Showing posts with label Moggerhanger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moggerhanger. Show all posts

23 May 2013

Sandy Millar at Moggerhanger

Sandy Millar came as the guest speaker to the Great Ouse Filling Station. Interesting and engaging, he read Ezekiel 37:1-14 and reminded us of the need to be prayerfully active in reaching people with the good news. Making disciples is an essential part of following Jesus - after all, he told us to do it.

The F alt=Sandy Millar spoke at the Filling Station at Moggerhanger on Monday.

Let's break that sentence down into its component parts.

Sandy Millar... - Sandy is an interesting man. He is a great speaker, very engaging, relaxed enough to  include plenty of stories and asides, yet focussed on the particular theme he wants to get across.

Retired now, he began his career as a barrister and ended as an Anglican bishop.

At one time he was the vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton where he was largely responsible for the development of the Alpha Course and, later, the Marriage Course.

...spoke... - Past tense, you missed it. But it was good.

Sandy spoke about Jesus' instructions to 'go and make disciples'. He read one of my all time favourite Bible passages, Ezekiel 37:1-14. Speaking life into dry bones is another way of thinking about disciple making.

Sandy suggested that making disciples should be our main focus, it is our mission. Here are his five main points.

  1. Recover a new understanding of the lostness of the world. It will help us see our neighbours in a different light.
  2. Develop a new confidence in the gospel. Recognise that Jesus does have the necessary power.
  3. Find a new understanding of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. He rose from the dead!
  4. We also need a new understanding of the urgency of evangelisation. We need to do good, we need to speak with people and pray for them. Pray over the dry bones.
  5. We need a fresh experience of the Holy Spirit.

...at the Filling Station... - Filling Station? What is that? Filling Station is a parachurch organisation that runs local meetings to build and strengthen local church. It involves a time of singing and praise followed by an address by a guest speaker. Most Filling Stations meet once a month.

The idea began in the West Country and has spread across the entire UK. Recently it has moved into Europe too.

...at Moggerhanger... - Weird name! Moggerhanger is a village east of Bedford, on the edge of the village is Moggerhanger Park where our local Filling Station meetings are held. We don't meet in the old house itself, but in the Garden Room, a separate meeting space in the grounds.

...on Monday - Just the day of the week. The meeting was on Monday 20th May.


Questions:

  • Are you aware of a Filling Station meeting near you?
  • Do you have a sense of urgency about making disciples?
  • What are you doing to make disciples amongst the people you know?
  • Look at Sandy's five points again. What do they say to you, personally? How will you respond? 

See also:

18 February 2012

Snowdrops in the rain - INDEX

(Click the photo for a larger view)

Snowdrops in the rain at Moggerhanger - 
Photo taken 20th February 2011

Moggerhanger Park has a fine collection of naturalised snowdrops in its areas of woodland. Last year I was able to capture a photo of these beautiful flowers liberally coated with raindrops.

See some other image posts (scroll down when the page loads).

15 September 2011

Moggerhanger - Millenials meeting

< 13th September 2011 | Index | 16th September 2011 >

A series of three addresses at Moggerhanger in Bedfordshire brought together Clifford Hill, Wolfgang Simson, and Peter Farmer to share their thoughts on the current state of Britain.

We gathered in the evening on 14th September for soup, a welcome and an introduction to the Moggerhanger meetings.

Introduction - On 15th we began with some introductory thoughts from Danny Stupple. The intention was a day of consultation with Jesus and a sense that we would need to come like little children in open simplicity. Some other phrases that seemed important were 'body ministry', 'running with our eyes fixed on Jesus' and 'it's not about the steps we take, it's about the ultimate destination'.

Gathering at Moggerhanger MillenialsBody ministry - With that in mind here are some things that came out of an initial time of open contribution.

1 Corinthians 14:26 (body ministry) and Psalm 98 (sing and rejoice) were mentioned.

Wolf Simson mentioned Abraham and Isaac and asked, 'What is our sacrifice? What is our Isaac?' I shared a word from  the Lord, 'I AM. That is my name just as I told Moses. It is not your place to say, "I am" - it is my place to say "I AM" - my place and mine alone. I say "I AM" and it's for you to say, "You are"'.

