Prophetic themes – Church Planting & Bringing hope to despairing people in Luton

We have been looking at recent prophetic words that have led us as a church to expect and respond to growth in both influence and in numbers. It is also good to look at other, older prophetic words and themes that continue to influence us as a church. These words describe something of the flavour that God has drawn out of Hope Church.

 

  1. Church Planting.

 

Prophetic words.

 

Firework: God gave a picture of a firework, which keeps spurting out.  As you watch it you’re never quite sure what’s coming next, and it pours out all over the place. There is a force and an unknown nature to it, but the certainty is, you know it’s going to spurt out.

 

God said this picture describes church planting, because He will place a firework (per-ching! there it goes!) in Hope church, and there are going to be many churches coming out of here.  From the very beginning you are going to put on a firework display and out of you, whole areas around here have got no chance, churches are being planted all the way around here.

But remember the unexpected nature of it, you don’t know when a firework is going to burst into life, but you just wait for the ‘WOW!’, when the next one appears.  Have that in your spirits.  Brought by Kim McCaffery in May 2002.

 

I believe that there are going to be a number of church plants into the area and young people will do many of them… Start to ask God to lay places on your heart and to open homes in those areas … God gave me a funny picture of a frog with all the spawn coming out of the frog and then these little babies leaping into all sorts of places.  A little frog pool with the spawn, then the tadpoles and then the little frogs leaping out doing new things in all sorts of surrounding areas.  Brought by Kerry Southey in September 2003

 

Tony Thompson Go and plant church’s.  Raise up foxes, gather them together and send them out. Plant churches! Andy McCullough May 2016 at the Catalyst Festival

 

In February 2005 we planted Hope Church, South Beds which is still going well.

We tried to plant a church into Hitchin in 2006 which didn’t take.

We have supported other church plants and replants around the area, however nothing new is currently on the agenda. However, what does the word given at the Catalyst Festival mean?

 

  1. Bringing hope to despairing people in Luton.

 

Prophetic Words

Thinking of this town, it is a town of 2 contrasts.  There is the airport, full of dreams, full of hope of where it is going.  Everything is going right up there.  But there is the other part of the town that is in despair, it’s all gone wrong, nothing’s working, and people are ruined.  It is as if there is a contradiction within the town.  Through this God wanted to say…

You are to preach hope which is future glory, salvation which is eternal hope.  But He also wants you to have within you a hope for now.  Through His spirit He is going to put skills amongst you to deal with that.  There is going to be a gifting and grace upon you to deal with the despair that is in this town, as well as bringing people through to knowing eternal hope.  Brought by Kim McCaffery in May 2002.

 

Think you are trying to reverse hopelessness.  Do fun courses, not long term but short term, where people come out and they are more equipped, e.g. Marriage, rebuilding, Life after divorce.  Rebuild in the natural so we can also rebuild in the spiritual…. Get some small businesses up and running with people who are out of work.  Believe God for people who have political influence. Brought by Kerry Southey in September 2003.

 

The hand of the Lord is on you, working hard to break through the ground.  It seems like there is a lot of concrete there that you have got to break through and that you have to fight for every soul that you get.  God just says to you that you are going to see increase in this next six months which is going to turn the captivity that’s in the heart of some people who are believing that the church will never grow in the way it should.  Brought by Keith Hazel in October 2006

Grave clothes coming off Lazarus, off the church and then community. Being equipped to Love Luton, part of a strategy for community cohesion. Adrian Horner July 2014
This has long been a flavor of Hope Church, and continues to be through Open House and other activities made possible by the building. As we move into the community areas how do we continue to bring hope to despairing people?

Healing Testimonies from January

posted in: Prayer 0

Over the last month we have had a ‘Focus on Prayer’. During the fourth week Ben preached on ‘Healing’ which you can hear again by clicking here. We also had 2 Praying for Healing prayer meetings and below are some of the stories shared out of that week.

 

In 2008 our daughter-in-law Alison was pregnant with her third child. The scan at about 21 weeks showed too much fluid on the brain (hydrocephaly). An extra scan was done in June which picked up a possible kidney issue and something else to do with bone development. Because there were three things it led the doctor to think it could be a genetic problem and an amniocentesis was offered but Alison refused as she wouldn’t consider termination. During August a further scan showed no improvement and that the head was already full size (Not due until October) and the baby was in the breach position. So a caesarean birth would be necessary and immediately afterwards Matthew would be transferred to Great Ormond Street to have a shunt fitted to drain the fluid.

During all this time many people were asked to pray and God answered the prayers.

During September the baby turned and the next visit to the midwife showed that the head was starting to engage ready for a natural birth which happened on 12th October 2008. Alison and Matthew came home the next day, a few weeks later an MRI scan showed no abnormalities and since then Matthew has developed normally and is perfectly healthy. Praise God!

Shared by Anne Fox

 

Monday Luke and I prayed for Pete Wells back.  He had pulled muscles, was in pain and was not going to play football. 1 hour later he was able to play football with total movement and pain much reduced.

