ENLARGE THE PLACE OF YOUR TENT
In 2022 we are sensing that God is speaking to us about 'Enlarging The Place of Our Tent' (Isaiah 54: 2). This means God is calling us each as the people of God to our full capacity; we might not know what that is or how we can get there but because God is saying it, He will do it.
This is about stepping out in faith even if we feel we don't have the energy or resources (Isaiah 54: 1). Good examples of this are Jesus with the feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14: 13 - 21). 'You give them something to eat', Jesus said. But the disciples only had 5 loaves and 2 fish from a small boys lunch. Also, the widow who was about to get her children taken away because of a debt; Elijah asked her to find containers so God could fill them with oil so she could pay off her debt (2 Kings 4: 1 - 7).
This year God is saying to us that we are to move in actions of faith, where we stretch our capacity and He will meet the need. He will supply the emotional or physical strength. The Lord will supply the materials or finances needed. He will supply the relationships needed and the spiritual strength. All we need to do is offer what we have to him and he will increase our capacity.
What Do We Need To Do?
We will need to be obedient to Jesus; the obedience of faith is key (Romans 1: 5). It's not about lots of self-effort or 'virtue signalling' but being governed by the Spirit of God (Romans 8: 14). As King Saul discovered, obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15: 22).
As we engage with God and strengthen our tent pegs, by rooting them firmly in Christ we will see ourselves flourishing (Isaiah 54: 2). This does not mean things won't be hard or traumatic but it does mean we will see God bring about His purposes, His provision and increase, supernaturally. He is El Shaddai - God Almighty - the 'All Sufficient One', He is our Husband, our Maker (Is 54: 5) and He won't abandon us.
However, this will be a walk of faith. As the disciples and the widow had to offer what they had in the boys lunch and jar containers, so we have to make available what we have; our time, talent and treasure so God can increase them supernaturally.
So let's not hold back our hearts from God this year because He will increase our capacity and cause us to change the world as we pray, share his gospel, disciple new believers and serve Him and His world.
SHALOM IN 2021
As we sought the Lord for a Word for 2021 at London Network Church, we felt that God was speaking to us about Shalom. Shalom is the Hebrew Old Testament word that we translate ‘Peace’. But a fuller way of understanding this word would be our modern understanding of ‘Well Being’ and ‘Wholeness’. God’s peace affects not only our inner being but can extend to the whole of society. It means peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquillity. We as believers are to carry that peace (John 14: 27) despite what is happening in the whirlwind of world events. We are to demonstrate the harmony of peace because ‘Christ is our peace’, and He has made us all one in our diversity (Ephesians 2: 14).
When quoting Isaiah 61, Jesus made clear in Luke 4: 18 – 19, that the Spirit of the Lord had anointed Him to preach the gospel to both the physically and spiritually poor (Matthew 5: 3 & Luke 6: 20) and heal the broken hearted, those with the deepest emotional and psychological needs. Jesus is there to heal, to deliver people spirit, soul and body. To meet spiritual, emotional, physical and even social needs.
In the 1700s Wesley referred to Is 61 in his revival which came immediately after great difficulty and unrest. Out of unrest came a great revival that affected the whole of society.
After the unrest of 2020 (e.g. Covid, justice Issues, Brexit) I believe that God wants us as sons and daughters of God, as ‘anointed ones’, to bring healing to people’s whole beings, meeting their spiritual, psychological, physical and relational needs through the Good News. We can preach and demonstrate the year of the Lord’s favour. This will happen through what we say, how we serve, through providing a listening ear, offering prayer and supplying access to healing communities.
One of the things we are looking to provide this year is a regular healing clinic for the community where people can share their needs and receive healing, prophetic word, a listening ear and practical help. It is time for the nations in London, the UK and the world, to say, ‘…Let us go up to ….the house of …God… and He will teach us His ways’ (Isaiah 2: 2 – 4).
The world is hurting (Romans 8: 19 – 22); I believe that as we arise with courageous love and faith as the church and as individual believers, we will have something unique and healing to bring to the world in 2021. SHALOM!
What A Year 2020 Has Been
Who could have imagined at the beginning of 2020 that we would have been dealing with the corona virus, race and justice issues worldwide and the possible end of a Trump presidency.
Photo by Julian Wan
What has God been doing through all these things?
Well at the beginning of this year we felt that God gave us Isaiah 60 1 - 3 as a church:
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
We had the prophetic theme on our hearts, 'Living the Kingdom Life' and a global theme 'Better Together'.
I really believe that this interprets what God wanted for us this year.
To arise in the darkness and show up strong as Christian's knowing that our light (the light of Jesus shining in our hearts - 2 Corinthians 4: 6) has come.
Darkness speaks of ignorance produced by sin (a state of rebellion and separation from God), but light speaks of revelation and clarity and peace.
This has been a year where as the people of God we have had to learn again to make God our source of security and then courageously be present to serve the world in love and power. The world has needed our love and unity in the midst of political disunity (including Brexit), racial disharmony and suspicion surrounding the Covid virus.
I hope this year you have arisen in leadership, compassion and your unique spiritual and natural gifts and made a difference to your family, friends, church, neighbourhood and sphere of influence in the market place.
People living in darkness need us as the church to speak clearly about the dignity of all human beings, the availability of help and healing in Jesus and the Kingdom of God that is greater than any earthly political party or movement.
I hope you've had the courage to stand for the kingdom of God and not get bogged down with the enemies agenda of division and fear.
Photo by Julian Wan
As we have sought the Lord together in LNC we have felt that this New Year will be one of living the kingdom life together. To live the kingdom life means to live out king Jesus’ life in our everyday lives and to be persistent with that. It means arising and shining for our light has come and recognising that the glory of the Lord has risen upon us (Isaiah 60: 1).