Then there was a tongue and an interpretation. 'Finish the work, talk about how you will finish the work'. He has a plan for the end, a finished work - but it has to be worked out in practice. The river and the trees in Revelation 22 are for the healing of the nations (see also Ezekiel 47:1-12). There will be a crumbling of the existing order, a shaking as in Hebrews 12:26.

Further thoughts included Isaiah 48:14, the redeemer, peace like a river, righteousness, the river again, and leaving Babylon.

Isaac and the knife is about our reputation.

Clifford Hill - We heard about the history of British society leading to the current disaffection and deprivation and lack of hope. This was a valuable background for the ideas that would be set out by the next two speakers.

After sharing his own story of life and work in Brixton Clifford explained that his generation had the responsibility of helping us understand the present. He covered the history of slavery in the West Indies and the harsh conditions in the north of England during the same period (tantamount to white slavery) and outlined how this affects the first, second and third generations thereafter.

During the recent Tottenham riots there was no racial tension, instead the trouble was caused by the third generation of both groups who find themselves pressed into the same mould of dysfuntional family life. When families break down, so does the nation. There's a deep need for good fathers.

The Old Testament has little about fatherhood until Isaiah 63 and 64. Clifford stressed that we're not to be building our own houses, but should focus on the Lord's house. We must recognise our sinfulness (Isaiah 64:6) and repent. And in John 15 we finally see that the Father's heart is truly our heritage.

Wolfgang Simson - Wolf noted that Britain is getting worse, every time he visits he sees deterioration. He spoke about the father of the Prodigal Son, in some ways it is not a good example of fatherhood. One son sees him as an employer, the other feels neglected. The father is like the church.

He pointed out that a crisis causes us to ask questions and only then will we be able to find answers. But we make progress by obeying the King and we desperately need to put that into practice. There's a difference between prophets (who point to the mountain) and apostles (who build a road to get there). 1 Corinthians 4 shows us the role of an apostle. Often an apostle is unrespected, comes out of nowhere and may appear foolish.

We have to go back to the first true radical - Jesus! We must repent and have the attitude, 'Your Kingdom come, my kingdom go'. We don't need a church religious system, we need the Kingdom, the domain of the Almighty's uncontested rule, our opinion is not invited.

The role of parents is to provide a phone number, a cheque book, and love. That's what the older generation is for - support; it's true in family life and it's a Kingdom truth too. Apostles and prophets set up a home.

It's time to stop merely preaching the Kingdom and to begin living it as Jesus intended. Father's initiative is to open up his house; we should do the same.

Wolfgang Simson set out for us the Kingdom perspective on the state of Britain in 2011. All is not lost, there is a roadmap out of this mess but we had better start paying attention to the King and begin doing what he says, not following our own ideas.

Peter Farmer - Right at the start, Peter shared that his wife, Marsha, is a cousin of Mark Duggan who was shot by police in Tottenham. Peter and Marsha have been working in the Meadows area of Nottingham for about eleven years and there is a clear sense of oppression amongst the people there. Peter described how the work they were doing was not accepted by traditional church leaders.

This follows the same pattern of trouble faced by people like William Booth, John Wesley, and groups like the Lollards. They brought transformation but faced severe difficulties. Paul had similar difficulties two thousand years ago.

Peter suggested there are two kinds of soil in the UK today. On the one hand there are those who grow well until difficulties come, but then they back off and the new growth withers. On the other hand others are distracted by the things of this world, things 'get in the way'. The answer to the first group is 'blessed are you when you are persecuted' and the answer to the second group is 'woe to the rich'.

Trouble and persecution are coming, the question is will we respond now or will we leave it until later? Of the prophets, Peter commented that there is no such thing as an unpersecuted prophet. Jesus himself said, 'Some you will stone and some you will kill'. They said things that stirred people up; we are not called to be comfortable.

Peter wondered how we are to train people to hear for themselves? How do we train people to read and understand the Bible for themselves? He believes the Lord will use us as spiritual mothers and fathers. We must bring the poor and the hurt into our homes. They will respond out of brokenness so it certainly won't be easy! We need to find (and follow) Kingdom principles of education, politics, and life. Projects that follow these priciples to work on the solutions will be loud and chaotic. Will we celebrate this work or persecute it?

Traditional church in the UK is prejudiced against the working class, we need to do more than give them soup and let them continue in distress. We need to release them to create and lead their own groups, not corral them into our existing ways.

