message of note

David L'Herroux

Rev. David L’Herroux
THERE IS A THIRST ONLY GOD CAN QUENCH

Daniel L’Herroux has a passion to see the nations transformed one airwave at a time. We caught with the Chief executive of UCB to find out how he plans to do it.

David L’Herroux is a goliath of a ’ businessman, not that you’d know it to look at him. In fact, you have to peer past the Frenchman’s diminutive stature to the acumen within to understand just why David is leading such a significant institution.

“I was invited by UCB some years ago to actually do an interview,” he recalls.
”l came to do the interview, and they understood that I was leading a ministry called Book of Hope, which is now called One Hope. They were very interested in the publications that we had and we started to partner with one another. One day, the founder of UCB, Ian Mackie, and I met.

“UCB had a clear desire is to work among the youth which One Hope targets. One day God spoke very clearly to Ian and said, ‘Why reinvent the wheel?’ So we merged One Hope UK with UCB. The only way that could have happened was by a word from God. In 2007 we integrated the ministries and now we try to reach as many young people as we can around the nations with the power of God’s Word.”

Over five million copies of Book of Hope — which tells the gospel story in contemporary language — have been distributed since its launch in 1997.

David’s original interview was about his stunning rise from being a cleaner at a local Littlewoods to heading the discount chain. It is a life story that might make for script material, which is fitting since he’s directed his attention firmly towards the power of media since arriving at UCB.

Through all their many endeavours — in print, on radio and TV and online — UCB reached nearly three million people last year. For David, this success is evidence of the huge potential of modern media to spread the message of the gospel.

“We live in a very exciting day!” he ex- plains. “The 21st Century is a new world, dominated by multi—platform communication. Where we communicate to people is very different now. Therefore, to me the excitement is that through the power of media, we can actually reach places that we could never reach before.”

Indeed lounges offices an waiting rooms around the nation have invited the Christian witness of UCB in.

“l think we are privileged as we are en- trusted by the listeners in the sense that they are actually inviting us in, instead of us inviting them to church. They have invited us into the privacy of their homes to listen to what we offer.
What we have — we believe — is the answer to the world today.”

What is clear as David speaks is that he really loves his job. The enthusiasm with which he unpacks the potential of modern media to tell the story of Christianity is infectious.

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message of note

JOHN LASTER

Rev. John Lancvaster
IT’S TIME TO HAND YOUR PLATE TO JESUS

My elder brother Lewis, unlike the elder brother in the parable, actually sought and led me, as a child of eight, home to my heavenly Father. For that, and his loving encouragement through the many years of his quiet, godly life, I am profoundly grateful.

As a young boy, Lew had a Saturday job in the home of a well-known local artist called Flora Twort. Miss Twort, who had a number of her fine water-colours displayed in the Royal Academy, lived in a lovely old house near the market square in Petersfield in Hampshire and was hostess to a wide circle of literary and artistic guests, among them Neville Shute, famous for his book ‘A Town Like Alice‘.

It was during one of Shute’s visits that my brother was invited to stay to tea. Mindful of parental warnings about ‘proper’ behaviour, Lew put a very small portion of strawberries and cream on his scone; but pointing at it the famous author said, “What’s that, boy?”

“My tea, sir,” came the timid reply, whereupon Shute took the plate, loaded mountains of cream and strawberries on to it and gave it back to him, saying, “There you are, boy, that’s a proper tea! ” Psalm 68:l9 which rejoices because God ‘daily loads us with benefits‘, and that in turn reminded me of the story of Jacob in his ‘comfort zone‘ in —Hebron (Genesis 45: l 8-28). l-le had lived in Hebron for many years, it was a place of memories and retirement after the wanderings o fhis earlier life, so that the prospect of uprooting and undertaking a journey to an unknown land, even with the prospect of seeing his beloved Joseph again, was too much ~ until he saw the convoy of 2O loaded donkey carts Joseph had sent. Then ‘his spirit revived‘! I smile when l read that. The old entrepreneurial Jacob comes to life again when he sees the possibilities those carts present. They speak of Joseph’s desire to bless him and become the spur to fresh endeavours even in his old age.

