This world is tuned to answers. Whenever there is a story on the news of injustice there is a demand for blame to be placed. When we look at the world around us we need an explanation of how the science works. I am guilty of it myself, I cannot watch those programs that my wife watches like Lost, or Prison Break, or 24 because I need the answer! Lost went on for 6 series, 24, 1 hour long episodes a series and still gave no answer in the end. I would want that part of my wasted life back!
And yet what if sometimes there is no answer? I mean in all the amazing work science does to bring us an understanding of life and the universe, there is not a scientist in the world that can tell me exactly what light is.
God works in a similar way. I have seen miracles. I have seen a person with no knee cap get prayed for and a new one grew in front of my very eyes. I have seen money appear from nowhere in my hand and yet out of the many thousands of people I have prayed for healing with, I can count the successes on one hand.
I want to box God, I want a formula. I want to know that if I touch my nose, jump up and down, throw mud in someone's face then they will be healed every time! But we all know what happened to Moses when he started to think he knew better than God! I want to understand why his Word says that we only need faith of a mustard seed to see God move but when the disciples were shocked that they could not cast out demons on one occasion, He said their faith was not enough!
And yet if all the answers were there in black and white in the Bible then we would have no relationship with God, there would be no need for faith. He could never surprise us, He could never teach us. He could never meet us in suffering, He could never astound us with that which is supernatural and we would live according to the law, not in relationship with Him.
So I don't know why God allows some things to happen. I will always be stuck between knowing God CAN and God will. My faith may sometimes lack in believing that God will provide in the immediate! But I know God is God, I know His word is true, and while sometimes I may not know the answers, I am actually ok with this because if I knew it all then God would be no better than me and He wouldn't be much of a God!
'Father in heaven, help me to rest in the peace that you are in control. Help me to not always obsess with getting answers and help me to not always say "teach me Lord" but to sometimes say "I know you are Lord"
Psalm 33 v 4-5:
'God's word is true, and everything he does is right. He loves what is right and fair; the Lord's love fills the earth.'
I really struggle with my arrogance on times. If someone shows me respect, loyalty and honesty then they are a friend forever. I would pretty much go to the ends of the earth for them. And yet if someone I meet doesn't show me these things then I really struggle to love them. Who am I to be so arrogant? Who made me judge?
I was talking to my mate today about how I can be more like Jesus in this area. I so want to be a person who is known for the unconditional love that I show ALL people.
We started to then unpack. We need to choose to assume the best in people. Even if the best is not always what someone gives, which one of us gives our best all of the time? Then we need to accept that we will get cheesed off, frustrated and angry with people. Jesus did, when his disciples couldn't stay awake for him, when he told Peter "get behind me Satan". When he smashed up the temple! But the difference is that he then died for every single one of them!
See it is not the reaction of frustration and anger that is wrong. It is what we do with that anger. We may need to even challenge people on the way they treat us but every time we do, we must do it to build them up and not to make us feel better.
Then I picked up my sword and God revealed this to me. He told me that the gifts of the spirit are so much less powerful when the fruit is not present in a persons life. Have you ever known anyone like that? They are so powerful in the gifts and yet the fruit is not there! no patience, no kindness, no self control.......... And then God showed me 2 Peter 1 v 5-9 in the message:
"So don't loose a minute on what you have been given. Complimenting your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness and generous love. Each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you cannot see what is right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books."
Lord Jesus help me and I will play my part on the journey to becoming of good character, having spiritual understanding, being disciplined, patient and generous in love. Allow me to see the things that leave me in reverent wonder of you and help me not to miss that which is right in front of me!
I can't believe I forgot! The oldest mistake in the book!
I starting working full time at Revelation Church on the 1st July 2011 and it has been amazing. The senior pastor Dan Slatter said that for the first 3-6 months I should just chill out, hang out with people, get to know them and slowly get involved with the work. Lol I think that lasted about 3 or 4 days and since then I have been flying around arranging City Angels, Alpha, Church Media, Pastoral Issues, Mens Ministry, Leading Services, Reports, 24-7, Meetings....... you know how it is! I have been so busy doing amazing, exciting kingdom stuff that I forgot about God! Funny isn't it. Forgetting about the one you are spending all your time working for.
My prayer life at best has been arrow prayers. My scripture reading has been patchy and bad quality. My time spent in his presence has been almost non existent! And I wonder why when I lead worship, host meetings, council people, write my blog, my words can be basic, and stuff I have known for years. How am I supposed to discover more of the depth of my father when I spend no time with him?
This week we have been running the 24/7 room and I have spent hours with God soaking him up. Yesterday we held a worship event with many church leaders across the south coast of England in the 24-7 room, I led worship and then 3 of the leaders prayed and prophesied over me and without knowing anything they said that God is saying that I need to do less things and spend more time soaking in his waterfall. He has got so much to show me if I would only hear him. He has a new song for my heart!
