There are a few changes to our program over the summer period. House of Prayer and Sunday Morning Soaking are not on during August, but other events are being added.
Keep checking out the calendar .
There are a few changes to our program over the summer period. House of Prayer and Sunday Morning Soaking are not on during August, but other events are being added.
Keep checking out the calendar .
Well, this past weekend in GVC was amazing, and very encouraging.
Saturday was AGM Day! This is a day many in this church actually look forward to and love attending! It is always so good to look back on all that God has done for us and with us over the past year. We are so thankful for His unfailing love to us.
Sunday was Barbecue Day! We tripped across to the Forest of Dean for a church family barbecue. Weather was glorious! Turnout great! And all in the lovely location of Beechenhurst Lodge.
Thanks to everyone who participated in any way. We love what God does.
God is good, yes?
I want to share with you how good God has been to me – I want to encourage you and hopefully speak into your heart. “Encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11. So let me give you my story.
I married at a time when I wasn’t walking with the Lord – I believed, but I wasn’t living it. My husband was not a Christian. We were married for ten years and just after our 10thanniversary it came to an end. It was an unhappy, pain-filled marriage to say the least. The break up was even worse! Lots happened that took a very long time to recover from. In short he caused me a lot of pain. When he left I was faced with the immense challenge of bringing up 4 children alone, juggling bills, work, the home and occasionally course work too. It was hard! Still is! But God is good! He kept us going. He blessed us spiritually and we became closer to him as a family. But you know it was hard! 2 of my children had speech difficulties, one had abdominal migraines, caused by anxiety; there were days and weeks on end where he just threw up non- stop! He missed a lot of school and of course I was still trying to juggle work and now his illness.
There came a time when I was living in constant pain, which I was eventually informed was probably due to Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue (they are very similar). I couldn’t sleep because the pain in my body was so bad, I would have to crawl up the stairs because I couldn’t walk up them, I constantly felt sick, drained and exhausted. I couldn’t stand for too long or walk the dog. I was miserable! It was my lowest point.
Then 2 important things happened – well lots happened! But 2 main things in regards to this particular testimony! Firstly I met up with a lovely lady called Muriel. She introduced me to declaring and decreeing. She told me to thank God every day for my healing as if I was already healed, to claim it in faith! Isaiah 53:5 declares, “…by His wounds we are healed.” So I started to do that every morning – “thank you Lord that I am healed.” even when it was painful getting up – ” …by his wounds I am healed! I claim my healing.” In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Yes? Well is there sickness in heaven? No. Now I know we live in a world where the reality is there is sickness and sometimes God chooses not to heal, I don’t know why, but I do trust that He knows best. But in this case I felt strongly God wanted me to have faith for my healing and to show His glory in it.
Then I got together with another friend of mine called Bex. We were sat in my garden and she was speaking about judgements, how when we judge others it negatively affects ourselves. And as she spoke I had a light bulb moment! I realised that I was still holding onto a lot of judgements concerning my ex-husband. I had thought I’d forgiven, let go and moved on, but as Bex was talking God showed me judgements that I was holding on to.
She advised me not to dig for them, that God would show me. Which he did over the following days and weeks, maybe 5 at a time he revealed judgements to me that I needed to let go of, forgive and release. Some were easier than others! But you know Matthew 6:15 says, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your father will not forgive your sins.” Wow, scary right? I don’t know about you but I don’t want my sins hanging onto me. The Lord’s prayer says “…forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” As we HAVE – past tense, not; forgive us and then I might forgive others. God wants us to forgive others so that we can be forgiven. Jesus then goes on to say inMatt 6:14, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you.”
Now it’s not easy I know. The hardest ones to forgive were the ones concerning my children – if someone hurts someone you love! Boy is that hard to let go of! And I realised I was holding him accountable for not only what he had done within our marriage but also for all the hardships that came after! I really needed Holy Spirits help! So, together Holy Spirit and I worked through it. But let me tell you, as He started to open my eyes and help me to see D through God’s eyes – just a lost, damaged, hurting soul stumbling, blindly through life because he doesn’t have the light of Jesus to guide him, when I truly understood where he is heading if I didn’t show him the truth of Christ’s love – then it became much easier to forgive, release and let go! And to love him! You can’t do that without Holy Spirit!
Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” And Eph 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” As I went through this process Holy Spirit showed me other people I needed to release and forgive too. It’s not a quick process! I’m still working through it. But it is worth it.
