Getting The Hang Of This Fellowship Thing

29 Oct
Praying before my baptism. Taken by Jade Pyne.

Praying before my baptism.
Taken by Jade Pyne.

It’s been an interesting few months. I went to Poland, I got baptised and…oh yeah I deferred my admission to grad school. Since then, I’ve had a lot of time to think and pray and begin interesting projects. The hardest thing about free time is that you never get anything done. You get to the end of the week and you realise that that ministry book you wanted to read remains untouched. Then, after reading a page, you take a break and congratulate yourself on actually opening the book. A month later, you still haven’t progressed past that page. Oh Lord Jesus, help me in my reading!

During this post you will see pictures from my baptism. These pictures have nothing to do with the subject matter, I just wanted to share a special event in my life.

The most interesting part of these past few weeks has been the realisation that I am transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. Currently, I’m in that phase where I can clearly see both sides of the coin. On the one hand I still experience the same emotions and frustrations of adolescence, yet there is now a maturity and assuredness, which I’m assuming comes from adulthood. This unique view has been very useful when serving with the young people and then fellowshipping with brothers and sisters about the young people. It has also allowed the Lord to deal with certain situations I wasn’t aware that I was going through.

At this point, I had changed my mind about baptism and wanted to get out but couldn't find a quick escape route. Taken by Sarah Fun

At this point, I had changed my mind about baptism and wanted to get out but couldn’t find a quick escape route.
Taken by John Liu.

After deferring grad school for a year, I was naturally a little disappointed. This is something I had really wanted to happen this year and so a little disappointment was expected. What surprised me though was what was beneath the disappointment. I realised that there was a deep resentment towards certain older saints for what I perceived to be a lack of oneness for my future plans.

Without exposing anyone, several older saints remarked, rather forcefully, to me that the Lord’s Move was in Europe and that I was going the wrong way. As someone who, at that point, had barely been in the church life for two years, this was quite a damaging thing to hear. I now understand what they were trying to say but because of the type of person that I am, how they said it and when they said it were both wrong. I don’t get offended easily, but when I really want something I can be both strong-willed and stubborn. When you add this to the fact that I still thought of myself as a newbie and I hated confrontation, it make sense that I dealt with it by cutting myself off from those saints. At that time, I didn’t realise it but if I saw them walking towards me, I would walk in a different direction. I would also do my very best to avoid having any sort of conversation with them but, if they managed to corner me, I would give frustratingly noncommittal answers to their questions. I allowed a misunderstanding to become a divisive issue.

Thankfully, the Lord was fully in control and all that resentment is now gone. Had this situation happened a year ago, I’m very certain I would have left the church life feeling bitter and and angry. Remember, I’m from the Catholic world where if you had a problem with someone you either bad-mouthed them behind their back, or you moved parishes. Trying to figure out and engineer a move abroad was hard enough without people openly opposing you, or so it seemed. Thankfully the Lord had gained me enough for me not to even consider leaving. And in time He revealed to me the role I had played.

Having my sins washed away. Taken by Sarah Fun.

Having my sins washed away.
Taken by John Liu.

My mistake was not fellowshipping with the saints in my locality and home meeting about grad school. I made the decision, announced it and expected their full support. Instead of saying, “Hey saints, I really have this feeling to go and do my Masters in America. Can we pray about it?” It’s almost as if I said, “Hey saints I’m going to America to do my masters. You will pray for me!”

As a semi-adolescent/semi-adult I can now clearly see how both sides caused damage to one another. My actions, like those of many young people, didn’t take into account the church. All I cared about was my growth, my migration, my future experiences with the Lord. I didn’t once consider how it would impact the church in London and the saints I’ve been blended with. The actions of the older saints, like that of some adults, didn’t take into account my susceptibility to offence. It’s easier for an adult to notice that they’ve damaged a young person because it usually leads to the young person withdrawing from the regular church life. It’s much harder for a young person to realise that they’ve damaged the church. When we make arbitrary decision without fellowship, we takeaway authority from the church and give authority to our flesh.

I understand this now, although it would have been great if those saints had subtly but firmly shepherded me in this area instead. The truth is that most young people don’t have the spiritual maturity to think about anyone but themselves and often a lot of offence can be avoided by realising this. But hallelujah for this experience.

The great thing about deferring my admission is that I am essentially redoing the whole of last year. I now have a whole year to sit down with the saints in London and say, “Saints, I still have this strong feeling to go abroad and study for my masters. Can we pray and fellowship about this so that we can go forward in oneness?” Finally, after almost three years in the church life, I am getting the hang of this fellowship thing.

