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If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

The text, for those who have trouble with a rather individual cursive, reads as follows: Scandal after Scandal. No institution safe....

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Drop the dead dummy and talk to the Builder.

This morning I had a dream. I was and am still rather tired and decided, unusually for me, not to go to church, but to get some much needed rest so that I could concentrate on other church-related matters. But when God wants to speak to you, He gets to speak to you; sleep notwithstanding.

I dreamt that I was visiting a friend's church on the other side of the city. The church he pastors is mostly Nigerian and rents space from a Baptist Church. My own church has a similar arrangement with an Asian Church, as do quite a few churches. I should add that my friend is a man of prayer and faith and a dedicated intercessor.

In my dream, I was not actually in the Baptist church but in a house. As my friend came towards me, he seemed to be headless. As he got closer, I realised that he was carrying one of those headless tailor's dummies. It was dressed exactly as he was and, for the most part, obscured him.

Then the scene changed. Clearly the house was being renovated. Signs of building were everywhere but it was chaotic. There were a great many people in the house doing various things. (It was clearly not intended to be a message about his church as everyone else in the dream was white. The reason for this is explained above.) I could see toddlers playing with the building materials, seemingly under the illusion that they were helping - as children do.

People were living in the house as it was being renovated, but without any sense of demarcation between work areas and the rest of the house.

One man spoke to me. Everything about him said 'builder' and at first I thought that he was a contractor. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that the situation was dire. People had stepped out in faith and invested money in the works, but the money was running out and the work was no-where near completion. It was piecemeal and chaotic. He was actually doing some of the work and I thought that he was worried about being paid, but then it turned out that he had invested in the building and was a part of the congregation. The way he spoke to me left me thinking that he expected me to do something about the situation.

I sat down at a table with some of the people. A slim, attractive, dark-haired, young woman joined us. "Everything will be alright", she told me. She had invested money and was full of faith that it would come right. Despite her obvious beauty and faith, I found myself wondering if she was being naif? I thought that the builder had a better grasp of the situation.

After prayer and reflection, once awake, I decided that the dream was from God and when I shared it with a friend and prayer-partner, she also found that it spoke to her.

On the personal level (see my advice in my post on The Magnificat - slide twelve), I have to ask what am I carrying around that looks good, but is headless (Christ-less and dead) and is obscuring the man of prayer ( the New Creation)? It is a serious challenge on use of time, money and gifts within the church.

Secondly, what is it that the Builder expects me to do? He was the Builder and a part of the Body (The Head). He has made the major investment in the building. Clearly I need to speak to others as well. But what else should I do? How can I be most effective in helping to right the situation?

On a wider level, many churches need to take a hard look at what they are doing. Are the spiritually immature (the toddlers) being left to 'help' when they are hindering? What of the dead dummy? Is there Christ-less leadership that is obscuring spiritual leadership?

On the denominational and universal church level, the question becomes, how do we get rid of the dead dummy? 

As to the investment that had been made, we have to ask about our stewardship, not only of our own time and talents, but also that of others. Are we using our gifts and the gifts of others to the best effect? 

At the widest level, and increasingly, local churches and even dioceses, are asking if it is right to fund godless leadership. The same is true of many denominations.

We have to drop the dead dummy.

We need to be better organised

And we need to talk to the Builder about the building works.

 http://www.vincentbespoketailors.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Formal_Suit_Dummy1.png



Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Power of Three - more about prayer triplets.

This sermon advocates the need for prayer triplets  as a part of our regular prayer discipline. 

It is based on Exodus 17 and Ephesians 6: 10 - 20. It emphasises the need for prayer triplets and explains them.

It is based on the very first battle that Israel fought after the Exodus at Rephidim. Much of this I learned years ago at Bible College from the Rev. Bob Dunnett, former vice-Principal and a Canon of Birmingham Cathedral. For clarification that is Birmingham, England.

The PowerPoint has been amended, so the MP3 recording doesn't quite match. We had some technical glitches during the service, but we got nearly everyone praying in triplets as a "taster".
Birmingham Cathedral -St Phillip's
The sermon is part of a series on prayer and part of our preparation for a Mission during Holy Week at Holy Trinity West Bromwich and in partnership with Asian Calvary Church .

