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Showing posts from July, 2012

Monday Night at Ablaze UK

Tonight there was some really good news at the Convention: 1) A number of children and youth have got saved over the past few days 2) The Convention will be back in Cheltenham next year & 3) The evening started off with still £10,000 to go to meet the costs of the convention, but tonight's offering met that goal.

I'm not going to write about the daytime seminars and workshops, so straight in to tonight's meeting.

Dr Steve Brady, principal of Moorelands Bible College preached from Isaiah 6, asking 'Who does God use?', to which he answered, 'People who...'

1) Glimpse the Glory of God

John 12 clarifies that it was the preincarnate Christ that Isaiah saw, and we know that the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit's Work: Sunday Night at Ablaze UK

On Sunday night the service started with the Word of God as Ps David Wade read from the Scriptures before we entered into a time of praise and worship.

Ps David Olphert brought prophetical ministry on the theme of God's forgiveness. The Lord doesn't just want us to know about His forgiveness, but to live in His forgiveness.

The preacher for Sunday evening was Ps Josh Cordray (Maidstone assembly) who reminded us that 'the plan comes from God' and that 'God called the Apostolic Church into being and God is not finished with it.'

In order to advance, we cannot start out from having an integrity problem, yet we lack integrity if we claim to be baptised in the Holy Spirit, filled with the Holy Spirit and led by the Holy Spirit, but if we aren't willing to do the work of the Holy Spirit. And what is the work of the Holy Spirit? 'The work of the Holy Spirit is to preach the gospel.'

Sunday Morning at Ablaze UK

Well, it's been a long, packed Lord's Day. As well as catching up with friends from all four countries of the United Kingdom (and further afield), today, like every other Lord's Day, saw two worship services. The difference from every other Lord's Day was the gathering to worship together with brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the country and beyond.

Olivia Crolla led us in worship again this morning, and led us right to the foot of the Cross.

The Lord spoke in prophetical ministry through Ps John Yeoman of a shaking among the churches of the UK affecting all denominations and streams, giving the image of a tree shaken by the wind. In the autumn and winter as the wind blows the dead leaves fall off, but the tree isn't dead, for while the spring winds blow,new buds grow. 'There are old things falling to the ground in the Apostolic House, but there are new things budding.'

The prophecy also spoke directly to the shepherds of the flock: 'Forti…

Ablaze UK 2012: Saturday Night

Ablaze UK got off to a fine start in it's brand new location tonight. No more marquee on the seafront in Swansea, but instead a much bigger arena at the racecourse in Cheltenham.

And it wasn't just the great new facilities that had people's attention this evening. Right from the beginning Olivia Crolla (worship leader from the Edinburgh assembly) and the Living Well Worship Team (from the Whitfield assembly) pointed attention away from unfamiliar surroundings and to the greatness of our mighty Redeemer God.

The Lord spoke prophetically about His purpose in the Convention, saying 'I have gathered you at this time on this Mount ... that I might reveal my glory over your lives and that you might go from this gathering and impact the world around you... On this Mount I would impart to you again that you might go and proclaim the risen Christ with healing in His wings.'

Tonight's preacher was Malcolm Duncan (director of Church and Community, & pastor of Gold H…

Advancing in the Power of the Spirit

Tomorrow sees the start of what, off the top of my head, must be the 96th Annual International Apostolic Convention, or as we call it nowadays, AblazeUK. It's a big change this year, with the convention being held outside Wales for the first time.

But it's also a big theme for the Convention this year: 'Advancing in the Power of the Spirit.' So, before I head off to Cheltenham, here are just a few brief thoughts about Advancing in the Power of the Spirit.
1) We can't advance without looking back!
The Holy Spirit points us to Jesus. He glorifies Jesus and draws people to Jesus. And the Jesus He glorifies and points us to is the Jesus who revealed His glory through suffering for our sins in His death on the Cross. So, if it's in the Spirit's power that we're to advance, that advance will mean looking back to Calvary.
Last year the Convention theme was 'Proclaiming Jesus'. This year we're not leaving that behind. The message of the Cross isn…

The Forgotten Test?: On Prophecy in the Church & Jesus

The Bible is very clear that we're not to simply accept that a supposed prophecy is from God without testing it. In fact, this warning comes multiple times in the New Testament.

1 John 4:1 'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.' 1 Corinthians 14:29 'Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.' 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 'Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.'
A church cannot be biblically pentecostal/charismatic without testing prophecies! So then, how do we test prophecies? Well, normally we're quite good at applying one test to the prophetic words which are brought in our churches: Does it agree with Scripture?

Clearly the Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures won't inspire prophecy that contradicts Scripture. We're clear that Scripture is the highest authority by …

Another Fought For Us

Yesterday I was writing about Moses lifting up the rod of the LORD as Joshua went into battle against the Amalekites in Exodus 17:8-16, focusing on what when on up the hill. But today let's turn our attention to what happened down the hill.

Up the hill there's Moses with the rod, and Aaron and Hur holding up his arms. But it's at the bottom of the hill that the victory's won. Moses doesn't fight. Moses doesn't lead the troops. Moses isn't in the battle.

But someone else is. Joshua is there. Joshua leads the troops. Joshua fights. Joshua wins the battle. 'So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword' (Exodus 17:13).

Moses couldn't deliver the people: he could only point them to the true Deliverer. Moses couldn't win the battle for the people: he could only sit on the sidelines as someone else brought the victory.

Joshua fights for Moses and Israel. And Joshua triumphs for Moses and Israel. The only thing is, Joshua didn…

Not a Magic Wand

Ever since I was a wee boy in Good News Club, there's been a particular old Testament event that was always a bit puzzling. It's a great dramatic story, and so very exciting at Good News Club or Sunday School. Would the Israelites win, or would the Israelites lose? It all seems to depend on a stick.

