11:30 PM GMT
11:30 PM GMT
2:44 PM GMT
there are literally no words…
to describe church this morning. God’s presence was pouring onto the streets outside our building, and I became so lost in Him that long after we finished I had to stop playing and singing up on stage so that they could lock the building up…and the promises and prophetic words we had over our church at the start of this year are start to gain momentum.
make no mistake, these are exciting times.
Now I’ve come away from church and my mind is a flurry of activity - I’ve started writing a brand new worship song, and I’ve got two mini-preaches, as it were, on my heart that I’d like to share with you…. so watch this space, but above all else,
seek His face and embrace His love today.
Without wanting to witter on and lose the point of what is on my heart to communicate to you all today let me say this;
You may be encountering a situation that verges on the unimaginable, or facing a choice that borders on impossible; but in your life, God is working, and He wants you to be assured of this; to take your eyes off of the here and now with all its complications, and just have faith and know the Lord is fighting your corner for you. Finally, let me tell you this my dear, dear people -
Whether you are a well-established Christian, taking the first steps in your walk with God or even if you are repulsed by the very notion of there being a Creator, Heavenly Father and Saviour for all of us down here, it does not change the simple, undeniable fact that
with a passion that the human mind cannot grasp and the human heart cannot replicate, and whether you reject it or soak in it, that love will be there, whatever happens.
Our God is an AWESOME GOD.
Love in Him,
and blessings over all of you,
8:16 PM GMT
Are you framing your future by the shape of your past?
What follows are some notes i’ve extracted and adapted that were used by the Pastor at my church this morning. I hope they speak into your heart and your current situations in the same way they spoke to mine!
What will the future look like? What do you really see happening in your life, and in the life of your church in the future? We can believe for big things when we speak, but what about in our hearts?
Many things impact how we envisage the future; our personality and attitude, experiences, resources…All of these create the frame within which we view the times to come. When discussing the possibility of a holiday to an exotic location for example; one may see the possibilities of sun, sand, new experience, etc. Whilst another would see expense, long travel, possibility of illness and the confusion of immersing yourself in a different culture. These extremes can exist within families and lead to tension, but when managed well they can bring balance.
The same can be said when speaking of our own lives, personally and corporately. Some people have been locked into a mode of thinking or behaviour for so long that the thought that they could be any different seems impossible. Likewise, a church can have functioned for so long in a certain way that the image of that church becoming or beginning anything else looks like a step too far.
Isaiah 64v4 says the following,
“For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for Him!”
Paul then quotes this in his letter to the Corinthians when he says -
“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”“ - 1 Corinthians 2v9
We need God at the centre of our lives. You need God at the centre of your life; because only God can bring the kind of impact that changes things right at the heart, at the core of you. Isaiah 64 speaks of God in universe-transforming terms - trembling nations, quakes mountains, boiling water…God is not dormant, but an ever-moving God of impact, and we cannot dismiss that, just because we may not be seeing it in our own lives first-hand in the present moment;
He is not some obscure entity on the edge of existence that we wonder what He is all about. He is central to our existence and wants to be central in our life.
What is your view of your future? The drive for change in a heart can be seen worldwide in millions who chase it in various forms - lotteries, relationships, experiences to name but a few. When you see who you are, your fears, your insecurities and failings, can you possibly picture a future that could be any different? When you look back and see where you have come from, can you imagine anything different when you look forward? When we talk of being heroes and having mighty adventures for God, do you feel left out because you consider yourself too weak and helpless?
This is why life without God at the centre always seems to produce false dawns; ‘my circumstances may change but I don’t.’ …Well God makes all the difference.
If you can’t see it? You don’t think it’s possible. If you drive with your headlights off at night (not recommended) you are far more uncertain of completing your journey safely and successfully than if they were switched on and bathing the road ahead with a wash of light.
Well God is a God who does the impossible and goes beyond your ability to comprehend. No other power in this world is capable of bringing this kind of transformation! With God at the wheel, our journey is always guaranteed a safe conclusion, and so we can allow our fears of crashing to fall away. So,
Stop framing your future by the shape of your past.
Stop making decisions based on the presumption that it will be the same as before! Before has begone! God is going to do a new thing in you!
Is the frame of your future inhabited by your past, and what has gone before? Do you feel like the days yet to come will be lived out in the shadow of the days already passed? If so, then you should know this: Jesus sets you free from your past. He does not just mend the past, he rebuilds you.
