FISHES RETURN

What a fantastic time it has been in Golden Valley Church with Melinda and Bill Fish back in the House, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We love their genuineness, humour, and true desire for God.

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I WENT TO A STRIP CLUB

Such a great article. Thought provoking and necessary. Thank you for sharing.

just a jesus follower

strip clubA while back I was asked by a group of pastor’s wives to go with them to strip clubs.

That sentence alone sounds strange. But hang with me.

At first I was a little hesitant. And not for reasons you might think.

I love people. Especially ones who are broken; it’s part of my calling. But, given what I’ve walked through, I know how fragile broken people can be.

And I know how insensitive the church can be.

And I was uneasy.

But, these weren’t just any pastors wives.

They had a vision.

One that longed to love on women that society had thrown aside.

It reminded me a lot of Jesus.

So, I jumped on it.

Their plan was to visit these clubs once a month to deliver a meal and gift baskets. I joined them the first night and I’ll be honest, I had NO IDEA what to expect.

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TESTS WILL COME FOR TRANSITIONING 

As you seek to transition to new seasons in God, be aware of the ‘tests’ that the Father will send your way. Those tests are designed to bring out what is truly in your heart, and to measure the credibility gap between what you pray and preach, and what you actually do. Those tests will also probe the level you will trust God and the levels where you will interfere with or seek to control what He is doing. He tested the Israelite nation as they gathered at what to them were bitter waters. He tested them as they stood opposite the crossing point into the Promised Land. Their responses and choices affected who crossed over, and how long the transition season would actually last.

Last week in the amazing prayer guide from the European Evangelical Alliance, we read and prayed again over the most intimate of Jesus’s parables depicting the Father, as He knew Him. I was stirred again as I reflected on His incredible love and embrace.

It’s true to say that as the father’s younger son appeared on the horizon, everyone back home began to be tested. Customs and traditions would handle the situation one way; the Father, a totally different way. There was a test on everyone’s heart. Hence the father ran, as the guide pointed out, and in doing so made a loud declaration to the community that he was ok with this son returning home, and he wasn’t going to reject him, as customs said he should. We assume, thankfully, that the community accepted the father’s lead, because enough of them turned up for the welcome home party to make a noise of celebration that could be heard in the fields outside.The older son’s heart was tested too. And sadly he failed the test. I so realise how often there is a part of the older son in me; how easily I make judgements on others, and how difficult I can sometimes find it to be with those who don’t line up with a lifestyle I am personally comfortable with. But the Father, I know, is calling me – and all of us – to enter in to what He is like.

I believe that only as we do, will we pass the tests. This next season in God is, I believe, going to see a move of God amongst people groups and sectors of society that for the most part have so far been rare in our churches up to now. The responses we have to the ‘test cases’ will determine whether or not we are able to transition to the next season, or not. They will test whether God is able to continue bringing the cutting edge of revival and what He is about, into existing churches and movements, or whether He will have to start new ones that are more open to His broken bride and sons.

I pray for us in GVC having completed this past “week of prayer for the lost sons” that we will be irreversibly marked by what we have read and what we have prayed, and that as Father seeks to take us forward in reaching the lost and broken we will pass the tests He sends our way embracing those He has loved, called, and honoured in their journeys, first in a trickle, and then in a rush! Wes

PRAYER FOR THE LOST SONS

This week it is the annual European Evangelical Alliance ‘Week of Prayer’ and this year’s theme is “The Return of the Lost Sons.”

prayThe EEA have produced a fantastic prayer guide for use in calling on God for the ‘prodigals’ and for examining our own hearts in their relationship to God the Father.

The prayer guide, based entirely on Jesus’s story about the father and his two sons, challenges our tendency towards control rather than releasing and embracing love. It exhorts the church to become more like the Father in its acceptance of the broken and hurting, and those who feel like they don’t fit in.

Truly, this is the foundation of all that God is wanting to do in the days ahead. May we depart from our readiness to judge, condemn, and control people who are different from ourselves, and may we better reflect the Father, Who loves, Who gives, and Who is far more patient with human weakness than most of His people are.