"Splendour and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His place" 1 Chronicles 16 v 27
Today I had a pyjama day and watched the film 'The Preachers Wife'. It made me cry. It was all about good, morality and family winning out at christmas.
I was told this week that at christmas time crime hits an all time high. That domestic violence is at its highest point during christmas. That people have more pressure and arguments at christmas than any other time of the year. The emergency services have to massively increase their staff because of the amount of destruction, drunkeness and crime that happens this time of year!
So many people will hurt this christmas, so many will be alone, so many will be in fear!
But last night the city angels went out, we went out and helped those who couldn't look after themselves, we brought a calming presence to the city centre, we were light in the darkness.
So this Christmas and after Christmas, we will hope, we will love, we will feed the hungry, we will help the poor, we will visit the lonely, we will be a light to our city. When everyone tells us that what we are looking for died with some cheesy films 20 years ago I will continue to believe that there is still good around. That Jesus still lives, that his holy spirit is in us. And we can still make a difference!
BE A LIGHT!!!!!
‘The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.’
(Romans 13:12 ESV)
Paul when writing to the church at Corinth was rotting away in prison. His enemies were gloating. The outer game didn’t seem to be going well. But he wrote that he was a jar of clay that carried great treasure: “We do not lose heart - though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day”. The bible says that there is an outer you - your skin, hair, face, body, reputation and persona. But there is also an inner you - your character, your spirit, your soul.
The outer you is what everyone sees. It gets dressed up, applauded, whistled at and ignored. The inner you is invisible. The outer you can be coerced by other people or forces. The inner you is always free to choose. The outer you can be measured and weighed and chemically analyzed. The inner you has a unity and mystery that is staggering. The outer you is temporary. The inner you is eternal.
Paul - had never been a movie star. One of the criticisms he lived with was people saying he was not very impressive in person. His outer person wasn’t just aging, his body had been whipped and stoned and starved and beaten and locked up in a cell. “It doesn’t bother me much” he said “it’s what is inside that matters”. “Something is going on inside of me, it’s like the opposite of what’s happening outside. Outside I’m dying a little every day. Inside I’m coming to life. Inside I’m growing, changing, I keep getting stronger, joy keeps bubbling up - even in the dire place I am in. I keep getting more hopeful - even though I know my body is going to die soon. It’s the strangest thing. I’m dying on the outside, but inside I’m coming to life. It’s fabulous”. Paul had mastered the inner game. His thoughts and desires ran constantly God-ward. And he found himself as an old man in prison more alive than he ever had been.
I was talking to my mate this week and he told me a story. His son had recently come home from a holiday abroad. Whenever he goes away he always brings something back for his Sister, his mum and his Dad (my friend). Each year he tries to top the gifts from the year before and really wants to impress his family, especially his Dad! This year he brought home a fake Gucci bag for his sister, something for his mum and an empty Magners Cider pint glass for his Dad.
His Dad asked him why he brought him this gift when he doesn't even drink cider. And his son said "You should have see the size of the guy that I robbed it off in the pub" Hoping that this would really impress his Dad
When Jesus came to the earth he could have taken home a number of things to his Father. He could have come over to England and taken a rose, so beautiful, celebrating his creation. He could have come over to wales, crushed a peace of coal, made a diamond and taken that home to his father, so precious, so expensive. But what did Jesus take home to his father?.............. a thief on the cross!
Lord Jesus never let me forget the things that you value are not what I would see as valuable but what you value is the lost, the down trodden, the dirty! Let me love the things that you love
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying,
“Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”But the other
rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are
under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly,
for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this
man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him,
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
(Luke 23:39-43 ESV)
Please click on the writing under the image above to see the video that has inspired me to write this blog
I was thinking about my friend today! She inspires me. She inspires me to want the things of Jesus! She has so much faith when I seem to have none. While I am questioning everything she just simply believes. When I am ranting and raving about how much God has let me down and doesn't love me she shows me all the times he has come through for me! When I tell her that I sometimes doubt and struggle she smiles and tells me "don't we all!" Lol, she does't seem to!
When I am at the end and I try and put practical things in place to sort it out, she prays! When I keep pushing on in my strength she asks for Gods strength. When I need spiritual clarity and answers she tells God that whatever he says she will do. When I want to know everything, she trusts God is in control.
We all need people like this, and while they do not replace God as our everything, they help us see God in everything. I love walking with giants. I am just so blessed that my giant is my wife!
Blessed be your name LORD!!!!!
A prophet lady came to our church the other day (haven't asked permission to use her name) and she made a statement that completely stumped me! She said "How can we always show people grace and yet remain truthful?"
How do I do that? What do I say to a person who has just lost someone they love when they ask, "is my dad in hell?" What do I say to a person who asks me if what they are doing is wrong in my eyes? How do I say the truth and yet treat people in grace and not judge them and come across all Mr Know It All!
I never want to be a man that compromises what I know is truth and then I never want to be a man that doesn't show grace to those who don't know!
The answer lies in our depth of relationship with God. The closer we are to Him, the closer our words will be His words! When our spirit is in unity with God's Spirit then we are equipped for the job.
I have experienced the truth of this myself. Recently I was asked by someone whether I thought their close friend was in hell. I very nearly opted for my default answer which is, "Well I don't believe that anyone is in hell right now, I think there will be a judgement day and things get decided then and to be honest you never know what a person says or thinks in their dying moments. I mean all the thief on the cross had to say was 'remember me' and he got in so I would rest and know that God is good and He would do everything to get a person to come to Him" But the Holy Spirit stopped me........ and instead I said the answer He told me say. I said, "My friend, while I can never be certain what will happen to xxxxx because only God can judge, I know what the Bible says and I cannot change what is true even if I want to just as much as I cannot stop the sun from rising every day. But I know what it means to lose someone so close to you and not know whether you will see them again."
We cried together for some time and those words for that person were the right ones. Now does that mean that that sentence will be right for everyone? Of course not. I pray that the Holy Spirit will allow me to have His words for the next person but how can I hope that if my heart does not beat with God's heart?
'If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him'
(James 1 v 5)
I have to say that I am ashamed to make this statement but even though I have been in full time church ministry for 7.5 years, and part time church ministry for 6 years before that, I have never actually fasted.
I would always have some excuse. 'I need the energy for something', 'Ahh, ok, well I will cut out snacks', or 'I won't eat breakfast' (which I often skip anyway). I have to admit as well that I have even joined in on team fast days and said that I am sacrificing when the truth was I sacrificed nothing!
Today, however, I am fasting! I have decided that if I am going to see true breakthrough in my life then I will have to start doing things that I have never done before. Like fasting.
Now normally God is lucky if He gets 10 minutes with me in the morning while I am cleaning my teeth or taking a shower or in the car driving to work. But today He has had far more of my attention! Today I spent my usual 10 minutes before work, then I prayed and worshiped with our staff team for about half and hour, then when I went home at lunch time I just laid on the floor in the front room for about 30 minutes and listened to Lifted High (Bethal Church Live). Then I spent some time worshiping Him on a 40 minute drive this afternoon.
And do you know what? God met me! I encountered the living God! He showed me things about what it truly means to put our hope in Him. He showed me that, in His presence, meaning is unlocked and found. I felt some guilt at first because I have been so bad in disciplining myself to be in relationship with Him lately while filling my life with the busyness of church. But then the guilt faded away and God showed me what He had for me.
Not a bad way to spend a Thursday morning and afternoon! In communication with the One who created everything.
So today I am praying and fasting for breakthrough in my life and in the life of the church - and do you know what? I think breakthrough is coming!
Lol ............... amazing really isn't it!
Please click the link above (Set Me Free) to see the video that inspired me for this blog.
My school report was always "Lee could do better". When I left school and went to college, I was told by a teacher that I would never amount to anything! In school I was everyone's mate, the joker - everyone loved me but no one took me seriously! In school and at the start of college I was often told that I was gay because I was quite effeminate in the way I acted. I got fired from almost every job I had and the common theme was 'Lee you will never become anything because you never learn your lessons'!
I used to lie to everyone. I said that I had done this and that, I said I was a rock star, I told people that I had trials for certain teams. But then it got worse and I actually told some people that I had cancer and told other people that I had HIV. It got crazy!
"Why?" you ask. Why would someone tell people all those lies? Because I thought I was not good enough just being me. I thought that people would only like me if I was more than I was.
Now so many people I know live their life listening to the things that others have spoken over them. They believe they are not good enough, not brave enough, not whatever enough. Their heads remain down and they accept their fate. You can give your partner a 1000 compliments but it is the one slightly off comment that penetrates so deeply and then all the complements mean nothing.
Why? Why do we want to know what people think of us? Why does it matter? Why is it that while I was a youth worker in Haslemere I discovered that girls actually don't dress to impress guys but actually other girls. It's not because they are attracted to girls and want to be attractive to them but the opinion of their peers is far more important to them than whether a guy thinks they're cute or not!
Even to the detriment of one's health - I have seen young lads and ladies collapse with exhaustion and on two occasions their heart being compromised because they have been told that skinny is beautiful even if it may kill you!
Wow, what power! So important that some are even willing to die for someone's approval!
My freedom came when I found that the only one whose opinion matters is Jesus! It's nice to hear nice things about you from other people but in Jesus my identity is found. Read the following if you want to know what God thinks about you:
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1 I know when you sit and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2 I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3 Even the very hairs on you head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31 For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27 In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28 For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28 I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5 I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12 You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16 I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26 You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13 And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6 I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44 I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16 And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1 Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1 I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11 For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48 Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17 For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33 My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18 And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40 For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5 I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41 And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3 If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29 Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13 I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20 For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18 As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11 One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4 And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4 I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23 For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26 He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3 He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31 And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10 I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32 If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23 And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39 Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7 I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 My question is...Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32
Love your Dad