Wednesday 22 July 2009

"A Lifetime Understanding it"

All I know now, is that this gospel of Jesus is all there is to know, and I will be a lifetime understanding it, applying it to my life, and ministering it into the lives of others. Sheila Atchley

I want to live my days out in the low posture of a student...only then can I truly teach with bold confidence
Sheila Atchley

I do not learn wisdom in a vacuum, I do not gain wisdom by myself, in solitude. I learn it from God, and very often through others.What He shows me in secret, in that deep and painful place, that I will shout from the housetops, all silence and intellectual propriety be damned. Sheila Atchley

This has been a big month for posts. The fact remains though, this blog is not an arriviste blog. Think of it like a preliminary sketch....before the real thing! The real thing being us dear reader actually living in co-community, whether geographically separate or in the same room. The Living Body of Christ moving threedimensionally...outside of its little church boxes...swiftly and accurately fulfilling each separate role...

to see the full number come in in multitude

and to see each member growing to his or her full stature in Christ.

To see each of the three growth levels simultaneously working side by side as they do indeed in family life.

As you read here in the Parable of Three dimensions

all this blog has been about is sketching out the poorest framework, describing the sorts of ways Jesus works in a believer to gradually make him or her happy with Living as Him in their forms.

But as Sheila says on her current post (click her name above) we will spend the rest of our lives, learning and relearning how this works. Fleshing it out.

Folks...on the second evening in our May Conference in Havant this year, the Presence of God came and it was as if you could hear the furniture of the headquarters of Jesus actually being moved into their right place! The Throne Room.This is virtually a first for the Church in the Earth, who have done everything to avoid Christ being in charge. And He came and spoke very gently saying...

Do you mind if we do this Christianity thing again right from the start!

Sheila has been a Christian since Noah, and me a bit less...but I tell you this, over and over again it is as if the Holy Spirit is now only just beginning. We are relearning everything. Everything we really thought we now turns out we didn't really. Not really!

So the purpose of this blog is to say...don't call the second level maturity....only Christ living His Life through us is maturity. And the other purpose is to say sketchily that a Fatherhood level does exist...and not to settle for any leader who tries to tell you it doesn't and more to the point SELL you something less...and I mean that word literally.

These are the days of one awesome acceleration in the Body. Don't panic...because it doesn't depend on your abilities. It depends on the Holy Spirit's proven ability to get Jesus' Bride prepared on time and ready. But you may as well forget just about everything you thought you knew about church life and how church operates. We had a taster in Lakeland Florida!

This is not Billy Graham time.

This is not John Wimber charismatic time.

This is the third level!

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Tamla Motown,Norman Grubb and Franz Kafka part 2

So that's where things were in 1990. I'd done a load of tracks of Early Harvest CD1 already and in 1989 I'd produced the tape message I'm now calling "Third Level Christianity - Recorded Live before a Future Audience", both of which contain just about...just about, but not quite...what you have been reading here so far.


Now one of the most intriguing authors writing in German that I'd read on my Exeter German course was Franz Kafka. Both Christine and I had tried for Cambridge University and for different reasons did not quite make it. For my part,I'd had an interview with a Professor, who discussed the themes in Kafka. Not quite understanding the principle of "cut and thrust" in Cambridge argument, I'd done what I thought was the Christian thing and simply agreed with the Professor whenever he'd made a good point. Hmmm....this "Christian" stuff is not always the way to go...which is why you read in Ecclesiastes..."Do not be overly religious or pious". This simply means now in third level lingo that you have to do what Christ is doing through you at any point. Sometimes it's shouting, sometimes it's being's not a's following the Person who lives within you.

So while on the one hand, Kafka cost me Cambridge, I have to say that many of his little stories have grown in meaning as the years have passed by. Such that on my early Harvest CD alone are two references.
Most people know him by the phrase "Kafkaesque", which refers to things like bureaucratic impenetrability, to purposes being frustrated, to distant authority figures changing your fate with a flick of their fingers....etc etc...

And apparently, bookshelves in university libraries bow under the weight of the tomes which try to delve into the possible meanings of his short stories, sayings and novels.The Cambridge Professor told me that there was even a Marxist version that sought to explain imagery in terms of the Communist Dialectic. Certainly Kafka's work was pretty concurrent with the works of Sigmund Freud, and the Movement known as Expressionism. Edvard Munch's "The Scream"is probably one of the best known paintings of the period.

The irony is this. Kafka takes on more meaning ,not less,the further we delve into Third Level living. Please understand that I am not according this secular Jew the status of scripture, but what I am saying is that secular professors of leading universities who have gained their positions by left-brain fact collecting, find themselves stalling at some of Kafka's writings particularly for just this reason.

He is writing, in part at least, about spirit.

About the internal workings of a human being, which Freud had tried to reduce to mere animal leanings. What I am saying is this: If you have asked Jesus into your heart, which is probably the most anti-Cambridge sentence for a start....but if you have...then you will understand one thing immediately about Kafka, that a billion professors feted on every side in all the universities, yet won't have a clue about...not one scrap of a clue...because they have spent their lives living the opposite in the English gravy train...

It is this. At least one thick strand of Kafka is the graphic external depiction of the inward reality of intercession. Of labouring to see something created. Something come into being. Yes, in the manner of an artist, I think Cambridge has twigged that one. But more than that, he describes the spirit processes that are in fact too deep for words. The Romans 8 groans that really only come to the fore once people are baptized in the Spirit, and/ or speak in other tongues mysteries to God.

The very instant you ask Jesus into your life you are involved. You are involved with the centre of history. The plan of the ages, which is the ever unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ in flesh.

You begin to die. So you may live.And in your deaths,(your many death experiences) you co-labour with Christ to form something here on earth out of that which is unseen.

The poor Christian. He hasn't a clue what's going on in him. There's scarcely a church that will warn him, or that can even articulate what the poor guy just did in the crusade at the altar rail.

So poor is our understanding in this country, that many a young toddler in Christ is prayed with for 5 minutes, given a Bible and maybe some other simple literature, then told to go to church each week. Nearly nobody knows that that new believer has just done a thing not too different from Mary when Gabriel came to visit her, and she simply acquiesced with the faith words "Be it unto me according to Your Word." So there she was, with Jesus growing inside her. And this is what now happens to the new believer, if those dreadful English Christians don't get to him or her first.
(Who out there thinks that I have little time for Christians in this country?)

So for me these next examples explain perfectly what it's been like trying to get the third level message out, to churches either drunk on their supernatural gifting or praise, or churches that have retreated snail-like into their shells of English cynicism and disappointment when the initial headlong rush into church building and training young people just didn't go according to plan. This isn't like Bob Mumford or Ern Baxter said!
The First is a story by Kafka, the second is John Stevens' Motown example which he sent through in today's email.


A Message from the Emperor - Franz Kafka

out of Wedding Preparations In the Country.