Psalm 103: l -5 spells out the benefits which God daily loads on us and follows on in the succeeding verses to exult in the unfailing mercies he lavishes upon those who trust in him. Lamentations 3:22-26, surprisingly, breaks out in praise for the ‘new every morning‘ mercies of God; John l:l6 reminds us that out of Christ’s fullness we receive ‘grace upon grace’ or ‘one blessing after another‘ – a convoy of divine container ships unloading fresh supplies of grace day after day onto the quays of our personal lives. Meanwhile, Colossians 1:19 and 2:9-IO assure us that such ‘fullness‘ makes us complete in him because it is ‘the fullness of the Godhead‘, the limitless resources of the omnipotent ‘Lord of all being, throned afar‘.

Why, then, do so many Christians live only just above the spiritual poverty-line, and many below it? In many cases because they do not seem aware of the resources available to them in Christ, but also because many of them prefer to stay in their spiritual ‘Hebron’, nursing their fond memories of the past and content to live unadventurous lives in a comfort zone of minimum spirituality — minimum prayer and reading of the Word, minimum giving, minimum involvement in their local church, minimum commitment to the claims of the kingdom in personal life and witness.

And all the while the ‘container ships‘ of God’s blessings lie at anchor out in the bay waiting for the dock gates to open! We need afresh to see the immeasurable possibilities of life in the Spirit, to realise that Christ is more than the prince of Egypt sending donkey carts of provision to his father — He is the Lord of the universe, able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine when we allow his power to work within us (Ephesians 3:16-21).

It’s time to move out of Hebron — and time to hand your plate to Jesus, the generous author of salvation!

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message of note

karlbeech

Rev. Carl Beech
IT’S ABOUT THE KINGDOM, NOT MY EGO

Next year, I’m taking up the role of Director of Church Planting and Church Development for the Elim Movement. It’s going to be a huge change for me on many different levels so I thought that for this month’s ramblings, I would share some thoughts on what it means personally to transition from being the big boss type CEO to having a boss or three again.

There’s a line in a well-known Pacino movie called ‘Devil’s Advocate’ that goes something like this: “Vanity, my favourite sin.” In the movie, Pacino is the devil in disguise as a lawyer and uses the snare of ego and vanity to get his man. It’s a film every Christian should take note of.

I’ve been a senior leader for a long time. There’s been ten years in leadership at CVM and years before that as senior pastor of a large church. In other words, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a boss and, frankly, the move I’m making has seemingly surprised a number of people. “Why on earth would you leave senior leadership to work for someone again?” is a regular question. .

It seems that in the Christian world, this isn’t viewed as a common trajectory for a ‘minor personality’ or senior leader. To be absolutely clear about this, in my new role I will have a day-to—day boss again and will also report to a National Leadership Team that I won’t be part of. Sure, it’s a senior role and I will have a significant amount of freedom, but the fact remains that for the first time in many years I won’t be calling the shots or setting the overall direction or culture of the Movement in which I will serve. I may also have to deal with my leaders not agreeing with my views, and getting on with it anyway without sulking or complaining. I’ll also have to deal with asking for permission again for some things. Strangely, I’m actu- ally looking forward to that (remind me that I said that, sometime next year!).

Senior leadership has many privileges. You are the culture setter. You can make final decisions and you are, in a sense, master of your own destiny on a day-to- day basis. It has its pressures, of course, but the sense of freedom to ‘be’ and to create is a fantastic thing.

However, you also get your ego stroked. You walk into a room and people take notice of what you have to say. You get announced as ‘the leader‘ or ‘the founder‘. You become acknowledged for being successful (if you have been) and you get a seat round the table at some key meetings. You also get invited to some pretty cool places. It’s fun, but if you’re not careful it can play havoc with your sense of self.

As a follower of Jesus, we dance to a different sort of tune where ego and status are the least of our worries. With that in mind, we should be able to take what could be viewed as a ‘step back’ in human terms in order to get the work of the kingdom done. Tough, but true.

