Showing posts with label Bedford (Kings Arms). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bedford (Kings Arms). Show all posts

16 October 2010

Bedford - Father's Heart, Session 6

In this session Mark Stibbe spoke about 'The Dynamics of Displacement'. He began by looking at the cycle of captivity that can hold us and then the cycle of liberty which can keep us free.

Break a link to break the chainMark read Psalm 27:10, a verse that reminds us that even if our natural parents forsake us, Yahweh has promised to receive us and stand by us.

The Cycle of Captivity - Negative experiences -> Negative beliefs -> Negative expectations -> leads back to further negative experiences and the cycle continues.

The Christian life is a journey of completion. Such things as abandonment, rejection, abuse (verbal or physical), neglect, and bereavement allow the enemy to lead us to negative beliefs about ourselves. The enemy is the author of all lies and negative experiences allow us more easily to believe them.

Negative expectations often involve the words 'always' and 'never' about ourselves. A negative expectation can only be displaced by a supernatural counter-experience - the Father's love. Only divine love can displace an earthly wound. We need to experience Romans 8:15 for ourselves, it's the experience of the Holy Spirit.

The Cycle of Liberty - Positive experiences -> Positive beliefs -> Positive expectations -> leads back to further positive experiences and the cycle continues.

When we experience the Father's love we find that Jesus, the Son, is the Wonderful Counsellor that we needed. This is good news, great news!(Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 138:8)

It's for freedom that Christ set us free. Spurgeon once said that happy saints are attractive. (Romans 5:5, Romans 8:15)

See also:

15 October 2010

Bedford - Father's Heart, Session 4

In this presentation, Mark Stibbe discussed 'Going to the Next Level'. He spoke about forgiveness, freedom, fulfilment, and finishing.

Larry in his lawnchairMark has been involved in some cross-party meetings at Westminster on the issue of fatherlessness in British society. He also mentioned that he is working towards creating a DVD of 'The Running Father' as a gift to every athlete at the 2012 London Olympics.

He introduced his subject by describing the adventures of 'Lawnchair Larry' who spectacularly went to 'the next level' in 1982.

In Mark 2:1-12 we see how the faith of the paralysed man's friends led them to 'go to the next level' in getting him before Jesus. We need three things to go to a new level in our lives, faith, friends and foes. Faith and friends are obvious, foes often irritate us like the thorns in the eagle's nest. The young bird might never try to fly if the nest remained cosy and comfortable.

Forgiveness - The man is forgiven first. Jesus speaks of his healing later, but first he announces that he is forgiven.

Freedom - After forgiveness he receives freedom - freedom to stand up, freedom to walk about. Can you imagine that freedom after many years of imprisonment in a body that is paralysed?

Fulfilment - The need to pick up the mat is prophetic, it's not an accidental detail, Jesus told him, 'Pick up your mat'. But why? The man is healed, he no longer needs his mat! In picking up the mat he is taking hold of the very thing that had previously taken hold of him. Instead of having to lie on his mat, now he is able to pick it up.

Finishing - It's so important to finish well. He can go home now. Jesus tells him, 'Pick up your mat and go home.' We need to finish well. When we're done people need to say, 'We've never seen it done like this before!' (verse 12)

See also:

Bedford - Father's Heart, Session 3

During this session we heard Mark Stibbe speak on 'Varieties of Encounter'. He is an amusing and interesting speaker and had us in stitches at times. But he also makes some excellent points and there's a structured clarity in his thinking that provides a memorable framework.

Mark Stibbe
Mark began by explaining that we must all encounter Father's love for ourselves, we are all different. Yahshua said, 'I have made you (Abba) known to them.' (John 17:25-26) And he is still doing it!

We heard about the dentist's lie that, 'You won't feel a thing.' But cessationism isn't true, we can (and should) still experience spiritual life in all its fullness. However we all need to be hugged in different, tailored ways. Mark explained that the kind of hug he gives his son would be inappropriate for his daughter. So we mustn't all expect to receive Father's touch in the same way.

