Living Life Now

Friday, July 28, 2006

Together Again !!!

In my last post, abaout the Together on a Mission 06 Conference, I talked about how Dan had a picture for me that involved my oldest brother Martin, who died when I was 4 years of age.
This picture was of course given to Dan to tell me how much Jesus loves me, and it was of Martin being in heaven, fit and able and running around as he never could do in life (he had severe cerebral palsy).

Well long before this incident I had always imagined Martin being able to do such things in heaven, so you can imagine how happy I was to receive that word; I had always 'had' a song, that reminded me of Martin, my song for him if you like.
The song is Together Again by Janet Jackson, who wrote the song for a couple of very close friends who died from AIDS. She believes that she will one day see them in heaven, and so do I with Martin !!

Now I am (almost cringe-worthingly) inept at technology of this sort, I tried to include the video for the song (it is a FABULOUS video), but it did not appear, so please follow this link which SHOULD lead you to it. Enjoy, because it's worth it !!!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Toegther On A Mission...Part 3 !!!

So far, the conference had been practically life changing for me; I left the Prayer meeting the night before thinking that I didn't know how much more I could handle, but God had more in store for me !!
Friday, the 4th and final day started with Rob Rufus's final training track. He preached, albeit very briefly on the Corporate Anointing. And it was amazing, because during that short sermon, you could tell the Spirit was on him, and he came out with such powerful truths, such as (using my notes from the session),
"The potential to know Jesus, at the right hand of God, is greater than what the disciples did walking with Him for 3 years."
"The better I know the Holy Spirit, the better and more intimately I know Jesus Christ."
And he went on to cite Hebrews 2:11, "So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.", and this just hit me like a sledge hammer. I'd never realised it before, that Jesus thinks of us as His brothers.
Then we got up to pray (Mr Rufus certainly loves his ministry time, and thank God, because it turned out to be amazing).
As the room prayed, all I desperately wanted to know was that Jesus truly loved me, it was kind of a 'now or never' situation, if I didn't know Jesus's love for me at that moment, then I didn't know where I could go from there.
I prayed with my hands out in front of me, and taking Rob at his words, I knew the way to Jesus was to know the Spirit better, so I just let it wash over me, and then I felt a weight on my hands; it was as though Jesus was standing in front of me holding my hands, willing me to believe just how much He loves me, and I just welled up with pure emotion, he wanted me to know that I'm His brother.
It didn't stop there; as I kept praying to know the love of Jesus better, all of a sudden Dan put his arm around me and told me very quietly that he had a picture for me. But before I share that I need to put in some background information.
My parents had 4 children: Martin, Simon, myself and Stephen. Now Martin had severe Cerebral Palsy, which meant he could do nothing and spent most of his life in pain, and in and out of hospital. Martin died at the age of 9, I was 4 years old.
The picture Dan had for me (keeping in mind that Dan knows very little about Martin), went something like,
"I've just had this picture, and it was of your brother Martin, and he's in Heaven with Jesus. And he's running about, free from pain and playing happily with Jesus. I feel that He's shown me that for you, to let you know that He rally does love you, and you are one of His brothers".
WOW !! Well, I just cried !!! I seriously sobbed my heart out. One, I knew more than ever that Jesus truly loves me, and that he gave that picture to Dan who didn't actually know that that was on my heart; and 2, that Martin is in Heaven with our Lord, as well and pain free as he deserved to be. I know consider myself to have 4 brothers, not 3 !!!
I don't know how long I cried for, but as I was drying my eyes an awesome thing happened. Rob Rufus was about to bring the session to a close, when he said that the Holy Spirit had just told him that there was someone in the room who was suffering with the demon of suicide, he wasn't going to ask this person to step forward, but just for them to know that God was aware of it, and was going to help. Well from right by the platform at the front, a blood-chilling scream of a demon erupted from a man's mouth, and as the man fell to his knees, Rob very calmly to the demon, "You are not showing off the name of Jesus of Nazareth, BE GONE!". And with that the man fell to his knees, completely free of the demon.
Again...WOW !!!! Just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, God just swooped right in and did quite a bit more.

With very red eyes, we made our way to the closing session of the conference, led as usual by Terry Virgo. Preaching on Numbers 10-11, he gave an amazing sermon about trusting in the Lord because his arm is not shortened, and that we need to see the bigger picture, as Moses did, that being that in the end, it's not about us, it's about Him. Terry truly is a father !!