The Emperor – so the story goes – has sent a message to you, the lone individual, the meanest of his subjects, the shadow that has fled before the Imperial sun until it is microscopic in the remotest distance, just to you has the Emperor sent a message from his death-bed. He made the messenger kneel by his bed and whispered the message into his ear; he felt it to be so important that he made the man repeat it into his own ear. With a nod of the head he confirmed that the repetition was accurate. And then, before the whole retinue gathered to witness his death – all the walls blocking the view had been broken down and on the wide high curve of the open stairway stood the notables of the Empire in a circle – before them all he empowered the messenger to go. The messenger set off at once; a robust, an indefatigable man; thrusting out now one arm, now the other, he forces his way through the crowd; where he finds obstacles he points to the sign of the sun on his breast; he gets through easily, too, as no one else could. Yet the throng is so numerous; there is no end to their dwelling-places. If he only had a free field before him, how he would run, and soon enough you would hear the glorious tattoo of his fists on your door. But in­stead of that, how vain are his efforts; he is still forcing his way through the chambers of the innermost palace; he will never get to the end of them; and even if he did, he would be no better off; he would have to fight his way down the stairs; and even if he did that, he would be no better off; he would still have to get through the courtyards; and after the courtyards, the second outer palace en­closing the first; and more stairways and more courtyards; and still another palace; and so on for thousands of years; and did he finally dash through the outermost gate – but that will never, never happen – he would still have the capital city before him, the centre of the world, overflowing with the dregs of humanity. No one can force a way through that, least of all with a message from a dead man. But you sit by your window and dream it all true, when evening falls.


Half poetry, half dream it justs ends there in the futility of it all...or is it a dream of hope? But whatever, this is what it feels like when nobody wants to know, and worse than that,because of their own non-reception, they begin to call into question your function in the earth. Cheek!So what exactly do you do?they ask peremptorily. Well errrrm. I guess I'm errrrrm a piano tuner then!!!!(Secretly mouthing into my cupped hands.....well until about the time that you realise that I gave up the idea of leading Exeter University CU as President, gave up the entire course at university which I was very good at, then gave up any idea of functioning in leadership in some middle-ranking housechurch network because I could see if we couldn't even produce more than the merest handful of marriages that lasted longer than about 5 years, what in heaven's name was the value of the gospel training we were giving to young people! There had to be more!!!! It no way, no way resembled anything in the New Testament. And ofcourse through my own failures I discovered there was a whole lot more- But nobody- nobody - nobody- wants to know- or even cares.....) So yes I'm a piano tuner. Good day to you brother (smile sweetly).


John Stevens email on Tamla Motown and Norman Grubb

Interesting couple of hours yesterday evening. Popped onto facebook and discovered your (fairly prolific!) additions. I read the Norman Grubb piece and found myself shouting Amen! I almost pinged you an email a few weeks ago about one-ness but couldn't quite get it organised on the page and busyness bubbled up. But I needn't have bothered. It's been rumbled before by Norman Grubb. Also greatly enjoyed your little paragraph about what the kingdom looks like from the inside and the outside.(ACW-Inside the Kingdom looks like this: you ask Jesus into your heart. On the outside the Kingdoom looks like this: it is built in the second mile by people who are lame but are getting healed. It is financed by widow's mites, after the bailiffs have already left! And it is all held together by a Cornerstone that has already been trampled underfoot and considered useless by every single nation on earth. Ready to join? )Don't know about you but I probably would have read that a few years ago and scratched my head but that was the second Amen of the evening. So I was warming up. The finishing uppercut came in the form of an excellent programme about Tamla Motown! I hadn't realised that Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, The Miracles all shared the same bus and travelled around Britain performing to half empty halls in London, Bristol, Manchester etc etc in 1962 ish. And that Motown had become the principle influence on The Beatles and to some extent the Stones. So there they were. Wonder was 19. They were the real deal. Sharp suits. Close harmonies. Stage step routines. The beat. The song writing. It was all perfected in 1962 and yet black artists were not shown on TV and only Radio Luxembourg played Motown. In the States even in Chicago they suffered opposition and in the South they were shot at and banned. But all the time the msic kept coming and the audience kept growing. The pressure behind the dam and building until in 1966 Motown artists shared number one slots alternately with the Beatles for a while. Epstien made a few introductions, Dusty Springfield bravely hosted the touring Motown artists on TV and the dam burst. From walking in and out barely noticed they spent the '66 tour escaping the venues in the back of ambulances. One could argue that the breakthrough came 1959/60 when the foundations were laid well off-stage. The actual visible breakthrough came later. Think you can sense the parallels I'm alluding to? John

Tamla Motown,Norman Grubb and Franz Kafka part 1

John Stevens, and Christine Welch know my history. They were there for the university reunion in 1990 held in a wonderful self-catering house behind the house called Winsley, where I had lived in community for many years. Christine and I were not married. Christine was still married to someone else. We never became close until well after the divorce proceedings.

No , the sole reason any of the old Duryard Hall bunch from Exeter University were gathered together, was , firstly to see each other again, but secondly for me to begin sharing the stuff I'd learned through Norman Grubb. At that time I seemed to be the only one combining the Exchanged Life with everything we'd learned through the UK charismatic scene, together with the principles taught by Mother Basilea Schlink and Ed Miller. And sometimes I still think I am the only one who is linking all these things. Even Paul Anderson-Walsh is backpedalling frantically on the charismatic side of things.

One of the things I'd picked up somewhere...including the Bible, is the importance of planting your flag in the sand. The first fathers Abraham through Jacob, bought tranches of Canaan prophetically, and Joseph's bones were taken there. All this required acting by faith on God's Word alone.Because at that point the Land had not been given to Israel.

My step was to restore an entire grand, then with the proceeds I hired this expensive house for a week with which to invite people with a view to share where we were going as the Church.

I disguised the house as a soppy charismatic retreat house, calling it the Sweet Dove Retreat Centre. I invited people in, making sure a lot of the good facilities were covered with painter's sheets, telling everyone that unfortunately a lot of decoration was being carried out that week.
Unfortunately John Stevens arrived late, when I'd already removed the bogus outside retreat sign, so his wife, who was driving got lost! So this was a bit thoughtless of me. I think badmin, (bad administration)rather than trying to make it difficult.

The point was, I wanted to impact my friends with what God was really up to. We, as Christians were thinking of the charismatic movement as a "narrow way", a"wilderness" etc etc,

then at the right time I told them the whole Sweet Dove thing was a lie.
This was about the Third Level!
I ripped off the paint covers, and told them the whole thing to do with the decorators was a lie!
They could go wherever they liked!
They could sleep in any room they liked!
They could swim in the indoor pool!
They could use the jacuzzi!
They could play tennis or squash!
They could play snooker or read in the big library.
They could natter with whoever in the big comfy lounge chairs!
They could eat whatever and whenever they liked.
They could sleep whenever they liked.
We just arranged loose formats for all being together to share.

This was nolonger the charismatic movement.
This was Christ in their form! As them! The Third level!

Well, it sort of worked and sort of didn't!
You see I was 20 years too early. Most of them hadn't a clue what I was going on about! But the bits they got were fun!

Fritz Kuhla Baby Grand trial

Never done this before. I have just finished reconditioning a Fritz Kuhla Baby Grand which is ready for sale on our website
Thought I'd try it out after tuning it and video the results on my little Samsung D 900 phone.
Surprisingly the tone of the grand is lovely - even over the mpeg4 format of the phone.
The piece is by Mike Herron, former Music Director of the large church Ed Miller had connections with - Bible Temple in Oregon. A song based on Psalm 103.