My conclusion is this. If we have signed up to follow Jesus wherever he tells us to go and whatever he asks us to do, then we are in a sense his chess pieces to move as he sees fit. Therefore, if as the overall boss of a church, ministry or business (as this applies to all followers of Christ) you aren’t able to move at his request and serve another leadership and lay aside some of your current privileges or status, then perhaps you shouldn’t have been a CEO type in the first place?

You see, I rather suspect that when we die (which we all will) the title or position we had in this life won’t count for very much at all when we meet Jesus Christ. Note to self to remind myself about this column in six months’ time!

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message of the note

dr john sentamu

John Sentamu:
An Easter message.

Lasting Christian values can help to turn the world upside down

CHRISTIANS of the Early Church were accused of turning the world upside down. Small wonder. They insisted that their leader, whom they had seen die, had shown himself to them on a number of occasions afterwards.

Their own lives had been transfigured as a result of this experience. They seized every opportunity in private and in public to declare that all human beings were invited to receive God’s own life and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

Young people know in their bones that there must be something better, something more worthwhile than the self-centredness which is attracted by the promise of endless pleasure but which somehow never seems to deliver.
Just imagine how disconcerting this must have been to the establishment!

From the tiniest of beginnings, this group of enthusiasts expanded throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. It’s still happening. Last century the African Church grew from nine million to 541 million members. It is predicted by some that China, where atheism is endorsed and religious observance is often repressed, will soon have more Christians than any other country.

Membership numbers, however, will not of themselves turn the world upside down. Renewal and Revival – personal and corporate – is what is needed.

Every Christian knows that we should recommit our lives to God’s service every day. We have to guard against the insidious lure of temptation which would have us sit loose to God’s demands and slide into compromise and apathy, while continuing to go through the motions of piety.

Real following of Jesus Christ requires a regular spiritual workout, with honest self-examination conducted in the searchlight of Christ’s all seeing, ever gracious love

God is ever-present and He invites us to renew our commitment to him and to each other every day.

Missionaries from the UK brought this vibrant faith and practice to my home country of Uganda.

I long for everyone to share that same vision and example. God has made all of us with the capacity for it.

Young people know in their bones that there must be something better, something more worthwhile than the self-centredness which is attracted by the promise of endless pleasure but which somehow never seems to deliver.

It can’t be right for consumerism (which we used to call greed) to measure the worth of human beings by what they own, what they eat and how up to date with fashion they are.

You only need to consider this for 30 seconds to realise that the whole package is actually sub-human.

We are made for that greater reality.

The yearning for something more idealistic can be misdirected. See how some teenagers have been seduced by the promise of the false utopia of IS or even martyrdom to that cause.

Prince Charles confessed his perplexity at this development in these words: “The radicalisation of people in Britain is a great worry, and the extent to which this is happening is alarming, particularly in a country like ours where we hold values dear. You would think that the people who have come here, or are born here, and who go to school here, would abide by those values and outlooks. I can see some of this radicalisation is a search for adventure and excitement at a particular age.”

Government programmes to 
prevent the radicalisation of young Muslims will be ineffective if all they can offer as an alternative is the status quo.

In the eyes of most young people, the status quo has been tried and found wanting. Something far more worthwhile and exciting is needed.

The Prime Minister tried to offer a grander vision with the notion of the Big Society. It sounded promising, but seems to have petered out.

Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, bravely attempted to define British values, but little came of it.

Worthwhile values are not vague aspirations, but hard won and enduring moral and ethical principles which shape national policies and personal behaviour.

The truth which needs to be told, and of which politicians of all hues fight shy, is that the origin of the United Kingdom’s moral direction is grounded in the Bible.
It has its roots in the Old Testament, which came to fruition in the New Testament. Because of a misplaced sensitivity towards citizens of other faiths and of no religion, there is a conspiracy to keep silent about our living past.

That’s the equivalent of patricide and matricide in the world of ideas.
Recently, I edited the book On Rock or Sand? Firm Foundations for Britain’s Future. The title was deliberately taken from a passage in the Bible, at the end of a collection of Christ’s teaching.

He concluded: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

That’s some claim to originality and followers of Jesus Christ believe, to divinity, because of the sheer authority and integrity of Christ’s life: Teaching, Death and Resurrection.