So that's the conference. I learnt SO much, and have been inpacted in the most tremendous way that I could ever have imagined. And what have I learnt???
First and foremost, that Jesus Christ loves me, and counts me as one of his brothers.
And second, that I know I will join in on the mission to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus throughout whatever part of the world that God wants me to, and do it without fear.

It was an amazing conference, that hope never to forget.
Can't wait for next year !!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Together On A Mission...Part 2 !!!

Well...after an amazing end to the Rob Rufus session, I can honestly say I was on such a high, so was tremendously looking forward to the Dave Holden session on the Wednesday afternoon. Preaching on 2 Corinthians 3:3-6, he certainly did not disappoint, delivering a fantastic message on the Holy Spirit, but if you want to know more about that, check out Baxter's Boy's blog, he has an excelent transcript on it.
Now the evening message was delivered by Wayne Grudem, whom I personally have never heard speak before, but I know he's a hero of Dans, and Dan doesn't choose heroes lightly, so I was expecting good things. Well I have to say that this was my favourite message of the week !! Wayne preached on 'The Person of Christ: God and Man in One Unique Person'. It basically tells how Jesus can be both God and man and the truth and evidence there is to that in the Bible (I have never written so many Bible references down!!). But Grudem delivered it with speed and amazing structure, so that everyone was hanging on his every word (mainly in fear they'd miss anything lol). He also had great PowerPoint slides, which is good for me, being a student I'm so tuned into that whole university type lecture style of deliverence. I reccomend this sermon whole-heartedly to anyone wanting to order cd's of the conference.

Thursday came with the second of Rob Rufus's training tracks, where he preached on increasing people's faith by simply preaching the Word, using Habakkuk 3:2-4. It really was a great sermon, however the session didnt have quite the impact on me that I had hoped for. Rob again allowed plenty of time for ministry.
Now you would think that that is a great thing, we all love ministry, and especially as I was baptised in the Holy Spitirt the day before. But no !! All that fear I had the day before came flooding back, and the power that Rob Rufus has really unnerved me, why ? I don't honestly know (although I can honestly say that by Friday, that changed). I was stood at the end of the row of chairs, and as the prayers and the Spirit got into full swing, it was like the devil was stood at my right side saying 'you don't deserve to be here, you're too weak to handle this'. So I left the room, and went and sat in a toilet cubicle, where I prayed so hard, the most frank and honest prayer that I've ever done. I asked God for His forgiveness, that I should never have listened to the evil one, because he feeds on my fear, and I didn't want to fear anymore. I made the decision there and then that letting go of fear would help me know Jesus better, because nothing that God or the Spirit does will ever hurt me, so there is nothing to fear.

I met up with Dan after the session and I told him all that happened, he just told me not to worry; a simple statement, but how true it was. We headed to the main hall for the day's first main session. When the worship started I began to pray, and I created a mental picture of myself putting my fear into a box, sealing the box and throwing it out to sea, never to come back. And wow...I felt so free !! On top of this, God astounded me further, the band led us into a song about not fearing and that if I had God by my side, who then would I fear? I actually don't know what the song was called. And that someone brought a prophecy on the main stage, which was a picture using animals, but basically said do not fear, and let God do His will, because He knows best. At which point Dan leant across to me and "I think this picture is for you" !!! all I could think, I was just amazed that God knew what was deeply troubling me and He provided an outlet for that fear. Alleluia !!

The sermon was brought by Dave Devenish. Using Romans 1:1-7, 14:1-16:27 !! A lot he did cover. It was all about mission, and how we can practically reach the unreached millions throughout the inspiring sermon !!

Thursday evening was the prayer meeting. Now this was a joy. And I really mean that it was a joy to be praying for all sorts; new church plants in the uk, the pacific rim where NewFrontiers are really pressing into, and to pray for the people who are going out to the nations, taking the Gospel everywhere they go.
The offering was fun. Accompanied with worship by Evan Rodgers and Lou Fellingham and Band, 4,000 people danced and probably looked ridiculous trying to imitate the fantastic African dance moves being displayed on stage. But did we care? Not one bit; as Evan pointed out, "Looking ridiculous for You Lord" !! And we discovered the next day that the offering came to just under £1million !! WOW !!!

