On Sunday my nephew, Mark, is joining the great ranks of God’s Under-Shepherds when he becomes the new pastor of Frinton’s Baptist Church – affectionately known as The Free. Having been an Under- Shepherd for over 40 years myself I still count it the greatest privilege of my life when The great Shepherd of the Sheep appointed me to help Him look after His sheep. I also found it the greatest challenge to keep in touch with the Great Shepherd and make sure I was in tune with what He wanted, even when Continue reading
“I will . . . station myself . . .’’
We had a big celebration here at Walton station last month to mark the 150th anniversary of the railways reaching the east coast from London and the opening of the station. A huge 100 mph steam locomotive ‘Tornado’ came non-stop from London, heading ‘The Walton Pier Express’, recapturing the golden days of steam, and of Walton. Thousands of people lined the tracks from Colchester, some spilling onto the line (Indian fashion!) causing the train to Continue reading
I’ve never known our country so divided as it is now over this Brexit issue, One third voted to leave the EU, one third were undecided and didn’t bother to vote, one third voted to remain. What saddens me is how Christians are reacting to it. I felt the scriptures were very clear as to the heart of God in this issue; others came to a different conclusion using different scriptures. Still others didn’t use any scriptures but just said ‘I prayed about it’, and then started frying each other up on Facebook. Continue reading
The voice on the other end of the phone was Masih Das, ringing from prison, the other side of the world. Pinch me again please. I wasn’t imagining it, was I?
No, it was him. Somehow, he had got access to a mobile and had tried three times to get me. Oh, what joy! How we talked!!!!
He told me of the most amazing Christmas Eve Festival they had organised in the prison, getting permission to hire a cook from outside to bring in 60kg of chicken and 70kg of rice. Continue reading
‘When you are on the road so much, how do you still manage to keep close to God and pray in a meaningful way,’ was my question to an evangelist we’d had working with us for a couple of weeks . He had been so powerful, serving us fresh bread every day, straight from heaven’s ovens. What he shared with me had a profound effect, it was so practical. Continue reading
REMEMBER, REMEMBER the 6th NOVEMBER
I was remembering the Festival of Talents we had in All Nations church, London, on the 6th November the year before Ann & I retired. Unbelievable creativity and talent was unleashed – music, gospel singing, gospel choir, youth choir, new songs, cooking, cake decorating, knitting, ceramics, hip hop, dance, poetry, stand up, art, and the opening of Continue reading
‘Why does God want us to pray?‘
If God is all powerful, can do anything, then why does he want us to pray?
Is there any point to praying? That’s a thought I’ve been struggling with recently when I’ve been praying for justice for Masih das and Sarita locked away in an Indian prison on trumped up charges by anti Christian factions to try and end the gospel ministry going out from Bethany House following that awful surprise attack in June
The incident that happened to the two million Israelite’s out in the desert just after escaping from Egypt after 400 years of slavery, is the one that gives me a more positive perspective to ‘keep on keeping on praying’.
In Exodus 17 we read of what God showed them as they were suddenly hit by an unprovoked surprise attack by the Amalekites. Although Joshua led the Israelite army into battle, the spotlight of the story shines on Moses at the top of the hill showing us that when ever Moses held up his hands in prayer, Joshua was able to prevail, but whenever he lowered his arms the Amalekites came back. What God wants to show us in no unmistakable terms is that what mattered was not the strength of Israel’s army, but the strength of Israel’s God as Moses laid hold of his throne in prayer.
When his arms grew tired and he lowered them to change position or give them a rest, you could see something happen immediately down in the battle ground – the enemy would be able to regroup and come back on the offensive, so two of Moses friends , Aaron and Hur lifted his arms back up again, and straight away the effect was seen down in the valley, with Joshua coming back strongly. The battle ebbed and flowed according to where Moses arms were, according to the flow of prayer going on up there on the mountain. Eventually the battle was won, the Amalekites totally defeated, and to mark this remarkable ‘prayer won’ victory Moses built an altar and called it ‘The Lord is my banner’, where he said ‘A hand was laid on the Lord’s Throne’.
Prayer is difficult, really difficult. We grow tired, and just like Moses we need to have others with us in the prayer room to lift our spirits when they flag. Laying a hand on God’s throne requires determination and persistence and focus. It’s difficult, really difficult, requiring spiritual energy and reliance on the Holy Spirit. That’s why many find it easier to do the Joshua type work, down in the valley. But both are needed for Gospel advance – people in the prayer room and people out on the streets.
Many of the churches I know are sadly declining or plateauing. The battle is not going well down in the valley for most churches because there are very few up there on the hill doing Moses work – there’s no prayer strategy, no calls for husbands and wives to pray together, no prayer breakfasts, no prayer nights, no half nights of prayer, no prayer mornings (plenty of coffee mornings!), no gathering the whole church to lay hold of God’s throne regarding a breakout of healing and victory in evangelism. We open meetings in prayer, we close meetings in prayer, but we never lay a hand on God’s throne in prayer.
Lets invest our energies in the God who answers prayer, like Moses did, and see him answer in ways that make him unmistakably visible not just to our church but to the whole surrounding community. That’s what I’m praying will happen when God wins that battle going on in India and we have the joy of marking it with some memorial to the Living God, who made Himself visible through answering His people’s prayers