So pray like never before…work like never before…go for the extra, not the ordinary….go for excitement, not for normality…be part of the vision, not just on a worldwide-scale, but within your church…be active in the vision of your church.
The past is not our future: they are foundation blocks on which we can build our future.
We may be aiming high, but in line with what God is capable of? -
“No mind has conceived”
…maybe we’re just not aiming high enough, my brothers and sisters.
Have a wonderful day, and I pray the blessing and Spirit of God upon each and every one of your precious lives this day and forevermore.
6:32 PM GMT
Gideon and God in Judges 6…
The passage I came to read today on my lunch break was Judges 5-6; Chapter 5 is a song sung by Deborah and Barak that describes the preceding chapters’ events, but it was the following chapter that really got me thinking.
In chapter 6, Gideon asks God to prove His intention to use Gideon as a mighty warrior and battle-winner, first by leaving a fleece covered with dew by morning, and the second time keeping it dry.
Now, as I said in a message I later sent around to my discipleship group, I don’t see these verses as a recount of Gideon testing God, but seeking confirmation…double, even triple-checking, if you like. I say this because in verse 34, it states ‘Then the spirit of the Lord possessed him’, and as a direct result of this Gideon made a call to arms, rounded up troops and sent out messengers to summon more from neighbouring lands. By doing this, his faith had begun to conclude for itself what might happen, and he clearly knew that God could be in the opening stages of stirring up something potentially huge inside of him. Gideon then asked for the first sign, and was duly answered by the Lord. Then, after saying “Please don’t be angry with me” in verse 39, he asked for once more sign of confirmation. Testing the truth in God’s calling? I don’t think so. I believe he was merely being wise and checking that what he was about to undertake was 100%, fully from the Lord, and not conjured from any worldly element or personal emotion…
The lesson I took from it?
Don’t rush into battle without full confirmation from God that it’s your fight to enter.
Praying that you’re all being blessed today, whatever you’re up to!
In His love,
2:00 PM GMT
this mornings’ service was so intense…love it!
- Spirit-filled praise and singing.
- God’s presence igniting raging fires in peoples’ hearts.
- A heartfelt word from God about using the Lord as our banner in our daily lives;
- Read Exodus 17:8-16. I would paste it here, but if it encourages you to open your Bible, can’t be a bad thing right? :)
- Encouraging discussions about upcoming plans within the church as well as possible indicators of where my future might lie.
- Talking with my discipleship partners about what’s on the horizon and the growth we’re seeing in each other.
make no mistake, these are exciting times and God is moving.
Have a smashing Sunday folks; wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, do it with the guidance of the Lord and a love for all that surrounds you. If things aren’t so great, drop me a message; i’m happy to talk with you and pray for you, or even better, talk to God! He’s a pro at it!
May you all be blessed more than you ever previously thought possible.
11:38 PM GMT
God is incredible, isn’t He?
I’m having fantastic conversations with fellow believers, and then to top my night off, a dear friend of mine has decided to make a fresh start and come back to the Lord…oh, how God loves it (as do i) when a prodigal returns to shelter in His grace, love and mercy!
“But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” - Luke 15:32
6:12 PM GMT
Fantastic Friday. God keeps on moving!
Today has been amazing. For two main reasons which I shall now elaborate in hopefully not-as-long and therefore not-as-tedious form as usual!
We took our Year 6’s today to see the Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader as part of what I initially mistook for some mass truancy, that later turned out not to be. Probably for the best.
The film moved me almost to the point of tears, and before you all begin with the “but Shaun, it’s a childrens film,” yes, but when you know the true message behind the story it becomes an altogether more beautiful thing and we left comforted that in an indirect way, every child of the 200-odd in that cinema had been ministered to through what they’d seen and heard!
one of the characters, Eustace, falls foul to temptation, and once he is healed of his resulting affliction by Aslan he describes the process of doing the wrong thing and the journey back to health thus;
“it hurt, but it was a good pain. Like removing a thorn from your foot.”
We fall short in some manner every single day, sometimes in a simple thought that we didn’t take captive soon enough, but sometimes in truly spectacular fashion! When we do, the road back to a fully-flourishing walk with God can be tough, draining and even hurt. But it’s a pain that benefits us in the long run. :)
I got a little stressed walking back to school because I was hot, slightly worn out, and certain children were being loud on purpose just to aggravate me (fall short daily, remember?)