- thedoublebarrel

Emerging from the waters a new man. Taken by Jade Pyne.

Emerging from the waters a new man.
Taken by Jade Pyne.

Sustaining A Consistent Church Life

21 Jul
"Therefore let us also, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us" Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore let us also, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us”
Hebrews 12:1-2

My biggest frustration is living an inconsistent church life. It drives me absolutely crazy because after a particularly good month of being in spirit and partaking in the richness of the divine flow, I follow it up with a flat month where I’m either on autopilot or just unable to raise my spirits for a significant period of time. The best analogy I can think of is that of a football player (this analogy works for both types of football) who has been given tremendous skill and talent. One game he is on scintillating form; he’s enjoying playing and he is destroying the opposition. Then the next game he is just average. Sure he may score the easy goal or touchdown, if you put it on a plate for him, but he won’t produce that game changing move. Even the basic things he will fail at and this leads to him becoming more and more frustrated.

My inconsistency really bugs me because I find it really hard to snap out of it. Just one day without adequately touching the Lord can lead to a whole week of unredeemed time. I have found that there a few things which lead to this:

Overconfidence after a enjoying the Lord – In warfare, especially when you’re outgunned, best time to strike your enemy is when he has had a few victories. Complacency due to overconfidence is dangerous especially in a young Christian. As we get deeper into Him, we reach new levels of enjoyment and it is so tempting to just drop our defenses, relax and just lie there for a little while. You’ve built up a store of consistent attendance at the meetings, you’ve really gotten into the Morning Revivals and you’ve discovered new truths in the ministry and the Bible. It’s hard not to feel untouchable but we must be wary. From experience, I know that this is the time I should surround myself with the saints even more because I know I’m becoming complacent and I’ll need someone to snap me out of it.

Overloading yourself with work – During my undergrad I created a set of rules to regulate myself. I was not allowed to do any work on weekends or after 8pm. This forced me to do my assignments as soon as I got them and meant that I only did 2 all-nighters during my 4 year degree. When I started working, I adapted this to not working beyond my allotted time (6pm) and ignoring all out of hours work emails until the next working day (we have clients in Asia and America so this was very tough). This isn’t because I wanted to be legalistic over how many hours I was being paid to work. This was because I wanted to be clear about the time allocated to work and the time allocated to the Lord. The Lord can be blent into my work but not the other way around. It was working until this month where, in an effort to make up for the work I’d miss while in Poland, I began to leave work half an hour later. Then I started working at home on Saturdays. Before long I was working until 3am in the morning because it was really humid and I was unable to sleep. This is time I’m taking away from the Lord. On top of that, I’m tiring myself out which means when I wake up, I am less likely to have a rich Morning Revival. In fact what happened was that Morning Revival just became another task on my to do list.

Youth – This is something that we can’t do much about. The younger you are, the less polished and consistent you are. You may be very talented, but chances are, your talent comes in fits and bursts because you don’t know how to use it. The same goes with our Christian lives. Rather than becoming frustrated, like I usually do, we should strive to exercise and hone our spirits to continually seek the Lord. Just like our muscles need to repeat things in order to become consistent, we too need to repeatedly seek the Lord in order to achieve consistency in our pursuit and love of Him.

In my natural man I am a perfectionist and so recurring failures really tick me off but I’m realizing that this is all part of my spiritual immaturity. What is true is that when I do start enjoying the Lord and building up a consistent and healthy habit of spending time with Him, I am able to go even deeper than before. We learn much more from our failures than our successes and so, for me, this is an area where the Lord is perfecting me. I think He will be able to do an even greater work in this area when I move into the brothers house. Full time education is a great time to build up good habits.

Note To A Fellow Graduate…

19 Jun

Graduation

Before I start, I want to thank everyone who read my previous post. The response has prompted me to break my number one writing rule, write as if no one will read it, so thank you for that as well. Now onto the main course…

I have to say that I’m not a fan of top tip articles firstly; because I rarely gain anything from them; secondly, they require little effort to write; and finally, I feel as if I’m the last person qualified to give any sort of advice. Therefore I would appreciate it if you viewed this as a critique of my life in the past year rather than expert tips. So without further ado, here is my note to my fellow graduates:

My fellow graduates,

It seems like years ago since I graduated, mainly because I feel as if I’ve had five years of experience shoved into one year. I should probably find a way to not feel this old but that can wait until another day. Having graduated almost a year ago, I have decided to share some of my experiences in the hope that it may provide some insight into what you’ll be facing. In the interest of keeping this post as short as possible, I’ll just launch right into it.