Monday 20 July 2009

The Offense of Grace- Steve McVey

I liked Steve Mc Vey's post so much I wrote:"Grace is the force that takes the rocket out of the gravitation field of Law. People see it as being soft on sin. But it's not being soft on sin anymore than a rocket is being soft on gravity. It's so far above gravity, it couldn't care less!"

Here then is his post. Click on the header below for the original.

The Offense of Grace
The thing about grace that many have a problem with is its appearance of being carelessly and indiscriminately thrown around by our Heavenly Father as if there is no limit to it. It just isn’t right by human standards. After all, fair is fair. Give people an inch and they’ll take a mile. Go soft on those who have sinned and the next thing you know everybody is doing it. People make their beds and they should lie in it. They need to learn their lesson. You’ve got to think about the message you’re sending!Jesus didn’t seem to worry about all that in His ministry. He just loved people and poured out grace, grace, and more grace on the most unlikely candidates. It galls the self righteous when their own sense of justice is violated, but Jesus never seemed to worry about what they thought. He seemed to show such little discernment in how and to whom He gave so much. Even His stories seem to communicate a message that sounds downright wrong to religious ears.In the parable of the laborers found in Matthew 20, those who came in to work at the last hour received the same salary as those who had worked all day. Those with the admirable ethic of hard work and dependability had been out in the hot sun all day long. Then the slackers show up at the last hour and get the same pay? Come on now! What’s fair about that? Then there is the prodigal son – a religious zealots worst nightmare. Here, this young boy in the youth group decides he wants to leave it all and move to Los Angeles. He asks His father to give him his inheritance (a subliminal insinuation that he has been thinking he’d be better off if his Dad was dead) and off he goes to the big city. His life soon becomes a blur of Jack Daniels, marijuana and strip clubs.When all his money is gone and he wakes up in bed one morning and rolls over to see a skanky-looking crack whore (a King James Bible word) who he doesn’t even remember meeting, he is jolted back to reality. “I’m outta here,” he thinks to himself. “Even Dad’s minimum wage guys at home don’t have to live like this.”So off he goes, hitchhiking home and all the way thinking of how he will grovel when he gets there, how he will promise to do better if Dad will only give him back his old room. “I’ll even sleep in the barn if you want me to,” he figures he’ll say.You know how the story ends. The moment comes when this scraggly looking, nasty smelling, son comes stumbling up the long driveway. His Dad sees him and immediately tears out running at full throttle. He falls on his boy and, oblivious to the stench, starts laughing and crying, hugging and kissing him, all at the same time. The son is forgiven before he even asks.The boy chokes up and tries to talk. This isn’t what he had expected. He gets out half a sentence when Dad interrupts and yells orders to fire up the grill, call our family and friends, see if JJT is available (Jerusalem Jazz Trio) and let’s get this party started! Hmm...that’s a strange story, Jesus. Don’t you think it might give the wrong message? “No,” our loving Savior would answer. “It gives the right message. The message is this: It doesn’t matter how pathetic you are, how low you have gone and how long you have been there, I love you and accept you.”It isn’t about you and me. It never has been and never will be. It’s about Him and His ridiculous, irrational, excessive, loving grace. The self righteous crowd might as well shut up. Jesus is Jesus and He’s not going to change to fit their expectations. Thank God.

Sunday 19 July 2009

Reply to Julie Betterton's Facebook Group

Julie Betterton who lives local to us has set up a Facebook Group examining plans for next year's Big Church Day Out
Big Church Day Out 2010 - who would you like to see perform, present, talk?
The aim of this group is to find out what artists you would like to see perform, present or give a talk at next years BCDO. I will forward the info onto BCDO. I was one of the 14,000 that attended "...

Chris Welch reply
I believe the Church is coming into a whole new thing ... so I believe all Christian events from now on have to reflect this. Part of this is reflected by the many new movements like Prayer 24/7, Lakeland Florida and Dudley England. It's no new• thing that Christians are spearheading aid to the poor and disadvantaged, orphanages, third world aid, etc Salvation Army, Church Army and Methodists have been doing this for years. What is new is that it is becoming more unselfconscious, with less fanfare... it's just happening... like Boys Town in Mexico after 13 months of continuous prayer. Or like Rolland and Heidi Baker, now tied directly in with introducing people to the real Presence of God. In the area of music we've had praise, and we've had new sounds and bands but the next thing that is happening is like the musicians in Chronicles. These guys had to be at least 30, skilled in music and the Word. What is breaking forth now is something like pure spirit mediated through all the modern means.It will be like Hill songs/Michael W Smith and Delirious but with so much Presence everyone falls on their face like in Chronicles. It's the vision Jordi Pradas and I had 30 years ago, whose partial and baby fulfilment was in the Argentine revival stadiums of the 80s .... but nothing, I repeat nothing like we are going to see. Thousands will find themselves instantly healed just as the Presence of God falls.

A cool surprise

Nigel Waterfield, the selfsame guy of the Inspire magazine article found this blog and is now a Facebook friend. He sent a great update to the situation surrounding Tammy in the magazine.I've tacked it onto the end of the original post.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Lynn Margulis' more cooperative vision

A_Life_With_..._Series_5_Microbes">Writer and naturalist Paul Evans meets Prof Lynn Margulis, whose study of the Earth's smallest creatures led to a revolutionary theory for all life on Earth. The cell, symbiosis, Gaia and a row with Richard Dawkins all combine to offer a new perspective on evolution. This can be heard here.

By pointing to this interesting programme I am neither siding with Lynn Margulis nor with Richard Dawkins, I am seeking to highlight what a fresh angle Lynn is postulating.

When Graham Pulkingham and the Fisherfolk visited Dr Challoner's Grammar school, it was inevitable that a rather colourfully dressed bunch of rather anarchic-seeming Americans were not going to even register on the screens of a school which ran mostly on atheism, and getting boy's brains so filled with left-brain facts, that they could pass their exams and link in seemlessly with London Left-brain City life of the 70s and 80s.
Dr Loarridge, the rest of the staff, and the 700 boys, had no idea that what they were seeing modelled before them was at least 40 years ahead of its time, and so they had absolutely no handle on it. It would have been much the same when Jesus and the disciples rolled up in a town.

Had they eyes to see, they would have been excited by an early prototype version of the Body of Christ as lived 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by a loving community, that understood brokenness, and respecting the unique gifting put inside each and every member.
Dr Challoners was such a left-brain institution, that instead it greeted these folks in the same spirit as travelling showmen; that is to say, a brief amusing interlude, in the complex but necessary brief of preparing English schoolboys for the emotional autism of "real life in great Britain".

Thank God we are so far, so far from those days.
In the meantime we have had
Pink Floyd:The Wall. I used to tune Nick Mason's mum's piano(Nick=drummer and sportscar buff, now living in Camilla Parker Bowles old house)
We have had several left-brain geeks, turn volte face to create a new world where Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (Aplle/Ipod) rule OK. It's nolonger a world of pure accountants. Well not completely.