Day by day, Holy Spirit would reveal them; I’d go into my room, “‘D’ I have judged you for…. I forgive you, I release you from this judgement and I break agreement with it – we need to break agreement with the judgement because if we are in agreement with it then we are not in agreement with scripture and if you break agreement with something then you are no longer walking together with it – I cancel the debt that you owe me; Jesus has paid your debt. Now this next bit is the important bit that we forget about because we are so hung up on what they’ve done to us… Lord forgive me that I judged him in this way”. We’ve sinned by holding onto that judgement. I also would declare scriptural truths over it, so when I judged him for abandoning us I would say God is our provider, He is our refuge, He will never leave us or forsake us.
As I did this over and over – and believe me it takes time – we’re not just talking about the old judgements here, there are brand new ones every day! As I did this, God started to heal my body. First I was able to walk for longer periods of time; I had more pain-free days. Eventually I was able to dance at church! Now I can’t keep still!!! And then I managed to climb to the top of Robinswood Hill! I can now say it has been a couple of years since I was in pain. I still get tired, but it’s now the normal, working mum of four, tiredness!
You see when we judge others and leave it undealt with it clings to us and it can literally make us ill. Unforgiveness pollutes your heart and will develop into bitterness. Psalm 32:1-5, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
In Psalm 38 the psalmist says, “because of your wrath there is no health in my body,” He talks about festering wounds and back pain due to his sin. Read it – Psalm 38. Now don’t get me wrong here! Hear me, not all illness is the result of judgements, we live in a fallen world! But it canresult in that.
Healing comes with forgiveness and actually blessings too! You might think “well they don’t deserve forgiveness; you don’t know what they’ve done!” Well maybe they don’t, I felt the same once about Dave, believe me! But who are we to judge what they deserve? Are we any better? In God’s eyes isn’t sin, sin? Don’t we all fall short? We are all born into sin; it’s only by Grace – yes? The only difference between us and them is that our eyes have been opened to the truth and theirs hasn’t – yet (love that little word! Yet – it changes a sentence from something final into – ‘ to be continued.’)
Matt 7:1-2 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
You know words are powerful! They have the ability to tear down or build up! When you speak judgements over people it’s like you are cursing them and you will end up seeing more of the kind of behaviour that you don’t like because of that. But if we bless people then it releases God to work on them! Romans 12:14, “Bless those that persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
If left un-dealt with un-forgiveness will cling to you and pollute your relationship with Christ.
Yes? So this is important! This is biblical. We can’t ignore it. It wasn’t a suggestion it is a clear command. If we judge – we will be judged! With the same measure that we use!! WOW. If we don’t forgive – we won’t be forgiven! I don’t know about you but I don’t want my mistakes clinging to me because I refused to forgive others! I have struggled with this! But Holy Spirit brought me through it! And now, with Holy Spirit’s help, I’m getting better at recognising when I am judging and I’m sorry to say it is still far too frequently! – But I deal with it! And as you release and forgive you feel better! You feel freer and lighter! It’s all good! Actually it can also take a good friend to say, “Hmm I wonder why you are reacting this way? Is there maybe un-forgiveness on your heart? Sometimes we don’t realise it ourselves. So look out for those over-reactions.
You know it is not just others we judge. We can be pretty hard on ourselves too – why on earth did I do that? / I always end up doing / saying something stupid etc – we need to forgive ourselves. And if we are being really honest here, we can also judge God. Why didn’t you do this Lord? Why did you let that happen? Why didn’t you do it this way? Our Father is ready and willing to forgive us, He’s just waiting for us to confess, break agreement with it and repent. He loves us and longs for us to come out from under the yoke of the judgments and hurts we hold onto and find freedom and release.
If anyone knows they have unforgiveness in their heart I urge you to ask Holy Spirit to help you forgive, release and repent, if you need someone to stand with you in prayer, and sometimes we do, then please ask. If you are not sure then ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you any judgements that you are holding on to.
It was June 26 1994 when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit broke out upon us in Golden Valley Church (known at that time as New Life Church Churchdown, and just planted three months earlier).
God had lovingly sent Dr Michael Brown to our churches in May 1994 to help prepare us for revival. A work began in our hearts. And there was a fresh level of hunger and desire for Revival every time people met together.
Then, not many weeks later, it was followed by Rodney Howard-Browne coming to Birmingham for a week of Revival Meetings in June, hosted by Mike Price and Woodgate Church. We were radically changed in our hearts in those meetings as we encountered the Holy Spirit’s Presence and power in a deeper way. We will never be the same.