1. It’s even more important to have companions after you graduate
The initial graduate life is a lonely life, if your aim is to work. A companion, preferably a recent grad, is vital because they will understand what you’re going through. I spent seven months looking for a job and the vast majority of that was spent alone. There were a variety of reasons, number one being that contrary to popular opinion, I’m naturally shy and guarded so I tend to withdraw when things don’t go to plan. However, I also felt that the older saints and students just didn’t get my situation because they hadn’t gone through it, or they’d experienced it too long ago. When I finally found companions who could relate, it was such a relief. When I do this again, after grad school, I’ll exercise to fight my natural inclination to keep my struggles to myself. It’s embarrassing to not get a job and in this economy it’s likely that you’ll struggle. The best way to overcome the anger, frustration and depression is by being with like-minded saints.

2. The world does not owe you anything
This seems like an obvious thing but even for the most logical of us out there, there comes a point when you want to punch a window because you realize that the world won’t play by your rules. Sticking to the plan, that is; going to school and getting good grades, doesn’t equal a job within six months. Even having experience doesn’t necessarily help, especially in Europe, just because everyone’s resume looks pretty much like yours and you have more experienced people willing to take a pay cut in order to feed their families. The sooner you realize that the only person you can trust is the Lord, the easier you’ll find it to cope.

3. The life of a graduate is very uncertain
What I miss most about education is the structure. I knew what the next few years would look like, I knew where I was going and how to reach my goals. Things were defined and, barring a few mishaps, there weren’t any abnormal fluctuations. The graduate life is just a crazy ride. As a Christian, probably more so. I was talking to a brother who graduated last year as well and we both agreed that the graduate life is in itself a form of training. I would even go as far as to say that in these economic conditions, the graduate life is a more intense training than the first year of the FTT. Why? Because you’re out there in the world, you feel alone and you’re without your safety net. You suddenly realize that every decision you make can drastically alter your life. This can lead to you ignoring vital decisions for weeks because the thought of making a mistake paralyzes you with fear. But this is a great time to be gained by the Lord. In my experience, the Lord allowed me to fall down the deepest blackest hole and then yanked me out. Just as I was about to give up, He appeared and glued me together with Himself. I can barely plan for today, let alone next week, but I just appreciate that He is in control!

4. Morning time with the Lord makes a huge difference
I don’t always read the Morning Revival but I try to make some time with the Lord. I either read the Bible or as many pages of a ministry book on the train to work. Those 35 minutes on the dirty London Underground trains seem to go so quickly but they are key to my day. I walk into work with the ministry on my mind, a song in my heart and prayer on my lips. I’m ready for the day and watch out anyone who is in my way. I attribute my success at work to my time with the Lord. Just by praying and taking Him in whenever I can, I have achieved much more than I was meant to at work.

5. Nothing can compare to the church life
When I sit at my desk at work, I wish I were with the saints. This is not rhetoric but the truth. I want to be with all the saints, not just the students that I’m friendly with. The home meeting in Central London is something I try not to miss just because it’s my home and I can be built up with the saints. It’s tough being out there in the world as a young Christian and if we don’t take care of our church life, it’s very easy to be blown away by the world. But making it to at least one home meeting a week allows you to sit, slow down and breathe in God fully. For the next few hours nothing else matters. You can recharge your spiritual batteries for the week and soak in God.

Fortunately for me I get to go through the graduate process again, albeit I’ll be a little older and hopefully wiser. While I’m sure my experiences will be different, I’ll make sure to have these five points on my heart so that I don’t go through the same experiences.
- D-A

A Few Realizations

17 Jun

View From Bower House

It’s been a long hiatus. The reason is that despite my many experiences, I couldn’t find something to write about. I’ve always thought that I write better than I talk. The problem with that is that speaking is key for a Christian. My brain works so fast and I am conscious of the fact that I don’t always get my point across and so I will use this post to get my point across better.

