like my ears had been cleansed. I wonder if God desires to use my hands and to speak to my ears. Our God is an awesome God.

And all of this is a mighty understatement. Words are not adequate!

10/07/2007

On the way to glory!

Through the wonders of modern technology, I can actually blog on the train on the way to the Together on a Mission conference in Brighton. I have missed the first two sessions because my children were in a school concert, but so far, I have had excellent reports.

This prophecy has been given by David Stroud: "Some have come asking 'will it be worth it?' I tell you it will be worth it. My Spirit is here! Open heaven! It's going to be worth it!"

This is just so exciting. I come in need of refreshing and a mighty encounter with the Lord. I know that He is so willing to give and to refresh His people. As my lack of posting indicates, the battle has been strong, but God is avle to meet every need.

Also, I was reminded at our last Men's fellowship last week of the importance of abiding in Christ (from John 15). There is a danger in all the pressures of everyday life that we fail to abide, we strive for things, even for success in ministry.

One brother shared this, "what we strive to get we strive to keep, what God gives He keeps."

That is a powerful thought to enter into the coming week. I haven't got to strive to receive, just simply to allow Him to pour His blessing into me - and He will keep that which He gives.

Dan will be posting updates from the conference at Spirit of God! Do have a read!