So the point of sharing the above programme is to highlight an alternative to Richard Dawkin's view of history as nature red in tooth and claw...but rather a vision of complementary coordination, of working together in the way that is virtually impossible in the proscribed law-based world understanding since Genesis 3 verse 5:

Where Americans draw up immense tables of function for rolling out McDonalds into every nation, so that 16 year old monosyllabic teens can follow the proscribed behaviours floating ghostlike between the cash registers and the sources of heat,

confident that nobody anywhere will ever connect at a soul level with their clients.

What we are declaring on these blogs is
There is another way of living. We had an initial crack at it in Emsworth....but we didn't know enough of Jesus' roll out plan, His grace-filled Holy Spirit enablement make it work. So 80% are now divorced/ and or nolonger living closely with Jesus.

But now, I am confidently declaring, we do! So look out world!

Ephesians 1:10.......... with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

A construction worker applies for a job

This is definitely off topic, but it's so good I am repeating it here. Some of you may have seen the Facebook entry of this already. My son Ben found it. It's a classic.

Friday 17 July 2009

Pam,the pilot and the peaked cap.

(Pilot picture and cartoon have no resemblance to the real personnages.)

Fini and Isi De Gersigny might like this one. So, anyway, Nicholas and Pam have been staying with us. They are leaving tomorrow for the arctic regions.

Pam shared of an airport incident. I think it was Anchorage. She deliberately put on a Lakeland teeshirt hoping to attract the attention of someone who had been there last year.
She sure did.
A pilot came across and announced that he had been there, and that originally he had been in Bethel Church (Bill Johnson's church). He was now part of a church plant in Atlanta.

While he was in Bethel he had seen a vision of a big golden angel who had announced that he was an angel of provision for the Church. He had received an anointing to pray over people for provision, and that people's needs be met, in the service of the King.

Ofcourse Pam asked that he pray for them. Pam also prayed for the pilot. The slight problem was that as he was still in uniform, people were still coming up to him to ask questions. Gradually as both of them were decidedly worse for wear, as they were praying over each other in the concourse, the pilot decided to turn the peak of his hat round, so he would look less official.

By this time , both of them were very wobbly and feeling decidedly drunk. Hopefully, the pilot was coming off his duty!

Usually both Nicholas and Pam both keel over at such times, and stagger about the floor, but this time it was mainly Pam!

I thought this was all hilarious and reminded me of Ursula. Thought you all might like it too.

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Life in The Melchizedek Order VI - more from Nicholas and Pam

Prayer Letter – June 2009.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
Descending through the clouds a sombre view appeared before us of tundra beneath and a lagoon ahead. The two-engine aircraft banked to the left and there in the distance was the small Eskimo settlement of Wales. Nestled between steep hills to the east and a beach on the west, this small community of one hundred and fifty-three people is isolated. Landing safely on an airstrip close to the sea, we, along with three others disembarked from the six-seat passenger aircraft. Wales is next to the Bering straits and is the furthest settlement west on the Alaskan mainland. It is only about twenty-five miles from Russia and the International Dateline and the weather there is notoriously unpredictable. There had been no flights on the previous day and our plane had already been delayed in the morning by two and a half hours, as the weather was down. But it cleared, and there we were finally at our destination and asking about the flight out. There certainly was reason behind this as we had recently spoken to someone who had been stuck in Wales for three weeks! This was a prayer trip and so having only about two hours we quickly walked off. The settlement of wooden shack-like houses was stark in comparison to a large and well equipped school that seemed surreal in its setting. About one hundred miles to the south-east of Wales is a town called Nome of about four thousand people. The proprietor of the bed and breakfast where we were staying for two nights had asked us if we would take a box for the acting Lutheran pastor called, Gilbert. This we did and someone at the landing strip took the box to him. So entering the school we met Judy an American teacher and asked about Gilbert. It turned out that she was a Christian and we were able to pray for her. Judy then took us on her four-wheeled motorbike (All Terrain Vehicle) to Gilbert’s very small house.
Gilbert is an Eskimo and appears to be a strong Christian and we also had the privilege to pray for him as well. He said that a group of Christians were coming from South Africa in July to travel from Wales to Jerusalem. Judy then took us back to the school where we could wait for the aircraft. We were told that the plane had arrived and someone came and picked us up with their ATV. Holding on tightly we drove speedily along the beach and then onto a long gravel road to the waiting plane. We arrived back in Nome which has the feel of a frontier town and is the hub for the surrounding villages. The next day we were at Nome airport waiting to fly back to our starting point of Anchorage. An Eskimo woman thought that she had seen Nicholas several years before. Later on when we were on the plane this same woman was sitting ahead of us and turned around and said the same things again to Nicholas. Interestingly Nicholas had bought a book in Nome that he was reading called, “Jesus and the Eskimo.” This woman recognised photographs of different people in the book and said that her father had been the pastor of the church in Wales at one time. She had a problem with her back and we were able to pray for her. The world seems to get smaller when God makes the appointments!
When we went to Israel this year the Lord reminded Nicholas of two things that He had shown a number of years before. We always pray about what the Lord wants us to do and how He wants us to do things and so this is what we did regarding future trips to arctic Finland and Alaska. Pam is very good about researching the logistics of travelling but we found that it was very difficult to make contacts with people in Alaska. Also Mount Redoubt, a volcano to the east of Anchorage had erupted earlier in the year, and had become quieter. But the potential to disrupt fights through another eruption was high. This all became frustrating and in the end we just had to put the whole trip to one side. On Friday 22nd May Pam was doing her Russian language on the computer and she heard a voice within saying, go and look up flights in Alaska. Pam went to Google and put in, “How to fly to the Bering Straits in Alaska?” Up came an instant web-site. This was the Holy Spirit speaking in such a clear way and from that point Pam found all of the flights that were needed. On the Tuesday prior to our leaving Latvia, on Sunday 21st June, Nicholas had a problem with a tooth and on the Wednesday and the following two days was at the dentist. We are thankful that this did not occur in Alaska! Whilst on our journey we had to change planes in America at Minniapolis. We boarded the plane for Alaska and the pilot said that there had been an earthquake eighty miles to the north of Anchorage, but that everything was all right! Then we had to change planes as one of the two air-conditioning units which also help pressurise the cabin had failed and they could not risk using this aircraft in case the other unit failed. The reason being that we were to fly over mountain ranges of over 10,000 feet and this was above the safe level at which breathing without air pressure becomes dangerous. We certainly have interesting travel! The time difference from Latvia to Alaska is eleven hours and our bodies have coped remarkably well. It has been one of the longest prayer trips in distance that we have undertaken and has certainly stretched us.
We seem to pass through nations as we pass through rooms of a house. We forgot to mention in our last prayer letter that we were in England between the 16th and 22nd April and had a very busy and successful time. Between the 3rd and 16th of May we were on a prayer trip into arctic Finland via Norway. Before we left Latvia the weather forecast for northern Finland was getting progressively worse, but it did not materialise and all the roads were clear of snow. We then spent some time with our friends in the area of Norway that we used to live in the past. The trip was successful and we drove over 1,100 miles. The next day after our return Pam completed her first half-marathon race in Riga, which she was very pleased with.
On May 22-23 we were invited to the Holy Spirit weekend of the Alpha course that our Latvian friends have run. Nicholas spoke on the Friday evening and a friend of ours spoke on the Saturday. We saw God touch people significantly over the weekend. Two people gave their lives to Jesus, one of them being a husband of one of the attendees. It was amazing as he had never been before and left a new creation. On Saturday 6th June we went to a Messianic fellowship and Nicholas spoke briefly. It is interesting how the Lord is opening up the Jewish world to us. On Tuesday 16th June Nicholas spoke at the last Alpha course dinner and this was a special time especially praying with people afterwards.