As some of you may know, I’m planning on attending grad school in California in a couple of months and I’ve been asked a lot of questions about my motives. This whole experience has made me realize a few things:

1. I don’t have a burden for Europe.

This was a hard thing to admit. Being a European, it’s expected that you would have a burden for your own continent, and maybe that’s true for some people, but unfortunately it isn’t for me right now. There are various reasons for this and it’s probably not helped by the fact that throughout my history degree I was encouraged to be extremely objective and critical of every source I came across. I can understand why saints would be burdened for Europe and at times, I am slightly envious but it was liberating to finally realize that I didn’t need to be burdened for Europe. The Lord has His plan for me and maybe tomorrow I will wake up with a burden for Europe but if not, I can’t try to force myself. As the Body, we all have different functions and if I am called to do the Lord’s work elsewhere, in His eyes it’ll be equal to that of someone doing the Lord’s work in Europe.

2. I don’t have a burden to go the Full-Time Training…right now.

I am not a church kid and so I wasn’t brought up with a view to going to the FTTL or any of the other trainings. I’ve been in the church life for two and half years and in that time I have a gained so much but I know I’m not ready for the training yet. I thought it would be easier for me, because my parents aren’t in the church life, however, I still felt the huge weight of expectation. The saints mean well but I feel as if I spent many months finding tactful ways to say I wasn’t going to FTTL but would consider it in the future. I wasn’t lying. I do want to attend the Full-Time Training but while by the future I meant in the next few years, I knew that they thought the future meant the following term. Going to the Full-Time Training is a privilege and when I go, I know that I will be fully prepared and ready for the perfection that will follow. Until the Lord instills in me that burden, I’ll just keep offering vague responses when asked.

3. I want to serve full-time.

This may seem strange when you consider the two earlier points. Surely if I want to serve full-time, I would want to go to FTT. The best way to explain this is to say that I see serving full-time in my mid-long term future. There are many ways to serve and many areas I could serve in. I’ve always thought that my history degree and journalism background would be useful for the Lord. During my semester abroad in Australia, I got became interested in environmental policy, in particular water policy. This interest, and the knowledge gleaned from my time in Melbourne, has led me towards grad school. I know the Lord can also use this for His move. When you think about it a former journalist who has a Bachelors in history a Masters in Public Policy with a speciality in environmentally policy could come in handy in Europe in the next few years. Then again, speculating on behalf of the Lord is never a good idea.

Coming to these realizations has helped me put things into context. It’s important to have a personal experience of the Lord and mine have led me to these points. I know that there are a few people who would prefer I stayed in London and go to FTTL but I don’t think that’s the path for me right now. Many people don’t know that I didn’t get accepted by any of the universities I wanted to do my undergrad at. I ended up going to the school 10 minutes from my house and only because they were the only ones who wanted me and they made a very good offer. It’s a good school, ranked in the world’s top 150, but it wasn’t where I wanted to go. Now I’m in a position where I’ve been accepted into every graduate program I’ve applied for so far, which comes with its own set of problems. I don’t know what the future holds but as of now I’m pretty confident that the Lord will continue to gain me outside of Europe for the next few years.

- D-A

A Coming of Age

11 Mar

I don’t really have a concrete topic to write about in this post. I’ve had an enjoyable few weeks and to top it off a three brothers from Boston just arrived today to serve full-time. I guess this post was inspired by the fellowship I had with them.

We’re having morning revival on the previous training on Daniel and Zechariah and everyday I’m learning how to become someone that the Lord can fully use. It’s great that it coincides with me starting my first post-graduation job because I have been able to use Daniel’s experiences to help me present myself accordingly.

I am acutely aware these days that I am a representative of Christ and at some point I must starting acting like one, rather than putting it off for a yet to be determined date in the future. Two weekends ago, a brother said something that really touched me. He said that if the Lord came back today, he would be happy because he can honestly say that he’s consecrated the last fours years of his college life to the Lord. While I would be happy if the Lord came back today, I know that I can’t say that. From that day onward, I strived to live the life of a Nazarite, voluntarily consecrating myself everyday and refusing the corrupted foods of this world. It’s not been easy but I never expected it to be.

Day by day I feel myself becoming David-Anthony and not David. This sounds weird, I know, but for most of my life I’ve been just David and that’s been a metaphor for my Christian life. Rather than experiencing the full riches of His glory, I’ve been happy with just part of it. But recently I’ve experienced a change. I now want the full riches and refuse to just settle for a little bit. Everybody at work calls me David-Anthony and why shouldn’t they? It’s my first name. Granted, they pronounce it ‘David-Antony’ but they get points for trying. It may seem silly, or even trivial, to compare what I’m called to my Christian life but I see a symmetry. At some point I have to grow up and stop being little David and become David-Anthony. Likewise, I am now maturing spiritually and seeking Him fully and urgently everyday. I’m no longer a Lord’s Day or meeting saint, I’m becoming an everyday saint. Now let’s see how long it takes to ween everyone off calling me David…

I Have Confidence In Him

24 Feb

On Friday, I woke up and went about my business, like any other day. On my way to the train station, I decided to check my emails and right at the top was an email telling me that I’d been accepted for an internship and would start on Monday. The first thing I did was call on the name of the Lord, then I thanked Him while I tried to call home and tell my parents before my fingers got too cold. the fact that my first instinct was to call on the name of the Lord first shows how far I’ve come in the past few months. So I thought I would write about some of the things I’ve learnt during my unemployment.