Right, because I ramble perhaps too much (lol) I'm gonna do the last (and most amazing) day in a 3rd part !! TTFN !!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Together On A Mission...WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't even know how to begin describing the NFI Together On A Mission conference in Brighton this week !!
Wow !! is all I've said since I got home. I can feel a long blog coming on (maybe in 2 parts), and if it seems like I'm making such a big deal, then it's because for me personally it was an amazing conference where I met Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, in the most awesome way. Everything about the 4 days I don't want to oversell this... TOTALLY MIND BLOWING !!!! (that statement will hopefully become more clear as I go on) !!

I suppose I should go through it day by day...but before I do I just want to point out that prior to the conference (as in getting a fabulous tan on Brighton Beach the day before it started), I turned to my very good friend Dan who I went to the confrence with, and said that I had decided this week would be the week that I'd be baptised in the Holy Spirit. A simple statement with massive implications, of a good kind. Well God did not disappoint !!

The conference opened on Tuesday morning with worship lead by Stuart Townend and co, and there was certainly no warming up. As soon as they started playing, you could feel the presence of God as 4,000 people worshipped Him with all their hearts.
Stephen Van Rhyn had the honour of giving the first word of the conference again this year. He preached in parts on Acts chapters 7 and 8, giving account that even though it was a dark time for the church in Jerusalem, the scattered apostles still preached the Gospel wherever they went, saving and healing people in the name of Jesus Christ. It really was inspirational.
David Stroud preached on Isaiah 9:1-7 in the second session on the day, arguing that although we face many oppositions when advancing the Kingdom of God, (and these oppositions may confuse or scare us) we must not lose face, beacause there is a King that is coming, and He will change everything.

Terry Virgo brought the last message of the day, preaching on Hebrews 11:23-26, he entitled the message 'The Explosive Power of Faith'. I am truly grateful everytime I hear Terry preach, because he always cuts right down to the bone. I found this message actually quite hard to listen to, on a very personal level, but that's ok, because I think we all need to be challenged like this once in a while; Do I or do I not do something in the name of Faith? That was the general gist of the word.

Already after just day one, this conference was impacting me in a huge way.

Wednesday morning brought the first of the seminars. Dan and I had heard of the anticipation and excitemtent surrounding a man named Rob Rufus, who is currently ministering in Japan. When we heard that he moves so powerfully everyday in the Spirit and that that was what he would be preaching on, in a practical way, we put our names down immediately for his training track seminars.
He preached on stepping out in the supernatural, using Psalm 91 and Isaiah 4:5-6, and challenged us to think about whose shadow are we standing in? God's? or otherwise? His main point was that we need intimacy with Jesus to step out into the supernatural, and this would be the point I struggled with during the following ministry time.
Rob allowed about half an hour ministry time, and although it was awesome because the Spirit came so powerfully into that room (even Dan was on the floor in tears), I just felt nothing. And why? Fear ! And what was I afraid of? Well it was a mixture of feelings: Scared of what actually would happen if the Spirit fell upon me (people were laughing and crying hysterically all over the floor, some were bent double with 'electricity' of the spirit); Scared also of the power this man had when the Spirit consumed him; and scared maybe that others were looking at me. Bascially I was letting all these external fears stop me from having the intimate relationship with God that I actually did desire.

After that session I shared my fears with Dan, who gave me some practical advice on shaking off fear; if anyone can talk sense into me, Dan can.
Rob Rufus also lead the next main session; using 2 Corinthians 3 and Psalm 42:7, he detailed what he feels churches need to do corporately to step out in the supernatural. He gave some amazing practical ideas.
He then allowed substantial time for ministry, again. It was actually awe inspiring to see the Holy Spirit working on nearly everyone in the 4,000 strong congregation. For me, at first, I still had thse fears, and the Holy Spirit just wouldn't come and fill my heart the way that I wanted it to. So I sat down, put my head in my hands and started to pray to God, asking why I wasn't being baptised in the Spirit, when it looked as though it was coming so easily to everyone else.
And then I felt it. Something inside me said "just let go". And so I did; I remained seated, but lifted my hands, and made the decision to let go of what was holding me back. It happened there and then, my body began shaking with the electricity of the Spirit, and I felt such an amazing, warm feeling wash over. Dan always said that I'd know when I'd been baptised in the Holy Spirit, and I knew that was it. It jst felt amazing, and I'll never forget it !!!

Well I'll sign off now, before it becomes too long winded, and leave the rest for another blog later...!!!!