The Coming New Glory

Dear all,

I have been reflecting on our prophetic sense about structures to contain what God is about to do. As part of that there are the changes to our leadership structures but I also know some of you have had to face many trials over these past few months. Some of you have struggled with anxieties, health problems, confusion, spiritual battles. Peter writes that these struggles and trials are necessary to prove that our faith is genuine… like gold refined in fire… when Jesus returns.  (1 Peter 1:7)

Interesting this term ‘greater worth than gold that perishes, even though its refined by fire’. Yesterday (5/11/17), as we were praying before the service, we just sensed that God was talking about a refining happening… why? To prove our faith is genuine when Jesus comes back. Paul in his letter to the Romans says that ‘suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope…’ (Romans 5:1-5)

In this sense we have refining for both a genuine faith in Jesus but also our characters. Why our characters? That’s the most painful bit! Why?! Because God wants us to contain His glory. Restructuring our hearts, (and our leadership on a practical level!), is a process designed to contain God’s glory in an even greater way… it can feel painful, confusing, bring up feelings of loneliness, despair and fear but ultimately, if we learn to persevere in faith through the process, holding tight to His promises, we can see a glory far greater than we can even imagine now.

Remember Haggai? (If you don’t… read it.. it’s only 2 chapters long!) He spoke of a time when the heavens and the earth would be shaken but the glory of the present house will be greater than the former! (Haggai 2:6-9). The shaking is the trials we have/will have to face but if we stick with the process and have faith and allow God to shape our characters to be more like Jesus, our hearts and our household (all of us together – the Church), will contain a greater glory than we have ever done! And this is His desire ‘to make a dwelling place for my Name!’.

Structures are important – whether its the character of our hearts or our organisational structures – to contain and maintain that which God is about to do and has already begun among us! Continue therefore in faith and encourage one another.

Ollie

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The Gift of Faith

Dear all,

We seem to be gaining momentum again. Things are happening that are miraculous to say the least. We have had some healing’s. Many of you are becoming more courageous. Things are being shaken! God is on the move! In the words of Carmen, ‘God’s got an army!’ and that’s what it feels like we are becoming… an Army of the Holy Spirit and God’s reckless love!

As I was pondering the different gifts of the Spirit, both relating to Sunday mornings and life, I was considering the role of faith in all of them. Paul, specifically, talks about a ‘Gift of Faith’, which we shall explore deeper in a Sunday service in November. But the Bible is full of references to faith! And its an absolute necessity for us as followers of Jesus. In fact, the writer of Hebrews says ‘…it is impossible to please God without faith…’ (11:6) Paul says that even faith relating to our salvation is a ‘gift’ through His grace. (Ephesians 2:8)

When it comes to the gifts of the Spirit. None of us can naturally heal someone. None of us can naturally speak in a supernatural language. None of us can prophesy. None of us can lead by the Spirit. None of us can be generous. None of us can have faith to move mountains! It’s simply something we cannot do. (Incidentally the danger comes when we access spiritual things without being connected to Jesus. Without Jesus as Lord it becomes occult and spiritually dangerous!) So with the gifts of the Spirit, as long as we are acting out of faith we shall please God. We may not get it right all the time but God responds to our faith… not whether we get it all 100% right. Lets be a culture like John Wimber referred to ‘everyone gets to play!’ In this way, we can learn together how to move, live and have faith in the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Be still Church. Know that He is God. Depend on Him and respond to Him by faith and you will see God do extraordinary things. As you respond to the things God is saying to us about the gifts allow yourself to step out in faith. Continue to desire the greater things.

Blessings

Ollie

Pressing forward to a sure infrastructure

Dear all,

It has been sometime since I posted here. Apologies if you have been waiting!