He may touch us dramatically, or gently, or somewhere along the continuum between the two. In the same way our experience may come suddenly or gradually over time. But the testimonies people share are usually dramatic and sudden, much more rarely gentle and gradual.

His touch may be mediated or unmediated (it might come through another person's prayer or a touch by their hands, but it may also happen without anyone else's involvement. And it may be sought or unsought by us (see Isaiah 65:1). Finally it may come through an experience of pain or an experience of joy (perhaps as a result of having a bad father or a good one).

See also:

Bedford - Father's Heart, Session 2

'Touching the Father's Heart' was a conference organised by 'The Kings Arms' and held in their new building. Session 2 was on the subject of Repentence and was presented by Simon Holley.

Touching the Father's Heart ConferenceThis was the first session Donna and I could get to.

During the time of singing and praise before Simon began speaking I had several thoughts prompted by the Holy Spirit which I jotted down.

When you are in danger and struggling I will come to be with you - walking across the water if necessary. When you are thrown into the fiery furnace I'll stand there with you too. You will always be safe in me and with me.

Whatever the world throws at you, even death itself, I will not forsake you, abandon you, or leave you. Let no-one stand between me and my children.

Simon reminded us of the parable of the prodigal son. (Or the prodigal father - it depends how you look at it. The father was extravagant with his love.) He made the point that, like the son, we need to turn back to our Father (repent). We need to turn back from the 'pig styes' in our lives.

Self-reliance is a pig stye which is trusting in ourselves rather than in him. It's the opposite of resting in the knowledge that Father knows what I need. George Muller used to say, 'Let's see what Father will do.'

Fear clogs the machinery of our lives and wears us down. But we know that perfect love casts out fear.

Judgements are another pig stye. We have no idea what others exeriences and circumstances might be. Simon quoted Matthew 7:1-2.

Unbelief severs me from Father's plan for me. It's a spiritual poison. Fear results in prayer as a last resort, I may prefer to work things out for myself. When I think things will never change in my life I am revealing my unbelief.

Control is freedom but on my terms as in Luke 7:30. Many people welcome freedom and spontaneous zeal as long as there's not too much of it. But we need the rushing wind of the Spirit regardless of the cost to our desire to restrict him.

See also:

08 November 2009

Bedford (Kings Arms) - His way or mine?

Donna, Karen and I travelled over to Bedford for the evening meeting. A ravenAfter some great music and a chance to praise and worship freely there was something of a disconnect for me as the focus changed to notices and the need for money for the new building. Kings Arms has bought the Crayola Building and now needs to remodel it for its new function.

Simon Holley then spoke from 1 Kings 17:1-16. He reminded us that each of us is to love the Lord with all of our heart. Money is powerful in the world but the message is about living the adventure with the Lord regardless of other things.

Ahab and his wife Jezebel had drawn Israel away from Yahweh, the people were being forced to worship Baal instead. People will try to tear you down only when you begin to live the journey with Yahweh. We need to know that if we can stand secure before him, we can stand before anybody.

Simon made five main points about the Lord's provision.

Even if it seems crazy - we need to trust him even when it seems to make no sense. Don't quibble over the solution he offers. Elijah had to eat bread provided by a raven, would you eat bread dropped by a bird? It doesn't sound appetising, let alone wholesome. We need to learn to take what he offers trusting that it is good.

The brook dried up - just because he provides something in a particular way doesn't imply that it will always be the same. He may choose a different way to provide in the future. If Elijah had stayed by the brook he'd have died of thirst. We need to be willing to move on.

He will fulfill his word - The widow was there as promised but apparently she was unable to help. Yet this was a command from the Almighty. Yahweh commits himself to fulfill his word. We need to find out what he is saying to us because that is what he will do. His will not mine will be done.

To you and through you - expect him to provide what we need and through us what others need also. As we freely receive from the Lord we must also freely give.

Obedience - we must step out in obedience. It's no good just sitting tight where we are, we have to do the uncomfortable, possibly dangerous thing that he calls us to.

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