Posted by: philw0410 | May 19, 2010

Now I REALLY want an i-phone…check it out!

Astonishing.  A picture of the future?

Posted by: philw0410 | May 19, 2010

James Maloney in Bedford

Well, I have just returned from an amazing conference in Bedford, hosted by the Kings Arms Church, where Julian Adams and James Maloney were the guest speakers. Themed around the supernatural working of God, the weekend was a powerful blend of teaching, corporate worship and prayer. I had never come across James Maloney before, but boy, what an impact he made! James is an American pastor, who for the last 30 years has travelled the globe, in particular to closed Muslim nations, preaching Jesus and ministering in the power of the Spirit. Last year he suffered a total adrenal failure in his body, due to the punising schedule of the last 3 decades. Docors advised him to take 1-3 years out of ministry, but 9 months later he is back in business!

One of James main gifts is as a prophet. I have rarely, if ever, seen such a remarkale prophetic gift at work, literally revealing the secrets of mens hearts. On the Saturday night James spent 30 mins or so, randomly picking individuals that he had never met before, and prophesying over them. Except, this was prophesying with an incredibly acurate word of knowledge element thrown in. James time again would literally reel off fact after fact about individuals lives – e.g. ” 17 years ago you had an accident, you hurt the right side of hip, now you have a crushed disc in our back…and 9 months ago such and such happend in your family etc etc ” Person after person was left open mouthed as he ‘read their mail’. Often he would then pray and minister healing. I know of at least one lady who was healed – she was prayed for because she had a metal pin in her wrist, after a fracture. She previously could not put any weight on that arm, but the nexy day was completely free of pain! I wonder what has become of the metal pin?!

Seeing that level of prophetic anointing at work suddenly made 1 Cor 14:24 make alot more sense to me – ” ..if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner….and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘ God is really among you!'” While James prophesied, a palpable fear of God could be felt in the room – God really was revealing the secrets of mens hearts, and it was hard to escape the fact that God was really among us.

It gave me a fresh aspiration for what is possible in hearing God with ever increasing clarity. I want to see that kind of prophetic gifting evident in Church life on a regular basis – it is crucial to winning more worshippers! Perhaps this is the new kind of ‘seeker-sensitive’ ministry we need to be looking for – the kind of ministry that does not just pander to consumeristic urges, but which demonstrates the vital, real, awesome God we serve, to people who do not yet know Him.

Posted by: philw0410 | May 11, 2010

The Goodness of God

One of the most wonderful rediscoveries of thie last year has been the revelation of God’s goodness. I have always known this theologically, but somehow God has worked to seap this glorious and releasing truth into the deeper places of my heart and soul. ‘The goodness of God’ is one of the foundational truths of all there is to say and know about God. I love this quote from CH Spurgeon, who said:

“ When others behave badly to us, it should only stir us up the more heartily to give thanks unto the Lord, because He is good; and when we ourselves are conscious that we are far from being good, we should only the more reverently bless Him that He is good. We must never tolerate an instant’s unbelief as to the goodness of the Lord; whatever else may be questioned, this is absolutely certain, that Jehovah is good; His dispensations may vary, but His nature is always the same.” (C. H. Spurgeon).

Posted by: philw0410 | February 12, 2010

Prophetic that Leads us to God’s Presence

I am preparing to be in Manchester this weekend for a worship training event called Preparing for the Presence of God. The aim of the day is to equip us to move us from running good meetings, to actually meeting with God! I am taking a session looking at how the prophetic gift specifically draws us into the presence of God.

One of my conclusions, as I have prepared, is that we need to move from a mere adherence to a theological principle that we have contributions in our meetings, to a radical re-orientation towards pursuing His Presence, which teh gifts of the Spirit help us towards. It is the shift from Principle to Presence.

