Prayer at all levels:
This area is a challenge, for theological reasons there are people who disagree with Identificational repentance, territorial spirits, prophetic acts and the like.
So a few brief points:
- no one has been given the task of policing right and wrong theology. Pracitces will arise that are outside of my understanding
- such practices as I named above should not divide us. They are not at the level of a denial of the Gospel, so we must give space to a diversity of views
- humility is needed. Humility by the theological police; humility by the practitioners.
- God does not seem too exercised to convince people about the rightness of my views on the above. So I must not be too exercised about convincing others.
- maybe then the point is that those called need to get on with the task, and those who are a little suspicious keep their suspicions to themselves?
- if we do not do that then we can end up in discussions and arguments about prayer, meanwhile no prayer takes place.
Here is what I advocate:
- we develop basic everyday prayer. Nothing introduced should cut across that. We do not teach arrogantly of course once you know what I know you will pray better.
- we encourage strategic prayer: prayer that covers a geography, a demography, the spheres, the gates, the institutions. Maybe only 40% agree with this. Let’s motivate the 40%.
- we provoke prophetic intercession and also apostolic declarations. Here is where the issues of land healing, territorial spirits and the like kick in. Perhaps only 15% go into this – well let’s encourage the 15%.
If we do not understand those who engage in this way my suggestion is that we have to be slow to try and correct (or did I write control?). If it is not unbiblical then take care. Do not look for every practice to be in the Bible: resonating with the biblical story is biblical, just because I have found it in the Bible does not mean I am biblical.
I am taking a short break from this series for a few days: tomorrow I will outline the personal transition that I am now engaged in which I anticipate will bring about a geographical re-location early in 09.
Unity of the body:
When church leaders come together across the divides that is a great starting point. When they lay down their own agendas for their ‘personal’ church to grow we will have movement. The unity though has to move beyond unity gatherings, and church pastors.
One of the understandings in recent years that has developed is that of those who are called to pastor the city. (Let us think of pastoring more along the lines of a shepherd guiding toward new and fresh pastures.)
There will be such pastors within the various spheres of society: the health, education, business spheres for example.
The body is not united when we meet together. Unity is not something we do. Unity is a given – we cannot make it happen, we can simply deny it or sow seeds of disunity. Our starting point has to be that there is only one body.
I have a good friend who refused to become a member of a particular church: the reason being that if he were to join he would have to acknowledge that he had not already been recognising those believers as part of the body. By not joining he was indicating that he was already a member!!
Unity is a given and is in the context of where Christ has placed us.
A thought here on economics and from maybe another angle.
The two big issues for the people of God are that of protection and provision. We can read the prophets through that grid and that is where Israel is most often critiqued. We read the sending out of the 70/72 (Luke 10), which is a paradigm for mission, again on those two ways:
- no excess provision
- and as lambs among wolves
These are vital elements that have to be in place for the issue of transformation to take place. If our faith is in the resident of no. 10 or a whitehouse (or equivelant) then I think our faith is misplaced. (I am looking for the CofE to be disestablished, for there to be a loss of privileges in these next few years – this will be a sign of a move forward not back… and a little more contrversially, why does the British monarch carry the title of Defender of the Faith – that troubles me.)
So in this little digress – make the comments kind, I am in process!!! – if the two beasts in Revelation are the two beasts of military and economic oppresion how do they operate today in the Western (Christianised) world, or even within the structures of church. I am very serious on these matters as we cannot expect to deal with the world dominating, demonised, system while allowing it to be protected within our midst.
Thanks to all those who have been willing to confront imperialism in all its shapes these past years.
The three main elements I see as:
- the unity of the body
- the prayers of the saints in all dimensions
- the occupation of what is being cleared: the body throughout creation
The two dimensional signs I see as being the ones that Jesus gave to indicate that John was not to look for another. Those signs continue and they continue because they are intrinsic to the message (I will give a little note on intrinsic / extrinsic below.) The signs are supernatural inbreakings that manifest in freedom: healings, excorcisms, resuscitations; and signs that transform the economic status within society: the poor have good news proclaimed to them. The same message of freedom also comes to the rich – but it can be heard as a message of bad news by them.
So perhaps we can illustrate it like this:
the three dimensions then are what gives it some shape; but the context it all is worked out in is that of the signs – supernatural and social.
(Intrinsic signs are the type of signs we find in Scripture: they can be called prophetic signs or if from another background we can think sacramentally. Intrinsic signs carry within themselves what they are speaking of. Extrinsic signs are arbritary and you cannot by looking at the sign see what is being signified.)
The healing of bodies, the casting out of demons, the raising of the dead are intrinsic signs. The kingdom that is coming will deal with all those powers that are in dominion because of the fall. Hence Jesus says if I cast out demons… then the kingdom of heaven has come.
Social signs where justice is excercised are also intrinsic signs. Although we should not separate the two we can suggest that in one way social signs rise up as we respond to the call from heaven; the supernatural signs come down as heaven responds to our faith.