The gospel needs to change people's hearts to allow a grass roots movement to develop. Will we get out of its way? Will we bless it and resource it? We'd better not criticise their methods or try to prevent them. Instead we need to let them do it their own way.

Concluding remarks - Danny pointed out that forty years ago today the Festival of Light was started. But within a year the power of the Spirit had been diverted, our vision had been that the Spirit would fall on 'Christian flesh' when truly is should have been 'all flesh'.

In Clifford Hill's view we now have a second chance. If so, we'd better take it!

< 13th September 2011 | Index | 16th September 2011 >

29 March 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT - Moggerhanger gathering, 10th April

The Moggerhanger meeting on 10th April will be a time for rejoicing in Jesus' presence, giving him all the glory, and listening to what he will tell us. Come in expectation!

Bluebells at Moggerhanger ParkWe announced this meeting back in February and now, with only twelve days left, this is a final reminder.

We've booked space at Moggerhanger Park between Bedford and Sandy. We plan to meet for lunch, then we'll spend the afternoon in open praise, worship, and sharing. There will be no prepared music and no invited speaker; we'll just meet in a circle (Jesus at the centre) and wait to see what he will do amongst us. We can be sure he will surprise us and delight us just as he always does.

Here are the directions to Moggerhanger Park. The approximate schedule will be...
  • 13:30 - Optionally, meet at the front of the house for a walk (if dry).
  • 14:00 - Gather in the house for a simple meal.
  • 14:45 - Spend time together as the Spirit leads. We will finish when we finish.
Jesus has told us he'll definitely be joining us provided at least two or three turn up.

What we need to know - If you plan to join us please mail me names and contact details (email address and phone number).  If you are replying on behalf of several people please include names for all of them, and for under 16s include ages as well. We will provide some materials to occupy children but you will be responsible for supervision (you may be able to share this by taking turns with other parents).

There will be no charge for the afternoon but we will provide a basket for contributions towards the costs.

You may find notes on previous meetings useful, particularly if you haven't experienced one of these gatherings before. The notes include announcements sent out and a report on each meeting.

11 February 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT - Moggerhanger Celebration

It's such a long time since we met in larger numbers to spend some time rejoicing in Jesus' presence, giving him all the glory, and listening to what he will tell us. High time to meet again.

Bluebells at Moggerhanger ParkWe've picked Sunday 10th April as the date and booked some space at Moggerhanger Park between Bedford and Sandy. We plan to meet after lunch, take an afternoon stroll in the grounds if the weather's fine (or chat over a coffee if it's wet). Then we'll share a meal together and spend the evening in open praise, worship, and sharing. There will be no prepared music and no invited speaker; we'll just meet in a circle (Jesus at the centre) and wait to see what he will do amongst us. We can be sure he will surprise us and delight us just as he always does.

Make a note in your diary for the afternoon and evening of 10th April. There'll be another announcement here on 'All About Jesus' as soon as the details are finalised and I'll circulate the details by email to everyone who expressed an interest at previous meetings.

You may find notes on these earlier meetings useful, particularly if you haven't experienced one of these celebrations before. The notes include announcements sent out and a report on each meeting.

03 May 2010

NEWS - Interviews, meetings, CO2

This week there are five news items to mention. A megaphone

  • The next meeting in the Moggerhanger series is planned for 6th June. Add it to your diary! It's not going to be at Moggerhanger this time, instead we've booked a room at Hinchingbrooke Park on the edge of Huntingdon.

    There'll be a full article about this in the next day or two - so watch this space. (See the report of the last meeting.)

  • Frank Viola has interviewed Felicity Dale about her book 'An Army of Ordinary People'. It contains encouraging and challenging stories of real-life people involved in organic church life and growth. This book was originally published ten years ago but is just now being republished in an updated version.

  • Wolfgang Simson has announced a 'Starfish Unconference' in Helsinki, Finland. You'll have to move fast on this one if you want to go, it takes place on 15th and 16th May.
    Read on Scribd...

18 February 2010

Moggerhanger - Trusting the Lord

Jim had invited me to join the Moggerhanger Park staff prayer meeting and today for the first time I was able to do so. It was lovely. Bluebells at Moggerhanger ParkWe met around a table and there were two other visitors this morning, a couple who plan to hold their wedding reception at the Park. The three of us almost outnumbered the staff!