Despite the little loud-speaker symbol there is no sound, for some reason Skydrive won't allow it.

If you want to hear the MP3 recording, click on the quaver. However, I cannot do both at once and I doubt that you will be able to either.

Friday, 17 January 2014

The girl in blue. A story of two little girls and the Devil's work

This post comes with a warning. The content is distressing and, although the visuals are upsetting, it is the stories which are heart-breaking.

If you have a legitimate celebration today, read this tomorrow.
The first little girl is Jewish. Her name is Hadas Fogel.
 
The inset is Hadas Fogel before she was murdered.The rest of the image is her tiny coffin. A little girl in blue.
Her family was murdered by Islamist terrorists (from Arab Palestine). They were walking away from the slaughter when they heard the baby crying...
This took place in 2011.
http://www.collive.com/pics//nf_1841_181057.jpg
What follows is more recent.


 

This little girl's parents were Syrian Christians, and like them, she became a martyr to her faith.  A martyr to her parents' faith, I suppose I should say in view of her tender years.  A martyr at the very hands of the cruel and ruthless Islamists and Jihadists who wish to wipe Israel ahttps://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Emmaus-Group/157999294338029nd Jews and Christians and Christianity from the face of the Middle East. 
The Facebook page of the Emmaus Group explains:
Child “crucified” in Syria.

The image ... shows a very young girl tied to railings in a crucifixion style position and left until dead. The image was sent to us via facebook from a contact in Syria. The girl’s crime, as if there could be one? Her parents were Christians. She was tied up and made to watch her parents being killed then left. This evil act was perpetrated by Syrian rebels. The same rebels the West continues to support financially, with training and technology and supposedly, “non lethal hardware.”\

 Sadly this practice is not new. Christian children have been crucified in Iraq in an attempt to terrify their parents and the Christian population in general. See link
My sources are Daphne Anson and the http://www.emmaus-group.org/

Sometimes, evil is so utterly appalling that terms like 'The Enemy', 'the Devil' and 'Satan' are all that are left to describe who has done this thing.

The Church of England is expunging all mention of the Devil from its new service book.

Update: It would seem that at least one other source attributes the picture somewhat differently.

  "chained up for being Shia Muslim"

http://beforeitsnews.com/middle-east/2013/06/horrifying-picture-child-chained-up-forced-to-watch-parents-executed-by-obama-backed-syrian-rebels-2452386.html


In either case, the act is attributed to Syrian rebels and is horrendous. However, the link above has credibility issues, see the following quote - the brackets and highlighting are my insertions.

The Syrian civil war is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Syrian [?] and outside foreigners paid by zionist intellegence [sic], a system build to weaker the arab army, esspecialy [sic] those who are a threat to the pro-american diplomacy, in other words ”those who do not bow down to them”.2013 

 I am seeking further clarification.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

I am not an Arab! The brave stand of non-Jewish Israeli Christians in Israel

This video is another heart-warming story, but it is also challenging  - and the subtitles are a mess. That aside, it highlights the plight of Christian Israelis who are not Jews - not from Israel but from other non-Jewish Israelis.

It is a little tedious and require concentration, but it is worth it.

Am Israel Chai!


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Exposing the lies - A heart-warming story that has come out of Israel

This video is about how God's prophecies about the Land are being fulfilled in Israeli Agriculture. It is heart-warming and encouraging. It also exposes some of the lies that have been told about Israel and shows the good that is being done for all the region by Israel.

It really is worth watching. It cheered me up no end, as we say in the North of England.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

How the wise men knew the gospel - and how to be wise in God's eyes.

This is a PowerPoint of a sermon I recently preached. Unfortunately, due to the disturbances caused by an alcoholic homeless man whom our church is endeavouring to help ( he is banned from attending any other church and with good reason), I was unable to record a soundtrack.

In it I will tell you how the wise men knew the gospel, whether they turned up for the resurrection , what the Star actually was and how to be wise in God's eyes.


I hope you find it interesting and informative. I am pleased to report that it was well received on the day.

You can find out a bit more about  my thesis here at 'When was Jesus born...?'

May God bless you as you study it.