The biggest lesson that the last few months have taught me is that the heavens rule. This is such a beautiful thing to see and say. One of the most frustrating thing about being unemployed were the limits it imposed on my church life. I’d never really been in a situation where I had to seriously consider missing a college conference or not going to the student meeting because of money. Previously I’d been in situation where I would say “I’m poor” and really what I meant was that I’d overspent for that month and so had to limit my expenditure. However, I then found myself in a position where I was planning which meetings to skip.

Prayer meetings where the first to go, not that I was a regular at them in the first place. It’s a terrible habit, and one I look forward to overcoming in the next few months, but I find it harder to motivate myself to go to a prayer meeting especially during the cold winter. It’s weird because you’d think that with a tight budget, I would prioritize corporate prayer, and now I think about it, I should have. I missed a few Lord’s table meetings and then eventually switched districts because there was a table meeting much closer to me. Somehow, I managed to attend both the European University Conference and the Winter School of Truth.

As you can see, I was choosing the bigger and ‘more fun’ events over the smaller, serious meetings. I wanted to be with the brothers my age rather than the older saints. Here in London, especially in the small districts, it’s not uncommon for there is often a huge gap between the eldest student and the youngest adult. The thought of being surrounded by adults, no offence, just didn’t appeal to me. Praise the Lord that, despite not having any income, I managed to remain active in the church life.

In this economy and with the world situation as it is, the Lord made it clear to me that He was all I had and would ever need. The world wasn’t my friend, it didn’t owe me anything and would never do anything that was in my best interests. This was an important lesson because I had too much confidence in myself and the world. I assumed that after following the rules and doing well at school, I would be rewarded with a job within 3-4 months of graduating. When it didn’t, I lost confidence and turned fully to the Lord. With Him as my confidence, I am now employed and start on tomorrow.

While listening to the recent Winter Training on Daniel and Zechariah, I really appreciated this speaking from Brother Ron in message 1. He said:

“…this is why we have to see that the heavens rule because we’re always going to be in an environment. And the fact is, my brothers and sisters, this environment can include all manner of painful things, anguish things, frustrating things, baffling things, and you pray and you pray for yourself and those whom you love. And the God who rules is silent, and the God who rules is hiding. And it seems as if He doesn’t care or doesn’t even exist. But it’s just part of His rule over you to develop your faith, to perfect your faith. So as God’s elect we need Christ to be wrought into us as our centrality and universality through our environment.”

I’m just so glad that I can see that the heavens rule. My approach to my job is that I am a temporary custodian of that position until the Lord decides otherwise. In that time I must remain open to Him and fully redeem the time so that He can move through me because these days are evil.

A Bruising Lesson

31 Jan

I have an app, on my phone, which shows me what my Facebook status everyday up to three years ago. Most of the time I cringe as I realise how naive I was. Today, I checked the app and was pleasantly surprised to realise that this time two years ago, I had just finished my first blending trip to another locality.

Many times I forget that I have been in the church life for a little over two years. Many times, people assume I’m a church kid. These are all good things. I can’t imagine not being in the church life, I barely remember my life before the church life. What I do remember is that my focus has fully changed from myself to Christ and the church. This is important, especially now that I am a graduate. If I didn’t know the Lord or didn’t have the saints, I do not know where I would be because unemployment sucks, and that’s putting it mildly.

My Facebook Status from 2 years ago

My Facebook Status from 2 years ago

1 Thessalonians 16-18 says, “always rejoice, unceasingly pray, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” But how do you do that when it seems as if your whole world is crumbling? It’s easy to view chasing employment as vanity, however the reality is that in this corrupted world, employment provides money and the pursuit of money keeps the whole system spinning. My mistake was to try and enter this system with a false view of God’s will for me. I had good grades, great experience and everyone told me I interviewed well and I didn’t even have to lie. I am the perfect minority candidate; I know this because I planned it, I cultivated it and then executed it when I was 17. I had a plan to be somebody, and because everything worked out pretty much how I needed it to, I assumed it was God’s plan too. But I was in for a rude shock.

