Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Most Exciting Place to Be...

I’m pretty confident that Burundi will be the most exciting place in the world to be for the first two weeks of August – and I would love to be there, but can’t because I’m doing the Bible Readings at New Wine Newark for the coming week. Anyway, why is it going to be so amazing?

Firstly, Andrew Palau (son of Luis) and his team are doing a big citywide evangelistic festival during the first week. Please pray for that. They have managed to mobilize many of the different key groups to work together, which is no mean feat, and so we are hoping to see much lasting fruit.

Secondly, our annual outreach campaign is taking place.  Picture 600 young people gathering this Sunday - the anticipation, the buzz, the adrenaline. They will be commissioned and sent up into the bush to 35 different areas in teams to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, get their heads kicked in (hopefully not too many, which is why I’d love you to pray), and a whole lot more. Muslims will see the power of God in Jesus' name and turn to Him as Saviour. Witchdoctors will bow the knee and burn their charms publicly, which will lead to whole villages turning to Christ.  Marriages will be restored, and so much more. I’m confident to say all this because it happened like that last year, and the year before, and the year before. We guestimate that maybe 30,000 people will come to Christ in one-on-one coherent exchanges. And yes, we are committed to following up and discipling those people.

Onesphore, the pioneer leader of the movement Harvest for Christ, is so grateful for our prayer backing, so please do pray – daily if you can – for the first two weeks of August. (the one year I didn’t get you all to pray, they experienced more persecution and obstacles, so your prayers are crucial!). Please feel free to forward this link to others – the more the merrier!

Let’s do it! Thanks for sharing the journey. I’ll feedback in due course.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ordinary Heroes...

I’m just flying back from a hectic several days speaking at Summer Madness in Belfast, Causeway Coast Vineyard in Coleraine, and Urban Soul in Dublin. Not everyone would enjoy this lifestyle, but I love traveling, speaking, meeting new interesting people, and seeing lives changed.

There are lots of people doing fantastic things far removed from any limelight. Youth workers are some of my ‘ordinary heroes’. They are invariably very gifted and could have gone into all sorts of more lucrative careers. But they aren’t motivated by money. They want more. They are about seeing lives changed. And that needs to be done with young people before they get stuck in their thinking and settled in their respectability and tameness. So these youth workers often get paid a pittance, but they love the truth enough to live it. God bless them. I’ve met a whole load of them over the last week. Keep firing, guys, the reward is both now and later…

A bonus highlight was managing to fit in speaking at Causeway Coast Vineyard in Coleraine, and hooking up with my mate Mark Marx of Healing on the Streets (HOTS). Alan and Kathryn Scott are the leaders, and as with all good leaders they’ve drawn together a superb team. The authorities love them because they are so ‘out there’ in the community. For example, when the political temperature rises during marching season, youth worker Neil Young and his gang are asked by the police to stand between rival communities and give out lollipops to diffuse the tension. They are trusted. They’ve earned the right. Brilliant.

I preached there a few times, and saw Alan in action. Healing is at the heart of who they are. He was leading the service and shared stories of two healings that week. One little boy was due to have surgery for a hole on his heart. He was prayed for, and when he went in, they opened him up and the hole had gone! Mark had prayed for a lady registered blind from birth, and she had regained her sight (not perfectly, but she could now see people and objects). May that continue to be a weekly experience, and not just in a few isolated churches. Alan said at one point the Lord wanted to heal someone of scoliosis. Nobody responded. ‘Come on, whoever it is, put your hand up.’ No response. ‘The Lord’s told me he wants to heal you. Who is it?’ And only then at the third time of asking did a shy lady pipe up and share that she had indeed been touched and healed as Alan had prayed over the congregation.

We only had a few hours together, but it was a great time. Alan, Mark, Neil, Greg, Mags, John, the list goes on. Just ordinary people, but among my ordinary heroes, because they and I serve an extraordinary God…