Before we came to Manchester over 20 years ago, God told us that we had a choice – we could grow old with the traditional church or we could become a sacrifice for the next generation.
We are on a journey of laying down our lives in service – one of the keys for all our futures is to raise up a bold generation of young people who will stand firm and raise the banner of truth and justice. I believe in our midst that God is bringing together those with gifts and skills who can train and equip a new level of leadership to move forward against Satan’s tactics to kill and destroy the next generation. They are our God-given inheritance. There are strategies of Kingdom development taking place – people’s energies are being shifted so that a response can be made by the body of Christ to the situation our land is quickly moving into. This is a place where secular humanism prevails and where the existence of God is no longer acknowledged. Self-fulfilment, worldly desires, consumerism and the like have taken the centre. Islam is also on the move with a united focus and effort to prove itself as the answer to the problems of humanity.
A while ago, a group of leaders in our home town, Manchester, met to pray together early on a Thursday morning to hear God together and respond to what he was saying. There is an urgency for the body of Christ to hear his voice. So the Lord has been softening our hearts to be willing to be receptive to him and preparing us to be ready to be used by him. This is what true friendship with God is all about – where he shares his heart with us and we respond by yielding to him – then and only then can God’s power flow through us and as we respond to him he can use us as channels of his grace; the river we all so desire must flow out.
God is requiring us to be the fulfillment of Isaiah 61 – he speaks of covenant promises he has made with his people. He desires us to be oaks of righteousness – for us to display his splendour. But his desire is to work through us in power under his anointing. The more we press into God’s presence and come face to face with him (staying in his presence) – settling our minds on his Spirit (Romans 8) the more we will see him coming to move in and through us. I believe we must all be prepared to bow down, lay down our agendas and seek his agenda at this time.
Generally, the church with all its efforts and achievements, good though they might be, still has resulted in little impact - so I believe we need to settle our hearts and prepare our minds (1 Peter 1:13) for God’s move.
Recently, the Lord spoke to Linda in a dream; she saw the flight path of a plane circling. A pathway is being prepared for the plane’s descent. To change the analogy – as we step up to pray then, as it says in Isaiah 61 – the old ruins can be rebuilt. The scriptures speak of those that sow in tears; that they will reap in joy – according to rabbinic teaching tears are sown through obedience observed without questioning. So as God is repositioning many of us; calling us to step up to a new mandate, it is wrought in sacrifice and at a cost to our own desires and expectations – yet it can be worked out through his grace.
The scales need to come off our eyes to see the ruin and destruction that has occurred in our nation. There is much brokenness, pain shame and self-hatred amongst our young people through broken families – the lives of young people who are never satisfied in the world are being destroyed. Where is the power of the cross setting people free? We need a new appointment with God – the church must rise up and speak life to others through the power of the Spirit.
God spoke to us to put two things in place:
On the one hand FAITH would come and rise up in people’s lives that we would hear him and trust him at his word – resulting in ACTION – faith begins with receiving the word of God – his voice speaking in our hearts (Romans 10:17). As challenges come we need to lean into God; it requires walking with him moment by moment in obedience to God – to be with the bridegroom individually and corporately. We need to set time aside to hear God’s voice as we are touched by his love so that he can prepare our hearts. This is a time of the promises of Zechariah 6 – to experience the ‘branch’ coming to rebuild the temple – the foundations are being laid out now.
God also spoke about a boatload of provision that he would bring by his Spirit. That he would provide gifts and skills for the future tasks. At the moment the boat that is being built is in a dry dock. Provision is coming. The vessel is being prepared. It begins with the body of Christ being willing to receive a fresh outpouring of his love – to allow that revelation confirmed on the day of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit to come to awaken the church and bring a depth of relationship that will birth a climate of worship and intercession. It is provision for the difficult times ahead and so we need to be aware that the storm is coming – but that the boat is not ready yet. God is delaying judgment to give us time to prepare the provision of teaching, training and equipping to be set in store in the boat so it can ride the storm. When the water and the turbulence comes – when fear and panic come – God is wanting us to be prepared and equipped to be overcomers – standing firm in our faith. At this time all that is necessary is being brought together ready for the launch.