"If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you."John 15:7

“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”
John 15:7

My careers adviser has been unable to explain why I am yet to find a job. He suggested, rather desperately, that I become more like Margaret Thatcher or Winston Churchill and seize the day. I already knew the answer to my problems. While fellowshipping with some saints last week, a sister asked me a very exposing question. “Have you gained the Lord more during this experience?”

I wanted to say no, but I knew that wasn’t true. I ended up saying “Yes but…is it worth going through this experience?” I didn’t want to admit that this experience has drawn me much closer to the Lord. The anger, frustration and the total destruction of my pride has shown me that the world is not my friend. I may have done all the right things and played by the rules but the only person who will never let me down is the Lord. Once I admitted that to myself, I felt a sense of freedom.

For the Lord to reach me, he had to break me and while it felt brutal, it was necessary for me to reach the point where I trusted him wholeheartedly. Who knows, maybe I could have been spared all of this if I had let go sooner. This week’s morning revival has been talking about how prayer is for the Lord rather than for us. Praying that He has His way in my life and uses me for the accomplishment of His will is much more effective than begging for a job. After all, John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” Only by abiding in Him can we know what to ask for.

The Millennials

11 Jan
The London Brothers

The London Brothers. Photo taken by Juanito


What is a generation? One dictionary definition is: “a group of individuals, most of whom are the same approximate age, having similar ideas, problems, attitudes, etc.” A generation typically lasts 20-30 years and those in my generation are known as the Millennials. Born after 1983, we grew up on technology and live our lives online thanks to the internet, smartphones and social networks. We are a connected generation however, we are also a godless generation. We are irreligious, meaning we are hostile or indifferent to religion. (By using religion here I am using the term that most people see Christianity).

This irreligion has characterised the childhood of all European young people. Generally speaking, Europe is politically socialist and a big part of socialism is resistance and indifference to God and the belief that our problems can be solved through the collective good actions of the majority. I’m a historian and so I know this is an overly simplistic view and could be misleading but based on its Communist roots, most forms of socialism follow these principles. The combination of increased access to information via the internet and irreligion has made my generation an insular one. We are independent, we look to ourselves to solve our issues and refuse to accept things without physical proof.

I mention all of this because today I had coffee with a brother in Canary Wharf, and we realised we had come to a major crossroads where a major decision had to be made. There are about 15 brothers aged 20-23 who have just graduated or about to graduate. These brothers are active in the student life and serve regularly at conferences. To the young people we probably come across as constituted brothers (I say this because that is how I used to see the brothers older than me). After graduation, in the face of worldly pressure, we must decide which of the four paths to pursue: further education, work, the full-time training or marriage. At first this is daunting but during my fellowship with the brother, we realised three important things.

First it’s irrelevant which one we pick, when we pick or even which order we pick. All of these paths are perfectly acceptable to the Lord if He wishes it for us. The real choice is between the way of the Lord and that of the devil. By the time we graduate we know that while education serves a good purpose, we have been conditioned to pursue it in order to gain the best job possible.This is the pursuit of money and as we know from 1 Timothy 6:10the love of money is a root of all evils” therefore, it is important to turn to the Lord and see which path He wants us to pursue after we graduate.

Secondly it’s important to be able to articulate the reasoning behind this decision. I served at the European Winter School of Truth this year with the 11 year olds, many of whom were experiencing their first young people’s conference. That week really opened my eyes to because they asked me so many questions and I had to really turn to the Lord in order to provide answers. If I was unable to articulate my faith and the faith then I could have damaged them spiritually. But by being able to articulate, they could better understand why, as a Christian, they too wanted to follow the Lord.

Thirdly, it’s important to realise that we must be patterns. The number of graduating UK students in the church life is growing slowly. If my graduating class sets a good pattern the the next graduating class, by His grace, they too can be a pattern to the class below them. We must break this hostility and indifference to God in our peers while strengthening the faith of those already saved.

Therefore to conclude this rather long blog post, the Millennial generation needs overcomers who give themselves up to the Lord so He can gain more people. The most important decision we can make is to follow the Lord and then we must be able to articulate and live out this decision as patterns. I am really burdened for this, so much so that it’s taken nearly four hours to clearly turn my thoughts into typed words. Hopefully my next post will be soon and much smoother affair.