I dare say that Jesus of Nazareth’s code or body of moral principles would have ended up on the library shelf along with the utterances of other great teachers, had not something inexplicable happened to Christ after his crucifixion. He was alive again. We call it resurrection. His followers, whose hopes had been shattered when he was executed, were convinced that he was more alive than ever.
This was God’s eternal guarantee of the authenticity and indelibility of everything He had said and done before death.

More still, His death itself had crucial significance for humanity past, present and future.

It was, and is, the public exposure of what happens when the extremes of human depravity are met by the inexhaustible and transforming love of God.
There is now nothing more we can do, nowhere we can go, to escape the everlasting love of God.

This Easter we shall begin our church services with the proclamation, “Christ is Risen”, to which the congregation will shout in reply: “He is risen indeed.”

Try it for yourself. Who knows, you might become like the Early Christians of whom it was said that they were charged with turning the world upside down. They shouted: “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also….” (Acts 17.6).

May God draw you to Himself this Eastertide and give you his blessing.

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messages of note

karlbeech

Karl Beech
MAN’S WORLD
WHO ARE YOU WHEN YOU ARE ALONE?

Because a fair amount of the time I’m speaking at different events, people only see me at a distance or I might only have a brief moment to chat with them. This leads to a phenomenon called ‘stereotyping’.
Let me explain… I speak with a Rom- ford/East End London accent. You know the score. Refined, well pronounced words etc. The more excited I get, the more Essex I become.

Further to this I have a physical build that resembles an Electrolux Fridge. In other words, I’m shaped like a rectangular box. Additionally, I have a naturally grumpy face. I’m filled with inner joy but outwardly I look like someone who is about to commit either a random act of unnecessary aggression or is just totally and utterly fed up with life, the universe and everything.

You could easily therefore assume, after just a fleeting glimpse in my direction, that I’ve stepped straight off the set of a Guy Ritchie gangster flick. However, that would be a mistake. While I do enjoy many typically masculine pursuits (I like weightlifting, motorbikes and bonfires amongst other things) I also enjoy things like history books, art, playing the piano, chess and vegetarian food.

I was pondering all this while fishing for tench on a hidden pond/lake near where I live. Situated in between a bunch of factories, you would never guess that it’s there. The first time I visited, I was astonished. You literally turn off the road, walk down a little path and there it is — a hidden beauty spot in the middle of a heavily industrial area. Surrounded by trees, it’s a beautiful 3.5 acre lake complete with swans and stuff (stuff being a technical term for a multitude of wildlife).

In many ways, the secret lake is a bit like me and so many of us blokes — hidden away from people who casually walk past us. l think this can lead to a lot of angst.

So this poses some questions: who are you really? Who are you when nobody is looking? Who are you when you’re alone with your thoughts? ls the real you the bloke people see when you’re down the pub or hanging out in the gym? And then, of course, there’s an even deeper question. Are you really — deep down — the man you know you ought to be? Only you know the answer to these questions, but let me tell you something I do know. If you don’t ask them you are in danger of either having a catastrophic crash or going through life disappointed. I’m happy for you to know the complexity in my life because I don’t feel a need to fulfil a stereotype. These days I’m mostly a man at peace.

The one thing that helped me to start to become the man I know I ought to be
and helped me to be almost consistently the same bloke when people see me or when people aren’t looking is my faith in Jesus Christ.

I’m not alone. I was talking recently to a former world champion power lifter. At one time he was a full-on steroid user. He took them in the belief that he needed to be a certain type of bloke and that with- out them he would be less strong and maybe even less of a man. They nearly cost him everything.

After meeting Jesus Christ he ditched the drugs and competed clean. Guess what? He still became a world champion, drug free, conscience clean and at peace with himself and his family (after nearly ending up divorced and bankrupt). Jesus made him a real man.

Have you got the guts to look in a mirror and ask the tough questions, or will
you stay hidden away? Take some time out and ask the questions… if anything it’s a good excuse to go fishing.

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message of note

graysonjones

Rev.Grayson JoneS

YOU DO IT

Quite recently I was listening to a leadership talk and the speaker said: ‘If the Board decided to sack you and bring in a new leader what would he do differently?’ Then he said: ‘Why then can’t you walk outside your building and walk back in and do it yourself, now?’