Over these past few months, God has been leading us on a journey to being a Body growing to maturity in Jesus. In reality, this has worked out with changing the Sunday services to make space to reflect how that maturity comes about. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:26 that when we operate in the gifts of the Spirit we are building one another up. In other words encouraging each other to maturity. Our Sunday services, have changed to create space in order that we may begin to allow space for the gifts of the Spirit as listed in Pauls letter. Sometimes, this may have felt like chaos. But many of you have courageously stepped up bringing revelations, prophecies, testimonies. There is always much more and I encourage you to press into God and keep asking for the greater gifts. To keep listening and asking the question, ‘What is the Spirit saying to the Churches?’

One of the prophetic senses we have had since we joined the church in 2016 is that the Father is wanting us to sure up the structure in order to be that people God has called to ‘Host His Presence.’ This has been happening in the physical. The Father’s Living Room, the re ordering of the back meeting room. We have other physical structural changes coming up to prepare us for growth and to be a dwelling place for God.

In the spiritual, we have also been seeing structural strength being brought… The Midday prayers for a year or so was the powerhouse of church and brought a stirring to the water. However, its always important to follow the Spirit, and so when the Spirit nudged us to show us that it had run its course we needed to listen. There will be other prayer events coming up!

We have now held two Schools of the Holy Spirit, No Longer Slaves and Sunday night Father’s Presence. All of these things have been stirring us in the spiritual realm. From September we shall be training up a Prayer Ministry team and having some exciting events. These are all to stir the waters and to provide space for God to move in and amongst us to make us a people ready to Host the Presence and to receive the harvest God has for us.

Please continue to remain faithful in prayer, the gifts of the Spirit and meeting together so we may spur one another on to maturity in Jesus.

Blessings

Oliver

Twofold Ministry of the Spirit Pt.2

In our first blog concerning the Twofold Ministry of the Spirit we looked at the Indwelling work of the Spirit in a believers life. In this second part we are considering the Outward work of the Holy Spirit, which is for those around me…

Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on the disciples and they received the Holy Spirit, that is the Indwelling presence of God. But His instructions were specific to the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit’s power to be His witnesses. The Spirit comes upon us in order that we may be witnesses and for the building up of other believers’ .

  1. Called to be witnesses… Jesus called His followers (and still does) to make disciples, teaching them all that He has commanded. (Matthew 28:18-20) This witness includes the preaching of good news, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, baptising them in the Holy Spirit, speaking in new tongues. (Isa 61 & Mark 16:17-18) ) The anointing of the Holy Spirit is activated when we preach good news and is confirmed by works of power as detailed above. This is a demonstration of the Kingdom of God breaking into lives revealing the truth of who Jesus is… the King! The teaching of disciples and assisting them, to not only be hearers of God’s Word, but to also live out God’s Word is the process of discipleship (included in this is baptism and repentance). This is the first outward working of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Mutual edification of the Body of Christ is the second outward working of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12 & 14 and Romans 12 Paul explains the importance of desiring the spiritual gifts. Included in these gifts are speaking in tongues & interpretation, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, revelation, acts of service, hospitality, administration etc. These gifts are for the building up of the Body of Christ and not for the glory of those bringing them! Paul also talks about the 5 fold ministry in Ephesians 4:11… Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers.* These callings and giftings, activated by the power of the Holy Spirit, are again for the building up and maturity of the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit equips us to be a blessing to the Body of Christ in our worship gatherings, small groups and daily meetings in the town.

We come into maturity when we begin to believe and walk in our inheritance as children of God, namely the Twofold ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit comes to bring the Father’s work through our lives. As we grow in our understanding of the Spirits work both within us and upon us, we can then start to grow to maturity as the Body of Christ.

I encourage you to ponder these things prayerfully and allow the Spirit to reveal more of the Father’s grace bought for us by Jesus in order that we may grow into maturity, not lacking in anything, to see the world transformed by the love of God.

*Please note the Five Fold Ministries are not our ‘Identity’ but are our callings. Our ‘Identity’ is found only in Christ and not what we are gifted to ‘do’.