The event I have in mind is from Exodus 17:8-16. The Amalekites have come up to attack the Israelites at Rephidim. Joshua is sent out to fight, and Moses goes to the top of the hill where he lifts up 'the rod of God' above his head. And as long as Moses held the rod up, 'Israel prevailed', but when his arms grew weary and he let the rod down, 'Amalek prevailed' (Exodus 17:11). So Moses ends up sitting on a stone with Aaron and Hur holding his arms up in the air.
Now, that's all very dramatic; but what's going on. Surely Israel doesn't win because Moses holds a stick in the air? That sounds rather like magic, which is not how the God of the Bible…

What does it look like to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit?

On leadership, the times, the world & the Church

As I was driving along this evening, I heard part of Any Questions on the radio. This week's Labour MP, in reply to one of the questions, was attempting to lampoon the prime minister on the basis of something he once said about why he wanted the job. I'm not sure if she was exaggerating or if it was an exact quotation, but according to the Labour MP, Mr Cameron said he wanted to be PM because he thought he'd be rather good at it. Of course, the Labour MP was shocked and appalled at such a statement, but it's what she said next that particularly interested me; she said that what an aspiring prime minister should be telling us is where he'd take us: how he'd change the country.

In the days we live in, such a view of leadership doesn't seem to be confined to those who sit on green benches in Westminster. The wisdom of the age is that leadership is all about change. Where are you taking us? How will you change things? Whether in the Palace of Westminster, Flee…

Who made the Holy Spirit go away?! - Don't have such a low view of God!

One of the worst things that's ever been said to me is also one of the most hilarious. Hilarious, because it's such a ridiculous notion. Deeply sad, because it shows such a low view of the Triune God.

I had been a pastor for a whole 3 or 4 weeks when one Sunday evening at the end of the service someone came up to me, and in an attempted polite conversation with the new pastor, informed me that, since I had come, the Holy Spirit had gone away!

Why do I bring this up? Not to look for sympathy for the poor pastor or highlight a particular incident, but rather because I fear it points to something a lot more widespread - a serious underestimation of who our God is.

Perhaps this is particularly a problem for pentecostals and charismatics. Ironically, you'd think we'd have a really high view of the power of God, given our belief in present-day miracles. But perhaps therein lies the problem: a high view of the power of God, rather than a high view of the Triune God Himself.

Where's the Glory? - Doubly Present, But Perhaps Not Where You'd Expect

The Glory of the Lord is a wonderful thing. And it's something that God's people often want to see. But where do we expect to find this glory? How do we recognise the glory of the Lord?

The people of Israel in the Old Testament saw the glory of the Lord. On their way from Egypt to Sinai they encountered His glory. Only, on the that particular occasion, they weren't looking for His glory at all.

No, the children of Israel were moaning and complaining against the LORD. 'Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!' (Exodus 16:3), they groaned.

And God heard their groaning, and God responded to their complaint. But He didn't respond in wrath. He didn't respond with punishment for their murmuring. They were questioning the God who had parted the Red Sea for them, who had crushed Pharaoh's armies for them, who turned the bitter waters sweet for them. They had had so muc…

Key Verse, Key Person

I have a few arrow shaped post-its protruding slightly from the side of my Bible. They're there to help me turn up a verse quickly (usually a verse I want to read in the sermon without any delay of looking it up), and so they get moved about from week to week (and from morning to evening). But on Sunday morning, as I was rearranging my post-its, I realised that there was one which had been in place for a very long time indeed and which I had never moved.

Now, this post-it wasn't there for so long just by accident. It had been there so long that I didn't consciously think about it, but it was there for a long time for a purpose. It was even a different colour from all the other post-its to mark it as different. You see, the verse it marked, wasn't a verse I wanted to be able to turn up for one sermon, but rather the single verse I most often have to find to show people. And, why? Because it's a verse of extreme importance.
Now, what could that verse be? What verse …

The Robe of Christ is Ever New

There's a reason I love singing hymns (by the way, there's no need to worry; this post isn't actually about singing hymns, so keep reading). It's not because I'm old-fashioned (although, in some ways I must concede that I most probably am). It's not because of the music (as for every glorious hymn tune like the Passion Chorale there's an awful one, too woeful to be named). Really, it all comes down to the words (although, admittedly there are many rubbish hymns in that department as well). Perhaps it's because they have more words than choruses and so can explore a theme in greater depth, or perhaps because they're more poetic in form; but certainly many hymns seem to manage to capture something more of the wonder of the gospel.

And one hymn I particularly love at the moment is 'Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness'. The tune it's set to in the hymnbook is particularly uninspiring, but the words are the exact opposite. And there's one …

How Jesus Frees Us for the Prayer Meeting

I'm back after some technical difficulties, and thinking about prayer meetings. At the weekend I fear I committed the ultimate preacher error when it comes to the prayer meeting. I was up in Houghton-le-Spring giving a seminar on the Theology of Prayer at the Prayer Works conference (which is organised each year by Easington Lane Apostolic Church). And, in the course of my seminar, I did the wrong thing: in a side comment (after all, my topic wasn't actually prayer meetings) I told everyone they should go to the prayer meeting.

What's wrong with that? Well, it's only today that it's struck me, but so often we preachers, out of a great desire to see people come to the prayer meeting, tell people to go to the prayer meeting. We tell them what they need to do, and perhaps that leads to some people feeling guilty for not doing it, and perhaps some resolve to do better in the future. But that's all bad news.

You see, we give the imperative without any indicative. W…