My Hallelujah

hallelujah

I dare say that each of us that have metaphorical walls in front of us that we want to come down. Some walls have been erected by others. Perhaps you have a family member who you long to come to faith. Maybe you have a long-standing health issue. It could be that work is hard to find, or the situation at work is difficult. Some will have been erected by us. Unforgiveness, feelings of shame and guilt. It’s not uncommon for these types of walls to go unnoticed in our life. They are there, but their presence manifests itself differently. Progress seems to have stalled.

Each of us will have particular “walls” that we wish would fall. We long for the light of heaven to shine into the situation, knowing that when that happens we will see breakthrough.

The standard (and correct) response to these walls is to pray.  Prayer is a powerful weapon for the Christian. The bible tells us that the “prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Prayer should always be the place to begin to see things change in our lives. Often though, we have been praying for years, perhaps decades with no sign of breakthrough.  Maybe we have stopped praying because we have not seen any change in our situations. For others, cracks may have begun to appear, but still the wall holds firm. When we have nothing else, we pray some more. After years and years, perhaps our prayers begin to feel a little dry and unanswered. If only there was more we could do.

I believe there is. Worship is a powerful weapon in in our warfare against the enemy. When we worship, God turns His face towards us. A friend once said, “Heaven is attracted by hunger.”. When we do it just because He is worthy of our worship.  I think that is what makes it worship, not that we might gain anything from it. Simply worshiping. The promises of scripture suggest that in some sort of mysterious way there is indeed a reward for our worship, but we mustn’t worship simply to get that reward.

There is a song on the new Pat Barrett (of Housefires fame), called My Hallelujah.

It talks of the goodness of God, how His Kingdom will never end, how His light breaks darkness.

One line from the bridge stood out.

” As praise goes up, I believe

The walls are coming down”

The song “It is well” from You make me brave, has the line “this mountain that’s in front of me, will be thrown into the midst of the sea.” This song talks of when we declare “it is well” over our lives, things in our natural lives begin to change.

I love to worship. I can’t sing in tune, or play an instrument, but worship allows me to connect to Heaven in a way that prayer just doesn’t. There is an element of deep calling out to deep, of my spirit connecting with Holy Spirit. When I worship, my attitude to walls in front of me change. I begin to put things into perspective. I see my walls, my problems, my issues from God’s viewpoint.  Perhaps the wall doesn’t disappear, but my outlook changes. With the faith that grows in worship, I am renewed, ready to face my walls as a powerful person, able to influence the world around me.

Mindfulness is a big thing at the moment.  It involves taking hold of your mind, focusing it on “behaving”.  Worship does all that, and more.

I choose to declare truth over my situation. I choose to take the battle to the spiritual realm where it belongs.

I choose worship.

(check out the songs mentioned above from these links)

My hallelujah

It is well

 

 

A Glimpse of Glory

ripped jeans

God is always speaking.

The more I look and listen, the more I notice what He is saying.

One of the things I love, is that messages not only convey eternal truth, but they are perfect for the moment too.

Last night, whilst driving to Eastgate School of Spiritual Life, I became aware of the sky. It was one of these early autumn evenings, just before sunset. There were few clouds, and the sun was low in the darkening sky. What struck me was the number of trails from aeroplanes that were visible. Each were relatively short, but each had been caught by the autumn sun and were bright slashes of light in the early evening sky.

I felt God was saying – this is a glimpse of the glory of heaven. Its just waiting to break through. The more I thought about this, I was reminded of a piece of material with rips in it. With just one rip, the material still functions, but the more rips there are the greater the risk of the integrity being completely lost and things beginning to pour through.

In the same way, I felt God saying – you’ve had a glimpse, but the time is coming when heaven is going to flood through. You won’t be able to stop it.

This of course is true in the “big picture” sense. We live in a world with a tension between our heavenly position – we are seated in heaven with Christ, yet we are physically here on Earth.  We see glimpses of heaven, as it invades earth. We long to see more. The more God’s people realise their identity and walk in it, the more we will see. Heaven is attracted by hunger, and the more we seek Him, the more He will meet us where we are.

It was also true in the moment. I have to admit, I was happy to say “thank you” and wait for the promised Glory to come. I didn’t have to wait long. During worship about an hour later the Glory of God fell in such a way that was so tangible, most of us struggled to stand. I experienced God in a different way to ever before. For me there was a stillness and peace unlike I had ever felt before. There was a weightiness which was familiar, but somehow different.

As the evening came to a close, and I drove home, reflecting on the experience, I felt God say again – “you’ve only seen a glimpse, there is more to come.”

I can’t wait.

Are you listening?

blind eyesBack in April I had the opportunity to preach on John 9, the account of when Jesus heals the man born blind. Although I don’t preach often, this was by far the easiest, helped largely by the fact that the main points were downloaded by Holy Spirit in about 20 minutes. Whilst confident that this was  for our church at the time, I’ve increasingly felt that there were a couple of points that God wants others to hear as well. I’ve tried to abridge what I said below – I hope that you find it helpful and challenging.

There were many reasons that one could be considered cursed in the 1st Century. One at or near the top of the list was blindness. If you were blind you would have been ostracized, considered unclean and unaccepted by society. If you were blind, you would have been mocked, talked about as people walked by.

Consider that for a moment. Imagine you were the man, sitting at the side of the road. You would probably be begging, hoping that someone would take pity on you and throw you a coin. What would have been far more common though is the sound of someone spitting. Jesus walks along, stops and as far as the man is concerned everything is normal. Right down to the sound of spitting. Perhaps the most unusual thing that happened is that the spittle didn’t make contact.

From the ordinary and expected, the unexpected came.

If we wait for the perfect opportunity, if we only expect God to move during a church service, after 2hrs worship, we will miss what God is doing in the everyday. Sometimes God wants to start something supernatural in the natural. May I encourage you to be looking out for what He is doing as you go about your daily life.

 

The second thing to notice about this story is sometimes God will ask us to do something so completely out of the box that it verges on the crazy. I work in a hospital, and we often get specimens from eyes. Infection has taken hold, usually because some dirt has got into the eye. In this story, Jesus takes a mud pie and rubs it in the man’s eye. Modern medicine will tell you that not only will this not help, it is certain to make matters worse. I’m not suggesting that if you come across a blind man that you spit on the ground and rub the mud in their eyes, but I am curious. If God asked you to do something irrational, and just to trust Him to sort out the details, would you? Are you listening for the small voice in your head that suggests doing something that isn’t logical?

 

It’s all about listening. And expecting. I read a quote a while ago –“God wants full custody, not just weekend visits.” We need to take our faith outside the church service, and into the world. Do we expect God to speak to us? Do we recognise His voice? Will we be Jesus to those around us every day? In the normal, everyday? When we do, He will begin to trust us with the more bizarre.

I can’t promise that it will be easy. What I can promise is that it will be amazing (and sometimes surprising.)