To live in the benefit of this we have to first realise that as New Covenant believers our light has come. This light (owr in Hebrew) is illumination, and symbolises salvation, prosperity, wisdom and justice. Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life’ (John 8: 12). With all the confusion today personally, morally, emotionally, politically, relationally and financially, we are given light in the darkness so we can clearly see the way and show the way.
John Piper said, ‘in the light of Christ, is the brightness of God shining on the retina of the human soul’. We can see clearly now the light has come (pun intended). Jesus explained it this way, ‘You are the light of the world’ (John 5: 14). So, people can recognise God through the light and glory (Kabod in Hebrew) on us. This glory is weighty, honourable, majestic, esteeming and a manifestation of God’s nature. It totally contradicts and overcomes the fear, division and despair we see in our world currently.
2019 was a year of great harvest for us in LNC and in London as a whole, where we saw over 1144 people respond to the gospel through the Turnings street evangelism and give their names and details in to be followed up. We saw unity in churches working together. We also saw many new ones coming into our congregation. We were surprised as we experienced the harvest and learnt to move in our authority and gained confidence in the power of the gospel (Matthew 28: 18 – 20 & Romans 1: 16).
So we believe arising this year for LNC will involve being faithful to disciple the new believers God is bringing in, being ready to rise into leadership, being ready to intentionally spend time praying together regularly, and being ready to take our mountain of influence for Christ, whether that is in family life, church, work, business, community work, education, media or arts and entertainment. Therefore, we need to be ready to support each other in doing this.
Will you be found living the Kingdom Life together with others this year? Will you arise in the areas that God has called you to?
‘…..who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.’ (Luke 12: 42 – 43)
A Culture of Discipleship – Evangelism, Discipleship & Miracles in 2019
This has been an amazing year of acceleration in the presence of God. He has asked us to step into His presence and step out in His Power and we have seen how God has promoted people and shifted people into positions and places where he wanted them to be. This has not been without disturbance and we have had to align ourselves spiritually and grow in character to handle the movement of God in our lives. A parallel has been the political movement in the nation with Brexit. But our trust is that God is shifting things for his glory in our lives, the church and the nation. We have emphasised stepping into the presence of God and stepping out in his power as presence-based ambassadors. I think the main thing we have learned is that we have to rest in the presence of God and have our minds set on the Spirit to be full of life and peace and to accelerate (Romans 8: 6). The alternative is to do things with a mind set on the flesh, (that is in our own strength and initiative devoid of reliance on God’s Spirit), but the results are death; that sense of being spiritually cut off and dry leading to being over stressed, depressed and burnt out.
As we come to 2019 we have heard God speaking to us as core leaders in LNC about Evangelism, Discipleship and Miracles. We truly believe that it is time for the harvest (the evidence suggests people are spiritually hungry and are responding to God in the UK). So far over 13,000 people have responded to the gospel on the streets of the UK and parts of Europe through the Turning since May 2016. The launch of the Turning will be significant for London and LNC as we reap on the streets in September.
GET READY, GET READY, GET READY
It's time to expand our hearts (2 Cor 6: 13), prepare our life groups (Acts 2: 42-47), and adjust our timetables to be able to disciple those who will come in. We want to develop a discipleship culture. In the midst of this we believe miracles will become common place, God breaking into the natural and taking us into deeper dimensions of His Spirit. As we saw in 2018, we believe we will continue to see miracles of healing, financial provision and breakthrough in places of influence. Christians are now being moved into places of influence to advance the Kingdom in every mountain & sphere of society. We trust that through the turmoil of the Brexit process God will position the nation for blessing as people choose to look to Him as their ultimate government.
Scriptures to Meditate on:
John 4: 35 - Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
Matthew 9: 36 - 38 - When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 28: 18 - 20 - Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
2 Timothy 2: 2 - And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
Mark 16: 20 - Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Step-In Step-Out in 2018
As we have sought the Lord for 2018 as a core leadership team at LNC, we have felt God speaking to us about His presence. We are to ‘step in’ to His presence and then from being empowered and built up in His presence we are to ‘step out’ as His ambassadors to touch lives around us. As we experience Jesus in His power and presence we have the scent of Him on us and His presence changes everyone it meets.
How do we step into the presence of God and step out empowered?
As a young man I prayed without power. Then one day someone showed me how to give my life to the Lord. Although I knew I was forgiven I didn’t know Jesus power to overcome sin. Then I learnt about the Holy Spirit:
Acts 1: 8 – ‘You Shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses…’ This totally transformed my life:
I couldn’t help but live for Jesus – I loved his presence and would spend hours with Jesus in prayer, praise, thanks, intercession, tears and laughter,
I couldn’t help but obey his Word to me. Everything He said seemed so clear and powerful and I didn’t want to let Him down.
I found him releasing me from impurities as a teenager and literally felt unclean things leaving me.
I found a new boldness to share the gospel and saw my brothers, sister, mum, gangs at school and teenage girls and boys as well as the dying come to know the Lord.
Again, myself along with others saw the sick healed.
So how can we step into the presence of God and stay there each day in 2018?
1) By Faith – 2 Corinthians 5: 7 – ‘For we walk by faith not by sight’. How does faith come? By hearing God’s word. Hearing God’s rhema (creative word). Spend time this year based in Scripture. Listen to God every day. Meditate on His Word every day. Sometimes it will seem dry, but it is food to your inner most parts. Ps. 119: 11 says ‘Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against you’. Ps. 119: 130 ‘The entrance of your word gives light, it gives understanding to the simple.’ When you meditate on the Word even for 10 minutes a day you will find that it will empower you from the inside out and clear your mind and transform your thinking. You will make decisions bathed in God’s presence and will.
2) Make it your ambition to please the Lord – 2 Corinthians 5: 9 – 10 – Realise you have a purpose on the earth and a destiny to fulfil. Every day have the attitude that you are going to find out and fulfil a little bit more of that purpose that God has for you today. Consider that we must all appear before Christ and give an account. Although, we know we are saved by grace (thank God), but it will be great to stand before Jesus having fulfilled our purpose on the earth. Don’t let any fear of other’s opinions stop you fulfilling your destiny. It is Christ you will ultimately account to.