A while ago, Linda woke early in the morning aware of the seriousness of the times. God is calling us to repent from our double-mindedness. There is a sense that many are far away from an intimate relationship with God through bitterness and unresolved attitudes towards one another and God himself. He has given us so much but he requires a response from us that will bring us into unquestioning obedience; a moment of time to come out of rebellion and repent – the revolution that we are all looking for is a change of heart. God’s love will meet us if we turn back to Him but many have walked in cheap grace not in obedience. God wants us to know we are not walking with an open heart before Him in the light. What is obedience? It’s a moment by moment response not ‘doing’ – checking the heart and the disposition of soul. It’s an urgency to know peace and learn the lessons of trust.
People want success (e.g. evangelism/numbers), but it only comes as a result of humility (1 Peter 5). On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:46-47) they had to be empowered and then GOD added to their number; but before this came repentance (Acts 2:37). They were cut to the heart and on their knees; God will bring this nation and the church in this nation to its knees if we do not turn to Him and seek His face.
In many parts of the world revival and restoration are occurring and in ten years the entire world could be evangelized. For the sake of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales we must fall to our knees; this is a serious time for prayer and intercession. Truth and justice are required if we are to see a breakthrough, but it must begin with intercession. All across the world modern church streams and various denominations are receiving a wake up call. Many of us have dropped the ball and through our own slothfulness and rebellion have done things to protect ourselves and are missing God’s call and purposes for our lives
God requires us to STOP, repent turn around; deal with our bitterness resentment and be re-commissioned to walk the life of faith before it is too late. Our ‘doing’ must be out of a heart response of, “Yes, Lord!” birthed in a new commitment to meet Him face-to-face, birthed in prayer and the word. There is a cloud over Europe and, unless we cry out to the Lord, nothing in our own strength is going to pierce it. The spiritual life in England as we have known it is growing dim.
God has called us to cradle an awakening - a move of God, but the baby is in danger of danger of dying because we have not taken our responsibilities seriously. The church must lay down its own agenda and seek a breakthrough with God both individually and corporately for its healing and healing of the nation; only repentant hearts will bring this about. All steams are to come together to be of one mind and purpose (Phil 2). God’s opinion is the only one that counts and He is upright and absolutely true.
We are to move into the river of God’s love and make our commitment real; allowing the convicting work of the Holy Spirit to begin. We are to press into God in our innermost beings so that the eyes of our hearts are enlightened. Our prayer should be, “Reveal my heart oh God!”
Last year, Bob Jones shared this word:
God’s people are the remnant seed – God is getting ready to sow the remnant of his people. Many Christians are literally in a time of death to self – the seed of God is sown with travail and weeping. The main delay is simply waiting on the Lord’s timing. He has synchronization for his plans. We are now at the crossroads of his blueprint – great change is on the horizon.
Job 42:7-10 “At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. 8Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, 9yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. 10But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more.” – righteous prayer intervenes – time for the fortunes of God’s people to be restored.
Many in the church are coming to the end of a season of pruning and judgment so they can shine with the measure of glory resting on them.
Daniel 12:3 “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
Hosea 6:1-3 “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. 3 Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Main calling at this time is to be friends of God – we have a friend who is eternally positioned on his throne of victory and authority – we need to be commissioned in the throne room – he says, “Come up here!”
Brokenness without understanding brings hopelessness.
Brokenness with understanding brings hopefulness.
Like Jacob, he has destroyed our dependence on human strength and changed our nature; he has also given us a new name – Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”
Many years ago, a Revivalist called Norman Grubb wrote a booklet entitled “Continuous Revival”. Here is an extract from the book:
The early church was first and foremost a fellowship. They "continued in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship." they broke bread from house to house. When they met in worship, it was the very opposite of our present church services, divided into the two categories of preacher and preached-to. It was a living fellowship-in-action. All took part, and there was such a flow of the Spirit through the believers that Paul had to write words of restraint. "How is it, brethren? When ye come together, EVERY ONE OF YOU hath a psalm, hath a doctrine..." Then he urged them to orderliness, and said that if while one was giving his word, another arose with a desire to say something, let the first sit down and give place to him, for "the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets." But today we have to persuade people to say something, if occasionally we do have a time of open fellowship! Paul had to persuade them to keep silent and give the other fellow a chance!
We have now replaced fellowshipping by preaching in our modern church life … Probably the best balance was found in early Methodism, where John Wesley laid down that besides the preaching and teaching meetings, there must be a weekly class-meeting which was on a strictly fellowship basis, and all who attended were required to tell of the Lord's personal dealings that week, whether concerning sins, or answers to prayer, or opportunities of witness.