Jim began by reading from Proverbs 3:5, then sharing about trusting the Lord. The entire chapter puts the verse in context. There is a section on wisdom, and trusting the Almighty is an important aspect of wisdom!)

We prayed for a number of sick friends, and listened as the Spirit encouraged us. He said that this house is a holy place because it is filled by his holy people. And he said that we would receive what we hoped to receive from him but that he would also surprise us with what we do not expect.

Afterwards Jim and I were able to spend a few minutes together with tea and coffee before I had to head back for a day working at home.

07 February 2010

Moggerhanger Meeting - 7th February 2010


The day was grey and cold, but dry. People arrived at Moggerhanger Park and chatted for a while, then at 13:30 we set out to walk through the woods to look at the snowdrops. Snowdrops in the woods at Moggerhanger ParkHow beautiful they are, evidence that even in late winter there is life waiting to spring up wherever it can!

A hot meal
Back in the house we settled down to a hot meal of jacket potatoes with a choice of fillings - pork sausage and apple, or chicken and mushroom.

We sat in a large, double circle for the meeting. I began by welcoming everyone and commenting that church life was like the snowdrops, it has been hidden but is now springing up everywhere in the UK! Even so, most of us feel isolated and lonely in our little groups and it was good to get together like this for encouragement and a reminder that we are not alone.

Three short talks
Peter Farmer - Pete explained how he's been travelling the UK. There are 12 EU regions and he visited them all during 2009, one per month. He met something like six groups in most regions.

A person goes through stages in life, beginning as a child, then becoming a young person, and finally maturing into an adult. Churches go through similar stages, and most house churches in the UK are in the child stage. But Pete is looking ahead, as they mature how will they multiply? Adults produce offspring and churches should do the same.

He pointed out that there's ample opportunity. Ninety-eight percent of the UK population doesn't know Christ and needs to be reached. This is already happening in Asia as the house churches multiply, the numbers are staggering. 300 000 new churches planted in India, with 300 000 baptisms on the Day of Pentecost alone!

Pete lives in Nottingham, for more details see Mission Britain and his personal blog.

Chris Jefferies - I explained the idea behind Church of Two (CO2) and how useful I had found it in practice. It takes about five minutes per person so two or three people will need ten or fifteen minutes and can meet every day, something that is impractical with larger groups. CO2 is based on intentionally listening to what the Lord is saying individually, and then meeting to share what has been heard. The members also share their own feelings for the day under the headings sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, and tender.

In this way the group is daily sharing the Lord's heart and their own hearts with one another. It's then useful to pray for one another on the basis of what has been shared. CO2 is best done face to face, but where that's not possible it can be done over the phone or as a last resort by email.

I'm willing to run CO2 for a week with anyone who'd like to try it, doing it is by far the best way to learn it and discover if it might be useful.

I live in St Neots, you can read more on my website and on the blog 'All about Jesus'.

Pete Stamford - Pete described the excellent work done by X-treme Youth Camps and explained how it all began. He'd been thinking about a youth Alpha but wasn't sure how to approach it. As he was going upstairs one evening he heard a clear word from the Lord, 'What did you enjoy doing when you were a kid?'

The answer was fishing, making rafts, spending time roaming outside in the country, climbing trees. All the sorts of things that can be impossible for young people living in urban housing. Pete was looking for a way of reaching young people for the Lord, and he has found that fun and good food with sound teaching about Jesus is a winning combination. So the camps include canoeing, archery, games, music and more along with very direct, basic details about who Jesus is, why he came, how and why he died, and what this means for us.

Pete lives in Sharnbrook a few miles north of Bedford. I don't have a website for Pete, but this item from 'All About Jesus' shows him at work. The video is a trailer for the 2007 camp and Pete appears in the still, teaching archery.

The Open Meeting
The rest of the meeting was an open session. Nobody led and nothing was prepared beforehand, instead we looked to the Holy Spirit to guide us and show us what to do. He gave us songs, tongues and interpretation, and words of prophecy - some for the nation, some for particular people in the room. As the meeting progressed it moved more towards teaching. The meeting was rich and there was far too much to report in detail, but here are some notes that I took of things that particularly stood out for me. Words in italics were from the Lord.

I will bring a great awakening in this land and I will honour my name through wonders. Depend on me for your sustenance, for food and for water.

I am the River of Life. It's not a question of how much I can provide, it's a question of how much you can receive.