3) Let the Love of Christ control you – 2 Corinthians 5: 14 – You see God is love and he has demonstrated unconditional love ultimately in Christ dying in our place. We love because God first loved us (1 John 4: 19). In my life I have found myself empowered to love others because I know how much I am loved by the Father. It has helped me to love guys on the streets that no one else cared for and weep for them and see them come to know Jesus. Always remember to love and forgiven others – whether family or enemies. Step out as an ambassador of God’s powerful love.
4) See things from God’s perspective in the spirit – 2 Cor 5: 15 – 17 – People are either in Christ or not. He died for them all. We should now recognise people the way Christ recognises them. That includes ourselves as new creations, our brothers and sisters as new creations. And the ultimate need of someone who doesn’t yet know Christ as the need to be a new creation. We can help improve someone’s habits, education or wealth but ultimately, they need Christ’s life-giving presence inside them to really live life to the full.
5) See yourself as an ambassador of Christ with a message – 2 Cor 5: 18 – 21 – You have had the word of reconciliation placed in you. The New Age Movement and people in general are trying to bring the message of hope and positivity without Christ. But it only makes sense in Christ. He loves you. ‘He became sin ….so that you might be made the righteousness of God in Christ’. We are carriers of His presence and ambassadors of that Good News. ‘God is not holding your wrongs against you’.
It’s time to be presence-based ambassadors this year! ‘Step-in’ to His presence! ‘Step-out’ empowered to touch lives and see them transformed!
Word for 2017
Advancing the Kingdom
Right Here, Right Now
As we have sought the Lord for 2017 we have heard the word for the year: ‘Advancing the Kingdom - right here, right now’ in LNC. What a year 2016 has been with so much political change and turmoil. Brexit, a new Prime Minister and a new unexpected American President. Finally we have seen the awful war in Syria unfolding on our TV screens. Yet in all these things, no matter what side we found ourselves drawn to, God is in control. He is shifting things and working through all the gaps and margins.
God's Kingdom Government
We are told in Isaiah 9 that to us a child has been born, to us a son has been given and of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end (vs. 5- 7). Isn't it great to know that God is in control of the eternal government and he sits on his throne in heaven (which is his headquarters) directing things. This doesn't mean there are not still battles raging on the earth. There are still rebel forces fighting against the King’s government, but ultimately, we know who wins. In fact, we are told that the Son sits in the heavens and laughs when he sees the nations' governments coming against him (Ps. 2: 4). Therefore, God is not worried or threatened by humanistic or demonic opposition.
The Nature of God's Kingdom
The nature of this Godly government is that it starts small as a child or a tiny seed, but grows into the mature Son's rule and reign. As at the battle of Midian, it can start small and look weak like Gideon and his 300-member army (Is. 9: 4 & Judges 7), yet it ends up defeating the whole army of the Midianites. This Kingdom (the King’s domain) is more than a geographical area but ‘a reign’ over hearts and minds. Of the increase of the King’s government and peace there will be no end (Is. 9: 7).
God's Kingdom reflects the Nature of the King
Another wonderful thing about the King’s government is that it reflects the life and nature of the King. His name will be called wonderful Councillor - He is a supernatural Councillor with incredible wisdom for us from heaven. He is Mighty God - He has all the power we need to transform our lives, church and society. He is God. He is Everlasting Father - that's wonderful; he is a relational father that is eternal - he'll never stop loving us. He is Prince of Peace - that means his Kingdom brings relational lasting inner peace with God and between peoples. It is a kingdom of shalom – wholeness, completeness, unity, social cohesion, health and prosperity.
How are we to respond to advancing Jesus Kingdom right here, right now, in 2017?
We are shown that the kingdom ‘forcefully advances’ in Matt 11: 12. The word here is biazetai which can mean that the Kingdom forcefully advances and that it can also be forcefully resisted. We see this in Jesus’ life where he forcefully advanced the kingdom through the casting out of demons, healing the sick and being an example of radical love to sinners (Luke 11: 20). Yet at the same time we see him forcefully resisted by the religious authorities and dying on a cross. However, even the resistance ended in victory for Christ and us through his redemption and resurrection power.
In terms of seeing the Kingdom forcefully advance in our lives firstly we need to have an encounter with ‘God right here, right now’. The Kingdom is right here, right now and it is up to us to be intentional about our response to it. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us sometimes it will be as a fire and powerful wind (Acts 2: 1 - 4). We are to respond proactively to his presence and rhema words to us right here, right now (John 15: 7 - 8). It may mean intentionally expressing our love for our wives or husbands or children in a way they understand and receive love (Ephesians 5 - 6: 4). Or perhaps being honest or faithful to our friends or neighbours, employer or employees (Romans 12: 9; Eph 6: 6 - 9). Or stepping out in faith to share the gospel with a friend or praying for someone on the street (Luke 9: 1 - 2). Or starting a Kingdom business or project. ‘Nothing is achieved by good intentions but anything is possible with definite goals’ that are birthed by God. Will you be obedient to the King this year? It could result in great advancement of the Kingdom into people's lives. When Jesus did what he saw his father doing there were results. As we step out we will see the kingdom manifesting right here, right now. That will change the world.
Be prepared for Resistance
Secondly when we do step out by faith and God's grace meets us and empowers us, we will still need to be prepared to be resisted. I'm amazed sometimes how everything can come against me when I decide to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The car can break down, the printer can stop working, a misunderstanding occurs or people resist us or sickness breaks out. We have to be prepared for people or authorities to come against us at times when we decide to follow God's ways. In some countries physical persecution will take place against the gospel of the Kingdom. This reinforces how we need to pray and be in the Word and stand together as Christians. The success of the dream is in a good team. As we work together and synergize with our various God given gifts we will succeed (Eph 4: 16). For one can put a thousand to flight but two ten thousand (Deut. 32: 30). It's just the way the Kingdom works.