So, I had a little bit of apology-to-God and attitude correction time when we got back to the school, and then proceeded to the staffroom to read the last two chapters of Joshua…
- which were great. Very confirming of Gods’ desire for us to lead a lifestyle of worship and at the same time adamant that we do not deviate from the narrow path that leads to His light!
Then God did something really cool, just like the other day. If you cast your minds back, I mentioned that on that first day two guys I work with asked me questions about my Bible and reading etc…over the course of the week they’ve even asked if i’ve been doing my reading each day and if i’m on the chapter I should be on…how incredible that God is using them to help keep me on track without them even realising!
On Tuesday one of them started reading my Bible which was pretty great (you can read about that here).
Well; The other sat down today, saw that I was reading and shared his favourite passage, Luke 23:34, and how he relates it to his class sometimes when they get their work completely wrong (he was being humourous…if you’ve never read the verse, read it, it’ll make more sense!). He then said to me,
“I need some wisdom to give to my class this afternoon. Anything you can recommend there, Shaun?”
Even though I knew he wasn’t asking out of a genuine spiritual longing for enlightenment, I thought to myself “this is a great opportunity to share a word from the Bible with him, even if it is going to be used by him for comedic purposes. Help me out here God!”
and He did! So my colleague Ian went away to teach this gem of info to his class of 30;
“Be very careful to follow everything… Do not deviate from it.”
- Joshua 23:6
God is amazing, and He has such a good sense of humour!
(i’m aware this is still quite long…sorry!)
love, in Him,
10:33 PM GMT
…two years ago, a couple from my Church encountered difficulties with their unborn child, Reuben, and subsequently, they sadly lost him. Naturally it shook their world as it would anybody’s, and so immediately we set out to ensure they were upheld in prayer and cared for by all. Well through that prayer and ministry of love, and with more than a healthy dose God’s grace and blessing, they were strengthened, remained faithful to Him, and then, He rewarded their obedience;
she fell pregnant again.
Long story short, this time the Lord had other things in mind, all went well, and their daughter Faith (fitting name, huh?) entered the world at 10:15 this morning.
The very best thing about God’s hand in all this?
The wife said “He has replaced our sorrow with joy”, and in a very literal sense too -
…for it was two years ago today that they lost Reuben.
God and His provision are so good. :)
11:09 AM GMT
whether in nature or in a person, the beauty of Gods’ design floors me every day! :)
This morning at Church…
The songs in worship were truly anointed. As in, it didn’t just sound good, with singing in-key and no instrument troubles (broken strings and playing the wrong note because your eyes are closed, anybody?).
I mean anointed as in, every single person in that service must have felt the presence of God in that building. As did the neighbours probably. He moved big-time.
So much so that even after the service had finished we carried on worshipping through song.
I then went for coffee with one of the other Youth Leaders, Laura, and we shared some great conversation about what God is laying on our hearts for the future of our Youth Group. The past few weeks has seen some exciting progress, and we are excited to keep chasing the truth that as long as we remain obedient and willing, God will use us as instruments of change in the lives of these guys we’re ministering to.
Lastly, I sat reading todays chapters of Joshua (13&14), and in verse 10 Caleb talks about how the Lord ‘kept me alive and well, even in the wilderness’.
That’s something we could all do with reminding ourselves of. In those moments where we feel God has taken His hand off of us, that we are no longer in His sight, He’s still very present, and very much at work - He’s using those times to instill in us a sense of why communicating with Him is so important; He’ll never force His love or grace upon us, but He’ll reveal it to us as soon as we get far enough past our strength threshold to cry out to Him.
Then, afterwards, you look back and think to yourself,
“why didn’t I call out sooner?” and God replies,
“because you needed to be emptied of every ounce that thought you could do it on your own.”
So if you’re in your own personal wilderness right now, I pray that you would
“continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.” - Colossians 1:23
…think back to that life-changing moment when you first gave your life to Christ. About how eye-opening it was. Or maybe you’ve yet to take a proper, fully-committed step. Every moment of every day is a chance to do it…and when you find yourself in a wilderness, and it becomes clear that the weight is too heavy for you, then cry out. God’s there the whole time, overseeing, but He’ll never rush you into what your heart’s not ready or motivated for.
Something beautiful is on the horizon for us all.
Enjoy your day,
blessings on you all, folks!