I have been working on a book, related to the gates of the city, but the writing has stalled somewhat. Many things have come in to call for my time, so I am going to blog for a few days on the headlines of what I am writing about.
A shape for transformation
Why transformation? I believe this is the framework we have to operate within. Church growth, evengelism, church planting, signs and wonders are just too small a framework to think from. The vision of God and the commission from heaven (creation mandate or gospel commission) is for a creation that is filled with his glory. New birth brings us into a new creation: if anyone is in Christ there is a new creation (rather than they are a new creature).
In a very real sense our mission is to see creation transformed – the means is through the conversion of people who carry that mission. What would happen if new converts came in with that mandate burning in their hearts? What would happen if church today was shaped according to that mandate? This will also change our evangelism and our community building thoughts.
I do not believe in the transformation of this world without the final intervention of Christ – the New Jerusalem has to come down from heaven to earth. This creation has to be transformed – it does not evolve into something new (the resurrection of Jesus as firstfruits of all creation must indicate that). But I also believe that we are shaping the future now. I see the final visions of a city not a garden as an indication that the genuine good works (not in the old sense of meriting salvation) will be redeemed. What is sown in faith will be raised: hence the imagery of a city coming down from heaven (and not a literal city: consider its shape and size).
Its size is pretty of the then known world and it shape is of a cube – the only other cube in Scripture being the Holy of Holies. It indicates the intense presence of the Lord invading the whole world, the world he created, and the world that we have been agents of reconciliation within.
Over the years I have focused in this transformative direction and have concluded that there are three main core elements with a context of signs that manifest in two ways.
Here then is a photo of grand-daughter Ella. I am sure I can discern all the good qualities that are manifesting are obtained from her paternal grandfather.
Here is also a report from Antioch from the couple of days there this week (Sunday, Monday). If in that area it is a place well worth connecting with. Their passion for a wholistic Gospel: supernatural and social transformative signs mark them. Antioch Church, Llanelli.
Report and update
June’s pressing in for more of Him began with two days with Martin Scott.
The season has changed again, and we are pushing for more change and greater manifestations of the signs of the advancing kingdom in healings, signs,wonders and the restoration of the supernatural gospel in the Western World – it starts with ordinary people believing God can use them wherever they are standing.
A corporate standing for Europe, a flow of healings, and the breaking of yokes of manipulation were some of the markers of the two nights with Martin. The third evening also saw some of the younger rising generation standing in new authority with a release of words of knowledge, prophetic words from the body and the healing of knee and ankle joints.
There are windows and doors opening up so that the King of Glory can come in. We continue to welcome this King of Glory.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE NO MORE MEETINGS THIS WEEK
We will let you know about the Pressing In nights for July.
I have just spent 2 days in Llanelli, a place I have travelled to over the past 10 years on a number of occassions. It is a place where I have a lot of respect for the people. The persistence and their ability to accommodate whatever the Lord is doing is most admirable. They have often don this in the context of opposition.
It is so challenging when highlghting names, but a special thanks to Mark and Karen, Debs, and also to Dave and Justin (Emerge),
The challenges in the land are enormous and it will always take much more than some good meetings to shift things, but it is so encouraging to be in south Wales and see the faith that has risen.
Here is a welcoming place for the prophetic, and a place that is releasing wild-fire, creativity, mission, music… prophetic evangelism, publications…
It was also great to have a connection with Bridgend (where there have been an unbelievable number of suicides in this past season). There is already something rising that is connecting with the rising generation.
Hunger and receptivity was as high as I have found it anywhere. Yesterday we began at 10.00am and with a 1 hour break we finished at 11.00pm. I cannot at this stage recall all that was prophesied in but I know there is major wise stwarding that takes place here.This is in evidence and I know how they and others have stewarded the word from Sept.98 about wild-fire being in the land. Finally, without the laying on of hands there were a number of healings that took place right where people were – a window is opening over the western world.
Great personal news… Ben and Ashley have a daughter, born 18 June… Ella Sue Charlotte.
Steve sent this note through with the heading:
Media and Music prophets catch up with the chuffers!
He wrote: Sharon Cooke just sent me through the lyrics to the title track to Coldplay’s new album. Worth a look. Maybe at long last the people of God are beginning to make a way for the media and music prophets.
Sharon says, “have you seen anything about Coldplay’s new album? There’s a lot of buzz on internet forums about what the title track is about, but the more I look at the lyrics, the
more I think it’s a personification of Empire lamenting its own downfall. I wonder if the media prophets are starting to prophesy breakthrough in what we’ve been walking for? I don’t know, but whatever it’s about I reckon it’s very encouraging that the biggest band in Britain at the mo are running with the same things in their spirits as our little rag tag bunch of walkers have been.”
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
“Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!”
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand
I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can’t explain
Once you go there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world
It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in.
