Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Power of the Prophetic

Today we had the wonderful privilege of having Keith Hazell come amongst us as a church leadership team.

Keith was over at the invitation of David King from Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells.

David (as is his nature) was feeling in a very kind and generous mood and so offered to release Keith to us for a day so we had him come and speak to us on a semi-strategic level and also come amongst our wider leadership team and bring prophetic encouragement.

It's simply awesome to see someone that has no previous relationship with most people in the room pick people out (strangers to them!) and clearly identify major things from their lives, both past, present and future.

Every single person that got spoken over was encouraged in the things that God has in store for them and I personally had many things underlined (almost to the word!) from previous prophetic words that Julian Adams has brought over the past 2 years.

I'm constantly amazed at how God speaks through other people so regularly and am encouraged by what might happen amongst us as God people in Medway in this coming season!

More Lord!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Mondays - Why am I so unsatisfied?

In some regards I love Mondays - The preachers Sabbath!

Monday is my Sunday - It's the day I get to kick back, take it easy and recharge my batteries before the onslaught of what the week ahead has in store.

However I also hugely dislike Mondays - My wife is at work, everyone else I know is at work too! So I'm left to my own devices, to conjure up my own entertainment until Natalie gets home after work and then my day off can begin.

It used to be easier when I had my own transport, but with only one car between us I find unless I can walk somewhere (there's nothing of note locally to do around here on your own) then I'll pretty much stay locked up in the house on my own until the afternoon.

Monday's are great for sorting out things like the banking and any online stuff that I normally wouldn't get time for in the week but I'm increasingly finding that this age old pattern of having Mondays off just doesn't fit with me.

Maybe if Natalie was a stay at home mum or housewife it would be better, but then I'd probably complain because I would lose the silence that so typically accompanies my current Monday's off!

I guess whatever way it goes I'll have something to complain about, and that's my point!

The apostle Paul said that "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:11–13

My situation isn't ideally how I would like it - I would love to have a whole day off with Natalie every week, with my own car so I'm not dependant on other peoples generosity in giving me lifts, I would like more money, a bigger house closer to the church and our friends, I would like more time to be free to meet with friends and family... I want more... I want more everything!!!

I am not in the place the apostle Paul was, I am not content!

The interesting thing about this is that the apostle Paul says he has learned to be content - It wasn't his natural disposition, otherwise he wouldn't have had to learn to do/be it. He was once like me but had found a way around this problem of being unsatisfied with his lot.

To be content is to be at peace, to be satisfied or fulfilled - It's not something that is either there or isn't there, it's a choice, an attitude or a way of thinking. Rather than focusing on where the lack is the apostle Paul was determined to focus on what he had.

Whether he had much or little he knew it didn't matter, he understood that all the things he once valued, the recognition of others (status) and the trapping of possessions and wealth all to be temporal. That they would one day fade into obscurity and lose their grip on him.

The apostle Paul had changed his way of thinking. He completely understood that all he needed and would ever need is the hope of Christ in his life. This hope is an eternal thing, it will never fail or fade. It is something that as Christians we experience now in part through the Holy Spirit but one day will experience in its fullness.
We will truly rejoice as we exchange our temporal lives for the everlasting eternal hope that can only be found in and through the life, work and testimony of Jesus.

On that day we will see the Glory of God shining radiant like the sun, face to face with no restrictions, no more pain, sickness, torment, sin or death.

Eternal joy, peace, freedom, love and eternal contentment will be our lot and we will be satisifed!

When I start to concentrate on the lack in my life or the areas where I want more I start to feel a high level of discontent.
I lose focus on the important things that I do enjoy in this place like a wife that loves me, a church that supports me, friends and family that encourage and uplift me, a place that we can call home and find rest - But more importantly I lose focus on the most important thing that comes above everything else!

The apostle Paul was no fool, he had tried everything, being seen by men and applauded by them as he led a righteous life devoid of the true reality of God. He had money and status and probably wanted for no earthly thing in that season. Then he became a fool for Christ and travelled from place to place dependant on the finance of those around him and the money he could bring in with his own hands and tent making skills. He was moved from place to place by God, rejected by many, imprisoned for his faith and generally held in disrepute by those that once revered him - But in that season he understood that all the things that he once held to be so important in his life were actually rubbish, refuse, dung compared to what he had now gained in Jesus.

I'm reminded to fix my eyes on the one that sustains me by His Word, the one that has bought me true and everlasting freedom, the one that rescued me from the jaws of death, bought me with His own sacrifice, exchanged His righteousness for my sin, reconciled me to Himself, and won the battle that I could never win, and in so doing that he has opened up a way for me to have a true and life changing relationship with an eternal God that has come close and made His home in me - This is truly awesome and something that I'm unsure I will ever truly appreciate!

If I were ever to lose sight of the magnificence of the one who did all this for me, then all the things I could ever desire and acquire, those temporal things that promise to bring me happiness, they could never possibly console me, for I would have lost the greatest treasure I could ever have!

Thank you Jesus - In you I am content!