Don't look to yourself, look to him. Our vision is on him all the time.

Stand still, be in the right position, the right place. We need to listen with our hearts (not just with our ears).

There was a word for Paul. You are carrying around something from the past. Only I (the Lord) can fix it.

Proclaim from the rooftops what I have shown you in the morning. If I give you words to speak, now is the time to speak them.


This encouraged me to share some words he'd given me a few days earlier.

There is dislocation in our lives and a constant war between the will and purpose of Christ in us and the will and purpose of the enemy against us. We see this in creation itself, a raging war at times, a tense stand-off at others. A beautiful sunset here, a sudden earthquake there. A song of love here, a starving child there. A kind thought here, a burst of anger there. Within us and around us is the constant conflict of two empires, the Kingdom of Light and the principality of darkness.

I felt that Father calls us to the Light every minute of every day. His Son is the Light, the Light shining in the darkness, Light among humankind, Light in the world. Every moment, in every situation, we can choose the Light or we can choose darkness. We can listen to Christ or we can listen to the enemy. Overall we have made our choice, we have chosen the King of Light, we have chosen life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet moment by moment we still fight those tactical skirmishes. They cannot change the outcome of the war - we belong to Christ! HalleluYah! But they may cause short-term retreat as individual actions are won or lost.

The Lord says, Don't despair, don't fight in your own strength but put on all the armour I have provided, be filled with the gifts of my Son's Spirit, and stand against darkness. Stand in the Light! Stand side by side and stand back to back, together you are strong, individually you are weak.

The door is open, take my hand and walk through. I will give you the desires of your heart because they are my desires too.


Someone mentioned Jeremiah 29:11, 'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'. This was a promise to bring them back from captivity to the land that was promised to them. We too need to remember who the Lord is and admit that we need his help. We should not be discouraged by the forces ranged against us. We need to focus on Jesus, he will provide our strength and joy.

Acts was also quoted and the comment made that they were persecuted, they responded, and the result was amazing. Now is the time for us to prepare for persecution and hardship.

Someone said that as the church we have failed our country, we have failed the Lord, and we have failed ourselves. There has been an inertia, an unwillingness in the church. There was a tongue, part sung, part spoken. Both parts were interpreted, the sung part was interpreted in song which was amazing.

Here are fragments of the interpretations, there was a reminder that we are 'a chosen people, a holy nation... from 1 Peter 2.

The Lord has first loved us, we also love him. He has restored our sight, we can leave our foreskins behind. We can deal with rejection. Because he loves us we can also love him and be full of joy, both in the Lord and in others. We need to strip off the old things and can now put on his new clothes.

Peter Farmer also has brief notes about the meeting on the Mission Britain website.

Next Meeting
We have pencilled in a date for a meeting on 6th June, another Sunday afternoon. The format might be entirely different next time, perhaps a picnic, but the aim will be to have a meal together and an open meeting where everyone can contribute.

More details later, but meanwhile mark 6th June in your diary!

23 January 2010

ANNOUNCEMENT - Moggerhanger Meeting - 7th February 2010

Don't miss the
Moggerhanger Meeting!

SnowdropSunday 7th February, 2010. Open to everyone with an interest in organic expressions of church.

(This is the second notice and contains new additional information.)

  • What? - People are gathering from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire for a snowdrop walk, a shared meal, to hear some visiting speakers, and for an afternoon of meeting together with Jesus.

  • Where? - Moggerhanger Park near Bedford (full directions) MK44 3RW.

  • When? - Sunday 7th February 2010 at 13:30.

  • Cost? - No charge, but there will be an opportunity to donate to Moggerhanger Park.

Numbers - If you are planning to come and have not yet told us the numbers in your party, please make sure you get those details to us as soon as possible (at the latest by the end of Friday 5th February). This is necessary so we can provide the right amount of food.

Dietary needs - If people in your group are vegetarian, have food allergies or intolerances, or have other special requirements do let us know that too. Thanks.

Children's room - We plan to have space and some activities for children and may be able to help supervise, but if you are bringing children please be prepared to help if necessary by spending some time in the children's room yourself. You are welcome to keep children with you in the main meeting if you prefer. Older teenagers can help with the younger ones or join the main meeting.

Music - We have not made arrangements for music, but if you're a musician we encourage you to bring and use an instrument.