May God bless, grace and strengthen you as you advance the Kingdom in your life, church and society in 2017. For God is with you - right here, right now.
Word for 2016
Lead Where You Are
‘Follow me as I follow Christ’
1 Corinthians 11: 1
As I have been seeking the Lord with Dorcas and the leadership team of LNC for the theme for 2016 we have felt that God has put the word ‘Leadership’ into our hearts. What does leadership mean? Maxwell defines leadership as influence. Even the most introverted of us leads many people without even realising it. We are all an influence to someone. So whatever stage of life we are in we can lead. The question is will we be a good or bad leader? The world and the church desperately need revived, righteous, courageous, and godly leaders in these times of fear, purposelessness and moral decay.
Focus on Jesus
Paul is courageous when he says ‘follow me’. Leadership takes courage. Many seek to pull leaders down when they take a stand. But he is also wise when he adds, ‘as I follow Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11: 1). Paul knows that our focus must be on Christ (the anointed Messiah) if we are to successfully lead others. We must learn to be led by Christ; by both his example in life and his transforming love in his death. Also, on an ongoing basis we must be led by his resurrection power through the Spirit. When we are focused on Jesus (the author and perfecter of our faith) we are able to run the race well and reach his goals for us and see revival in his church (Hebrews 12: 2).
Lead Yourself Well
As we focus on Jesus this year we will know his love and power and be able to lead ourselves well wherever we are in life. We will throw off everything that hinders and the sin that easily entangles us and be able to run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12: 1). In which areas do you need to disentangle yourself this year? It might be a sin that needs to be defeated by looking at Jesus and allowing him to break its hold from you or it may be other habits that simply hinder you?
‘If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself. Do that well and you’ll be ready to stop managing and start leading’ (Richard Kerr). Does God want you to get your relationship with money right this year; Get out of debt, start saving and giving? Does God want you to sort out your relationships this year – start forgiving and be courageous in intentionally loving and caring?
Lead Your Family Well
Does God want you to love your wife (in the way she receives love) or respect your husband intentionally this year? Does God want you to parent your children by nurturing, caring and disciplining them? No mother or father is insignificant – you are a leader and shepherd of the next generation.
Lead Well in the Market Place
Is God challenging you to get to places on time this year? Does God want you to be an excellent employee or employer; Start a business, publish your first book or just keep your word this year? How does God want you to serve your neighbourhood? How does God want you to be a witness to his Kingdom this year and who does he want you to lead to Jesus?
Lead Well in Your church
Where does God want you to serve in your church this year? When each part, plays its part, the body grows (Ephesians 4: 16). Where and with whom does God want to align you this year? Where does he want you to be accountable and show respect? We will need to practice the little self-disciplines that come from the Spirit. For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5: 23).
Walk in Freedom and lead others
Galatians 3:1 says that for freedom Christ has set us free. Until you know you are freed from sin, loved by God and have been given a destiny and purpose, you will never start to love yourself or others. Once you realise you are totally loved by God and free from guilt and shame in Christ you will be able to run the race that God has for you and attain your goal (Hebrews 9: 14; 10: 22; 12: 1-2). Also once you know you are free you can freely love others and lead them into freedom (Gal 5: 13). People don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care. When you are free your freedom will liberate others (Mandela).
Focus and Clarity - Choose One goal
No matter what situation you are in at the moment you can change as God works in you in this New Year. And your change will lead others to change. What is the most drastic thing that people will notice about you in this New Year? What is the most drastic thing that people will notice about your church in this New Year? Choose one goal for the year and work on that with God's helps. As you do God will give you victory. 'He stores up success for the upright, He is a shield for those who live with integrity' (Proverbs 2:7). As you win, you will cause others to win. They will see tangible success in your life (even if that is through the difficulties of life) and they will want to follow you as you are following Christ. Let’s go for it in 2016.
May God richly bless you!
(Be One, Make One)
….Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them…..teaching them to observe all I commanded you... (Matthew 28: 18 – 20)
Jesus parting message to his disciples was ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’ – This was not only his parting message but his life’s message. He called disciples to be with him and then sent them out to preach and demonstrate the gospel of the kingdom so that others could also experience his deliverance and become his disciples (Mark 3: 13 – 15). His instructions here were both imperative (a command) and indicative (a description of what we should be doing as a lifestyle) – ‘as you go therefore be making disciples…’ (Matthew 28: 19A)
Making disciples intentionally in the face of opposition
‘Go’ – This year we are going to have to fight for what God wants. In the UK we have a secular mind-set that breaks the laws of God, we have whole generations that don’t know God or the Bible and do not understand that life works better with God; we have multiple ideas about the spiritual world. There is going to be opposition from the enemy – he hates Jesus message being spread and God’s will being done. We see here Jesus heart was clearly for discipleship. Both the active making of disciples of all nations and the lifestyle of being and showing discipleship as we are going about our daily business are important. Discipleship starts by coming alongside those in the world who don’t know God but continues in the building up of those who are already on the journey of faith so that they become established in the foundations and move on to maturity (Hebrews 6: 1-2). It involves us giving to others but also being disciples ourselves of Christ. Being a disciple is about experiencing God’s love, loving and following Jesus, learning from him and being loyal to Him and His purposes.
Being a disciple
Being a disciple also involves the denying of ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus desires (Luke 14: 27). We have to count the cost of following Jesus; there will be times of denial of our immediate desires and also opposition from others. We see this in the life of Jesus as he fulfilled His father’s mission:
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12: 2 – 3 NIV)
Restoring the Walls of the church
During 2015 we will also be looking at Nehemiah building the walls of Jerusalem and restoring sincere worship in the temple. In LNC we will emphasise the importance of working together in unity to build up one another and protect the church from spiritual attack. The returning Babylonian exiles had been desolate but they had not been forsaken. It took leadership, it took prayer, it took people stationing themselves where the gaps were and working together and guarding and building the city God had given them as an inheritance in order to see success. They had to be willing to listen to God appointed prophetic leadership and the trumpet call to rally them to fight together when the enemy attacked. They also had to be wise enough not to listen to the enemies’ lies. The devil will always contradict God’s word and try and discourage God’s people from the vision and prophetic word God has spoken over them (Nehemiah 4).
