Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blessed thoughts

I have spent the last week in an agricultural showground with 12k teenagers at Soul Survivor and thought a reflection was in order. Some time ago I heard an American Vineyard pastor called Carl Medearis speak at a Leaders Conference and on the second morning he started his talk by saying he had made a discovery. He said he was speechless at the knowledge that Christians in the UK were still permitted to work in schools and do assemblies. He told us that if this were so in the US he would do nothing else but work with young people. I share his sentiment and I think SS is the movement working with and inspiring young people with most effectiveness and impact in our nation.

1. Born again: My old college principal used to say that to survive in ministry you had to know why you get out of bed in the morning. One of the things that gets me up is seeing people come to know Jesus. On the first evening at SS Mike Pilavachi gave the simplest and clearest exposition of the gospel from 2 Cor 5:21. 242 young people responded and hundreds more during the week (the number I realise may not correspond to the rejoicing in heaven) However, the gospel is a power and I saw this power manifest in young people's hearts and it was a glorious thing to witness.

2. Born of the Spirit: When I was at Vicar factory one of the silliest things I read was an article saying there was no such thing as the gift of tongues today. This was in 'The Briefing' (a good journal I'm sure on many things) but it struck me that the author may well be something of an authority but on this he missed the mark. In fact, sadly he hadn't even seen the mark-that was his problem. I am passionate about Scripture but also passionate about not being ignorant about the Spirit.

Why am I reminded of this? Well, the subject of tongues got my story of the week when Mike Pilavachi told a testimony from 2009 in his talk on being filled with the Spirit.

"A church in Yorkshire has a link with a Romanian church and had their youth pastor visiting them and took the youth pastor to SS. He found the ministry times very hard because he did not believe the gifts were for today, which is what he had been taught. On one evening, he was so disapproving he decided to leave the evening meeting. As he was walking out of the tent, Mike began to speak over the microphone in tongues. Mike noticed that his tongue seemed and sounded different but continued to speak it. This stopped the Romanian young man in his tracks for what he was hearing as he was walking was an 11c Ancient Romanian prayer. As if that was not incredible enough, this very same 11c prayer is the one the Romanian youth pastors father has tattooed on his back. With this, not surprisingly, God awakened this young man to the reality that the gifts are indeed for today"

For more on this, particularly if you are a sceptic, you might like to read Surprised by the Spirit by Jack Deere.

I went to a very helpful seminar Mike gave on hearing God and liked his expression 'blessed thoughts' for those pictures, verses and senses that may not be prophetic but are still good.

3. Born of Tears: The talk that rattled everyone's cage was given by a Canadian woman from the Salvation Army called Danielle Strickland. I pray it will bear much fruit. Tears were a major part of our week. One of our young people, a wonderful Frenchman, did nothing but cry all week. Not just crying, weeping (but as I explained to those who wondered what was happening "Weeping in a good way"). He would periodically say just one word 'Wow' and then continue weeping. The peace and grace of God was at work in so many young people and it was a glorious thing to witness.

4. Born to Action: The thing I love about SS is that we are all encouraged to get up and do something. Soul Action exists to this end and do watch the film on slavery.

5. Born to Create:  Many of our young people spent the week wearing Kiro glasses. These are made by a great couple running a great business so do go and check them out. They make great presents so do buy something.

A awesome week and thanks to all my glorious team who made it all happen and to Adam and Gen for years of prayer, encouragement and sowing.

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