Shared by Jane Reynolds

 

After prayer for my hip on Sunday and Tuesday, I’ve been praying for it as I’ve walked / limped along. Today (Sat), I’ve just walked along Priory Marina with our dogs (10k steps), with very little pain. Praise God!

Shared by Diane King

 

I put my back out earlier in January, but through prayer last Tuesday and Thursday at the prayer meetings for healing, whatever was wrong has been put right again.

Shared by Geoff Simons

 

A Lady who had been struggling with reading lately felt her sight was better after prayer.
Another lady felt an improvement with pain on her side after prayers

New Year, New Adventures, Prayer Required! Part 2

posted in: Prayer 0

Building on what I wrote last week about our daily walk with God.

Each of us has an individualised day planned by God, our walk’s experiences will be different, our interactions will be different for example:

When we wake up tomorrow morning we all can start our walk but our interactions, our communications and ultimately our prayers will be different. Some will be thankful for a good night’s sleep or the fact they wake to the sun streaming through their curtains, others will be thankful for the bed they slept in but be moved to think and pray and petition God for all the homeless who slept outside last night. Others will feel moved to pray for the governments of the lands or the nations in turmoil.

Here are some more examples of ways you could pray as part of your normal day:

Pray over your breakfast, thank God for the fact you have food, or pray for your child as you make them breakfast. Listen as God speaks who else, what else could you talk to him about.

Pray as you travel to work or do the school run, ask God who you should pray for, who should you speak to. Thank him you have a car, pray for those who don’t appear to be able to drive as well as you.

Pray using scripture or a worship song see where it takes you

Pray while reading the newspaper God cares even more than you do about peace and justice. He cares about pain and suffering use what’s going on in the world as an opportunity to ask for God’s intervention in a specific crisis at hand.

The possibilities are endless If we truly want to grab hold of and fully participate in all that God has planned for us this year as individuals and as a church we need to exercise the principle of persistent unending daily prayer. The concept of persevering and praying without ceasing no matter what. No matter how we feel, no matter whether we wake up happy or depressed, no matter whether the sun is shining or its cold and rainy. Praying whether life is good or whether we are in a dark, dark place. No matter whether we are fit and well or sick. No matter whether we are rich or poor.

Prayer is both an intimate interaction with God as it is a corporate event. It brings God glory, gives us insight into who he is, and has a tangible effect on our lives. Prayer is a privilege and a spiritual discipline worth developing. Let us agree at the beginning of this year to do as the Bible asks us to in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Romans 12:12 pray without ceasing, rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation and devoted to prayer.

Written by Polly Fryer-Saxby

deanpolly

New Year, New Adventures, Prayer Required! Part 1

posted in: Prayer 0

A few weeks ago I was privileged to be asked to go on retreat by a friend from this church. In case you are wondering what, a retreat is the definition according to the Retreat Association is

“a planned time of spiritual refreshment with the opportunity to rest, unwind and pray. They provide a breathing space, an oasis, an opportunity to listen and be heard, to step aside from our daily life and see our life and our relationship with God and with others from a fresh perspective.”

It was an amazing time but not what I expected in terms of a sermon I was preparing on prayer. Before I went I was in my mind totally prepared, I knew that I would be preaching. I had a plan involving looking at the lives of Biblical characters like Abraham Moses Samuel David Daniel Nehemiah and most importantly Jesus and seeing how their prayer lives, their persistence in prayer and their absolute belief in the authority and power of God could be a model for us and our prayer lives BUT God had another plan.

I felt he wanted me to extend to you God’s invitation to join Him on a walk. A daily walk you could in fact call it a prayer walk.

From the very beginning God has created us and seeks us to be his companions, his walking partners walking and talking to him on our daily journey. See Genesis 1v27 and 3v8-9

He wants relationship with us that includes companionship, a two way dialogue and intimacy.

He wants to walk beside us as our tour guide through life, the best, most interesting and knowledgeable tour guide in the world. He knows everything as he created it all. He wants to stop and show you things on the way. It won’t be a boring walk because when we walk daily with Him he unfolds the secrets of his kingdom.

It’s one thing me telling you that God loves you and knows you, it’s quite another thing for you to be on a walk with God as on my retreat and hear him whisper in your ear;

Hey look up at the stars, don’t they look amazing tonight. Do you know there are billions and billions of stars and I know each of their name? In fact do you know I have counted every hair on your head I am the one who knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I love you more than any star because you are created in my image. I loved you so much that I sent my son to live like you on this earth and to die for you so that you and I can spend eternity star gazing.

This is prayer. A daily conversational relationship where we willingly and joyfully recognise God made us to share his kingdom with us and for us to recognise we have and are called to play a part in building Gods kingdom.

We need God’s wisdom and his companionship. We need to understand and explore further the Bibles call to the need for prayer without ceasing, bold persistent persevering prayers. Prayers based on conversations we have whilst walking with God on our daily journey through life. Requests and petitions and praise / thanksgiving generated from our time spent in relationship with him.

