Amazing Grace: The Movie
I went to see this movie last night with 10 teenagers and other leaders from the moativate youth club that I help with on friday nights.
It was a very interesting film. I found it thought provoking, inspiring and insightful to how courageous faith and politics can be truly combined to make a real impact on an issue in society.
A few things grabbed me from the film.Friendship of William Pitt and William Wilberforce
I've recently read an in-depth biography of Pitt's life by William Hague MP. The book refers to Pitt's friendship with Wilberforce which comes out quite strongly in the film. One conversation they had in the film really struck me. Pitt became Prime Minister at 24 (still the youngest ever PM in UK history). He said to Wilberforce that he believed that they could dream and believe for impossible things in their lifetime because they were young enough to believe that they could actually happen. Wilberforce made the 'impossible' happen with his efforts and passion towards the Abolition of Slavery in 1807.Faith and Politics
When Wilberforce 'found God' (to use the film's terminology). He went through a bit of turmoil about whether he should follow his new found faith with God through the church or continue in the field of Politics. Pitt said to him: 'Do you want to use your voice for Praising God, or do you want to use it to change the world?
' Wilberforce was encouraged by his peers that actually his faith in God and his heart for justice in Politics could be combined. They were not two separate parts of his life. He was able to show that he could use his voice for Praising God and change the world, all at the same time.
Wilberforce goes to see John Newton (writer of the Hymn 'Amazing Grace') at one point in the film and asks his advice on whether he should pursue Politics still now he had found God. Newton tells him to 'be in the world and not of the world'. He tells him to be involved to make a change, but to do it from a point and voice of prophetic faith, not political wrangling and persuasion.
Wilberforce battled with rejection, ridicule and ill health to see the Abolition of Slavery Act come into being. He was persistant and never gave up. His heart for the poor and justice was one that drove him in his political life, and one that brought him to a point of trusting in Almighty God.
I'd highly recommed going to see the film. It's not a glitzy hollywood blockbuster, but it is a film that tells a powerful story of the power of God's 'Amazing Grace'. When the glamour and lights of other films have faded, the lasting change of the story of this film is felt in millions of lives across the world.
If you've been to see the film, I'd be interested in your thoughts and comments.
Labels: Films, Grace, Politics
Walls Coming Down
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility - Ephesians 2:13-14 (NIV)
'A picture paints a thousand words' - Well, The photo above, taken last monday actually does this!. The photograph above shows a moment of history. It actually speaks and points to restoring hope and a future in Northern Ireland after decades of dispute and turmoil.
Before last monday, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness of Sinn Fein on the right, and DUP leader Rev. Ian Paisley on the left, hadn't ever been in the same room as one another, let alone talk and discuss issues together.
Their political and religous views were so entrenched that it created what seemed to be an unbreakable barrier and wall between them. The fact that this is starting to come down is a real answer to prayer.
It reminded of me praying with Paul Goggins MP at a prayer breakfast meeting in January
of this year. Paul is part of the ministerial team working into Northern Ireland. I prayed for him and his work in Northern Ireland using the text above from Ephesians. 2:13-14. The atoning power of the work of Christ on the Cross is the hope for any conflict in our world in this time, including Northern Ireland. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the means of hope, peace and reconciliation in every nation.
Christian Allsworth, one of my childhood friends and a fellow Bradford City Fan!, is now leading a vibrant church
in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It's great to see God on the move in breaking down dividing walls of hostility and advancing His Kingdom through His glorious Church in Northern Ireland.
Have a great weekend!
Labels: Northern Ireland, Politics, Prayer
Kingdom Serving: Part 2
Continuing on with the theme of serving in the Kingdom of God. Here are a couple of quotes to inspire you:
“You can only govern men by serving them. The rule is without exception.” - Victor Kiam
“In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant" - Jesus Christ (Luke 22:25-26 - NLT)
Labels: Kingdom of God, Quotes, Serving
Kingdom Serving: Part 1
"Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Jehoaddin ;she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly" - 2 Chronicles 25:1-2 (NIV)
When you read through 2 Chronicles, it is a pretty sorry tale for the most part of Kings who went against what God wanted for His people. When you get to Amaziah, it says that 'he did right in the eyes of the Lord' - Great! - but hold on, the Holy Spirit adds a qualification to this statement: 'but not wholeheartedly'.
God spoke to me from this quite clearly. God wants us to do what is right, but he also wants us to do it with the right heart. Our lives should be totally wholehearted, and characterised by grace, love and passion for His Kingdom purposes.
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me - John 12:26
This is no clearer seen than when we serve. Serving reveals the heart of a person. It reveals whether we can practically outwork the plan of God in our daily lives. We can serve and do what is right but do it grudgingly, reluctantly or under compulsion - that's not what God wants. He wants us to serve and do it cheerfully, joyfully and wholeheartedly.
Those who are wholehearted stand out. They are different and they make great impact in the church and in the world. Wholehearted people receive all that God has for them. They walk into and enjoy their inheritance. Wholehearted people make great servants!