Don’t get me wrong, principles are great and vitally important. I beleive in the principle that spiritual gifts must be exercised for the strengthening of the Church ( 1 Cor 14:26 ). But somehow, we are so easily content if we have followed the principles, even if they have not brought us to a place of actually encountering the risen Jesus! The reason the principles are there is to lead us into His Presence. It is not a theological principle that I will be captivated by for all eternity – its is Jesus Himself! It is His presence that I am made for and long for. The goal of my existence is to be swallowed up in love for the person of God.

You may, like me, have had those conversations on the way home in the car after a Sunday meeting. ‘Was it a  good meeting or not?’ So often, we evaluate that question on the basis of ‘were there any contributions today?, rather than, ‘did we meet God today – did we encounter Him!’ As you follow the logic of Paul’s argument in 1 Cor 14, he clearly is expecting that the prophetic gift will bring genuine revelation ( 1 Cor 14:26; 30 ) but also life transformation ( 1 Cor 14:24-25). The prophetic gift is designed to bring us into His Presence in a radical way.

I pray that we increasingly learn how to prophesy in a way that is not just ticking the boxes of charismatic theoloigical principle, but powertfully reveals God’s heart in a way that transforms us. Wigglesworth once said that he never dared to prophesy unless there was ‘fire in it’. That advice is as sound and salient today, as ever it was.

God, place a fresh fire on your Prophets and let them burn brightly with the Glory of your Presence once again.

Posted by: philw0410 | December 1, 2009

The Day of Favour!

I was meditating on the phrase that Jesus uses in Luke 4:19-21 regarding today being ‘a day of favour’. Jesus reads a very well known passage of scripture from the prophet Isaiah in his home town synagogue. It was well known to the hearers and yet, amazingly, Jesus changes what he reads, or at least stops mid-text! His key note, as he stops, is ‘ to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour ‘. The Jews listening would have been anticipating the next line, which reads ‘ and the day of the vengeance of our God’, conjuring up all of their messianic hopes of liberation from foreign oppression and rule.

Yet Jesus, does not read it. Sitting down, he announces….” Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing “ He has just ushered in the day of favour.

Paul, perhaps with this in mind, says in 2 Cor 6:1-2 “ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation “. The ‘day of favour’ is actually an era, or epoch of favour – an epoch that we are still living in right now. The heavens have been opened and they have never been shut up again. Today is a day of the favour of our Lord. God really is in a good mood. He has come to do good things.

Paul specifically mentions two aspects of the nature of this day of favour, quoting Isaiah 49:8 “ In the time of favour I heard you, in the day of salvation I helped you “. But again, Paul changes the tense! Isaiah prophesies….I will hear you…I will help you…..But for Paul, he is standing in a day of promises fulfilled…..I helped you…I heard you! We are already standing in the place of favour in Christ. We have been helped, we have been heard! We live in a day of unprecedented favour, opened up to us by Jesus.

Posted by: philw0410 | November 17, 2009

God is Always Speaking

I am learning more and more that God is always speaking. Hearing God is not so much about asking him to speak, but listening to what He is already saying. I am trying to live more consciously aware of His voice, wherever I am, whatever I am doing. As I do, I am finding that God is always saying something! He likes to talk.

An example of this was the other week. One morning I had been listening to a song where suddenly the line ‘ Blind eyes shall open’ leaped out at me. I knew God was for some reason highlighting that piece of information. I logged it, and went out for my morning prayer walk. Half-way round, as I was walking past some park gates, I felt God whisper, clear as a bell, ‘I want you to go in the park over there.’ So I did. On entering the small park, I saw just one lady walking her dogs. I began to wonder if she was the reason God had had directed me in there.

I walked past her, praying in my head for her. Again, I felt God say to me, ‘I want you to go and pray for her – she has a relative who is sick.’ At this point I start panicking, because realise I am actually going to have to do something that requires some courage! God helps me out, by causing one of her dogs to jump out and start barking at me. I stop and begin interacting with the lady about her dogs. And then…a took a deep breath….” Hi, I am a Christian…I just felt God say that you have a close relative who is sick…I wonder, could I pray for them’!