What a great thought!

Isn’t it strange that often we can all see what needs to be done in someone else’s church or with someone else’s team, but we look at our situation and think it’s too late. But is it? Could it be that God is asking each one of us today to take a brand new look at what we are doing, the way we are doing it and the people we are doing it with and allow ourselves the opportunity to do it differently? Why is it that someone else has to come and do what we know needs to happen, simply because we feel unable or are unwilling to do it ourselves? I know that some reading this may feel that you are not the one to bring the change as you are ready to retire or you know God is calling you into something new. But for many reading this maybe God wants to challenge you afresh.

Here are two good reasons I think God wants to use you to bring the needed changes in your situation:

HE HAS APPOINTED YOU TO DO IT

If you are a leader who has been called by God then you have been appointed to lead people into the kingdom activities and lifestyle that Jesus speaks about in His word. You have been appointed by God to help see lives changed, communities transformed and the church increase. God appointed you to be an agent of change and transformation to your church and community and to do that means we have to be willing to bring the changes God commands. If you are a leader you have been appointed By God to lead!

HE HAS ANOINTED YOU TO DO IT

Not only does God appoint his leaders, but he also anoints his leaders. You may look at your situation and in the natural you can’t see how you can do anything to change it. But the Bible encourages us that as leaders we are not to be people who rely on our ability and skill, but on the power of the Holy Spirit that has been given to each one of us. 1 John 2:20 says this to each one us But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. Note what John says here. We are not wanting, waiting or working for the anointing, but we have an anointing. It’s time to stand in that anointing and bring the needed changes to what God has called us to lead.

Often we can talk about setting things up for the next person and building a platform for others to build on which is all good and well. But sometimes we say this because we are unwilling to do what it takes to bring the changes needed to create the breakthrough in God. Perhaps for you today God is not asking you to build a platform or set things up for the next person, but just wants to say to you,  YOU DO IT!

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message of note

johnglass

Rev. John Glass

THE POWER OF THE SKIP

We have just had decking erected in our garden in time for what we hope will be at least a half—decent summer. l was amazed, however, at the wide disparity between the initial quotes for what was an identical specification.

The problem was solved when l realised that one of the builders was charging for the dismantling of the existing patio and the removal of rubble from the site. Given that the height of the structure was over a metre from the lawn, the others were quite happy to leave the patio in place and simply build above it. The idea made sense to me and l am satisfied with the result. Were you to join us for a cool drink on a summer’s evening you would not be aware of the presence of any former structure — and why should it matter anyway? In a Cotswold garden it doesn’t, but in the kingdom of God it does.

‘Cover-up’ started with fig leaves in the Garden of Eden, and Ezekiel, when referring to an inadequate spiritual leadership that was unwilling to confront its

pressing problems, refers to their stance, or lack of stance, as a whitewash.

God’s response, as recorded in The Message, is, “I’ll dump my wrath on that wall, all of it, and on those who plastered it with whitewash. l will say to them, ‘There is no wall, and those who did such a good job of whitewashing it wasted their time, those prophets of Israel who preached to Jerusalem and announced

all their visions telling us things were just fine when they weren’t at all fine.”‘ (Ezekiel I3: I5). “‘

In the New Testament, Jesus challenges the superficial veneer of super-spirituality in the religious leaders of the day by saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

The essence of confession and repentance is that the skip always has to come on site before any spiritual building can commence. ‘Coming clean’ is essential to becoming clean. The rubbish has to be excavated and dumped somewhere so that real regeneration can begin.

Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And as to where it has gone, Psalm lO3:l2 tells us, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Well, that is salvation ‘sorted’ — but what happens when problems pile up for believers who need not regeneration, but restoration?

There is a place for casting all our cares upon him but there is often also a need for us to become ‘skips’ for one another. Everyone needs a place to dump their fears, anxieties, questions and confusion at some point in their life.

God understands that, and while He is always there for us, we sometimes need a ‘flesh and blood’ solution — and God makes provision for it.