And so, immediately after, the Presence of God opened up to us. Holy Spirit moved in fresh outpouring in GVC. There were wild manifestations and good lasting-to-this-day fruit. That revival, commonly known as the “Toronto Blessing “, shaped and defined who we are and how we see. We met the Father. We fell in love with Jesus. We experienced new levels of worship and prayer. God’s Word came more alive to us, than ever before. He kept showing up. He changed our hearts. And we were privileged to carry His Presence into the nations.
We are so incredibly grateful to God, and honour those who have walked with us in this amazing journey. Mention must be given to the late Bill Bates and his wife Alison, and the late John and Jenny Allan, fellow-pastors in the New Life Churches at the time, for their fellowship and encouragement in pressing into this revival in the beginning.
In January of this year we celebrated Toronto’s 25 years of Revival. Yesterday we celebrated our own 25 years of outpouring, in Golden Valley Church.
Awesome God! All we can say is, “More Lord!” We so love You, and honour You with all our hearts. Let’s ascend the Hill of the Lord in fresh worship and intimacy in these days. And let’s see Him move in fresh outpourings of love and power in the nations.
Wes & Sharron Boxall
It was with great joy that we welcomed Sarah Liberman and her team from Carmel, Israel, to host the “Ascend: The Worship Journey” conference in Golden Valley Church, this past weekend.
Sarah is a Worship Leader, Songwriter, and Speaker with a deep passion for true worship from pure hearts. Her love for God, and her appreciation of all that Yeshua (Jesus) has done is clearly evident.
She challenged us to go deeper and higher in our worship, to listen and obey God’s voice, and to develop pure hearts before Him. Sarah carries a unique sound of worship, which bridges across generations and nationalities.
The prayer session on Sunday afternoon was powerful! Those in attendance sought God fervently for our own area of Gloucester and Cheltenham, for the UK, and for Israel. Many delegates commented on how impacting and life-changing the weekend has been. We are truly thankful to God.
Sarah has two worship albums, “I Am Before You” and “A Pure Heart”, and also her own YouTube channel.
It is with great anticipation we prepare for our worship conference in May with Israeli worship leader and songwriter, Sarah Liberman. Sarah comes from Carmel, and is part of the Ascend Carmel ministry. Sessions will be held at the Jury’s Inn Hotel in Cheltenham. Register on Ticket Source.
We look forward to welcoming Peter Jackson [Toronto] back into Golden Valley Church this week, for our “HELD IN HONOUR” mini-conference.
Sessions will all be in the “Firehouse” so come early to get a seat! [And please park your car respecting our neighbours]
Drake was a product of his time, an era of ongoing war between the European sea-going nations, and valued as a hero to the English and a ‘pirate’ to the Spanish, whose territories he often raided on behalf of the then Queen of England, Elizabeth I. His sailing career had begun as a young man within the slave trade, though latterly he employed escaped slaves in his crew. He was the second person to circumnavigate the globe in the late 1570’s, and received a knighthood immediately afterward. Through modern eyes he would appear to be a very strange mixture of qualities, yet he penned this amazing prayer which is so relevant to us all as we move into another year.
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
As we approach another Christmas, and many of us are caught up in a flurry of activity, in addition to carrying concerns for church and nation, we do well to remember that the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago is a powerful statement of the premium God places on simplicity.
In life we generally overlook the simple in favour of the complicated. The world mocks simple things, and ever looks for more sophistication. Our lack of simplicity breeds fear, control, pride, anxiety, strife, and unrest. But we actually miss much of what God has for us, because it is contained in the simple. He hides Himself; He hides our blessings – maybe our breakthroughs – in simple places. The sophisticated and cluttered minds will often miss Him there, just as they did in Bethlehem all those years ago.
Modern lives are so full of noise, clutter, surplus, and overload. Conveniences and technology which are supposed to make life easier and simpler can end up increasing the demands with which we find ourselves juggling. Simplicity is ever-illusive, and no less so at Christmastime when the plethora of competing demands – many of them completely unnecessary – shout loudly for attention. Even in modern church it’s easy to fall into living by a set of tick-boxes in our desire to grow and become all that God wants us to be. For example: “Four keys to this…”, “Seven steps to freedom…”, “do this course”, “attend this conference”, “read this book”, “master this truth”, “pray for this and that need”, etc. And so the plates continue to spin in overcomplicated lives.
