This weekend we enjoyed our 2nd Oak staycation, it was an amazing time of growing deeper in intimacy with God as a church family and our prayer is that, whether you were able to join with us over the weekend or not, you would be blessed by the words spoken over us and the challenges brought to us. It was an honour to welcome John & Abi and Brian & Sarah from River City Church in Hull who led our times of prayer, teaching and worship. If you missed any of the teaching or if you want to listen again please go to the media section where all the talks are available to download.
In the morning worship time God began to speak about welcoming us into His heart and about the rivers of living water available to us in Him. John then taught us more about the purpose of prophecy - that prophecy reveals to us the truth of who God is and who we are. Abi led a very practical session where we got to practice prophecy together as a people. She showed us that the heart of prophecy is always encouragement and that as we encourage each other with God's word we are instantly prophecying. Abi also shared the importance of remembering that sometimes prophecy feels a little uncomfortable as it shows us ourselves from a perspective that we have been unable to see. But we need to receive His Word, not deflect it away. Say thank you, suck it up! "God loves you." "Yeah yeah I know, God loves me, now what." "No God loves you! Suck it up!" We looked at truths from the bible and asked God to highlight words that He wanted to say to the person next to us.
Would you like to have a go right now?
Take a moment to stop and listen to God, ask Him to give you a prophecy for somebody but don't worry about who that is just yet. If you sense Him speaking, maybe a word of scripture, a moving image in your mind, a word or a picture, write it down. We'll come back to that later.
Have you done it?! No?! Go on... give it a try before you keep scrolling.
As we practiced speaking out God's words to one another we enjoyed the amazing sense of God's presence in the room, a peace and expectancy that felt incredibly safe. And it turned out that downstairs our children had been practicing exactly the same thing. The amazing Mosaic FP team, led by Emily had been encouraging the children to listen to God and they came ready to share His words with us. We learned from them that Jesus has a special message for us, that He carries us and that we need to be nice to one another!
After an afternoon of messy fun led by the amazing Derry family we all returned fresh and expectant for God to move powerfully among us. During our time of sung worship God spoke about His never stopping love for us that has endured from the creation of the world, of how humankind has consistently walked away from Him but God has constantly offered Himself, first through creation, then through His covenant, then in His temple and finally, eternally, on the cross. He also spoke about the dark places of our hearts that we try to keep Him out of, that He wants us to let Him in, He is forming diamonds there and His light will shine through those diamonds onto many who are near and far away. We don't need to hide from God or each other. And He showed us a wall that had been standing that was made up of control, religion, depression. His Spirit poured like a river and broke that wall down, washed it away and delivered us from those things. John and Abi brought a completely inspiring message about how their hunger and thirst for God has led them into deeper intimacy and obedience and how His increased presence in their lives is giving them authority to see Him work through them in miraculous ways.
Abi shared God's heart for His church in this nation to take our shoes and socks off and wade deeper into Him then turn and advance together with His Spirit sweeping us along. John brought us the challenges that God has laid on his own heart in the past. "How much do you want to pursue God? Are you just showing up to church and trying to be a nicer person? Are you pursuing comfort over Jesus? Have you fallen asleep waiting for the bridegroom to return?" As we responded in repentance to God, John prophecied over us that we would be like John the Baptist, preparing the way for Jesus. That as we run in pursuit of Him, many will follow.
There was a strong theme in many of the prophecies spoken throughout the day of God leading us into new paths, of Him enlarging us as a church and of us stepping out into new places. Chris shared how God has been stirring our (mine and his) hearts for the city of Bradford, particularly the East of the city that borders West Leeds, that as a church we planted with a vision to see West Leeds and East Bradford transformed for the gospel. There is much poverty and racial tension in this area of the city and God has been speaking to us so clearly about His love for the people living in this broken, neglected place that we are now moving there, we want to invest ourselves and our family into God's restoration plan for BD4 and beyond. Would you join us in praying for this city and for the people on your doorstep who desperately need to know Jesus?
We finished the evening with a reminder that God is calling each of us to step out with Him, we made a circle facing outwards and prayed that as a church we would learn to rely on Jesus, to pursue Him full throttle and to step out in the authority that He gives us to share His love, healing and forgiveness with a broken world. And that is our prayer for you as you read this post, whether you are part of Oak or our wider church family we pray that you would know a new hunger and thirst for God, that you would pursue Him wholeheartedly into whatever adventures He has prepared for you and that you would know His Spirit breaking down your walls and carrying you deeper into Him.
Oh, and that word you wrote down earlier? That was for you. Suck it up!