"But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it" - Numbers 14:24
Labels: Attitudes, Kingdom of God, Serving
God at Work
A good friend of mine put me onto this article in the Times
this week. It's about a new book called 'God at Work'
by businessman & preacher Ken Costa. It's a great article and really inspiring about Making Jesus Famous in our places of work and society as a whole. Click here
to read the article online.
"Christ was very clear about money. He spoke more about money than almost anything else. We should use it, invest it, take risks with it, distribute it, be generous with it but we should not love it"
Labels: Books, Media, Workplace
'See, my servant will act wisely' - Isaiah 52:13 (NIV)
I've had a few things to pray into and look at in recent days that has made me really draw on the wonderful wisdom of God.
Praise God, Christ lives in me by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has taken residence in my life and has all the wisdom of heaven to release into my daily situations. The gift of wisdom is one of the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit imparts and gives so that we can glorify Jesus more and more in our lives in this world.
I love how Isaiah prophecies about Jesus. It seems as if God pulled back the curtain of heaven and allowed Isaiah to glimpse Jesus Christ in all His glory and power. Isaiah shows a depth of intimacy and relationship with God in the way that he prophecies about the coming of Christ, and his life and his ministry.
Today, we can know that same intimacy and relationship with God.....but even more because we have the Holy Spirit living in us. If you are a Christian, you have received the Holy Spirit. He testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. Together, they cry out 'Abba, Father'. The Holy Spirit in us is our source of wisdom, our seal of identity and our promise of power.
'The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD' - Isaiah 11:2
Labels: Holy Spirit, Isaiah, Wisdom
Word and Spirit
I've just finished reading Tony Ling's new book
this week. I've really enjoyed it. Reading it has prompted me to go back to many scriptures afresh with renewed expectation and revelation of God's eternal plans and purposes.
I'll leave you with a thought provoking and inspiring quote from the book to muse on over the weekend, all comments welcome!
"It is true that God's Word is also a lamp and a light: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psalms 119:105). John the Baptist was described by Jesus as a lamp that burned and shone. The writer of the Proverbs tells his son that the instruction and the commandment is a lamp (Proverbs 6:23), and so actually Scripture brings together two concepts: Word and Spirit.
In actual fact, they are not two concepts We sometimes hear people speaking like this: "He is a Holy Spirit man," or "He is a Word man." But if you are a Word man, the word will take you to the Holy Spirit. If you are a Holy Spirit man, the Spirit will take you to the Word, because He is the author of the word and He is the instigator of every demonstration.
The Church is to be the place where the Word is declared in clarity and where signs and wonders are performed in power. The church is the place where the Spirit comes and makes Himself known"
Tony Ling, The Lion & the Lamb, Pg.133-134, Destiny Image, 2006
Labels: Holy Spirit, Tony Ling, Word of God
Peace of God
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8 (NIV)
I read this yesterday and thought of how amazing the peace of God is. Our son Daniel is such a blessing. He goes to sleep so easily and looks so peaceful as he sleeps at night. As I watched him sleeping last night, God reminded me of his wonderful promise of peace for us as His children.
God's peace is so powerful. It brings calm in the midst of a storm, rest in the middle of turmoil, and joy in the journey of everyday life. We cannot fully understand it, nor are we supposed to. We are called to trust, enjoy and rest in the wonderful peace of God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Labels: Daniel, Peace
Shane Lynch Night Report
The Shane Lynch night went really well - we took four of our non-christian friends who really enjoyed it. It was a really well put together night which is credit to Judah and Rachel Cole who did a great job in pulling the event together. They wrote the following report on the night below:
‘An Evening with Shane Lynch’
"Last Wednesday Evening was a great success with 160 or more people coming here to Kings House for a fantastic evening of amazing food, great quality entertainment from our very own Judith and Panji and our celebrity guest Shane Lynch being interviewed by Steve Legg and sharing his awesome and powerful testimony.
It was amazing to be able to look around Kings House and see so many faces that had never been to the Church before, many of whom aren’t Christians yet. (But we believe will be!!)
Everyone had the opportunity to hear what God has done in Shane’s life; how through a close friend who was a Christian, and Shane watching him live his life, Shane came to a place three years ago where he choose to accept Jesus into his own heart and life. Shane shared that being a Christian wasn’t about Religion, but was about having an awesome and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Shane said that he had such a joy, peace and hope about his life now knowing Jesus.
Many people afterwards were powerfully touched by the words that Shane shared, and we believe we will see much fruit in the coming days and weeks ahead. Let‘s be praying for all the people that came, for friends, neighbours, work colleagues and family, that we will see them too make this decision to accept Jesus into their hearts and lives aswell"
Judah and Rachel Cole
Labels: Evangelism, Judah and Rachel Cole, Shane Lynch
Thermometer or Thermostat?
This is how the Lord responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you! - Jeremiah 15:19 (NLT)
I believe that God's people are called to influence the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ - not be influenced and controlled by the world around us. We are called to set the pace in our nations. We are thermostats that set the heat, rather than thermometers that just measure and reflect the temperature of what is going on around us. We are a people of design, destiny and decisive action for the Kingdom of God.