In LNC this year we believe God is calling us to emphasise being disciples and making disciples. This involves being good followers and good leaders. Good followers need to be able to listen and submit to God’s word to them. They also need to be able to covenant to work together with those God has called them to be with and recognise the godly leadership God is placing among them too. This was so important for the early disciples and early church and was equally as important for the returning exiles in Nehemiah’s day.
We will all need to be willing to do the work of ministry and defend and fight for God’s house and Kingdom. We will need to have the sword of the Spirit in one hand and our building tools in the other (Nehemiah 4: 17). We need to know the Word of God in order to apply it against the enemy’s discouragements (Nehemiah 4: 14 & Ephesians 6: 11 & 17). We also need to skilfully use our spiritual gifts to build up the church and strengthen its walls (1 Peter 4: 10). Through our Bible studies (see ‘the Bible and Lunch’ on the last Sunday of each Month in the Calendar), our cell groups, our men and women’s mentoring, our various evangelism and discipleship training weeks and our prayer conference and missions we will be given the tools to build, defend and fight for God’s Kingdom purposes and see the Church built up.
Let’s pray that God’s kingdom comes in our lives, families, churches and nation(s) in 2015. My prayer for LNC is that we are stronger together as the family of God, that we are wiser together in our decision making and that we grow spiritually, relationally and numerically this year. London needs us because London needs Jesus. This is also my prayer for all God’s people. The world needs you. Go and make disciples. Be built up as a disciple, and then build up and reach out. Let’s join together in building a Kingdom family that reaches generations in 2015.
Death and Life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit
Proverbs 18: 21
Have faith in God ...if anyone says to this mountain 'go throw yourself into the sea' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
Make 11; 10 - 11
What we say is important. Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from trouble (Proverbs 21: 23). We will give an account for every word we speak (Matthew 12: 36). What we say can even effect our eternity (Romans 10: 8-10). What we say can be judgemental or bring life.
2013 has been for us at LNC a serious time of growing in integrity. We have been challenged in our relationships and have come through some times of honest talking that have given deep understanding and a renewed purposeful team work. Marriages and friendships have been deepened. We have also been inspired as individuals to walk in honest and deep relationship with God. The fruit has been growth in relationship, marriages, numerical growth and great blessing on our finances. God has truly been faithful. As we look around the world we have also lost great men of integrity such as Mandela who learned to walk in forgiveness and reconciliation that changed a nation and the world. Also here at home in LNC we lost our dearly loved John Young at the age of 96. Another great man of integrity who kept a strong relationship with God while encouraging everyone he met to draw close to God. We will miss his fervent spirituality, prayers for revival and general encouragement to all.
Anticipating a new year is always exciting and for 2014 we have been sensing God speaking about 'Activating His Kingdom through the Power of the Tongue'. Many of us love speaking, however it is so easy to use our words carelessly; they are great creators of encouragement or discouragement. They hold power both in our lives and others. God spoke and the world came into being. Jesus spoke and the Kingdom was activated and miracles took place. 'Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts, consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark (James 3: 5). So this year we want to use our tongues creatively to speak what God says and see the Kingdom manifested:
1) In our relationship with God - To Praise God - 'With it (the tongue) we bless our God and Father' (James 3: 9). Commit to praising God this year. Make it a daily and moment by moment habit. When you feel like moaning praise Him and give thanks (Psalm 147: 1 & 1 Thessalonians 5: 18).
2) In relation to ourselves - 'Let the redeemed of the Lord say so' (Psalm 107: 2). As we speak over our own lives who God says we are, e.g. a new creation (2 Corinthians 5: 17), righteous in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), etc. then we activate the reality of God's Kingdom in our thinking, choices, actions and situations. We can change the spiritual atmosphere around us and even our circumstances through the commanding prayer of faith (Matthew 16: 19; Mark 11: 22-24). We must just keep our hearts full of love, faith and forgiveness (Mark 11: 25). Often God is looking for us to think, speak, act differently and change within ourselves in order to then shift things and change people around us.
3) In relationship to others - So often we put others down with our words or backbite and these things ought not to be (James 3: 8-9).We want to create a culture of honour where we are honouring one another and bringing the best out of each other by encouraging each other daily (Hebrews 3: 13). This can literally stop someone sinning, keep families and friends together and positively cause people to walk in their destiny. Parents words to their children can make a huge difference to their psychological and spiritual health and their future. We also want to speak healing over people's lives and remove obstacles and see miracles (Mark 11: 23). This is the Jesus kind of stuff. It's powerful when we begin to meditate on God's Word and then align our words with what God says.
4) In resistance to the enemy - Our Submission to and praise of God defeats Satan's plans (Psalm 149). When we resist Satan's ways with our words, thoughts and actions then he flees from us (James 4: 7). There is power in the name of Jesus (John 14: 12-14).
5) In reconciling people to God - We know the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Romans 1: 16) and we want to share what we believe about God with others who don't know Him this year and see their lives changed. One of my greatest joys has been to see many come into a real relationship with Jesus, some in their teens, some older, some on their death beds. The transformation that takes place in people's lives when they find the life of God (z oe) through accepting what Jesus did for them on the cross always amazes and thrills me. For the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Let's never forget that we can lead people to Jesus and see their lives on earth transformed and eternal destiny changed.