Regeneration

21 Nov
What a weekend we had at the Autumn European University Conference in Bower House. The topic was ‘The Organic Aspect of God’s Salvation’ and it was very enjoyable getting into the Word and understanding what organic salvation is.There are eight steps in God’s organic salvations:
  1. Regeneration
  2. Shepherding
  3. Sanctification
  4. Renewing
  5. Transformation
  6. Building
  7. Conformation
  8. Glorification
I really enjoyed the matter of Regeneration. Firstly regeneration is not:
  • Remedial – it’s a cure or a solution which improves us
  • Rehab – it won’t restore us to a a better condition
  • Resolve – it won’t change or magically convert us
Regeneration is simply to to receive another life, the life of God, in addition to our human life. This is such a wonderful thing. Just think about it. God’s life is added to our life. He doesn’t substitute our life for His, rather He adds His spiritual and divine life to our human life. His heart’s desire is for Man to be the same as He is in image, life, nature and expression. That is love.
We are regenerated when we receive the Spirit because God is Spirit. But how do we receive the Spirit? 1 Peter 1:23 says “Having been regenerated not out of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God.” This shows that we are regenerated through the word of God. John 1:1, 14 clearly show that the Word is Jesus. Therefore by believing into Jesus, we are regenerated through the Word and receive the Spirit which mingles with our Spirit thus regenerating us and making us children of God.
This regeneration is a washing which changes our senses. Before we are regenerated, our sense of sight, taste, touch, hearing and smell are of the world but after we’ve been regenerated this becomes of the Spirit. It is not necessary to tell a newly regenerated Christian what how to act, rather the Spirit within him will wash him and he will have see, taste and smell things differently. He will naturally act according the the Lord.
This matter of regeneration is so important because not only is it the first aspect of God’s organic salvation, it is also the centre of His complete salvation. However we must approach it and know it in a theological or doctrinal way. Rather, as it was impressed on us, we must take it to the Lord and say “Lord what does this mean to me? How is regeneration applicable to my life?” Only then can we have a true experience of regeneration rather than just an academic understand of it.

Battlefield: Frontline Offensive

27 Sep

For our wrestling is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Christian Students in London 2012/13

In the past two weeks something strange has happened. A new offensive has been launched on the campuses of London. Like an impromptu military raid, it is quick and dirty. Small and unrefined but highly coordinated and accurate. Targeting the freshman of 2012/13 we visited nearly 10 campuses in London, quenching the fiery darts of the enemy with the shield of faith and praying powerful kingdom prayers. And it was so enjoyable. In past years the students had been content to sit idly and play defence while the serving ones wearily went on the offence. But not this year. Now it was the serving ones in defence while we pushed aggressively forward.

Fuelled by spiritual adrenaline, we’d exhaust ourselves, get home and sleep it off, wake up and start again. Yet despite giving out almost 1000 Bibles in two weeks, I was hit by the realisation that we’d only reached less than 0.002% of the UK’s population and many of them didn’t want further contact after receiving their new Bible. The statistics make for depressing reading yet this is the reality we live in here on the frontlines.

Students Distributing At Queen Mary, University of London, in the heart of London’s Muslim community

So many times I hear saints excitedly talking about moving to Europe for the Lord’s move and I know they’re not prepared. War isn’t exciting, war isn’t pleasant and that is what the Lord’s move in Europe is: a war. Saints wanting to go to Europe will be in for the rudest shock. I feel a saint who is prepared for the Lord’s move in Europe will not be excited because it’s a thankless task. Our children are dead, their spirits locked away and hidden so deep that when you look into their eyes you see mostly emptiness. In August I took a brother to the Notting Hill Carnival where we were surrounded by teenagers; some were drinking, others dancing, the rest were eagerly watching the festivities. This brother felt so uncomfortable, and a little scared. that he wanted to leave, yet these were the people he was moving to Europe to try and reach but just in their natural habitat. It made me realise that nothing can prepare non-Europeans for life as a God-man in this continent.

At Greenwich University

Europeans, so used to organised religion, know all the moves. They will take your free Bibles, quote verses back to you and you’ll never see them again. In London, especially, they will smile and be polite to your face but when you read between the lines you realise that they were never interested at all. It’s demoralising, depressing and can even damage a saint. Therefore despite the tens of thousands of Bibles given out this summer we must be aware that the real work is in the retention. And in this matter I am reminded of Matthew 22:14, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Despite this energetic offensive, we may only gain one or 2 more students in the whole of London than we did last year yet this is a momentous victory. Every soul saved in Europe is huge and here on the frontlines every victory brings us closer to the end of the war.