The woman thought, paused, and then said to me – ‘ Its funny you should say that… sister is going into hospital this week for an operation on her eyes and she is slowly losing her eyesight.’ Suddenly, all that God had been speaking in that short space of time made sense! So we prayed, there and then in the park, for her sister to be healed and receive back her sight. We then chatted for some while and I left by simply saying, “God is extremely good and he loves you so much. ”

God is always speaking. His words have life and power. His words can break into the normality of our days with a sunshine of surprises. There is intrinsic life in just hearing Him speak.

Lord, help us to keep listening.

Posted by: philw0410 | October 29, 2009

Resurrection Life and Suffering

I am re-reading George Whitefields journals at the moment. What an inspiring man of God, from whom so much can be learned! If you have never read these, go now and buy yourself the nearest available copy….sell your TV if you must. 

One lesson in particular that comes through loud and clear is that Revival and suffering seem inextricably to go hand in hand. Whitefield grew so used to this truth, that no sooner had he witnessed a great breakthrough than he was praying that God would grant him grace to withstand whatever test or challenge that was about to come immediately after. More often than not, Whitefields challenges came in the form of sickness or opposition from the religious establishment.

We cannot escape the truth that resurrection power and sharing Christ’s sufferings do go together. There is something about great tests of the faith that open the door to a new flood of resurrection life. The Apostle Paul knew the truth of this intimately. When writing to the Corinthian Church ( 2 Cor 1 ), he joins these two truths together in his apostolic experience to date –  ” We do not want you to be uniformed brothers about the troubles we suffered in the province of Asia…..we suffered far beyond our ability to endure….but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead”. Paul’s sufferings, which included shipwrecks, stonings, death threats, imprisonments, floggings and betrayal…..led him to encounter the glorious resurrection power of Jesus in a completely new way. He knew both fellowship in sufferings and resurrection power ( Phil 3:10 ).

One thing that suffering does is lead you to greater dependence. More and more, God is interested in my dependence being upon His limitless supply of resurrection power and life – the life whose source is heavenly and power is divine. Every challenge that comes our way is an opporunity to experience the greater reality of Christ’s resurrection power. My saviour lives and His Spirit lives in me!

Posted by: philw0410 | October 9, 2009

Supernatural Love – Ephesians 3:17-19

I love Paul’s prayer here, as it delivers an incredible invitation from God to know and experience a greater revelation of His love for us in Christ. Paul says, first, you are already rooted and established in Gods love – it is already done, you are already loved, accepted, planted into Christ as a gift. But, he writes, ‘ I pray that you would have power… to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’….and ‘ to know this love that surpasses knowledge’.

This sounds, on the face of it, like a complete oxymoron – to know something that cannot be known. And yet, in this, Paul is inviting us, through the power and ministry of the Spirit ( Rom 5:5 ), to come into an encounter with the love of God that is supernatural. If, as the famous hymn says, Gods love is ‘divine and all-excelling’, then His love is an otherworldly, heavenly, perfect and supernatural kind of love. It is a love that is not just humanly ‘known’. But it is a love that is ours in Christ, and which by the Spirit we are invited to come closer and enjoy. While I am already rooted in God’s love, I have a wonderful invitation to come deeper and enjoy Him more! To know this love that surpasses knowledge.

This is of course a major reason why we want to be a people saturated with the Spirit – so that we can live in an ongoing, daily awareness of the intoxicating and all-together liberating love of God! And as John Piper says of mission, we can only commend to others what we ourselves are cherishing. At the heart of successful mission, is a people who successfully worship. I can commend His love, because I am cherishing it deeply myself.