As a child of God you are a new creation and an ambassador who represents Him on the earth - Activate the Kingdom of God in your life and others this year. Plan in regular times with God, meditate on specific Scriptures, listen to Him and speak what He is speaking and so steer your life into the purposes of God by faith. This will produce the righteousness, peace and joy of the Kingdom of God for you, your family and the nations. Let's build a kingdom family that reaches generations in 2014.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1: 9 – 11
2012 was a great year for Britain in its celebration of the Queen's jubilee and in its hosting of the Olympics. People's efforts showed the best of British team work and excellence. In LNC we've been aiming for excellence together. Thinking and praying about 2013 God showed us that it is to be a year of growth in integrity. This is not just to be an internal thing but something that effects external change. Integrity is from the Latin word that means 'whole or complete'. It is about consistency of action; being honest to the convictions of our hearts. This takes faith and courage in a cynical world. Some of the words we have felt as we have prayed are:
Top Down & Inside Out
Integrity as Christians needs to begin as top down - Jesus is Lord and we need to make him our Lord and do things His way. As we confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10: 9) He changes us on the inside and we need to live that life out obeying His Spirit within us (Romans 10: 17). The challenge is to be honest as Christians, to reflect externally what we are internally - followers of Christ. This means Christ is in our words and lifestyle. We will only truly be happy and fulfilled when we are being who God made us to be. Being a man or woman of integrity is about what we do when no ones looking. This should affect our mind, our money and our behaviour toward our families, friends and work. Are you earning all you can, giving all you can, saving all you can (Wesley)? Are you loving your wife as Christ loved the Church or respecting your husband as the church does Christ (Ephesians 5: 22 - 33)? Are you being honest with your friends (1 Peter 1: 22)? Respecting your leaders (Hebrews 13: 17)? Having a servant heart? Forgiving? We need to challenge ourselves this year to live higher.
Integrity in Spirit Soul and Body - being right, thinking right and living right.
Paul prayed that the God of peace sanctify us completely, that our whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5: 23). God is challenging us to not only have a born again spirit but also to then think right and make right choices. In other words to have a mind that is meditating on God's Word so that we are being transformed into His image. As we do this then we are going to live right. One of the things that struck me towards the end of 2012 was how joyous it was for those of us who served the homeless in the Night Shelter at our LNC building in December. Even though it was sacrificial and inconvenient it gave a very deep sense of joy. We are made to serve as sons and daughters of God and when we do we are truly being who God has made us to be - representatives of Christ (Philippians 2: 5 - 7).
At the beginning of 2013 ask God how He wants you to grow and where you are called to serve, because as you do you will be surprised by the sense of fulfilment and joy that will come from living out your true identity. Jesus knew who He was, where He had come from and where He was going and so was able to serve His Father's purpose (John 13: 3 - 4). He wasn't afraid of the challenge.
Being & Making Excellent Disciples
As we live with integrity (top down and inside out) we live excellently. People will be attracted to honest, purposeful and joyous lives. Another incident that was a blessing to me recently was when someone who was not normally among our church family attended a birthday celebration and commented on how amazing the relationships were. She was a professional lady who meets with many groups up and down the country but she said she was impacted by something extra special in our relationships that she had not seen elsewhere. As we live honest lives of love for God and others then those looking on will be attracted. Challenge yourself to reach out to others in 2013. I believe God is talking to us about growth both internally and externally this year. Seeking to grow in our maturity in Christ will cause us to grow spiritually, relationally, numerically and financially (Matthew 6: 33).
Lets press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3: 14). If you challenge yourself others will be challenged. Have a great 2013 and may you be a kingdom disciple and make kingdom disciples.
The Lord has been speaking to us about breakthrough this year. Some of you have already been experiencing it. Praise God for all the things He has been doing with us as LNC in our finances, the new Norwood congregation who now have their own meeting place (and are now known as LNC House of Prayer for All Nations), for the South’s move into the home and for new family and friends who are attending, for the new ones that have been saved and come into the church and for those preparing to be baptised. Thank God for the missions to Kenya and to the homeless. We also praise God for all the testimonies of God’s goodness. There are so many testimonies this year of people feeling revived spiritually, having breakthroughs in their families, finance, in business and in cells and mentoring groups. Praise God for the strength that is coming to the men from the High Climber quads, from the Women of Worth groups, for those being added in the House of Prayer congregation and that they have had up to 16 people on a Sunday.
Consider Your Ways
We were all challenged in May by Louis & Edna’s visit to us. The women were challenged in the Dare to Dream Conference to walk closely with God and each other and to dream dreams and align themselves to reach their goals. The men, core leaders and whole church were challenged by Louis from Haggai 1 to consider our ways.
It is always good to pause and take time to consider before God whether the things we have been doing are still the things we should be doing. If they are still right then to consider whether we are doing them in the way God wants us to do them and with the right heart attitude to God and others.
Go up the Mountain
One of the ways we were challenged was to go up the mountain and take time to be with God. Yet, we were challenged to not only experience God but spend long enough to hear from God and know exactly how he wants us to be now and what He wants us to do. In this way we will exactly obey His instructions for our lives and be the most fruitful.
I was personally challenged to forgive spiritual fathers and leaders of the past in order to be open to spiritual fathers and God the Father for the future. As a leadership we took space over the summer to listen to God and spend time together to hear and be refreshed in what God has called us to as a church so that we can approach the vision in new confidence and faith and see His success.
Breakthrough by the obedience of faith
If you are still believing for breakthrough then let’s remember that God is our vindicator (Ps. 54:1). We are not to look for it in our own strength or schemes. That’s called walking in the flesh but we are to walk in radical obedience to God’s will and word to us (Romans 8: 12 - 14). That is the obedience of faith (Romans 1: 5). Fast, pray and ask what God is saying to you, your family and your cell group and church. How does God want me to align my life with my brothers and sisters and spiritual leaders? As you hear and obey you will enter by faith into grace in which you will stand and rejoice (Romans 5: 2). David found this in difficult situations. He would not take things into his own hands and slay Saul but he waited for God and was obedient to Him. King Saul was told by the prophet Samuel that obedience is better than sacrifice. Don’t trespass and then try and cover it up by making great sacrifices, just be an obedient faith-filled son of Abraham.