God's people are proactive and prophetic. Politics seems to becoming more reactive and reflective of what society says is 'acceptable' and 'right'. In the UK political scene, there is a an apparent vacuum of real leadership, an emptiness of prophetic direction and pace setting. "Give the people what they want, give them what the media says is acceptable".
This appears to be the current mindset and thinking of the current voices for political direction of our nation.
God's plan of restoration involves the church being a prophetic trumpet call to the nation. The church is the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit to bring life, direction and wisdom to our nations. The church has much to say on marriage, family, community and justice, amongst many other topical and critical issues in society today.
So far this year, I've met with 4 Greater Manchester MP's for prayer breakfast meetings with other church leaders in the city. These and other opportunities are very useful for the church to speak into and pray for the direction of the nation. God's people are a vocal people. We have something important to say. Let's draw on the life of God in His word and in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Let's speak of that wonderful and life changing power to the world around us.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Labels: Politics, Prophetic, Vision
“By the grace of God I am what I am” - 1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV)
You’ve heard the song, you’ll soon be able to go and see it at the cinema
! (on general release from March 23!!), but have you experienced the true riches and power of God’s ‘Amazing Grace’.
The testimony of the Apostle Paul is so true for all of our lives as Christians. We are who we are by the grace of God at work in our lives. Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 15:10: ‘that this grace to me was not without effect’
. We are not only saved by God’s saving grace, but it continues to effect our everyday lives in our homes, marriages, studies, and workplaces.
The Apostle Peter encourages his dear friends to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
’ (2 Peter 3:18). Grace is not just about dealing with our past, but it positions us for today and leads us into tommorow. The lavish and glorious grace of God is all about securing us in His love, identifying us as His children and Christ taking great pleasure in us as His radiant and beautiful bride (Ephesians 1:4-8)
Enjoying God’s ‘Amazing Grace’
should focus us once again on a life of devotion and worship. We live for the praise of his glory and grace. Whether you have been a christian 2 weeks or 20 years; God calls us into a deeper relationship with him each day. Barnabus saw the ‘evidence of the grace of God’ in the Church in Antioch (Acts 11:23 NIV). I believe that as the church continues to grow as a community and family of grace, many will see the effect and evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Let’s live each day in God’s ‘Amazing Grace’.
Have a great weekend!
Labels: Church, Grace, Media
Daniel Visits a Farm
Whilst Rachel was studying for her exams last week, I took a day off and took Daniel down to the midlands to see my mum, and my sister and her 3 children. It was Caleb's 1st Birthday (pictured on the tractor with Daniel) so we had some cake which Daniel enjoyed greatly!
Labels: Birthday, Daniel, Hulleys
The Effect of Grace
God has been speaking to us as a Church on the whole subject of grace. I believe a true understanding of the grace of God at work in our lives is key for our identity, maturity and destiny in Jesus Christ.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect - 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
As we gathered on Sunday as God's people - He spoke to me about that I could only stand in His presence because of His glorious grace in my life. As the Apostle Paul states: 'I am what I am by the grace of God'. The grace of God effects our very lives. When we know the gracious hand of Jesus Christ at work in our lives, touching us and transforming us, we can never be the same again. One moment of His grace effects us for eternity. The grace of God is very powerful.
In Jesus Christ, our faith response to the open door of grace allows the work of the Holy Spirit to have full effect in changing and empowering us for Godly living.
God's grace is so abundant. His provision of grace allows us to reign in life through Jesus Christ. What does this mean?, Well, I believe, it means we can know that our sins are forgiven, we can know peace and power in our daily lives at work. It means we can know wisdom and favour in our studies. His abundant grace means we can know His provision and blessing in our finances.
In Christ, we can reign and overcome in life. When trials and troubles come, and they will - we can overcome and have victory because of His abundant grace at work in our lives.
We are called to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18), live by faith (2 Cor 5:7) and be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14) - God's grace will have its maximum effect in our lives as His glorious church when we live like this.
The work of the grace of God secures us in our identity in Christ, shapes and forms our maturity in Christ, and seals our future destiny in Christ. We have a great hope in Jesus.
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ - Romans 5:17
Labels: Faith, Grace, Holy Spirit
Shane Lynch in Manchester
We've got Shane Lynch
, member of the Irish boy band 'Boyzone'
here at King's House on Wednesday Night. It promises to be a great evening of food, live music and Shane telling his life story. If you're in and around Manchester, then come along - it will be a great night out!
Labels: Evangelism, Judah and Rachel Cole, King's House
On the Streets
I was out last week with my good friend Judah Cole chatting to people on the streets of Manchester about Jesus. We met one guy who was giving out a student newspaper with the title 'Filth'. We had a good chat to him and we gave him a leaflet about 'Making Jesus Famous'.
We told him it was the best swap or exchange he could ever make in his life!.....getting rid of 'filth' and receiving 'Jesus'. He saw the funny side of this, but we told him that we would pray he also saw the eternal truth that Jesus came to show the full extent of God's love and to take away the sins of the world.
It's great to have the opportunity to share Christ with people who are in need of salvation in this time. The divine exchange of God's salvation is a powerful and life changing transaction.
Have a great weekend!
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - 1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)
Labels: Evangelism, Judah and Rachel Cole, Manchester