Galatians 6:l-2, in the Message, says, “lf some- one falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law.” Apostles, prophets and all the other five-fold gifts are as wonderful as they are essential, but perhaps the most pressing need in today’s Church is the ‘ministry of the skip‘. At whatever place we are on our spiritual journey, God calls us to either find one or be one.

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message of note

markpugh

Rev. Mark Pugh
THE GOSPEL CALLS US TO UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY

The anxiety of giving up the comforts we have always known can hold us back, a lost and confused Mark Pugh found out on his first overseas driving experience

I really wasn’t looking forward to this. Despite having successfully negotiated my way through the UK standard driving test over 20 years ago, my accumulative experience on the road had always had two factors in common. One – the steering wheel had always been on the right hand side of the car. Secondly – the cars had always been driven on the left of the road. As my plane landed in Spain, the rental car was about to place me in very unfamiliar territory.

The vehicle was parked up on the sixth floor of the airport multi-story, and as I loaded my family into the additional seats and squeezed the holiday luggage into the compact boot, a sense of dread came over me in anticipation of the new experience I was about to have.

I adjusted the seat, moved the mirrors, asked the kids to keep the volume down in order to aid my concentration, and began to play with the controls of the stationary vehicle.

I started the engine and tentatively pulled out of the tight space. I needed to follow the exit signs but I wasn’t sure which ones they were. I guessed and found a universally understood pointing arrow, but unfortunately it showed me I was going the wrong direction around this multi-storey one way system. I corrected it and began to obey these signs which led me to a winding descending

‘I indicated as I approached the exit (well, actually I started my wipers again!) and began the journey’ ramp. Embarrassingly, getting onto it involved making a three-point manoeuvre as a result of my unfamiliarity with the phys¬ics of the vehicle. I eventually managed it and descended to the ground floor. Exit barrier ahead and then the open road, but where do I go when on the open road? My sat-nav was resisting coming to terms with being in a different country, and in response had decided to have a siesta. The barrier lifted and I drove forward.

I had no map, didn’t know which road to take, the signs were all in a different language, I was sitting in the ‘wrong’ side of the car, the cars were all on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and every time I tried to indicate, the windscreen wipers started.
Above

This was all very unfamiliar and disconcerting. Eventually, after nauseatingly circling around a large roundabout numerous times and praying that the sat-nav would wake up from its slumber, with no hint of apology it announced ‘take the third exit’. Relieved to now have direction, I indicated as I approached the exit (well, actually I started my wipers again!) and began the journey to our holiday destination.

It’s amazing how unfamiliarity can impact us. In the short term it often involves some level of stress and mistakes, but in the longer term we grow, we learn, we develop and we go places.
The gospel calls us to unfamiliar territory – it’s how we grow and how the gospel advances, but our anxiety of giving up the comforts of what we have always known can hold us back. We have an ultimate example in our leader, Jesus! He gave up the riches of heaven and came to earth as a baby – it was surely a more disconcerting experience than driving on he opposite side of the road, and he made no mistakes. He lived in perfect obedience to his father in heaven.

Will we grow, develop and go places, or will we ignore Jesus’ example, live comfort¬able lives and avoid change and challenges? For the sake of the world, I hope we will rise up, step out and go.

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message of note

chrisbowater

Chris Bowater
THE BEST TIME TO PRAY

Getting up early or staying up late, when is the best time to pray? Christian leader Chris Bowater gives his thoughts

All of the great men of God who I read about had what they called their ‘meeting place’ with God. For some s a chair, for others it’s a room and for others it’s a place out in the countryside, in the movie Amazing Grace, William Wilberforce sits under a tree where he talks to God.

If you were going to see the Queen of England you would make an appointment – you wouldn’t just turn up and knock on the door. Though we have confidence to come with access to the presence of God, I don’t believe we should ever turn that to irreverence and we should always me to God with great respect and fear. There’s enough in the Bible to tell us to end a day with God, and there’s enough the Bible to tell us to end a day with God, so the question is, when is the best ne to pray?

And the key is to not be legalistic. I don’t have to be legalistic about meeting my wife -I want to meet with her as often as I can. I fully believe that God isn’t going to hold a hammer over your head looking at his watch saying, “Oh no, you missed it again.” I’m a big believer that God just loves it when we take the time and the space to meet with him heart to heart, whether it’s morning, noon or night. It’s not just a discipline case but it’s a desire case. Discipline without desire is only half a story.