Two Fold Ministry of the Spirit Pt.1

As we move forward in our journey with Jesus we need to recognise the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Its important we begin to grow in our understanding of the Spirits nature in order that we can mature to all the fullness of God. This is the first of a two part blog on the twofold ministry of the Spirit. Its not an exhaustive blog but simply a beginning to help you move from immaturity to maturity, emptiness to fullness. I encourage you to read up on it for yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you…

There are two dimensions to the Spirit’s work in a believers life. There is an inward working of the Spirit, which is essential to an individuals walk with God, and is for me but is also of a benefit to others. The second is an outward working of the Spirit, which is of benefit to other believers around me. If we lack understanding of either, we can become unbalanced in our Christian lives.

The Inward work of the Spirit, is first of all for me. Paul writes in his 2nd letter to the Church in Corinth that the Spirit has been given to individual believers as a guarantee of what is to come… namely, our inheritance. It means that the Spirit dwells within us as a pledge that we belong to God. (2 Cor 1:22) We are temples of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 6:19-20) We carry within us the very presence of God.

The Spirit living with me, has a primary goal, which is to make me more like Jesus. This is evidenced to others by the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5. The process of refining (1 Peter 1:6-7) and the Fathers loving discipline (Heb 12:5-13) bring about the inward change, if we learn to submit to the working of the Spirit, that makes me become more like Jesus each day.

The Spirit living within me also helps me to understand the scriptures. Do you remember in John’s gospel, when the disciples were gathered following the resurrection of Jesus, and he appears to them? John records that Jesus breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit (John 20:22) … now indwelling in them… so that they could understand the scriptures. And the scriptures teach us about Jesus. The Holy Spirit longs to reveal Jesus to us in a deeper way and Jesus said that the Spirit would take His words and make them known to us (John 14:26).

Guaranteed, refined, understanding… and ultimately, our shared destiny of becoming like Jesus, are the purpose of the Spirits indwelling presence in my life… this is primarily for me but others benefit from the fruit!

Do we truly believe that the Spirit lives within us? Its an important question to ponder. If we do, then it changes everything because we recognise that the Father has trusted us with His Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the presence of God living in us!

Colossians for today…

Over the past month we have been working our way through Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Paul chooses his language very specifically in this letter. He uses the words ‘fill‘ and ‘fullness‘ two or three times within the first chapter alone. Full is a concept I feel quite comfortable with at the moment. Having had numerous Christmas chocolates, Christmas cake, a busy schedule… not to mention the constant persistence of a mobile phone alerting me to everything and anything, it seems our lives get so full of stuff that we loose sight of what we really lack… time in the presence of God.

What does the overload of our lives result in? An emptiness that the world encourages us to fill with stuff. This emptiness lays waste to the joy we have in Jesus.

Paul says in Col 1:11 (b) … May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. (NLT)

Joy is something we pray for regularly in our gathered times. That we may experience joy. A releasing of hearts in times of worship. Of joyous dancing, celebration, hands in the air… expressing what we really feel about Jesus.

What do we really feel about Jesus? Paul makes it plain what the good news really is… ‘For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself.’ (Col 1:19-20 NLT) That means you and me. We were separate from God but now in Jesus, we are reconciled to God. That’s a homecoming party if you ask me…one that we take for granted daily. No longer separate from God but living in union with him.

Paul also highlights that his joy is not based in happy times but in the severest of trials…’I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking…’ (Col 1:24 NIV) Paul is not saying Jesus’ suffering wasn’t good enough, he is saying that in him (in us too), when he suffers Jesus continues to suffer also. Many of us face trials and our response is critical to our filling up of joy. Joy is present in our pain as Watchman Nee says (Read What shall this man do?). But in recognising Jesus suffers with us and feels our hurt we find a deep joy…

For Paul goes on to say… ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily [human] form, and you have been given fullness in Christ…’ (Col 2:9-10 NIV) Jesus, as a human, felt our pain and trials also, and he can relate to what we go through. But, he has also given us HIS FULLNESS in order that we may triumph in life and find deep joy filling us up.

As we go forward let us allow joy to grow in our hearts because we are reconciled to God. This is hosting the presence too… and it comes from time in God’s presence.

