Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Carry on Camping...

Lummy... what a fantastic weekend we had! The seven East Kent NewFrontiers churches all camped together on a farm south of Canterbury for two nights and we had an amazing time.

Where to start? Well, there was great preaching, worship times, coffee, healings (more on that in paragraphs to come...), hanging out with old mates, making new ones, and we even managed a decent fry-up...

Over 5 main meetings, we were served so well by Graham Hall, Terry Virgo, Tom Shaw and Julian Adams. On Friday evening, Graham spoke about further church planting, about dreaming God's dream for Kent. He helped raise our faith for what's to come in the next few years. On Saturday morning, we were so grateful for Terry, stepping in rather late in the planning to cover sickness, who shared over two sessions about the man Elijah. He explained how the nation he was living in - one that had transformed from God-honouring to God-despising in just a few decades - bears little difference to the nation we live in now. Just look at the last 60 years in the UK... And yet that same man Elijah - a man just like you and me (James 5.17) - prayed fervently that it would not rain, and it didn't. Then he prayed again, and it did. There was nothing special about that man, just that he recognised the sovereignty of the one and only true God Who will see His name honoured and glorified. "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (James5.16, ESV)

Saturday evening came around after an afternoon of It's a Knockout, or a bike ride, a walk, a Praise Party, or simply chilling out with chums (my personal choice...). Tom Shaw then spoke in the evening's session from Exodus 1: that it really was for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal 5.1) and about exposing the idols in our lives.

Before bed, Jennie, Amy and I piled into the Cafe tent for the open-mike session and were witnesses to Dani Groombridge's remarkable performance (watch out for that name in the next few years, I tell ya...), Shane Thatcher's gobsmacking theme-tune whistling talents, and so much more - the highlight of which was probably being introduced to a brand new song by Olly and Shane called "Swine Flu" ("...is that a problem for you?") which was then heard being hummed all over the camp-site the following day.

And Sunday morning arrived. Julian Adams was great as ever, speaking from Galatians 3: that God is in a good mood, all the time, that faith comes from hearing, and that God cannot bless unbelief. He preached until we "got it". Our God wants to bless us, and will - it's not a case of whether He will or not, it's the timing that's in His hands. Two very different things! He proceeded with words of knowledge and prophetic revelation for a number of people, including looking for myself and Jennie and passing on what God wanted to say through him (here's a tip: if you want to get a prophetic word from God, pick the prophet up from the station the night before!). The word God revealed through Julian had many bullet points and will take plenty of time and prayer to unpack I'm sure, but it sits completely right with where we're at right now, and in how little (if any) of the factual details it contained related to anything I had shared with him the previous evening. We'd talked about other stuff entirely...

...and then Julian ended the meeting with praying for the sick. A number stood for prayer - with back and joint problems, ear problems, and much more - including my Jennie. She broke her back in 1992 (we'd only been dating a fortnight...) and had major surgery, including a fusion, with chronic pain ever since. After Amy and I laid hands on her and the subsequent joint (sic) prayer, Julian asked people to test their injury/healing. I told Jennie to touch her toes, and she did it with ease. She hasn't been able to touch her toes in 17 years!!! She still has some pain, but I believe this healing will continue in stages (a couple of years ago, Wendy Virgo prayed for her and one leg grew a 1/2" - her back problem had caused displacement - and God subsequently told me one time in prayer shortly after that "it has started". One day she'll be healed completely, I'm convinced). As for other healings, I'd rather wait until they've been authenticated before I plaster them over the net. My own wife I can vouch for ;-)

And then it was time for home. I asked Graham Hall if we could do it again next weekend, but he declined gracefully ;-)

Before I sign off, big thanks to some names not mentioned already: Sarah Slowe, Tim Wilson, Kathryn Atkins, Rob Shillitto, Tom Gillett, the rest of the PA/worship/video/cafe/TGR/bookshop/stewarding/set-up teams, Graham B for letting us use his land and anyone else I've carelessly forgotten. Cheers guys! And thank You Lord!
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Thursday, 11 June 2009

"Word Up"

And the English language added its millionth word on Wednesday - "web 2.0" - according to CNN's report. How official this word count is is still to be argued, but it does still point to the unending creativity inherent in the human race. Made in His image, eh? Read more!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Consultation on RE Curriculum update

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority are conducting a consultation on the RE curriculum update here:

RE Curriculum Reform Consultation

The consultation "...offers all those involved in education, including teachers, governors, faith/belief communities, parents, employers and young people the opportunity to comment on the proposed update to the religious education sections of the non-statutory guidance of Circular 1/94.The feedback you provide will be used by the government to help shape the final guidance on religious education. "

If that applies to you, then please participate via the link above. This is an opportunity for God's people in the UK to stress how passionately they believe in His reality and its complete relevance to our everyday lives; since many who don't agree will also have their say (and fair play), let's not allow apathy to diminish our own voice, eh?

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deut 6.5-7) And when they're at school certainly helps too, if taught right... Read more!