Love Letters from Christ
“You show that you are a letter from Christ” 2 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV)
Paul writes to the church in Corinth and tells them that they are ‘letters from Christ’ written not with pen & ink, but with the Spirit, written on their hearts. In the same way that a letter is sent with a specific purpose and message, we are sent by Christ (John 17:18, 20:21), in the anointing of the Holy Spirit to bring the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Unlike Royal Mail at times, the letters that are sent by Christ are always guaranteed to arrive on time! When you deal with the mail room of heaven it is always first class, guaranteed delivery! What God starts and sends, He always brings to full completion, with excellence and on time.
God has a message of love to the world around us. God is Love (1 John 4:16). We have received and experienced His love in so many ways. What we have freely received, we need to freely give (Matthew 10:8) to those around us who are bankrupt & totally lost without Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the author of the love of Christ in our hearts. He writes chapter after chapter of truth, life and peace in our daily lives as we live in His life and anointing.
This week, as some of us have been out on the streets of Withington – we have been the living love letters of Christ to those without Jesus in their lives. Our lives are known and read by everybody as we minister the love & life of God to the inhabitants of Greater Manchester. Our lives should be ‘open books’ that people can read and see the love of God in all that we do.
This week as we laid hands on the sick, comforted the broken hearted and ministered to those that are lost, we demonstrated the power and love of God. This is our mandate & destiny to minister the love & life of God to the world around us in all that we do, and in all that we say.
Labels: Community, Mission, Purpose
National Prayer Breakfast
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” – Acts 10:38
I have been in London today for the National Prayer Breakfast in the Houses of Parliament. It was a wonderful occasion and a real privilege to be there. Over 500 people attended this magnificent event to bring prayer & Christian witness into the heart of the seat of government for the United Kingdom. The theme of the breakfast was ‘All the over the world, God’s people are going about doing good’. During the breakfast event, there were many powerful stories & testimonies from around the world of how God’s people are indeed doing good, changing lives and bringing the love of God to many people in different situations.During the Breakfast, I sat in between Lord and Lady Elton. Lord Elton has been a peer in the House of Lords for nearly 30 years. He was part of Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980’s so it was very interesting to sit with them and tell them all about what God was doing in Manchester.
Gary Streeter MP chaired the event and ended it with a powerful challenge and prayer for the UK Nation as a whole. He prayed that we would be a nation who didn’t just care about looking good or feeling good, but actually doing good.
After the main breakfast event, I went to a Seminar with David Burrows MP about praying for your MP in your local constituency. I had the opportunity to share with those present what I am involved with in facilitating prayer breakfast events with Tony Lloyd MP and John Leech MP in Manchester. It was exciting to hear of the prayer and relationships that are being formed and developed all over the UK with various members of parliament. At the end of the time, there was a time of prayer and ministry for those involved with these prayer events up and down the country.
The night before the Prayer Breakfast I also attended a reception in Portcullis House organised by Micah Challenge UK. It was a creative and innovative event where Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander MP spoke alongside Joel Edwards, General Director of the EA amongst other speakers. They were all speaking about the importance of the church speaking out and standing for true justice around the world in this time on various issues in line with the prophetic call and mandate from Micah 6:8.
I have come back to Manchester inspired once again about being a Christian actively involved for the advancement of the Kingdom in government and politics. We live in crucial times. The world is looking for a moral lead & an ethical and relevant voice on many topics and issues. I believe the church, inspired by the Spirit of God has a wise, gracious and prophetic voice into these issues of our nation in this time.
Most of all though, we can all fulfil the exaltation by Paul in the Bible in 1 Timothy 2:1-4:
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth"
Labels: Houses of Parliament, Politics, Prayer
Restoration & Refreshing
"Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored!"
Lamentations 5:21 (ESV)
God has been really speaking to me on the whole theme of restoration & refreshing
in recent days. Restoration is such a big topic, but one that I believe is so key for the church to understand and demonstrate in the world in which we live today. Arguably, it's probably the major theme in the books of the Prophets that I spoke on last Sunday here with King's Church in Manchester
There is no question that there we are surrounded by people's lives that are broken and in need of restoration. Whether that be through illness, debt or various hurts, there are many people who are sad, sick & poor. The great thing though is that Jesus has come to bring change & transformation. He is the God of divine exchange (See Isaiah 61
). For those who are sad, sick & poor, he comes to make them happy, wealthy & wealthy. Jesus comes to bring life, and life in all it's fullness (John 10:10). He comes to restore that which is broken and make it whole. He comes to turn lives completely around.
“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” - Isaiah 58:12
We have been given the awesome task of being agents of restoration in the world around us. God calls us to bring restoration to people's lives. Where there is sickness, He calls us to minister healing & health. Where there is debt, He calls us to help bring wisdom, release and blessing that leads to prosperity. Where there is no hope, He calls us to bring the hope of the Gospel that is found in the love & life of Jesus.
Restoration starts with us knowing that we are restoresd in Christ. In Christ, we can know fullness of life. In Christ, we can know love, power and security. We can only give of what we have recieved. Jesus said in Matthew 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give" - God's people should be those who have truly received the blessing and life of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. That blessing was never intended to stay in our lives only, it was meant to flow to touch the world around us. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are refreshed to bring refreshing. The life of the Kingdom through the church is a river, not a whirpool. I'm so excited about what God is doing and will do this through His glorious Church in my generation.
Have a great weekend!
Labels: Jesus Christ, Restoration, Transformation
Prayer in Manchester
Good to see the BBC Website
covering a prayer meeting in Manchester tonight that I am going to at the Manchester Velodrome. It is being organised as part of HOPE 08
here in Manchester. It will be great to join with 1,000's of people from the church here in Greater Manchester to pray for our city and the nation.
Labels: Hope, Manchester, Prayer
Level of the Spirit
"I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line" - Isaiah 28:17 (NIV)
We're currently going through a Bible Overview series as a church family. Last Sunday, my assignment in preaching
was to cover the Major & Minor Prophets in the Old Testament. One aspect & truth that really gripped me in this section of the Bible me was the way in which Isaiah, Amos & Zechariah used the illustration of a plumb line
for how God was speaking to His people.
Plumb Lines were used in biblical times, and are still used today, in construction projects to make sure that walls & structures are built true & correct. They are used to make sure structures are lined up correctly and don't go off course when they are being built.
Another modern invention that is used alongside a plumb line in construction is a Spirit Level
. These are used to make sure that walls are built correctly, both vertically & horizontally. A skilled craftsman & labourer will use them constantly!
God spoke to me powerfully through this. The Holy Spirit showed me that to build correctly we have to line up or be 'plumb' in line with the word of God. This is so key for how we build in our lives and in our corporate lives as God's people in our church communities. The Holy Spirit also showed me that we have to get the correct Spirit Level or the right 'Level of the Holy Spirit' for how we build. The correct level of the Holy Spirit for building in the Kingdom of God is always overflow! When we overflow in the Holy Spirit we come into the fullness of Christ. When the level of the Holy Spirit is overflowing in our lives, we build true and correct in our lives, in our families and in our churches.
I'm challenged that as God's people we should always measure our lives against the plumb line of God's Word and the level of the Holy Spirit as He overflows in and through lives to touch the world around us.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" - Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Labels: Architecture, Holy Spirit, Prophets
Family Holiday Photographs - Northumberland 2008
Labels: Amy, Daniel, Family, Holidays