June 11, 2019
Put on the full armour of God (Eph 6:11)
I had hoped to give a day by day account of Thy Kingdom Come. I wanted – perhaps for my own ego – to share all the church was doing and the wonderful events that had taken place. I wanted people to see that the Lord is very much alive and active in Stoke and Devonport.
But TKC 2019 didn’t quite work out like that. Yes, I had some particular significant conversations with folk outside the church, and some special times of prayer. However what TKC 2019 showed me above all else is that we are engaged in a spiritual battle.
For some people right now it is tough being a Christian. Some are becoming discouraged, or feeling defeated. Some are drifting away not because of any lack of faith but because the pressures of life are simply so great.
And the evil one loves to pick individuals off. He loves to separate church members from fellowship and make them feel weak and isolated. That is why it is more important than ever that we all come together to worship, to pray and yes, to praise. Joining together in worship may be the last thing we want to do. It may be a sacrifice that seems too great to bear. But there is one antidote above all else that defeats the devils schemes – it is coming together to put on the armour of God so we can stand firm on the day of evil (Ephesians 6:11-18).
When we were in Kenya, we came to a church which once was struggling. Commitment and attendance were low. The church came together and received a picture from the Lord of a sleeping elephant. They prayed together, they took action, and now they have a new vision of a dancing elephant, powerful, strong and awake.
If we can come together, we too can see new life and growth. So I am asking you as your top priority to join together on Thursday evening at St Michael’s for a time of prayer. If you can come for food at 6.30pm that would be great. But come anyway at 7.30pm as we pray about the whole theme of spiritual warfare. And bring others with you, as together we seek the Lord’s will, and claim the victory that is ours in Christ.
I very much hope to see you all there.
June 4, 2019
It’s easy to think of kingdom work as bold, new initiatives which draw in loads of people, and lead to massive church growth. But Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. And the weekend felt very much like mustard seed planting.
At St Michael’s, as always, the congregation was about 50% different from last week. It was an All-Age Worship but no children came, although we had a number of young adults. Nonetheless there was a sense of the Lord present in our worship, and I am sure seeds were being planted. I am so grateful for the faithfulness of what others would label ‘a small inner-city congregation’, and I think so often the unseen kingdom work that goes in a church such as this can be undervalued. As we saw in our anniversary celebrations, the Lord keeps on working here, no matter how many or how few may be entered on the service register.
At St Aubyn’s we are literally starting a Sunday afternoon congregation from scratch. We haven’t reached double figures yet, but again we see different people from week to week. We are told not to despise the day of small beginnings, and I am very much looking forward to see how this work will grow.
June 1, 2019
There’s very little to add to what Lynda has written on the main site.
I am reminded of an old, old hymn “Count your blessings one by one, and you will be amazes at what the Lord has done.” From the outside we may be a small, struggling inner-city church but God does some remarkable things here and it is a privilege to serve in this place!
May 23, 2019
As far as I can tell, this will now be our fourth year of Thy Kingdom Come. Each year we have a plan and timetable, and yet each year God surprises us with what He does. It’s been fascinating to look back and see what He has done in previous years, and you might want to look at my blog entries for previous years:
The one constant we have learnt time after time is the important of prayer. When we pray, things happen! Sadly so often it seems that only a keen minority of any given church are pray-ers. Many ministers report that their prayer meetings are least well attended events of the week or the month. Maybe some don’t feel confident praying with others. Maybe some are unsure what difference their prayers will make. Maybe some see praying as relatively unimportant.
Yet as our mission action plan shows, the life of the church is rooted in prayer. Our aim is nothing less than for every church member to have some pattern of regular, personal devotion with Jesus. I long to see a church full of confident faithful prayers who regularly spend time together seeking God’s will and with a passion to see God’s kingdom come in Stoke and Devonport.
So our simple theme for 2019 is “Try Praying”. We want to encourage folk who have never prayed before or who have questions to try praying for the first time or in a new way. We want to encourage those who pray to faithful, regularly pray for family and friends who do not yet know the Lord. We want to encourage those who do not normally come together to pray to put aside their fears and concerns and join in with our prayer.
A quote from Samuel Zwemer I recently rediscovered: The history of missions is the history of answered prayer. It is the key to the whole mission problem. All human means are secondary. That is something we are learning in our current short sermon series from Acts. Paul, Peter and countless unnamed disciples of the early church achieved great things because they prayed regularly, together and with boldness. What is stopping us from being like them?
Let’s make TKC 2019 a time of great prayer, and I look forward to blogging about some surprising results!
r to have some pattern of regular, personal devotion with Jesus.