Posted by: philw0410 | September 29, 2009

Thankfulness leads us to the Courts of the King

I have just returned from a  fantastic weekend with my good friends at Kings Church, Carlisle. I travelled with my buddies Simon and Dom, and together we led various sessions with sections of the Church, training, hanging out, eating, laughing and generally enjoying God! Travelling and working in team is such a vital issue. First, it makes us all more effective, and second, it is just more fun! The sense of synamic team life in teh early Church always deeply impacts me, as we find the like of Silas, Timothy and Paul working together in such a wholehearted and meaningful way, travelling together, being in prison together, writing scripoture together, suffering together, seeing Kingdom breakthroghs together, planting Churches together. ‘TOGETHER’ is sucha  vital truth. I am so grateful for good friends.

The weekend itself was amazing, in many respects. But one thing I saw again with great clarity, is the connection between thankfulness and the in-breaking of Jesus glory. On saturday night we spent time with the wider home-group leaders. I fully intended to teach, and before I did we just came to God in prayer. I thought it would be but a brief moment, but God rushed in on us all, as His presence flooded the room. Some laughed hysterically, some cried, some just basked in God’s goodness. I love the moment that HE comes! It changes everything.

After 45 mins or so of this, Simon suggested that we spend some moments just thanking God for things he had done in our lives. The next 40 minutes were, honestly, so moving and so inspiring, as one by one people began to share their ‘God stories’ – stories of deliverance from sickness, pain, rejection….stories of provision and protection….stories of salvation and freedom. Oh my word – it is true that we do come into the courts of the King via thankfulness and praise ( Ps 100: 4). It was an awesome night. 

The next morning, as the Church gathered for their Sunday service, we saw God’s Kingdom break in, I believe, largely on the back of our previous evening’s celebration of God’s goodness. There was a great flow of the prophetic as God spoke to us. We also saw some great healings. As I was about to start praying for those with sickness, two girls from the childrens work came through to testify that Jesus had healed them during the morning! This led to more, as is often the case! Two ladies were healed of sinus problems, one of long standing lower back pain, one of the after-effects of a broken ankle that had led to ligament damage and one man who felt significamnt improvement in his asthma! Yes Lord!

On top of this, two young men gave their lives to Jesus! One of them descibed how in the worship time he could feel heat and fire going up his arms, so he started to raise them like everyone else, even though he was an unbeleiver. After he responded, he told us that he had come an atheist, and was leaving a Christian! God is supernaturally good. More than we ask or imagine.

Thankfulness leads us to heavens courts. ” Worship the Lord with Gladness, come before Him with joyful songs” ( Ps 100:2).

Posted by: philw0410 | September 18, 2009

Miracles on the Streets!

A friend of mine saw an incredible creative miracle on Northumberland Street, the main shopping street in Newcastle City centre, last weekend. He ended up praying for a young lad, who was surrounded by his friends, because he had no ligaments in his thumbs. Whilst explaining this to my friend, he bent both his thumbs right back to demonstrate. To his astonishment, after prayer, he tried his first thumb, and he could no longer bend it back because a ligament had grown! His second thumb was soon healed in he same manner, and he and his mates just started freaking out! A totally creative miracle! My friend then invited the Spirit to come and numbers of them start immediately feeling the presence of God in their bodies. Amazing days!

I was out praying last week and I felt God give me a word about praying for blind eyes to see. As I continued walking and praying I felt God say I want you to go into that park over there, so I did. There was one lady walking her two dogs. As I walked past her I asked God for a word of knowledge and I felt Him say, ‘she has a relative who is sick. Go and pray with her!’ As i walked past her again, trying to pluck up courage to say something, one of her dogs starts barking at me, so I stop and we get into a conversation ( thanks Lord ). I then tell her what God has said to me, and ask her if it is right! She says, ‘its funny you should say that because my sister is going into hospital this week for an operation on her eyes – she has a degenerative condition which eventually will make her blind’ Bingo! So we pray, right there in the park, for Jesus to come and heal. I then have a great conversation with the lady and finish by telling her that God is good and really loves her. I walk away just so thankful and so elated that we get to partner with God in creating these opportunities to bless people that He loves so much!

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