Today I want to invite you to take God up on his invitation to walk, talk and pray.

Prayer doesn’t require lofty language in a sacred space. It doesn’t have to be eloquent it can be simple and spontaneous. It can be short or it can be long. It can be in the language of angels just as much as from the mouth of a child.

Take time today, tomorrow and every day to see that the ordinary moments of everyday life are the perfect occasions for walking with and sharing with God.

Written by Polly Fryer-Saxby

deanpolly

Keep Calm & Pray

I’m not a morning person. The thought of waking up before the world starts moving is not what I am drawn to. I used to think the ‘holier people’ would get up in the low light of dawn to cry out to God for hours before the day has started (and some people do that which is great) but it’s important to realise that everyone was not made the same and it’s okay for people to pray in a way that works for them. Whenever your day starts it should start right though. No this isn’t an advert for a breakfast cereal bar but I’m talking about starting when you wake with prayer.

KeepCalm&Pray

Next to my bed is this light box that displays the slogan ‘Keep Calm & Pray’. Before any of the day’s challenges or activities have started this quick message reminds me that whatever happens God ultimately holds the day in his hands and that worrying about it won’t make any difference. However keeping calm and knowing God’s in control of it is key to remember.

 

 

 

‘In the morning, Lord you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.’ (Psalm 5:3 NIV)

So I may not get up exceptionally early but personally I find praying as I get ready for my day is a great way to get it started. Whether that’s in the shower, walking to work or sipping that first drink of the day (personally it’s a cup of tea), expect in faith that God will hear your requests and go with you on your day! You may even ask him to bless others in their day or ask God for opportunity to use you for his glory.

 

Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. (Matthew 6:6 MSG)

Grabbing a quiet moment in your day may be easier said than done. Life’s noise can often not leave us alone, but take those quiet moments to say a prayer to God and He can fill you with his Grace. Remember to be simple about it though, God doesn’t want us to come to him tongue tied and over complicating our words to him. It’s as simple as chatting to your best mate. In basic terms be yourself.

As I end my day just before I drift off I look at my light box (which is the only thing still lit in the room at this point) reminding me to once again ‘Keep Calm & Pray’. I remember to thank God for the good things that went well during the day and to ask that he help me to continue to rely on him for the things that maybe I didn’t get quite right today but have another chance to try again tomorrow. Book-ending each end of the day with prayer even if it is short and simple helps you to remember you are always wrapped in the Father’s love and can always talk to him. Perhaps you might want to try having a reminder around your bedside to wrap your day in prayer.

 

Prayer was never meant to complicated, it was meant to be simple, the Bible tells us so!

Lastly if you don’t know what to pray the easiest thing to do is look at the way Jesus taught us to pray as we have looked at a few times recently in church! My personal favourite version as translated in The Message:

 

‘Our Father in heaven,

Reveal who you are.

Set the world right;

Do what’s best—

as above, so below.

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

You’re in charge!

You can do anything you want!

You’re ablaze in beauty!

Yes. Yes. Yes.’

 

Written by Luke Middleton

Luke Middleton

The wise man built his house upon the rock

posted in: Jane Reynolds, Prayer 0

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  Matthew 7:24-25

Some of us know this story well, we can sing the song and do the actions without thinking very much about the truth behind the words. Reading it again this morning I was struck deeply by the simplicity and the reality of what Christ was explaining to us. I recognised the reality of its truth in my own life.

When we practice the words of Christ we build a solid foundation that stands, even when the most difficult situations arise.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’’love your neighbour as yourself’ Matthew 22:37,39.

When we begin to love God our priorities change, we change the way we act and think. When we learn how much he loves and accepts us then we can love others with the compassion he has for us. It changes our world. It changes our reactions. It changes our lives.

How do we hear the words of God? How do we develop that relationship with God, the creator of the universe and our maker? Through the resurrected power of Jesus. The Holy Spirit our counsellor enables us. As we knock on the door through prayer God answers and situations change. The bible teaches us the way to go. Even when the world would say otherwise, following biblical example enables us to stand when the storms rage all around. When life throws curved balls. Put God first and do it His way and you will stand. It’s not easy; God never said it would be. The rain and storms will come.

People often ask me how I coped with having triplets. The answer is simple; it wasn’t easy but prayer got me through. They went to bed I prayed, forget the washing up and tidying I needed time with God. We were in need (money was very tight) I prayed for specifics and God provided. I was overwhelmed, I prayed psalms back to God. When relationships became difficult I fasted and I held onto truth, I shouted at God and told him how I felt. I acknowledged my situation and my helplessness and he came and comforted me. Now I can comfort other with the comfort I have been given. I look back and see the benefit and the power of prayer. My family, my marriage, the church, my jobs, my friends. I stand amazed at Gods faithfulness and the fruitfulness of time spend with Him.

Prayer and the truth in the word of God really does light your path through life and is the only rock to build on.

Written by Jane Reynolds

Jane

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