Breakthrough through divine order
God wants you to walk in breakthrough, revival, and favour, but it comes through divine order; choosing God’s ways not our own. We need to choose to alignment ourselves with God. Hear God’s voice to you today. Is He speaking to you about tithing or giving generously of your money, time or talent (Malachi 3: 10 – 11 & 2 Corinthians 9: 6 - 11)? Is He speaking to you about the way you treat your husband or wife, listen so that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Peter 3: 1-4, 7). Is He speaking to you about honouring your parents or your spiritual mums and dads in the house of God? Is God speaking to you about ministering to the needy (Is 58: 6 - 8). Breakthrough comes that way – may it come to you.
Breakthrough through Prayer
Let’s remember to be praying for the Holloways in their new situation. And remember the Owens in France, the Dzvenes in Derby, the Nothnagels and Van-der-Merwes in South Africa. Keep praying for Mary Young and Lovette at this time for complete health. And take time over the Christmas holidays to hear God’s voice to you. He is Lord of the breakthrough.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses……… Acts 1: 8 (NIV)
As we look back at 2011 we can see through the good times and the struggles that God was causing us to be more dependent on Him. Like the disciples at the beginning of the book of Acts we can be in a place where we feel weak, confused and not sure of the future. However Jesus is saying He is there in His resurrection power to show us that He is real and has a Kingdom purpose for us. This is going to be fulfilled through His power.
As we (elders, core leaders and others) have prayed and sought the Lord over the Christmas period some of the words have indicated breakthrough, revival and a tsunami of God’s power and love washing over us in this New Year. There were still challenges for the disciples after the resurrection and Pentecost but they had a new strength to combat them. Let’s be filled with the Spirit as we enter this New Year so that we can walk in breakthrough through everything we face in life. If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8: 31)? We are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us (Romans 8: 37).
We thank God for all that He will do this year. Praise God for Christian and Kara as they continue their equipping journey in South Africa; for Jason and Joelle as they continue to touch the lives of those in Normandy; for Kennedy & Sylvia as they plant their new cell congregation in Norwood; for all the creative outreaches that will take place through the newly reformed cells this year; for Women of Worth and High Climbers for the men; for our Refreshment Days as we spend time drawing close to God; for our outreaches to the community – Parenting, Jubilee lunch, Marriage weekend, ministry to the homeless, etc. Also for the missions that will take place into Kenya through Brian and Margaret and Roger this year. And for everything else that has not been mentioned. God is a good God and as He filled the disciples, so He will fill you with the power of His Holy Spirit for breakthrough this year. Happy New Year!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes....Romans 1: 16
During the month of August we saw the riots in the streets of London and other major cities in the UK. My reaction was both anger and sadness. How could our country have come to this? At first it was thought to be just young teens but after thousands of arrests it is clear that it was people from every background and age group.
Our Response as a society
Our response needs to be similar to God’s. In his fatherhood he brings both wrath/justice and grace/mercy. It is right that there is punishment but it is more than a justice situation, it also needs a social change. Every member of society touching the lives of each other including young people with grace and truth. Fathering a future generation so that they understand they are loved through the example of discipline and nurture. What some might call ‘tough-love’.
Our Response as a church
As Jesus’ church we can show his love for those who are isolated and caught up in anger, rejection and sin. For example, as we demonstrate the good news of the Kingdom through our care of young people down our street or in our neighbourhood it will give them a sense that we care and that therefore our God must care. We can meet the social need. Yet it is not just a justice and social issue, it is also a moral and spiritual issue. The only true way change will come is by a change of heart.
The gospel is the answer
Whatever background or generation the good news of Jesus can deliver people from within through the mercy and power of God. We need to bring that message to the world because in it is deliverance (that’s literally what salvation means). Through faith in Jesus, God’s righteous nature is also revealed in us (Romans 1: 17). We are changed from the inside out.
As we live as a Kingdom family we will reach generations.
Other News about August
• We thank God for the mission to Kenya this August. Brian, Margaret and Anne caught up with our friends and contacts. They also conducted a ‘People Helpers Course’ and there was a very positive response to this basic counselling training.
• Pray for Roger who is in Kisumu, Kenya at the moment building the new orphanage. Natasha Greene is visiting him with a friend at the moment.
• We thank God for Jason & Joelle and family. The Afriyie’s went to see them this summer. They are encouraged and have been ministering to people in their home and have a vision to bring transformation to the area around them. They also want to use their home as a hospitality base for those visiting Normandy.
• Thank God for the Birmingham mission where the young people were encouraged in their faith. As a result of the mission Rachel has run a youth event which raised £57 for charity and saw three make a commitment to Christ and many more ministered to.
• Christian and Kara are continuing to be challenged and encouraged in South Africa on their year of equipping. They have just been on poverty week where they have had to live as the homeless and survive on very little for a week. Keep praying for them as God equips them for His purposes.
We are well into 2011 now. And as usual life is busy. There are challenges of family life, finances and health. We have to contend with things every day.
One of the wonderful things about Jesus is that as the Son of God he taught us how to be sons of God (men & women). As he was growing he lived his life in submission and respect to his earthly parents but all the time grew in his relationship and understanding of his heavenly Father (Luke 2: 41 – 52). He spent regular time with his Father in prayer (Luke 6: 12). He said I only do and say that which I see the Father doing and saying (John 12: 49). He also told us that God is a father to us and has room in his heart for us (John 14: 2); that the only way to the Father is through the Son (John 14: 6), who died to take away our sin. As we trust in the Father and Jesus today (John 14: 1), our hearts will be filled with his love and peace. We will not be orphans or feel alone but will know we are loved by our heavenly Father who is there for us and in us by his Holy Spirit (John 14: 16-18).