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn’t believe what I’d become
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?
I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can’t explain
I know Saint Peter won’t call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world
Just completed a visit here over the weekend. Two weeks before visiting (just as happened two weeks before my visit to Toulouse at the end of May) Crewkerne had major flooding and also a hailstorm. These events (very localised) I see as a sign of deep things being washed to the surface, and signs of judgment. Judgment is essentially against evil that holds people in bondage, so it is when God moves to put things right. As a result we need to expect a corresponding freedom to manifest for the future. I do not understand this totally, but in some ways even natural (creational) events affect a judgment from heaven… against powers who lock injustice in place. We should not then make the mistake of drawing a straight line and saying it is judgment against people.
Crewkerne is in the south west of England and the region is going to open up. There has been a slowing down phenomenom there, but I believe we were able to call for a shift in the issue of time. Also I am looking for strong winds to come through this area in the later Autumn this year, and for a new carrier to operate out of Bristol airport as a sign of what is coming.
While there I stayed with Alec and Sue Morling. They have been involved very significantly across Norway (and soon into wider Scandinavia). They initially became invovled through the 336 vision of teams of 7 praying for a nation in Europe. It is incredibale what has opened up for them.
If you do get time for some prayer for me there are two very key personal events taking place in the next two weeks. 1) I make a visit to the geography I expect to move to; and 2) once I return I send my passport to the Brazilian embassy for application to enter Brazil again in October. It has been very frustrating not to be able to go this year thus far, but also very good for me. It has forced me to think again about the future there and how to work for some solid transforming issues.
I received notice today that Alan Hirsch will be in the UK invovled in a missional summer school (not sure I can be there as I have dates in the diary, but I am going to check what I can do). Together in Mission wrote: Dovetailing with MA in Missional Leadership Summer School, from 11am on Thursday to 2pm on Friday, we are excited to have Alan Hirsch join us for a special Masterclass.
(The event is at Kidderminster on 16, 17 July.)
Download a leaflet and application form for the event here: click here.
I am off to Crewkerne tomorrow for a short event. This place hit the news a few days ago wiht some major flooding in the town. I have had a conviction for some time that where we are seeing this happen is a sign both of cleansing and of bringing to the surface what has been hidden.
I continue to follow the prosperity that is coming to Brazil. I picked up an article 2 days ago at the airport which explained that with the recent oil finds (‘wealth will come from the ocean’) Petrobas overtook Microsoft as the world’s 6th largest company. Great news, but even greater challenges. It is time for a new business but also political world.
Not blogged for a few days. But been busy… I am working through a change and have been keeping a few people that I have tried to engage with in my journey over the past few years. I will in July put details of those changes here. So today is a little ramble. Seems appropriate to have a little ramble when there are so many global shifts.
Finding ways forward in community is such a challenge. Default positions come ever so easily. I am part of a community here in my home town, a group of people who find themselves together, bonded by history (some more than others), and connected together because of a passion for Jesus and the Gospel, but many of us unwilling to simply connect according to some former shape.
Language: so difficult. I am happy with the term ‘emerging’ provided what shapes what is emerging is missional, and understand that to mean something much more than ‘doing mission’. The latter can be some form of colonisation… of ‘us’ doing it to ‘them’. Is there a ‘them’ and an ‘us’? Perhaps. But the community of faith desperately need others to help shape us. We need what God is doing by the Spirit in all of creation, as well as what God is doing through the Spirit of Christ in redemption.
I am not an idealist (no thanks, Plato) but want to be more than a pragmatist. I also want to be faithful to the biblical narrative. I want to go forward but cannot go back.
In our local setting we have just engaged in some dialogue and at this stage are being shaped by these perspectives:
- we are not planning to be a proper church, so discussions about meetings, leadership are tenth rate issues
- we are seeking to be missional, wherever we find ourselves. that mission is one of good works – the work we do is to be good because of our connection to heaven (Hirsch, Cole, Thwaites – all major shapers for me)
- being charismatic by conviction, and also acutely aware of fresh waves of the Spirit today, we are looking for the supernatural to break out where we are. not just bringing it to people on the streets, but expecting the supernatural to break out among us as we inter-relate with people who already know us and vice versa
- find appropriate connecting points to provoke each other to ‘love and good works’, to help equip each other, not through equipping, impartation meetings but through the every day reality of responding to where we must see God break in
None of the above are earth shattering, but I left the conversation yesterday provoked to get on my bike and quit going round any mountain.
We have seen some amazing breakings in of the supernatural. I have witnessed them happenning, been reduced to tears as I have watched the Lord touch physically with healings, and emotionally at such deep levels. The challenge I am facing in a local community is that those stories are not too easy to tell. The stories do not belong to me, to us, they belong to the person that Jesus touched – it is their story to tell or to keep silent about. Sometimes we take the story, tell it and it bolsters us, and maybe raises our faith. Perhaps it is time to get a freshness in our own story.