We encourage you to join in prayer with them, and with us.

The prayer guide is available here.

 

CLOSER

Jeremy and Connie Sinnott

Closer Conference in Golden Valley Church

What an exciting weekend it was in Golden Valley Church Gloucester, for our “CLOSER” conference. We were so privileged to have a visit from Jeremy and Connie Sinnott, well-known and well-loved pastors with Catch the Fire Ministries, Toronto.

From the very beginning of worship God drew us in closer to Himself. As the first song said, we began to ‘stir up deeper waters, calling out to You.’ Although it was a cold weekend weather-wise His Fire kept falling on His people. The loving Presence of the Father was preciously close. Several people testified of receiving healing during the event. One visitor claimed to have ‘seen hundreds of angels’ while worship was proceeding. There is something incredibly powerful when earth and heaven combine in worshiping the King of Glory.

Connie shared wise thoughts on how to practice God’s Presence, how to respond to Him more, and how to be sensitive to His heart. Jeremy & Connie SinnottOn Sunday morning Jeremy gave a great talk on God’s Covenant with us His people: how to understand the language of covenant used in the Bible, and how His covenant covers all of our lives.

We are grateful to our friends at St Oswald’s Parish Church, Coney Hill, for the use of their building for the sessions on Friday and Saturday.

ISRAEL AND REVIVAL

Catch the Fire 20 years

Catch the Fire Toronto – 20 years of revival

I don’t think it is without significance that on the morning of the twentieth anniversary of the “Toronto Blessing” I sat in my hotel watching Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressing the Israeli Knesset and pledging the ongoing support of his nation to Israel. Two poignant moments occurred together for Canada – honouring revival and honouring Israel. I believe the two are inextricably linked in the heart and mind of God. Continue reading “ISRAEL AND REVIVAL”

TWENTY YEARS ON… WITH THANKS

guest post by Kathleen Wright 

I have felt the Holy Spirit twisting and turning within me for a couple days regarding the 20 year anniversary of overwhelming visitation of God Almighty at an unknown church nestled next to a huge airport near Toronto.

Let me use an analogy. Also about 20 years ago most people did not have computers or access to the internet. Those who did found it very slow. And it was mostly just text, not much color or graphics, very little sound or motion. But now it is common, and even among the poorest nations somewhat available. What little we had we treasured and marvelled at in the cyber world 20-some years ago. In fact, it was through the baby internet that many of us old timers first got news that God was doing supernatural things (and extravagantly!) in our own lifetimes!

ctfSometimes having an abundance of something for a long time dulls us to its marvels and preciousness. God has ALWAYS been doing something supernatural with humanity and always will. But sometimes is it is relatively dry in many, maybe most places. We read about the supernatural in the Bible and in biographies of evangelists and missionaries. We longed to see something supernatural at least once before we died! But 20 years ago, everything changed. Suddenly the floodgates burst open. There had been serious leaks happening already, and some of them are direct forerunners to what began in Toronto. But Toronto impacted the WHOLE GLOBE with with too many signs, wonders, and miracles to even categorize, let alone count. And that ended up not even being the BIG thing. The BIG thing was the Heart of God, and his tender fatherly-ness, all open and exposed and lavishly poured out on us. My eyes are tearing up as I write.

I write all that to say this. A few of us have open doors to return to Toronto on January 20 and celebrate God’s unbelievable love for us there, but millions who have been touched do not have that opportunity. My heart cries out for you all over the globe, to take a bit of January 20 and passionately and reverently thank God for lavishing Himself upon humanity in our own lifetimes. Imagine the outpouring of love and gratitude arising from all over the planet, for what happened that one day in the dead of winter twenty years ago. And for what is as now as common and accessible as today’s internet. I wonder what would happen in the spirit, if such an outpouring of worship happened January 20. Will you join me?

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Kathleen Wright

 Kathleen and her husband Cameron, are pastors of New Day Community Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan, US – a partners in harvest church. This post originally appeared on Facebook. Shared with permission.