Programme - We expect this to be a flexible framework, it's important to be responsive to the Lord as we meet and we'll make changes if necessary as we go along.
  1. Arrive at Moggerhanger Park by 13:30, the gates will be open before that. Once inside the grounds turn first left towards the house and park at the front. If you're early feel free to explore the grounds.

  2. The snowdrop walk will begin from the front of the house at 13:30 (weather permitting). It's an easy stroll on reasonably firm woodland paths. You might need boots if it's been raining (wellingtons, walking boots, or a spare pair of old shoes that won't be spoiled by a little mud).

  3. We'll aim to eat at 14:00. Make your way through the front door of the house.

  4. From 14:45 - After lunch we plan to have three short presentations - no more than 15 minutes each. If you have an unfinished drink, bring it to the meeting room with you.
    1. Peter Farmer - Church Networks and Church Planting
    2. Chris Jefferies - Church of Two (CO2)
    3. Pete Stamford - X-treme Youth Camps
    4. Q and A session

  5. From 15:45 - A time for open prayer, praise, and body ministry

  6. 17:30 - Cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake

  7. Optional - There is no official end to the meeting. If anyone would like to stay on for more discussion, prayer etc after the tea/coffee that will certainly be possible. Some may need to get away quickly (if you have young children or a long journey, for example).

    For anyone interested in the house, the park, and the work that goes on there, it may be possible to organise an impromptu house tour. Please ask. The Moggerhanger Park website contains a lot of valuable information.
Looking forward to seeing you all on the day,

Grace, peace and joy,

Chris Jefferies
chris@scilla.org.uk


124 St Neots Road
Eaton Ford
St Neots
Cambs
PE19 7AL

03 January 2010

ANNOUNCEMENT - Moggerhanger Meeting - 7th February 2010

Hi everyone, here's a date for your diaries - 7th February 2010 for a regional gathering at Moggerhanger near Bedford. Come and join us for fun, a shared lunch, invited speakers, and more.

We plan to meet at 13:30 for a snowdrop walk in the woodlands at Moggerhanger Park Snowdropfollowed at 14:00 with a light but warming lunch in the old house. It will be something like jacket potatoes and a choice of fillings, more details nearer the time.

After lunch we have some invited guests who will share about events in a wider context. These will be short sessions of no more than 20 minutes each.
  • Peter Farmer from Nottingham has been invited to speak about organic church networks and church planting movements in the UK.
  • Someone from South-West England may be coming to tell us about church planting and growth in that region.
  • I will describe our experiences with the Church of Two (CO2) concept in and around St Neots.
  • We hope to hear about the work of X-treme Youth Camps in north-Bedfordshire. 
There will also be an open time for prayer, praise, and body ministry, as well as an opportunity for open discussion and a Q and A session with the invited guests.

There is no charge for attending, but to help with catering please let me know if you are coming, how many adults and children are in your party, and whether any of you have special dietary needs. There will be an opportunity to donate to the work of Moggerhanger Park if you wish to do so.

More details in mid January,

Grace, peace and joy to you all in the new year,

Chris Jefferies
chris@scilla.org.uk

124 St Neots Road

Eaton Ford
St Neots
Cambs
PE19 7AL

10 December 2009

Moggerhanger Park - Star-dusted fabric

We intended to meet at Eaton Ford this week, but Jim was working late and had suggested that if we could come to Moggerhanger, he might be able to join us. The night skySo when the time got around to 20:15 and there were still only two of us, we decided to drive to Moggerhanger.

When Jim was able to get away to join us in the staff sitting room, he found Sean and me talking about astrophysics. And in some curious way this led on to thoughts about Jesus as the morning star (2 Peter 1:19). The Magi saw his star 'in the east' and came to worship him. Stars rise in the east, and the morning star (the planet Venus) rises in the east just ahead of the sun. And just as the morning star ushers in the new day, so Jesus in his rising ushered in the new day of his reign and rule and triumph over death.

Jim recalled a time when he'd been angry with someone and the Lord told him to 'Just stop!' When he looked up he saw the enormous, star-dusted fabric of the night sky and was overwhelmed by the magnificence of creation. His anger was gone in a moment!

We also discussed the nature of teaching in the life of the church. Jim said we should be teaching one another and that all of us have something to contribute. I mentioned that traditionally it hasn't worked like that. In the past most of us were told that we should all sit and listen while one person taught from the front. Far from encouraging one another to contribute, we were actively discouraged from doing so. Jim went on to say that there's head knowledge like the science of astrophysics but there's also a completely different kind of knowledge, not of the mind but of the heart.