The dictionary definitions of “simplicity” include, “the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded; freedom from pretence or guile; restraint in ornamentation.” I like the “restraint in ornamentation” which is so apt in a modern Christmas where the true meaning is obscured – even obliterated – by the overload of lights, sounds, and Santa Claus.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 1 that God has made the wisdom of this world to turn out as foolishness. He says, referring to Jesus and His cross, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men,” and, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…” The ‘foolish simplicity’ of a baby laid to sleep in an animal feeding trough in a small out-of-the-way town is where God hides Himself, and where most people walk on by unknowingly.
Last January Pope Francis tweeted the following: “In the simplicity of the nativity scene we encounter the tenderness of God which reveals itself in the Baby Jesus.” Tenderness. I think it is impossible to truly experience tenderness without – even for a moment – withdrawing from the overload, and finding a simple space.
I have a friend who recently proposed to his girlfriend in city centre Paris. In the midst of the bustle, the sights, the lights, the sounds, the traffic, and the masses going about their business, he knelt down and found tenderness to engage with the one he loves. It was an age-old simple act, yet totally new and fresh; full of power, purpose, and long-term promise. Tenderness and simplicity go hand in hand. And that soil of the heart is poignant with hope.
This Christmas the Vatican has taken their understanding of the simplicity of the nativity one step further. More than 700 pounds of sand were brought into St Peter’s Square in lorries for a chosen group of artists to create a beautiful 52 foot representation of the nativity scene – in sand. Pope Francis commenting on the symbolism is quoted as saying, “The sand recalls the simplicity, the smallness with which God showed Himself at the birth of Jesus, in the precariousness of Bethlehem.” This is the unspoken message of their 2018 nativity scene.
It takes humility to embrace simplicity. Jesus chose to humble Himself to a level beyond our ability to humanly comprehend. From the Throne of Heaven he made the decision of love to become a baby in a manger in Roman-era Israel. His was outrageous humility! When we are proud – where we are proud – it is impossible to be simple. Pride by nature needs to exalt itself and seeks to impress by its accumulations.
It also takes trust to embrace simplicity. Jesus had to trust His Father in order to become that baby. He also had to trust His Father as He hung on the cross. On both occasions He stepped into trust that His Abba would come through for Him, would watch over Him and never let Him down. He was no longer in control. Simplicity demands that we stop trying to control everything and everyone, and rest in the Love by which we are held.
The first church was known by its lifestyle of simplicity of heart [Acts 2:46]. The Apostle Paul’s testimony of His team’s conduct was that they had conducted themselves in simplicity and godly sincerity [2 Cor. 1:12]. And writing to the same church again in chapter 11, verse 3, he expresses his deep concern that the same serpent that had deceived Eve was continuing his fraudulent schemes and beguiling them from a life of simple devotion to Christ. Sometimes spiritual warfare comes to us in the form of clutter, distractions, and deceitful feelings that we have to occupy ourselves with any number of seemingly important enterprises. There is always a battle on against divine simplicity.
In the simple we hear Him; that ‘still small voice’. Elijah was unable to engage with God in the blast of the fire, the swirling of the winds, or the noise of the earthquake. He had to pass through these to the place of simple stillness.
Those who managed to find the manger in Bethlehem found the Messiah. Those who stooped to enter the cave, met with the Saviour. In locating the place of heavenly simplicity, they found hidden treasure.
As we again approach Christmas, it’s important for us to dial down on the clutter, the noise, and the assumed demands. Let’s focus in on the Babe in the manger – the simply powerful and powerfully simple birth of the Man from Heaven. Stop to savour ordinary moments, quiet times, and that Still Small Voice. Reflect again on Love come down to us. And somewhere as you savour it – Him – ask Him to help you embrace His simplicity in your life.
In Psalm 131 David testifies how he has simplified his posture from being overly concerned with too many things, to resting in God as a young child would on its mother’s lap. He has chosen to resist pride and arrogance. He has decided to stop looking at others with contempt and judgement. He has quietened his mind and heart, and focused on one thing – the simple child-parent relationship he has with God. From this place hope has risen in his life. He is able to encourage others to hope, because he has found the simple place where it grows, and where fear and anxiety die.
Jesus, for His whole life, lived from this same stance, beginning with the manger. And wherever He went hope grew. Love sprung forth. And faith began to return. Simple.
Let’s find the tender simplicity of His heart this Christmas as we find Him off the beaten track lying in the manger.
Here’s the recent update from Maggie in South Africa. [Maggie is an important part of the pastoral team of Golden Valley Church, and is currently serving God with IRIS Ministries].
So I’ve been back in SA just over three months since my visit home. It took a couple of days to settle back in as I was a little disorientated but I soon found my rhythm again. So I probably saw the majority of those who are going to read this when I was in […]