This last six months in Latvia has been very different to any of the other times that we have been there in the past. We feel that we have had a greater depth of relationship with our new Latvian friends and have seen them grow in Jesus at a fast rate. Their perseverance and faith and their unconscious love for each other and those around them is something we have never seen and has been an example and an encouragement to us both. So all of the teaching that we have done has been for them to rely not on us but on the God to whom we all belong. We think that we will return to Latvia at some time in the future, but as yet we do not know when. We go to England on Tuesday 7th July and as yet we do not know where the Lord will lead us next. We would certainly value your prayers for our next steps.
We thank you so much for being behind us in prayer and appreciate this greatly.
May God bless and open up new doors of opportunity for you.
Nicholas and Pam

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Inspire - The free magazine

Here's a great article from this summer's mag.

Being Jesus in Dupont Close

IT WAS the words of a Chief Constable that started Nigel and Elaine Waterfield on their new adventure with God.
They had been at the Trumpet Call to Prayer at the NEC in 2006 where the Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, Matt Baggott, launched Redeeming our Communities – an initiative that had been making an impact on council estates in Manchester. It proved to be a turning point for them

"We were so inspired that we moved to a terribly run-down estate called Braunstone Frith, Leicester, to copy this incentive, but on a smaller scale."
The Waterfields, who've been
married for four years, set up home in Dupont Close and launched the Watering Hole, a name chosen by the charity that helps them with funding. " I asked them to choose a name from a list I had given them deriving from words from Isaiah 41:17- 1 19;'says Nigel.
They started out by engaging with the children from single parent families by taking them on outings to a local park and zoo and on a theatre trip to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Through this, they began to build supportive relationships with the kids' parents, many of whom battled with poverty and often alcohol and drugs. The Waterfields went with them to hospital appointments, court hearings and school meetings. "As we began to engage with them and showed them the love of God they started to come to the Lord.'

Struggling single mum Tammy and her kids were known as "the ASBO family from hell"when the Waterfields first came to Dupont Close. "People wanted me to complain to social services about her children because of their unruly behaviour," says Nigel.
"However, we stood by her. She later gave her life to Christ. She backslid, but we kept praying with her and helped her.
"She came back to the Lord again, only this time she has seen great miracles and victory in her life. She now comes out with us to do outreach and gives her testimony. She talks to people on the street, ministering to them with their many problems!

The Watering Hole also hold their now legendary street parties once or twice a year in Dupont Close. "We have a bouncy castle, a live Christian band, the use of the New Parks Neighbourhood Management Party Pack (ie gazebo, face paints, barbecue, goal-posts).
"But most of all we have testimonies from people whose lives have been radically transformed from a life of crime and addiction through Jesus Christ. People like Steve Cattell, once Britain's most prolific burglar and ex-gangster Davy Falcus.
"These street parties bring together the community and build bridges with the police and the council as well as integrated services that we also try and work alongside.'
What is most remarkable about the Waterfields is that Nigel has Muscular Dystrophy and is in a wheelchair and Elaine is his carer. They are also on benefits themselves. "We have an open house where we share meals and have our own little family of people who have no family," say the couple who are passionate about reaching out to those who have so little.
"The problem today is that the Church has become a holy huddle. We send so many people to Africa and India, yet fail to see we need missionaries here on deprived estates
"Jesus came for the lost and the poor and the needy and this is what we have found here on this estate – the lost, the poor and the needy. There are many
mothers who are struggling with unruly children and poverty, which entails bailiffs, so they turn to drink and drugs.There are also tremendous mental health problems.
"All we Christians need to do is show love to a few families and it makes such a difference.'
The Watering Hole project was nominated by Tammy Candy from Leicester
As told to Sharon Barnard
Enter at
19th July Update -I never expected to get contacted by the people in the article. Nigel is now a FB friend.
The Inspire Magazine, Elaine & I are in the article about Dupont Close that you did a blogg about and so I thought I would add you as a friend if thats OK.That was a real amzing story as our friend Tammy was in court as her and her kids got very ill with MRSA and the hospital blamed Tammy. Well I asked God to send me the magzine before the court hearing and it arrived so we coulds show the judge what Tammy has been up to since coing to faith a short while ago, The judge however was adiment she was going to priosn but we prayed and spoke in tongues and Elaine saw a presence over the judge and after rteading our reference and also Tammys daughters he changed his mind and gave her a suspended sentence. When we got hom and I looked at the magazibe it read Liecester asbo family new start....So Tammy saw the hand of God upon hert life amen
God BlessNigel & Elaine

Sunday 12 July 2009

The Moravians - a history

Red Moon Rising available here
The Moravian Church, or Unitas Fratrum, of which Zinzendorf was a bishop, had been founded hundreds of years before his great Herrnhut experiment. Prior to Zinzendorf, the Moravian Church had never, as far as we know, dreamed of praying round the clock; this was an idea flowing within monasticism. But the Moravian Church had a long and very remarkable history that inspired and shaped Zinzendorf and the renewal movement he catalysed.
The Moravian roots
The Moravian Church served the cause of Christ in two distinct eras: the Ancient Unity and the Renewed Moravian Church.' The roots of Christianity in Bohemia and Moravia (modern-day Czech Republic) could be found in the mission work of two Greek Ortho­dox bishops, Cyril and Methodius. They, like the Celtic believers, had much in common with other branches of Christendom, but didn't always feel comfortable with the policies of the current rulers in Rome. The inadvertent founder of the Unitas Fratrum was Jan Huss, the President of the University of Prague, who, years before Luther, railed against the sale of indulgences and the belief that you could buy forgiveness of sin. What's more, Huss insisted on preaching in the language of the people and not in Latin. As aresult he soon had the ear of the masses and the heart of the people. He was eventually tricked into attending a church court, imprisoned and killed.- Material about the Ancient Unity is based on an article found at
His death was a catalyst for revolt and helped spawn three different sets of supporters. One of these, the Moderates, believed in the 'heart religion' that had been practised by the primitive Christians of the New Testament. In March 1457 they formed the Brethren of the Law of Christ, a group that sought to influence the church of the day rather than split from it.
They were often persecuted, emphasizing that faith must find expression as a 'faith that works'. Like Huss, they passionately believed that the gospel should be made accessible to ordinary people and so they had the extraordinary distinction of being the first to translate the Bible into a native tongue, the Kralitz Bible. They went on to publish a further 50 books despite the attempts of the authorities to find and burn copies of their Bible.
The seventeenth century saw their number decimated by persecution and many fled Bohemia to Moravia, Silesia and modern-day Poland.
John Amos Comenius
This ancient Moravian bishop later became known as the Father of Modern Education and was hailed by Life magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the last millennium. He created a new educational philosophy called Pansophism, or universal knowledge, designed to bring about worldwide understanding and peace. Comenius advised teachers to use children's senses rather than memorization in instruction. To make learning inter­esting for children, he wrote The Gate of Tongues Unlocked (1631), a book for teaching Latin in the student's own language. He also wrote Orbis Sensualium Pictus (1658; The Visible World in Pictures, 1659) consisting of illustrations that labelled objects in both their Latin and vernacular names. It was one of the first illustrated books written especially for children.
Comenius was asked to assist in Swedish educational reforms, but his first passion was the church and this is where he devoted much of his time and genius. Faced with bitter persecution, heresolved to plant a 'hidden seed', and on his death bed, convinced that he was a failure, urged the Brethren to 'take care ... that the foundations of our unity may not be so entirely ruined as to make it impossible for our posterity to find them'.
The 'hidden seed' was to spring back into life in 1722 when a Moravian carpenter called Christian David encountered Nicholas Ludwig Von Zinzendorf, and asked if he could find them a place where they could practise the heart religion of the early church without persecution. Zinzendorf promised to give it some thought, and returned to his estate in June to find that Christian David had presumed he would say yes and had arrived already. They began building a new community on Zinzendorf's Berthels­dorf estate, which would become known as Herrnhut, a phrase that meant 'the watch of the Lord'.- Material in this section draws from John R. Weinlick, CountZinzendorf (The Moravian Church in America, 1984).
Count Zinzendorf
Zinzendorf was to prove an able leader for the religious refugees who began to arrive on his land. Raised in a devout family, Count Zinzendorf seemed set aside for spiritual leadership from an early age. Church reformer and education pioneer Spener prayed with him at the age of four with respect to his spiritual destiny! At the age of 16 he graduated from Halle University, but not before informing the principal that in his time at the college he had started no fewer than seven different prayer groups and asking him to keep an eye on them.'
One of these prayer groups was named the Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed and contained a number of future leaders, including John Potter, who was to become an Archbishop of Canterbury. Together with his friends in the Mustard Seed prayer group Zinzendorf made a solemn pledge that would shape the destiny of the rest of his life. He vowed:

· to be kind to all men;
· to be true to Christ;
· to send the gospel to the world.
Each member of the order wore a ring inscribed with the words 'No man liveth unto himself'.
The count's youthful vows were to be a constant theme in the life of the Renewed Moravian Church. But first he had to try and bring some structure to the diverse group that was sprouting up on his land. The count was a voracious reader and was delighted to discover one of the foundational documents of the Moravians, a 'Covenant' document penned by the great Comenius himself. To this he added some local law and some of his own thought, and in May 1727 presented it to the warring factions on his estate.
The earliest historian of the eighteenth-century Moravians, Spangenberg, suggested that there were seven aspects of the 'Brotherly Agreement' that reflected the influence of Zinzendorf.
· The need for personal conversion.
· A commitment to simplicity and integrity as marks of a true church.
· A refusal to be hostile to other believers – even when you believed they were not understanding the Scripture as you might.
· The belief that the sin of some believers was their fault, not that of the church. Zinzendorf believed in discipline but not in coer­cion.
· A wariness of labels and names that might divide rather than unite.
· An active quest for spiritual growth. There was to be no reliance on the blessings of the past. The people of God were to be intentional.
· A readiness to lay aside one's personal desires and be ready to make sacrifices for the sake of others.

These seven aspects captured the heartbeat of a movement that sought to be active, simple, good, peace-making and sacrificial. Turn to 'Vision and Values' (p. 305) to see how we have sought to reflect the thinking of the Moravians and our own distinctive culture in the early twenty-first century.
Zinzendorf arranged for his new community to gather in small groups or 'bands'. In time, this developed into a more formal 'choir system' based on age, sex and marital status. These groups met daily for prayer or worship. Often they would gather simply to sing. Zinzendorf was a prolific hymn-writer so they never lacked new material!
Following a Holy Spirit visitation at an August 1727 commu­nion service, the warring factions in the group finally made public peace. A 24-hour prayer meeting was initiated two weeks later, which would last for 100 years. Twenty-four of the single men and 24 of the single women began an hourly intercession. Their prayers were informed by a weekly meeting where letters and messages from other Moravian Christians were read. This gave the praying believers specific people and places to pray for. In 1732, five years after their pentecostal experience, the group began to go out around Europe and the world to take Christ to the ends of the earth.
An emerging generation
Many of the people in this emerging generation of Moravians would later travel the world as missionaries. The Moravian community at Herrnhut spurred a movement that sponsored 3,000 missionaries in its first 200 years of existence. Many believe that it was one of the wellsprings of the modern mission movement.
The commitment to mission took them to the far corners of the earth. Two missionaries, it is said, sold themselves into slavery to reach the Caribbean community of St Thomas, and others trav­elled to Greenland. Greenland was to prove a watershed. Mora­vian historian James Hutton described what happened:

In the past they had discoursed [with non-Christians] about the Fall of Man and the Plan of Salvation; hence forward they gave the people the Passion Story in detail; and the Eskimos themselves soon noticed the difference. At the story of Adam and Eve they had merely wondered; at the story of the Crown of Thorns they wept; and, some­times, at the baptismal service, their tears dripped into the font.
When informed of the success of the Greenland Mission, Count Zinzendorf said, 'Henceforth, we shall preach nothing but the love of the slaughtered Lamb.' From that time forward Moravian evangelists were schooled in telling the Passion Story — the story of Christ's death on the cross for humankind — as succinctly and as simply as possible."
The Moravians would eventually go to Surinam, Ceylon, South Africa, Cairo, Jerusalem and Baghdad. But they also touched the life of another man whose ministry would take their values and ideas to the far-flung corners of the world.

John Wesley
The impact on Wesley arose partly from their conduct in a terrify­ing storm. Wesley noted them as he returned from a dishearten­ing trip.
At seven I went to the Germans. I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behaviour. Of their humility they had given a continual proof, by performing those servile offices for the other passengers which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired, and would receive no pay, saying it was good for their proud hearts, and their loving Saviour had done more for them. And every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness, which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth. There was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge. In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke

James Hutton, The History of Moravian Mission (out of print).Try

over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterwards, 'Were you not afraid?' He answered, 'I thank God, no.' I asked, 'But were not your women and children afraid?' He replied, mildly, 'No; our women and children are not afraid to die. '5
He subsequently visited their Fetter Lane church in London. It was here at an extended prayer meeting that he first felt the 'strange warming' of real relationship with Christ. One of Wesley's first acts was then to sail for Holland, where he was met by Zinzendorf and escorted back to the Berthelsdorf estate. Methodism, founded of course by Wesley, has helped shape the Christian witness on every continent, not least through its subsequent influence on Holiness, Pentecostal and Salvation Army groups.
The Moravian Church never grew particularly large, even though it was widespread, because of its commitment to Christian unity. Many, perhaps the majority, of its converts were given away to other denominations. However, the influence of the Moravian tradition has been massive, as the brief history above makes clear. The Moravian Texts are today the world's best-selling daily devotional, used by 1.5 million people each day in 50 languages and dialects.
Chris continues:

At some point we have to make a decision. Are we prepared to be a small work that contains Divine seed. Are we prepared, like Mary the mother of Jesus, or like Jacob the father of a brood of just twelve, or back even further to Abraham, whose calling was just to father one child of promise; are we prepared to be a background person, yet whose Divine seed will far, far outstrip us in achievements and influence? Or must we remain in the limelight for all to see.

Jorge Pradas, the father behind Los Rios de Vida in every province of Argentina, often laughed about this. You can hear him talk about this in a message on Unity in the Body. How nobody, but nobody ever seememd to remember his name. One of the English guys here had such bad Spanish pronunciation that he called him "Hawkeye" which freaked my mum out, when I joined them at 20 years of age.

Or Ed Miller. Ed who? Yet he is behind virtually all the early USA praise albums. Behind many of the early ministries sharing about the power of praise, like Judson Cornwall, like the Bible Temple in Oregon. Having a great deal to do with people such as Ruth Heflin in Israel. And so the list goes on. Do you want to be somebody whose life secretly affects nations. Or do you want to be Brother Zap of "Power for the Hour ministries", who has great anointing but precious little else? History speaks to us of some very influential servants of God with absolutely no worldly recognition. Your Sharma's and David Starkey's, wellknown TV historians have absolutely no idea of the linkages both spiritual and natural which came into being precisely because of these people. Even strange repercussions that are better known about like the birth of the chocolate industry in Britain. The Quakers Fry and Cadbury's etc.

King's Wedding photos by Sally Anne Roberts

30 years ago I used to direct productions at Emsworth Christian Church. One of the people who got *dynamited *into the kingdom at that time was called Sally Ann Roberts. (*Ern Baxter expression). Sally is wearing a blue top with light blue slacks, I'm in the dodgy diamond jumper.
Sally kept soldiering on even though I told her to get rid of all her worldly records, like Cliff Richard's "Small Corners". It had a drum beat!! Yes , we were the church where the main leader preached in all sincerity that "All aerobics was of the devil!"

You grace people simply have no idea! You need to be locked up in my dungeon for at least a month!

So Sally comes up one day with this idea that I couldn't get my head round....since it was mixing Disneyesque mouse anthromorphisms with the Marriage of the Bride to the Bridegroom Jesus.
But you know what? It worked!
I hate how these new believer's behave, messing up all your previous cast in stone convictions!
I mean, if God was going to give new believers revelation and anointing then in the Parable of the Prodigal son, the Father would have gathered all his clothing round his middle and run towards the Prodigal like a maniac, wouldn't he?
Oh....he did!

Thursday 9 July 2009

"Red Moon Rising is not just a book:it's an invitation"

Red Moon Rising (by Pete Greig and Dave Roberts of Prayer 24/7) is not just a book:it's an invitation
The header comes from the Foreword to Red Moon Rising by Floyd McClung. As does this section:
In 1722 a rag-tag band of several hundred young people gathered on the estate of a wealthy count by the name of Zinzendorf. Five years later, God showed up and they began to pray. They prayed in strange and creative ways, but they prayed. They prayed 24-7. Their prayer led to compassion for the poor and those who had never heard of Jesus. Their prayer meeting went on for 125 years without ceasing – the longest prayer meeting in history.
God has decided to do again what he did among the Moravians almost 300 years ago. A 24-7 prayer meeting has started again, but now it has circled the globe overnight. We should not be surprised God chose an unlikely candidate to lead the 24-7 prayer movement. Pete Greig struggled to hear God's voice and wasn't very good at praying, but he was determined to chase the Spirit wher­ever that took him. The chase led to a blue-haired kid in Dresden, who in turn got him to the home of that first 24-7 prayer meeting started those many years ago. God got through to Pete, and the rest, as they say, is history.Pete Greig reminds us that prayer doesn't belong to the stodgy or the religious. Nor can prayer be controlled by reli­gious types who think they have a corner on the right words to use and the correct way to stand. Red Moon Rising reminds us that prayer is not something to do, but someone to talk to. It stirs faith in us to believe that when we talk to God, He responds.

Pete Greig writes in"Shifting Culture"- Chapter 2
This generation stands at a time of profound social change. With the invention of the Internet, satellite communication and low-cost air travel (not to mention global terrorism and the rise of tribalism), the Western worldview is becoming more complex and possibly less rationalistic.
We are, therefore, a vanguard generation with a responsibility to lead at a time of great opportunity and great danger. We are watching the world change and we don't yet know what it is going to look like. This is what we mean when we talk about an emerging culture.

The challenges for the church at such a time are profound. A generation that finds itself in the crux of such a change has a significant responsibility for shaping the new ways of thinking that will define its own age but also that of the coming era. When Christians get it right at such times, adapting themselves to the changing culture and finding new language for timeless truths, the gospel spreads more easily for years to come because it makes sense to people. However, when the church gets it wrong by resisting change and enshrining nostalgia, we risk apparent irrelevance and an upward struggle.

Will Jesus Christ be famous and favoured in the coming age, or will he be a peripheral choice on the menu of social preference? You can call the culture 'progressive', 'emerging' or 'postmodern ' but the challenge is the same: to reinvent the church without changing the message, to reach this generation for the sake of the age to come.

Some of the stages of getting to grips with what is going on inside ourselves in the Christian walk,
taken from Chapter 3 "Taking Jericho."
1. Numb, dumb heart
The passage of time brings to every disciple the relentless pounding of pleasure, pain and sin. These conditions can imperceptibly harden our hearts, slow the arteries and make muscles once lithe grow inflexible. We are generally unaware of this ageing process, but God sees and cannot look away. He loves us too much and has called us to too much to allow us to settle for less than full spiritual health. The writer of Hebrews says that at such times God 'dis­ciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness' (Hebrews 12:10).

In order to call our independent minds and self-satisfied souls back to a place of spiritual intimacy and dependency, God must make our numb hearts begin to feel again. Through Scripture, circumstance — perhaps even through this book — he may begin to trouble and disturb our soul. Such feelings are not often associated with the Holy Spirit. They may be like the tingling ache in your mouth as the anaes­thetic wears off after dental surgery, or the howling pain of greater loss. But there can be no movement in our lives until we are confronted with the reality of our current state.

This is the first stage, and for me it took the form of sleepless nights troubled by something I couldn't define. This is a lonely time because you are feeling something you can't explain — even to God.
2. Wrestling
Next comes the wrestling, trying to make sense of this inner turmoil, looking for words to describe what you are feeling. You may study Scripture, splurge in your journal, read books, write songs, go for walks and try to pray, wondering why you're weeping or waking or considering taking some crazy, counter-intuitive step. Of course God is watching all this new activity with delight, biding his time.
3. Waiting
When eventually God gives you words for the things that are troubling your heart (and I'll say it again: this may take some time), things become easier. The internal storm calms and you can talk at last with clarity to God and to others. The chaos has a pattern now. There may be no answers yet but at least you have questions and you will throw these at the Almighty again and again. You no longer wrestle with yourself, but like Jacob with God. This is the time of waiting and watching and it can last years or mere minutes.
4. Blessing
Finally God steps in. The one who sowed those atomic seeds in your hard heart in the first place, the one who watched you cracking up and breaking down, the one who gently gave you the questions and waited and watched while you learned to pray, that same God now steps in to bless. A heart that was hard is now bruised and bleeding soft. An independent adult has become needy, humble and poor in spirit.A self-sufficient child has succombed to a hug. You have learned to need and to heed, to wait and to watch once again. ' And He said :" I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" '(Matthew 18:3).

This is all coinciding with our second Prayer 24/7 weekend which is running from this Friday 10 th July until Tuesday 14th in and around Portsdown Community Church Havant. Many many spin-offs resulted from the last session, and the sense was always that that was just the start. One of the spinoffs was the glorious way in which God came totally fresh and new and in simplicity at the May Conference 2009 here.

Wednesday 8 July 2009

To give or not.

I returned today from taking an old grand piano yesterday to a club in Carlisle. To clarify, for those abroad, that is from the south coast near Portsmouth all the way up north to 5 miles from the Scottish border.

On my return journey, I drove then slept, then drove then slept through the night. I woke again at 8am in a service station car park, to see a forty or fifty year old woman tapping on the windows of various truck drivers. At first I thought she looked like a nun. Then she approached me.

She was after money. I was eyeing her very closely and was pretty firm with her. She persisted.
The widow technique! So still unable to work out whether it was a scam I asked her to take me to the rest of her family.

The story was this. They were Romanian and were wanting to return to Europe via Dover, and they had completely run out of money. Their was no petrol in their car, which they were at pains to "prove" to me by showing me the dial. (They could have rigged the gauge).

The father of the family returned. He had been round the services staff, and public who were in the services complex. He flashed his credit card, saying that it had been blocked.

I looked right into the eyes of each family member, still unable to know for sure. Was this a "service station "scam routinely carried out up and down the motorways? What if they were genuine and they really did have no recourse to anything in England? or again were they just Romanian gypsies after a buck?

Well, for good or for bad I withdrew £50 and handed it over. The father said he wanted to return the money and asked for my address? I gave the address but no name. So if he is good to his word it must be cash.
Anyhow I spoke to a manager in the service station, just in case it was a scam, so he would know his car park was being tapped for funds that would ordinarily be spent on them.
Since being scammed in my twenties ,during a Quilmes Creations sales run for Bible House, I don't think I've ever given anything sizeable to anyone I didn't know, or could be vouched for by other intermediaries.

He who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord. But He doesn't encourage us to behave like idiots. There are plenty of really good things to give to.

What do you guys think?

Sunday 5 July 2009

Partition Wall Christianity

I have a problem with partition wall Christianity.

These are Christians who say similar things , but somehow, they are never in the same room. They speak to you from behind a partition wall. Presumably because they feel it is safer.

Do you know the first word that laid a foundation for my former Church Emsworth? It was given by Jorge Pradas, who was only in town for a holiday. The fellowship of rather adhoc charismatics met as and when, and had other churches they all were involved in.

Jorge's word way back around the early 70s was this. Are you a Church or are you a fellowship?
Because it was given in the Spirit, everyone there was pricked by an arrow so sharp, that they, in the manner of Acts 2 knew they had been pricked to the heart, and that a response was demanded.....that very night!

Now Abraham had a similar problem. It's a half in half out problem. It's a safety partition problem. He knew that Sarah his wife was going to be the means whereby he was going to be the father of many nations. Yet would he stand by her?

Nope. Whenever the pressure was on by an admiring King, he kind of let slip that Sarah was a sort of half-sister...which was also true. But not as true as the fact that he was in a married relationship with her. She was spoken for! Or should have been.

I have been reading some other intelligent blogs.
My problem with intelligent blogs is not that they are well written. Richard Wurmbrandt and Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote very well. My problem is that they have an intellectual detachment from the subject matter that is just like speaking through a partition wall. Perhaps the more scriptural picture is the one in Song of Solomon; that of speaking through a lattice.
When we come to the Lord some of us spend a while dancing a twostep around those born again ones who are telling us the gospel. We want to be sure. We ask questions. That is OK. But after a while like any good salesman, the Holy Spirit brings us around to the decision again. Do you want this Divine Life within you or don't you? He never lets us answer every single question. The fact is we will still be asking questions until the day we die. So it's a waste of time.
He lets us satisfy ourselves with several answers, but then drops the bombshell that His Life does not consist of right answers. It is Life itself. It is indeed an Answer on a completely different level. And as soon as we sign on the dotted line and ask Jesus other words a commitment has taken place....then we can know the Assurance of salvation within us that is the privilege of everyone that hears and acts on faith.
If Christianity was some lame circular this:
I believe because I asked Jesus in and now I believe I have the assurance....
How do you know you have the assurance?
Because I believe in Jesus.
Well that's a bit of lame reasoning. If any non-Christians are reading this I want you to learn something. Although this appears to be the circular nature of religion, you are missing something that actually happens halfway round the circle. The reality of the Life of Jesus Christ enters into the soul of a Christian. And that's why someone will be so stupid like me to remain a Christian for 37 years. Here are some effects. You feel brand new. Every weight of inadequacy,wrongdoing against others and yourself is washed away. You now know what you are here for. You know what your future will be. Everything around you seems brighter, more meaningful; in fact you notice things for the first time in your life, or maybe the first time since you were very small.
But here's the kicker! You love people! And not just for what they can give you. You just love people fullstop! This is all Day One stuff...and does not in any way include things like finding prayer is now a natural thing. That you actually long to be with Christians. That Church is actually one heck of a place. And if that is not enough you start getting involved in things that are just not humanly explicable....a host of supernatural abilities which you find your buddies have got as well. And so on and so on.
Back to blog observers. And the now stately Christians living among new church networks. Sipping genteely at several church doctrines.
Here again,the Life of Christ itself bounds up unannounced outside the safety of your lattice. You want to be sure that you have the right doctrines. That you are in the right network. But all the Life of Christ does is ignore what you are currently into.
Doesn't even answer your questions. They are the wrong questions.Forget right doctrines. Forget whether you are in the right network. The Life of Christ just speaks in the same way as when you were unsaved. "Your criterion is wrong. You are dead already. Life is the other side of this lattice. Life is hearing my unique voice and coming down with me to the beds of myrrh and spices."
It's not humble to say "We are trying to be the Church. We are just one church network. It's not humble to say "I am trying to be a Christian. Just give me time"
It's not humble to say " I could never go as far to say I am Christ in my form. I don't believe any of us are good enough to say that."
Just like salvation, when we commit to what God says about us, we actually put the onus on Him and the Holy Spirit within us to shape us up so we fit alongside all the other nutters who are beginning to make the same confession.
Things only start working when you come out from behind the lattice. Just like Jesus had a kind of Tourette's syndrome whereby He would suddenly shout out at Feasts and meetings, embarrassing all the religious in earshot....I shouted out at last Sunday's meeting these words:
If you believe in your heart
and If you confess with your mouth
then you shall be saved...but not just spiritually....The whole of you!! (Romans 10 declaration)
You have to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that You have died with Christ, it is now not you who live, but Christ who lives within you. (Dodgy ,they all say from behind the lattice)
You have to believe that you are the Church along with all those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart. This wishy washy half in half out stuff has to go!