Next we moved on to thoughts of our future in the presence of the Father and the Son. Sean reminded us that we have an inheritance to look forward to (as in Hebrews 1). Heaven will assuredly not be boring! This brought us to thoughts of John's funeral which had been rich with thoughts of inheritance, redemption, and life in Father's presence. I explained how Donna and I had both been so sure in our hearts that John would be healed, and that is how we had prayed at the time. This leaves the matter of faith as a continuing conundrum. Prayer without faith is unfruitful, but so is prayer that is unaware of the will of the Father.

Jim raised the topic of witnessing, as in prayer we need to take risks. How many of us would have witnessed to the Tough Talk guys before they became believers? I mentioned that we also need to develop relationships with people and get alongside them in meaningful ways.

Sean had some thoughts about Jesus' prayer in John that the disciples might be one just as he and the Father are one. The disciples belonged to the Father who gave them to the Son. He didn't even choose his own disciples! (John 17:6-26) And so it is with us, we need to tell the people he gives us about him. Jim pointed out that we are his disciples too, we need to set off for the mountain together and walk in his presence. Where he goes, we go - just like the twelve or the seventy.

Sean's thoughts moved to the time when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. They were already grumbling by the time they reached the sea, but in truth they should have been praising the Lord before they arrived at the shore. I mentioned that Joshua and Yashua (Jesus) are the same name, and Joshua is an early picture of what Yahshua would do. Joshua went into the land ahead of the people and then returned and declared it good, he was with them in the wilderness, and then finally he led them into the land across the Jordan. And what Joshua did in the physical realm, Jesus has done for us in the spiritual realm!

Jim reminded us that when Paul and Silas were in prison they still continued to sing the Lord's praises (Acts 16:16-40). So should we - but would we? Good question, Jim!

Finally we prayed together, and then discussed possible dates for some future meetings, 21st January for a bowling evening as an X-treme Camps local reunion, and Sunday 7th February for a snowdrop walk at Moggerhanger followed by a light lunch and an afternoon meeting. These dates are not firm yet.

07 November 2009

Moggerhanger - Temporal or eternal?

Jim invited me to a River Church men's breakfast meeting at Moggerhanger Park. In the Moggerhanger dining roomDale Hewitt from Dreambuilders Church in Perth, Australia, spoke to us after the meal. He first met Rob Macfarlane in Harare in 1995, long before Rob came to St Neots and founded River Church.

After a marvellous full English breakfast we settled down to listen to what Dale had to say.

He began by pointing out the pressures on men to succeed, especially in modern times. And this is pressure that's always focused on achieving things that are temporal, things that will not remain for eternity. It occurred to me that this is just as true for women although the specific pressures are sometimes different.

Reading Ephesians 1:15-23 as a basis, Dale explained that this is actually Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church. At heart it's about the fulfillment of Father's purpose for your life - his purpose, not yours. Paul begins with praise (verses 3-14) before moving on to his petitions. This is such a good principle. There's an eternal perspective here, we should always praise with eternity firmly in mind, it's not just about the blessings we have in the here and now.

This raises a question, 'What am I going to leave as an eternal deposit when my life in this world is finished?'

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians is that they'd have greater intimacy with the Almighty, greater vision, and greater power. Why? So that they might grow! And how do we demonstrate our increasing knowledge and reverence of the Lord? Putting it another way, what do we do that is different from what the world does? We will give him more time in our lives and we'll have an increased passion for his presence and for his people. We are workers in his Kingdom, not rulers over our own kingdom.

Jesus is not just a friend, he is much more than that, he's the King of Kings, the creator of the universe and Lord over everything. Do people know that he's a priority in our lives? They should do!

The more intimacy we have with the Lord the more we can see where we're going, the greater our vision. Like the blind man at Bethsaida, getting closer is the key to having our eyes opened and opened fully. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells us that like him, we are the light of the world. As we touch people's lives they begin to see by his light shining through us, they begin to see 'like trees walking'.

If we're born of the Spirit we will know his power in our lives (Ephesians 1:19-23). As we focus on Jesus he will reveal the path for our lives and guide us along it - and he will be glorified in the process.

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