by Jean Packer

Sunday 6th February

Pam O’Leary had been unable to attend the meeting but had sent a note encouraging us to “do something beautiful for God today – do something that you have never done before.”

Ian shared that God wants us to be in a place of grace and not bondage. He wants us to know that His finger is not pointing at us in any way. He is not judging us. We are encouraged to accept His grace and give Him praise and worship and to enter into His presence with joy. To taste and see that God is good.

Later in worship Wes continued to read the word from Pam O’Leary, ‘“God always leads us in triumph; we are in His train. Those who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness.  Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but keep pushing though until the very sand becomes holy ground. We sing but do not understand the words – but listen to the sound. Sharron had a picture from ‘The Railway Children’. The girl was waiting at the train station at the end of wartime. The steam from the train hid a person coming onto the platform but as he walked towards the girl she recognised her father and ran to him shouting “My Daddy. My Daddy”. This is how God wants us to run to Him.

Another prophesy came from Penny that this was a time of surrender of things we use for self comfort. We must lay them down. A vision that as the River in Ezekiel 47 got deeper it was flowing and releasing a multitude of fish as we were allowing the river to flow into our lives as we open our eyes to it. We were exhorted to let go of control and let go of ourselves. A call to surrender and yield to the deep flow of The Holy Spirit, that would sweep through this place, community, and out into the nations.

Pastor Bill O’Leary from Tewkesbury Baptist Church was our visiting speaker and spoke from the word about finding God in the desert. Moses was looking for food for his sheep. God told Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground and stay there. We are to stay where we are until God moves us. Our place of strength and blessing is to stay in the arms of Jesus.

Colossians 3:3 For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. This is our place of strength and blessing. He loves us.
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Stop making yourself secure. If we open the ‘big gates’ of our lives it can be a vulnerable thing, but our security is in the King (Jesus) coming through. Nothing is more secure than being in His arms. Step out. How vulnerable are you to allowing God to have His way in your life?  Be willing to step out into the unknown.

Bill continued by sharing with us the story of the woman at the well John 4: 1-6 27-33 She was amazed at what Jesus told her and ran to tell others to ‘come and see’. People need to hear our testimony because they don’t know that God is good. First, the men believed because of what she said. Then they believed because of what Jesus Himself said.

Bill then brought out a ram’s horn that someone had given him and shared how he had seen the potential to make the handle of a shepherd’s crook with it. He then showed us one that he had made earlier out of the other horn. The rod was made out of what he called “a grotty stick that had been lovingly soaked, shaped and smoothed to make it straight and useful.

Proverbs: 29:18 Where there is no vision the people perish, but he who keeps the law, happy is he.

God sees potential in us. He wants us to be compliant so that he can straighten us out mould us, smooth us and make us useful. We might sometimes feel ‘rubbish’.but we need to know that God’s got a vision and purpose for our lives. Bill then showed us a cracked and warped block of wood and we saw drawings on it that marked out two shepherd crooks. We may also have cracks and warps but God sees the potential in us. He can get more out of us that we can see for ourselves. He can see things in us. There are people who only you can reach.

If you don’t have a vision, then other people perish. Where you live and work is no accident. When you have done what he has called you to do, he will then move you on. You are here to live for Jesus, everywhere, wherever you may be. Move from your place of safety and make yourself vulnerable.

Bill then showed us another shepherds crook that was very fancy and smart to use, but it wasn’t really functional. It would break easily and was more of a show rod. He exhorted us not to be ‘show’ christians but to see that the fields are white for harvest – pray to the Lord of the harvest for workers – us!


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