Zeal for the Lord

13 Jun

In my two weeks in Southern California, I’ve had a number of very good experiences. This vacation has been much more than I expected it to be and I can only attribute it to the Lord for providing me with such hospitable saints. While the physical can never rival the spiritual, the way I’ve been taken care of by the saints physically has been extremely humbling.

Today has been the first day that I’ve been truly alone and I’ve enjoyed this mellow day walking around Westwood. This day has allowed me to reflect on a piece of fellowship I had with a dear brother in Irvine.

He told me about his trip to Israel earlier this year and how the zeal of the Israelites really touched him. They were so focused on the idea of rebuilding the physical temple and so sure it would happen. In their minds, this was of utter importance and nothing anyone said could get them to change their minds. They didn’t care what the world thought of them. The brother came to the conclusion that if the Israelites could be so focused on this physical dream, then he should be even more focused on the spiritual truth. He must desire to and pray for the Lord to build his spiritual temple.

This fellowship really touched me because I know that I haven’t always been faithful to the Lord’s goal. I often put off my Bible reading and fellowship until a more convenient time or I cancel altogether. I prioritise physical over spiritual pleasure. I worry about my needs over the Lord’s needs. But the biggest fault is that at times I’m ashamed of the Lord.

There are certain acquaintances that I cannot talk about the Lord to because they vehemently oppose Him. I can’t even talk about Him around them because I feel as if I can’t defend Him before them andy I get offended by their criticisms. So in the end I don’t mention Him around these people, however when I’m with the saints I can praise Him shamelessly. When I look at the attitude of the Jews, I realise that this is a bad stance. Being a Christian is part of my DNA. My spirit is mingled with the Spirit. How can I deny part of my being? It just doesn’t make sense. If the Jews can vehemently defend the idea of rebuilding the physical temple and hold onto it so strongly, why can’t I do the same for the spiritual temple of the Lord?

I’m realising more and more that the older you get, the easier it is to be blown away with the crowd and lose your identity. I don’t want to lose the Lord. I don’t want to lose the source of my life. I can no longer justify living different lives. I am a Christian, I have been saved and He lives in me. And frankly people will always have an opinion, but it shouldn’t dictate my life.

Unravelling

12 Mar

On March 1, Sister Carolyn Ocwet died of a brain hemorrhage at the Royal London Hospital. I didn’t really know her or her family too well, but she was in my district. I found out almost seconds after I boarded the train at High Barnet station and I felt physically and emotionally sick. I wanted to cry, but the British stiff upper lip wouldn’t let me. I wanted to punch something but my rationale told me that would be a stupid thing to do. so I sat in silence and drifted off into a daydream instead.

These 12 days have been some of the most confusing and piercing days of my life. I’ve pretty much re-evalutated my whole way of life and now I’m more confident about standing out up and declaring my faith in the face of opposition. The older I get, the more I realise that Christ is the way. Below is an extract from my diary as I tried to get to grips with what was happening.

She sat next to me. Well there was an empty chair separating us but that doesn’t matter. I never considered that the following Lord’s Day she wouldn’t be there. She loved the Lord, I could feel that. I could sense that. I’m not concerned about her salvation.

So often we have a reckless disregard for life. I know I do. I do things and say things without considering the ripple effect.

I’ve never understood death. I’ve never been able to fully comprehend it. When my maternal grandfather died I laughed, I guess out of a sense of relief that after two years he was finally out of his misery, but I never understood the sadness and pain my mother felt. This was the man who’d raised me for 6 years and whom I closely resembled. He was the defining male figure in my life. And he was gone.

But now a woman I’m unrelated to and hardly knew dies and I feel something. I feel numb. Sitting on this train on my way home, I feel the Spirit warming through me. There are tears but I’m a Londoner. I can’t let them see me vulnerable.

I remember Last Lord’s Day I drifted off towards the end and played on my phone instead. When I post about the Lord on Facebook I put my privacy settings on because I don’t want to deal with those who don’t agree. If it had been me that had died instead, I would be woefully inadequate to face the Lord.

There’s a hymn that says: “Fight saints for Jesus our Lord. Take in His life, stand in one accord. Never fear God’s enemy; tread on his head triumphantly.”

We must fight…I must fight for Jesus our Lord.

I guess it’s a cliche for someone else’s death to shake me out of my spiritual stupor. But it really has. Praise the Lord that we can live His life because our own is too short.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,470 other followers

%d bloggers like this: