The story of Zacchaeus is often a story we think about as a children’s story we might have learned in Sunday School but it is a simple and significant story of a man whose encounter with Jesus changed his life forever. In coming to Jesus like a child, he discovered what it was to know repentance, restoration and a right relationship with Jesus, the man who knew him by name. Jesus knows our name and is looking for us and others who are lost today. Will we answer when He calls?
The opening chapter of Mark’s Gospel is a powerful, noisy and fast-paced introduction to the ministry and miracles of Jesus! We meet the Son of God moved with compassion, touching and transforming the lives of dozens of people from every kind of background. We see what it means in practical terms for the Kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven. We receive our own promise of power; the assurance that Jesus will baptise us with His Holy Spirit. And we also discover that much of the action happens in “the wilderness”. For it’s in the wilderness that Jesus is baptised; it’s to the wilderness He is led by the Spirit; it’s there in the wilderness that He beats temptation; it’s to the wilderness that He withdraws to pray; and it’s in the wilderness that the crowds flock to meet Him. These extraordinary times we’re facing are for many of us an enforced slow-down; working from home, avoiding gathering with others, or isolating ourselves for the sake of public health. Maybe this seems like being in a ‘wilderness’ for a few weeks? If so, be encouraged: God is active in these slower times and quieter places; He will meet you in the solitude. The “wilderness” is not a barren place so much as a place waiting to be cultivated. So, let’s present ourselves to Him in these days, draw close to Him, and ask Him to cultivate and enrich the land of our lives!…
Worship is a powerful weapon that we can use to take down the enemy. In 2 Chronicles 20 we read the amazing story of a people who, with hearts of praise and worship, seek God, find God and thank God ahead of an impending battle. God hears their praise and intercedes for them – completely annihilating the enemy. How encouraging for us as we face battles in our own lives with God on our side!
It can be easy to let the busyness of life (and our long todo lists!) distract us from the most important thing – spending time with Jesus and listening to his word. Luke 10:38-42 describes the encounter Jesus had with Mary and Martha. Mary spent time with Jesus whilst Martha busied herself… do we identify with either of these women? God wants us to start ‘in rest’; to be in a place of peace, stillness and quiet. We don’t confuse rest with inactivity, but we know that The Lord ‘leads us beside peaceful streams’ and renews our strength as we rest in Him.
In this message Kim shares with us how participating in the bread and wine joins us together in unity. Although the bread symbolises Christ’s body that was broken for us, it is one body that we are all sharing. 1 Corinthians tells us “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake in the one bread” and Ephesians 4 tells us there is ‘one body’, ‘one spirit’, ‘one hope’, ‘one Lord’, ‘one faith’, ‘one baptism’ and ‘one God and Father’. The church shares these in common and as we celebrate together around the Lord’s table, we celebrate our unity, our togetherness and our oneness.
“What kind of house will you build for Me?” asks the Lord (Acts 7:49). It’s a great question, forcing us to be clear about what we’re part of and what we’re aiming for. In this message we take a look at three biblical pictures of the church which expand our vision of what God has called us to be.
When we lay our hands on others, in faith, God releases His power and His blessing into their lives. In this message Stephen shows us examples of the laying on of hands in the Bible and encourages us that if we are followers of Jesus, saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the right, ability and obligation to lay hands on others. It’s good to lay hands on one another!
In a time when there is no more urgent task for the Church than to be fulfilling our great co-mission, this message urges us to believe that in every way we really are ‘made for mission’ – it’s the way God has created us, designed us and saved us! Reaching-out with compassion to the people and worlds around us is not too hard, or unnatural, or beyond our comfort zones – it’s exactly what we were made for and the most natural and fulfilling thing we can do. So, as we start a new decade, let’s break out of every mindset that hold us back and embrace the fact that we are made for mission!…
At the time of year when we often think of making new year resolutions, the words of Jesus from John 15 come to us loud and clear: Choose to remain! Jesus says that apart from Him, we can do nothing. Dare we dream of the fruitfulness we will see if Christ-following men and women commit their whole selves to Jesus and His mission in 2020?
In both his letters and his gospel, John often refers to his readers as ‘children’. John really wants us to be confident of who we are as children of God. From the account of King David and his covenant faithfulness to Mephibosheth, we gain further insights into being God’s children – we’re invited to sit at the King’s table as sons and enjoy relationship with Him, enjoying all the good things he has for us.
For many of us, fear can be one of the most controlling influences in our lives. However 1 John 4:18 tells us that “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” In this message Stephen shares what this ‘perfect love’ is that dispels all fears. We look at how to foster, experience and develop this love in our lives and how it can move us towards a fearless life, full of joy and triumph.
Speaking in tongues has at times been extremely controversial in the modern day church and yet it remains absolutely essential for the Spirit filled believer. This practical message looks at both the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2 and at Paul’s teaching on the use of tongues in the gathered church. It lists 10 reasons why speaking in tongues is so beneficial and it examines some common questions that people ask concerning speaking in tongues. It concludes by encouraging all believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to speak in tongues.
God created us to be an expressive people and in this lively all-age gathering we consider the word ‘praise’ as found in the Psalms. We discover that by looking at the original Hebrew words used for ‘praise’ brings freedom to expressively worship God in a way that is wholehearted, sincere and in line with scripture.
In Johns first letter, particularly in chapters 3 and 4 we read many times, that “we live in God and he lives in us”, all who live in love , live in God, and God lives in them”.
God lives inside us and His love inside us is to be revealed to those around us, both our church family, and those around us in the world.
When we live “inside-out” lives, the love of God can transform our fellowship as believers, and transform our villages and towns. We were designed specifically to reveal Jesus through good works already, prepared for us. The challenge is to live our ordinary lives, knowing He is with you, for you and in you. Lets live “inside-out”lives.
As we start a new series – “Why do we do that?” – Stephen shares with us about why we fast. Fasting is something practical that we do but with enormous spiritual benefits. As we fast (and accompany it with prayer) we seek God for more of His power in our lives, to see miracles, salvation, a change in attitude and to grow closer to Him. Fasting allows us to rely less on ourselves and what our natural bodies want, and more on the Holy Spirit and what our new spiritual nature needs.
Many of us loved to dress us when we were younger; it was so fun to pretend to be someone else… someone better, stronger and braver than ourselves. As we get older, we still dress up or put on a mask for others because we can feel unhappy or uncomfortable with who we really are. In this message Benj shares some simple truths about who we are now that we are born again Christians, comparing our new supernatural lives with the life of Superman!
After spending 40 years wandering in the desert of Sinai, the people of Israel were now on the eastern banks of the Jordan. Their challenge: take the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. In this message Stephen shows us how the description of the complete obliteration of Jericho was recorded in Scripture in order to teach us several lessons, most importantly that obedience, even if God’s commands seem foolish, brings victory. When we are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, we must learn that our Jericho victories are won only when our faithful obedience to God is complete. Jericho situations require Jericho victories, which requires Jericho obedience.
The apostle Paul tells us that the church – the Body of Christ – will be healthy and growing when each member plays their unique part in its life (Eph 4:16). And in his letter to the Corinthians he expands our understanding of the parts of the Body and how they should work together (1Co 12). In this message we consider what all this means in practice and encourage every member to count themselves in, to stir up the gifts of the Spirit, and to serve our mission in whatever ways they can.
In Joshua 4:1-8 we read about memorials that were built by the people of God to remember and commemorate the goodness, blessing, salvation and protection of the Lord. In this message, Stephen shares with us how we can all build memorials in our lives, but often they are not positive and can actually restrict our walk with God. However there is one memorial that we can all look to with great hope and thankfulness – the cross; a memorial that not only reminds us of our sinful condition but also the incredible love and grace of God, turning tragedy into triumph, failure into success and death into life!
This week we look at the life of Caleb. There is much that we can be inspired by as we consider his pioneering spirit, his confidence in the promises of God and the legacy he left not just for his own children but for thousands of pioneers for the Kingdom of God who would come after him.
When we read the account of the Israelites’ journey to the promised land, we see the tragic moment where they become too afraid to take what God has promised them; they’re faced with an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, but instead ask if they could go back to Egypt where things were more familiar… more comfortable. But Joshua is a man who is willing to get out of the comfort zone, trust God, and ultimately inherits all the promises 40 years later. In today’s message we look at this account and how we can be a church who is willing to step out of their comfort zones in order to see all of God’s promises today and not in 40 years’ time.
This week we look in Joshua 2 and consider how God and His people had a reputation in Jericho, the parallel with Jesus’s life as ‘news about him spread…’ at the start of his earthly ministry as a result of the filling of the Holy Spirit and finishing with an encouragement to dream and bring into being a time when Jesus is the talk of the town in Market Harborough.
Joshua is repeatedly commanded and encouraged to “be strong and courageous” as he leads God’s people into their inheritance, and the same simple phrase is spoken into the lives of several others at different times in the Bible. What does this mean for us today? What is God calling us to that requires great strength and courage, and on what grounds can we be strong and courageous, brave and fearless? We pray that this message will bring fresh confidence to you and your church as you serve the Lord together…
At the cross, Jesus Christ’s body was broken and His blood was shed. His broken body has brought us into eternal unity with one another and his blood poured out has purchased for us life in new covenant relationship with God. We can’t just sit back, however, expecting to enjoy all of the goodness of these great truths. We are called to stand shoulder to shoulder, soldier to soldier and lay claim of our wonderful inheritance – just like Joshua and the Israelite army!
Everything about being a Christian and walking with the Lord depends on Faith but what exactly is Faith and what difference does it make? This message looks both at Hebrews 11 and at what Jesus said about the power of faith showing that it is never blind. It aims to encourage Christians to use the faith that they already have to fan into flame all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to live life with a miracle mentality. It highlights seven things that faith does in our lives enabling us live a life of power and demonstration of the Kingdom.
Success and prosperity are often misquoted and misunderstood, but the word of God clearly states that by following God’s word we will be successful and prosperous. Joshua 1:8 encourages us to “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful”. As believers it’s important that we know how to define success and prosperity, especially when it can seem like the world is obsessed with greed, status and position. In this message we discover what the word says and how it applies to us as followers of Jesus.
As we share bread and wine together, John 13 introduces us to Jesus’ most lavish hospitality as we gather around His table. So here we are – invited by our Host, Jesus, announced as His ‘Loved Ones’, named and placed at His generous table, washed and cleansed to the core and free to feast on His abundant provision. What a banquet!
Paul concludes his letters to the Corinthians by commending the church to “The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit”. In this message, Arne Skagen explores what this means for us practically: How do we enjoy a close relationship with the Holy Spirit? How does He lead and guide us day by day? And how do we play our part in this wonderful fellowship with Him?
We read in Ephesians 4:16 about how God is building His church: “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”. As we look at this further we discover that the Church that is being built is not made of bricks and mortar, but of people! It can be easy to become focussed on physical buildings, but as we develop our understanding of the Church, we see how each person fits in to the whole ‘building’ and how we can make room for each of us to be shaped and cut to size, in order that God’s Church is built according to His plan and purpose.
This week we consider Paul’s description of the believer – not controlled by sinful nature but rather in radical relationship with the Holy Spirit. We think about how the Holy Spirit confirms our adoption, identity and inheritance as children of God and we take a look how Paul’s ‘theory’ found in the book of Romans played out in practice in his real-life care for the churches.
Romans 13:8 tells is about one ‘debt’ that you will always owe and can never pay off – the debt of love to others. As we explore what this means together, we see how we will never be able to reach the point where we can say “now I love others as much as I should”! No matter how much we have grown as a Christian, we still have room to grow in love.
As we read through Romans 12, we see what our ’new life’ should look like. Paul encourages us in this chapter that we are no longer bound by sin and death because Christ has been raised up and we sit alongside him in heavenly places. In this message, Stephen unpacks what this means for us and gives us some practical ways that we can enjoy our new life in Christ.
In Romans 5 Paul continues to tell of the God-given Radical Righteousness that is freely ours when we repent and make Jesus the Lord of our lives. Unless we are completely convinced that God has given us a free gift of righteousness that makes us completely acceptable to Him, we can be forever battling a sense of guilt and unworthiness which can paralyse us spiritually and if uncorrected will prevent us from being effective within our families, in the body and in the mission of the church.
God is a God of restoration, and He does not want to return things to their original condition, but rather to advance all things to the fullness His original intention! As the church we are to play our part in this, to be restored and to be restorers, those who are giving our all to serve God’s purposes in our generation.
Jesus said “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. Jesus has given a great commission to carry on His work in the world today, equipped by the “same” spirit. The fields are white for harvest, and we are the labours – therefore go, and bring in the harvest!
We can be passionate about lots of different things in our lives, but are we passionate about Jesus and His Kingdom? In this message, Stephen encourages us to be those who are consumed by Jesus and know what it means to have a passion for the things of God. Will we be known as those whose passions for God define our lives?
As we look at the first miracle that Jesus performed, turning water into wine at a wedding, we discover how the wedding signifies the reason that the Word became flesh; to rescue us and give us eternal life and right standing with God. Through this story we see that we are to embrace all that Jesus has for us in His new covenant.
Hebrews 12:18-29: The writer to the Hebrews points back to the time of the prophet Haggai, who spoke of God’s intention to shake everything in this world, in order that ‘treasures of the nations’ would come into His kingdom and His house would be filled with glory. In Hebrews we see that this remains God’s plan, and we consider (i) The Context in which we live, (ii) The Company in which stand and (iii) The Core of who we are … a ‘Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken’, ready to reach out to a world in need of hope!
The supernatural church speaks with an authoritative, faith filled, supernatural voice. A voice with the power to proclaim that what is already bound in heaven will be bound on earth and what is already loosed in heaven will be loosed on earth. As we draw near to God to hear His heart, we can boldly speak the word of God with the assurance that the Spirit of God is ready to bring dynamic life and power to the words that leave our mouths.
Time and time again in scripture, God promises to bless those who honour Him – but is such blessing possible in our day? This week we examine three areas of our life in which God promises His blessing with an expectation that we can indeed choose to walk in the blessing of God.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to be used by the Supernatural Church. As we strengthen our relationship with the Holy Spirit, He asks us if we are willing to be used by Him and willing to receive and activate the gifts that He gives. It’s not about us or the way we see ourselves, it’s about working with Him and being ready to move when He tells us to. When we look at these gifts there is no requirement in terms of character; it’s nothing to do with the recipient and is everything to do with the giver.
God wants fire in our lives! Not only for ourselves, but so that we can be effective in reaching those around us. Paul encourages Timothy to “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” We are called to yield to the total control of the Holy Spirit, so every emotion, thought and act is under His direction. That kind of complete spiritual control is for our benefit and in-line with God’s will.
The Bible’s big story of God’s purpose for His people is centred at various times around a significant encounter with a particular person! Both Old and New Testaments contain numerous stories of individuals having an encounter with God that changes everything! In this message we look at Jacob’s powerful encounter with the Lord (Genesis 28) and find characteristics we should expect when we meet Him ourselves. Get ready to meet Him in this way!…
Jesus has made us children of God; we have been born of God and we are adopted into His family, but like Christ we are not to grasp at this but instead be willing to serve and follow His example. When the Spirit came into us He didn’t only give us the ability to be servants but servants who are supernatural and live powerfully! We are a Supernatural Church because the people who make it up are supernatural and we will be effective in this world because we are willing to serve it, just like Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is speaking all the time, and as the Supernatural Church we can hear Him speak to us. He is God and He lives in us! As we learn more about the Master’s voice, we see some of the reasons He speaks to us, the ways we can prepare ourselves in order to hear Him speak, the things He speaks to us about and what we are to do when we hear Him speak. Hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit isn’t complicated; it’s one of the most natural things that the Supernatural Church can do.
God’s “House of the Spirit” is filled with powerful, spirit-filled believers. They confess Gods Word to encourage and strengthen themselves. Filled with the Spirit they declare and share the Word of God as the church gathers, and they have words of life to share with friends and colleagues everyday. A Supernatural Church has a tremendous announcement to make to the world, that Jesus is alive!
It’s clear from reading the letters of Paul that one of his chief concerns as an apostle and spiritual father was that believers should grow into maturity, both individually and collectively. As we strive for maturity together, our unity in the Spirit is crucial. A supernatural church will exhibit supernatural unity!
We read in 1 Corinthians 12 that when the church meets together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. Everything that is done is to strengthen the body. Spiritual gifts are for every born-again believer; no one is missed out! When we share, verbally, with singing, shouting, and testimony, we strengthen the body, and one another. When we worship “extravagantly” we encourage others to do also, we encourage our children, we help others. It is the first thing we can all do to encourage and strengthen the body. We all need to be those that prepare to share; not be prepared to share but “Prepare to Share”.
John’s gospel ends with a wonderful story of hope and restoration: Jesus is alive and appears to his disciples at the Sea of Galilee, providing them with a miraculous catch of fish! Join us as see how Jesus transforms dejection and defeat into hope and wholeness, and how He offers each of us the opportunity to start a ‘New Day’ with Him…
Because we belong to Jesus, we have been anointed and sealed by the Holy Spirit! As supernatural church, we can be certain of our identity and our inheritance because of this Divine Deposit of the Holy Spirit within us. It’s time for faith to make a drawdown on this Deposit and an investment to see God’s inheritance realised more fully!
On this Mothers’ Day, we look in Luke 11 at the account of Jesus when given the opportunity to praise and honour His own mother, considered it vital to redirect his listeners to where true blessing is to be found. In hearing the word of God and putting it into practice.
The Church Jesus is building is fundamentally ‘supernatural’: its members are “born from above” (Jn 3:7); we’re “baptised by one Spirit into one Body” (1Co 12:13) and are being “built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit: (Eph 2:22) – everything about us is supernatural! The Holy Spirit is a Wonderful Person and an Amazing Creator. And He invites us to begin living in a new dimension – life in the Spirit – characterised by dynamic lives and gatherings and an overwhelming passion to join Him in His mission to reach the world!…
For many Christians, ‘stewardship’ is associated with finances and budgets, but in this message Stephen helps us to see that stewardship is so much more than this. Stewardship includes our time, our gifting, our families and our own walk with God… stewardship is about our whole lives; it is about faithfully developing and using our gifts, talents and resources within the amount of time God has allotted to us.
God wants to pour out His Spirit on you! God doesn’t just want to refresh us when times are tough or have been difficult, He wants us to be in a place of refreshing all the time! He wants us to be those that are a well spring of life to all those around us, as we “hasten” the day of His return. The well spring of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit is the key to a restored Kingdom – The Kingdom of God! God wants to restore back to the original intention! The restoration of Eden in our lives – the perfect relationship, man having dominion, multiplying and subduing the earth, and unbroken fellowship with God. A Church where healing and miracles are common place, where believers are all filled with the Holy Spirit in abundant measure and move in a divine purpose and anointing. A Church that is a haven of health, full of blessing, provision and joy! The Acts Church was a model – we are destined to go beyond Acts. We are writing Acts 29! We have and are having a glimpse of the age to come. He is preparing His Church, His bride, and The established Kingdom is coming!
When God sent a great flood to the earth, He had a plan. Noah couldn’t see it physically, but he could “see” it with the eye of the spirit. We are building something wonderful and it’s important that we ‘see’ it. The good news is it is by His strength and not our own. God doesn’t want you to miss the boat, in fact He doesn’t want anyone to miss the boat! We all need to be “on board” with Him; His presence, His people, His power! Are you on board?
When we read the account of Jesus going to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, we see how, on the way, a woman with internal bleeding pushed through the crowd to receive healing. Jesus met her where she was at, but remained a ‘man on a mission’ as he continued to raise the girl from the dead. Stephen picks up this story and asks us “what is our testimony – are we in mission mode?”. Our testimony is more powerful than our beliefs. Sometimes seeing is more powerful than hearing! We are Jesus to all those around us, because we are filed with His spirit. Let’s all be men and women on a mission.
As we start a new season together we are putting a focus on all that it means to serve the Lord and one another as part of the body of Christ, His Church. We want to excel in all we do together to glorify God and to win people to Christ. Today we set a biblical context for our serving, that we may consider our serving to be part of the normal Christian life.
When we look at the great commission in Matthew 28, we read how Jesus told his disciples to “GO”. The church today also shares this commission. We take a look at three steps we can take to get to the ‘go’; we first get ready, by being filled with the Holy Spirit daily. Next we get set, by being filled with love, faith, zeal and boldness. Lastly, we go! We choose to respond to the Holy Spirit by saying yes and being men and women of action.
God is calling us to be those who are preparing the way in our lives- every day! To allow us to more fully embrace the cross of Christ, we make sure that our priority is Him, His word and His people. As we do this, our valleys are filled in, our mountains flattened, and the twists and turns of our lives are straightened.
Because of the Cross and the Crown we are a people of the presence of God, set apart and commissioned for the purpose of God wherever we are. As we proclaim and demonstrate the Kingdom of God, we leave strong and powerful Kingdom footprints in our homes, communities and the nations! ‘Wherever you set your foot’…
The gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke all contain a tantalisingly short account of Jesus blessing little children. But what did He pray? What did he say as he blessed them? Who were these children and what became of them? What great potential and purpose was released in their lives just because Jesus laid His hands on them? Whilst we don’t know all the detail, we can examine some principles and promises that God makes over children and encourage one another to be quick to bless our own children.