There are times when I go without much sleep because I will wake up at 4.30am when everything is still and it will become a meeting place with God. It’s so important to find the quiet place in the midst of the noise.

There’s so much diversity with God. I also believe in praying continually. If we are praying continually then time doesn’t come into it. I drive my car and find myself communing with God. There’s very rarely a moment when God thoughts are not in my heart.

Research showed in America and Great Britain that Christian ministers prayed on average for four minutes a day. If that’s what the ministers are doing then how much less are the people praying? We don’t pray. I hear stories of people like

Smith Wigglesworth and John Wesley who, when they faced major challenges on a particular busy day, would ensure they prayed more. We would say that we hadn’t time and would make excuses.

Prayer isn’t storming around a room and shouting your head off. I’ve discov¬ered that shouting at the devil doesn’t impress him and shouting at God doesn’t impress him either. God reads hearts. He doesn’t listen to voices necessarily. It’s the heart that is drawing near to him. He says if you draw near to him he will draw near to you. He wants us to be proactive in the relationship but he puts the desire there in the first place. Even our response to prayer is not our idea but God’s idea.

Prayer is so crucial. I miss meeting with the Lord if my busyness crowds into my life. But I also sense that God says, “I miss being with you.” It’s a friendship thing, a lover thing. It’s an incredible, wondrous thing of meeting with sovereignty. Meeting with a friend. It’s meeting with a Saviour yet it’s meeting with a lover.

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messages of note

JOHN LASTER

Rev. John Lancaster
TAKING THE WRAP OF GOD’S WORD

It was a largish parcel wrapped in brown paper handed to me by an elderly woman as she left after the morning service in the Eastbourne Elim church some 4O or so years ago.

“Thought you might find this interesting,” she said. Opening one end, I saw what seemed to be an old family Bible and took it home otherwise unopened and placed it on the floor of my study.

One Sunday afternoon months later, as our family was sitting together chatting about old books, l remembered the parcel. One of the children fetched it from the study and we opened it, expecting to find the recorded marriages, births and deaths of complete strangers inscribed on the first few pages.

Instead. what we saw caused a frisson of excitement. The old, badly worn covers, both of which had ring marks where a hot vessel of some kind had been placed on them, opened to disclose the ornate title page of what is known as a ‘Geneva Bible‘.

It was a 1607 edition of a version first published in l56O and was printed four years before the publication of the King James Bible in 1611. We possessed a treasure without knowing it.

Holding this 400-year-old book today makes me wonder about the person who first bought this Bible. Who was he, or she? They must have been comparatively wealthy to be able to afford it. I imagine them sitting under the oak beams of a beautifully panelled Tudor house, maybe by a mullioned or latticed window, lovingly turning the pages of the most treasured possession they have.

For the first time, instead of hearing the mumbled Latin of the priest in church, they are reading to gathered family and friends in their own English language and in their own home, the living Word of God!

With what profound thanks they remember William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake because of his determination to translate the Bible into English, and those Protestant scholars who fled to Geneva during the bloody persecution under Mary 1 to produce this treasured version (a thankfulness still shared in our day in remote parts of the world where the magnificent ministry of Wycliffe translators places a newly-translated Bible into eager hands). l try to think of the succeeding generations to whom this precious book was handed down and am humbled by the thought that l, then a 20th century father, should share its pages with my children. And then l remember the ring marks on the covers!

At some point in its long history this book fell into the hands of people who had no appreciation of its historic significance or of the divine revelation it contained; to them it was simply a conveniently thick tablemat! To this day it bears the scars of disinterest and misuse.

That reminds me that l had this book in my possession wrapped up in brown paper and unread for months, all because of false assumptions l had made about it!

And that, in turn, reminds me that, according to recent surveys, every week there are thousands of Pentecostal and Evangelical Christians who don’t open their Bibles on weekdays. They say they love God but never take time to read his Word; his love letters go unread. Their only encounter with the Bible is on Sundays, and in many churches that itself is a very brief one.

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