 

Lifting up the Son of Man

‘Let all the other names fade away, until there’s only you!’ – Matt Redman

In my previous blog we talked about a time of transition. Part of that prophetic word was about The Father wanting to de-clutter our lives and move our faith from the head to the heart. He does this by drawing us closer to His Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus repeats a phrase 3 times… ‘When the Son of Man is lifted up…’

  1. John 3:14-15… This first instance Jesus is referring his listeners back to a passage that was familiar history to them, when the Israelites were in the desert. They grumbled against God and Moses and so God sent poisonous serpents amongst them. The cure that God gave in His loving mercy was an instruction to Moses to lift up a bronze serpent on a pole… Those who listened and lifted their eyes to the serpent, by faith in God, were healed. And so it is with us, when we lift our eyes to Jesus by setting our hearts on Him, by faith, we are delivered and saved from the poisonous darts of the enemy and sin.
  2. John 8:28-29… The second instance, Jesus is referring to His relationship with the Father. ‘When the Son of Man is lifted up then you will know that I am He…’ He is revealing His true character by pointing us to the act of salvation on the cross. When we lift up Jesus in our lives He begins to reveal Himself to us and leads us straight to the Father.
  3. John 12:31-32… The third instance, Jesus is talking about a drawing to Himself of all humanity. The cross is the Father’s way of restoring relationship and drawing humanity back to Himself, through HIS SON. When we lift up Jesus in our lives people are drawn to us, not because of who we are but because of WHO dwells in us.

How do we lift Jesus up in this coming season? …

We are starting a series on the book of Colossians. The message of Colossians is Jesus Only. We don’t need any other Name for salvation and life in all it’s fullness. In our daily lives let’s lift Jesus up through our worship, prayer, how we love one another, hiow we act at work… In lifting Him up, the Holy Spirit then sets to work in the secret place of our hearts to remove all the other names that we adore until there is ONLY Jesus.

Transition Time

During our Wednesday Midday prayers last week, we had a prophetic word released for the season we are entering…

‘It’s a season of transition. Just as the seasons have changed in the natural, so are the seasons changing in the supernatural. The transition is the head to the heart. The Father is removing the obstacles of the heart that have hindered growth and freedom. He is removing traditions, superstitions, blockages in order that the truth we know in our heads may find a home in our hearts. Its a season of the head to the heart.’

This was followed up with the words… ‘the winter is past.’

Of course as the natural seasons change the soil that has been frozen and hard is warmed by the sun and begins to soften and we find new shoots coming to the surface… snow drops, blue bells appear in the land.

So it is also with our hearts. When winter passes and the hardness and coldness of the spiritual winter ends, we see the seeds that the Father has sown in those seasons bursting out in bloom. We are intended to bear fruit and without the winter, fruit is limited, but the winter season hibernates the seed in order that when spring comes new growth is evident.

The season of the heart is about seeing our lives becoming more fruitful for the Kingdom of God, but that begins with the transition from the head (knowledge) to the heart (revelation) in order that we may walk in greater freedom of who we are in Jesus.

A Lion’s Heart…

The Father spoke to me some time ago about being ‘valiant.’ Do I really see myself as being valiant? No not really. But The Father has the ability to see in us qualities that we wouldn’t quickly see in ourselves. When the word came to me at a soaking/healing service I quickly looked up the meaning… very brave or bravely determined, especially when things are difficult, or the situation gives no cause for hope. We always have hope… even when the situation seems dire. Hope is a product of perseverance and hope doesn’t disappoint us because its the Spirit of God who gives it.

Here are some synonyms for valiant: brave, fearless, courageous, heroic, stout-hearted, LIONHEARTED, bold, confident, undaunted… So this sense of being Lionhearted, or valiant, chimed a chord with my heart because at this point in time the Lion’s Roar had been echoing in my life for a few weeks leading up to this point. Do I see my self as Lionhearted? No not really. But He does and He says it so I believe it and receive it…

What’s The Father saying to you today? What quality does He see in you that you don’t see in yourself? Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, is waiting to roar the truth of how He sees you into your life… you only need to accept what He says and receive it.