Let’s pray for Kudzie and Heather who have moved outside of London to a new home in Derbyshire near Heather’s parents. Let’s thank God for the South Africa mission for what He did in the youth & student team over the Easter break. The Lord developed servanthood in the team as they served in cleaning the disabled school’s classrooms and helped weed out roots in a piece of land to prepare it for a playground for the foster home. Many grew in their closeness to Jesus (2 of the team committed their lives to Jesus and one made a recommitment). Some wonderful life transforming relationships were developed in the Townships and the Victory Church in Jeffries Bay and Derbenville Family Church in Cape Town. It was good to see Christian and Kara who are doing well on their year of training. They also send their greetings.
Being Family Together
Finally having the Father’s heart is also about realising that we are family together. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s keep honouring one another as we do the work of the Kingdom, both in LNC and across the world whether Afrikaans or Xhosa Christians in South Africa or Christians from other churches in London and the UK. God is building a kingdom family that reaches generations and this can only happen as we have a loving submissive respect for God and each other.
What a year 2010 has been. God has done so many things – Las & Lila have been married, baby's have
been born, baptisms have happened, people have committed their lives to Jesus. Marriage seminars have taken place, there have been men and women's mentoring and the cells have been active in serving the community through the Besom project among other things, as well as strengthening and caring for each other. There have also been Kenya missions, Birmingham youth missions and youth outreach evenings. There have been parenting courses and marriage weekends away. There has been Coffee shop revive and the parent and toddlers group. Jason & Joelle have planted into Normandy and
Christian & Kara are about to get equipped in South Africa.
All these things are a part of walking in our inheritance, which has been our theme in 2010. It takes courage and obedience to God to walk in the things he has asked us to do. It also takes a relationship with God - being willing to spend time with Him. Let's never forget that immediately after the 10 commandments (Deut 5: 6 - 22) comes the command to love the Lord our God with all our heart (Deut 6: 4 - 6). We can only do God's will when we love him and we can only love him when we know he loves us (1 John 4: 19). This is eternal life to know the only true God and Jesus Christ who He has sent (John 17: 3). It's about relationship. We know this eternal life is the key blessing of our New Covenant inheritance. But along with that comes Kingdom family, a kingdom purpose – bringing heaven to earth and eventually a new heaven and earth with the reward of an eternity with Jesus. So as we enjoy Christmas with friends and family and then begin 2011, let's take time to seek God and hear His voice telling us He loves us, that we're worth it (He must think that as he died for us) and He has a purpose for our lives.
Then as we enter 2011 we will enter with that sense of being people in the purpose of God and we will be ready to move into the mission, discipleship and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus served the mission of His Father out of relationship with His Father and was therefore able to disciple others out of deep love and in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we move forward let’s remember that God does not want us to walk alone - we do all this as a team and kingdom family - reaching generations.
I hope you are enjoying 2010. At present we are studying the book of Deuteronomy as a church. Last
year we were emphasising the importance of preparing to enter into our promised land. This year we are looking at how to walk in our inheritance – in the blessings God has for us. When we are blessed we can bless others.
Deuteronomy was written for three reasons. Firstly to remember all that God had done with his people – so that they could give thanks and remember the lessons learnt. Secondly in order that Israel could renew their covenant with God before entering the Promised Land so that they would not be distracted by other gods and thirdly so that they could prepare themselves to live in the land in a godly way.
Remembering and giving Thanks
In the same way we can look back over our lives and over the last year and see all that God has been trying to teach us and learn from it. I believe this will be a key to walking in what God has for us in 2010. Where was God asking you to trust Him and be obedient to Him?
As a church I thank God for the 13 baptisms last year. We also thank God for the missions to Kenya and the youth mission to Birmingham where the young people served local communities by washing windows and clearing up houses; For all the new ones who have given their lives to Christ and for the births of 6 new babies in the church too; For the marriage of Christian and Kara as a wonderful example of a Christian couple doing relationship the God way; For the ministry of Louis & Edna to us as a church and the apostolic and prophetic words about growth that have been spoken over us; For the way Neil has taken on the Administrators role and for the values and vision and mission statements that have given renewed strength to us; For the outreach that has been taking place through Cafe shop Revive and the Parent and Toddlers group and the marriage course that some couples took part in last year.
I also remember how God has taken us through the wilderness of trusting him for provision when there was barely enough and thank him for providing new resources in 2010 so that there is enough. God is faithful!
I believe that as we remember what God has done it will now strengthen us in our commitment to God as we move forward with Him. The way Israel was to fulfil the commandments of God as a nation and walk in His blessing was by each person individually loving God from the heart. Each was to have a personal relationship with Him and respect and obey his voice (Deut 6: 1 – 7; Deut 28: 1 – 2). This would bring blessing on them and cause them to be a blessing to the nations. We too as God’s church, representing His Kingdom, need to listen to Him as individuals, pick up the vibrations of His voice, pay attention to them and put into practice what He is saying to us. As we do this we will more clearly pursue His will for us and be in a blessed state where we can be a blessing to others. There is so much peace in listening and obeying God.
As we pray, seek, love and fear God, he will equip us in what we are meant to do for Him. Our society today needs Christians who are fully committed to Jesus and willing to use their gifts to change our world. This will be in so many ways. Many will reach youth through loving them, listening to them, bringing them into their homes and teaching them the principles of God. Others will do this through their work, e.g. school teachers etc. Others will reach families through the parenting courses we are putting on this year. This will be indirectly through us building kingdom families that people see and want to emulate. Others will run businesses that will grow and provide employment and provide finance for the Kingdom. Others will minister through their medical gifts and others through their schools and universities. Everyone of these things is going on this year in LNC. I would encourage you as a Christian whether a member of LNC or another church to hear God and use your gifts for him. You may still be in the preparation stage. Get prepared and then move out in what God has called you to do. It will make a difference. The world is waiting for us to enter our inheritance and bring some answers. It’s all happened before – Schools, hospitals, and many businesses were started in ethical ways in the UK by Christians. God has chosen you to be a light to the nations. As people see your light they will seek the Light. Let’s go for it!