Join us from Sunday 20th to Friday 25th March as we worship and prayer together.
7pm The Up, a fantastic opportunity to spend some time with God. Led by Linda Maslen and Cath & Angus from Saturday Gathering.
Monday to Wednesday
The Kairos Room will be open for prayer throughout the day.
There will be gathered times of prayer and worship at 7am, 9am, 12pm, 3:45pm and 8.30pm
Passover meals in MSCs. If you are not sure where to go to then you are warmly invited to join Allsorts and Blaze at 7pm in the Kairos Room. Please let Sarah know if you are coming.
We are joining with Harrogate Churches Together for worship at the Cenotaph. Meet at Wesley Chapel at 11:15 to walk or at the Cenotaph at 11:30pm.
2-4pm: Simply Easter – An afternoon of activities, crafts and fun to explore the Easter story.
8:30pm: Night Prayer
By Dan Hetherington
Jesus is Lord! This we know. But sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this, and sometimes we need to be carried by others praying this over us, and our lives. Throughout the last week I have been chewing over a word from God, which I believe to be for us all. Simply put, I believe that the Lord wants to remind us all that He is our Torch! Wherever we choose to shine him darkness cannot stand! Wherever we choose to acknowledge the power and authority which he has given to us, that same power that each tree and flower was planned and made, and by which stars were flung into space.
“Jesus is Lord! Creation’s voice proclaims it,
for by his power each tree and flower was planned and made.
Jesus is Lord! The universe declares it;
Sun, moon and stars in heaven cry: Jesus is Lord.”
As disciples of Jesus, we have been given the greatest gift ever, life. Life that springs from lightness, from a grave not being able to hold our saviour, from the stone having been rolled away so that light could engross the tomb where once there was darkness. Jesus is our Torch! Where he has been and where he is going darkness does not stand a chance.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105)
Jesus referred to himself as “The Light of the World”, and said: “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” I want to encourage us to pray this over our fellow disciples, to declare that we are not only followers of the LIGHT, but that we too hold the light, and that we all be courageous enough to turn the switch and allow that light to shine in, and overcome the darkness.
Over the last 8 years I’ve been involved in developing and planting a church that is focussed on releasing people as disciples who fully participate in the mission of God. It became clear early on that the most important thing to do was listen. This was followed by the recognition that listening without making a response was foolish – the two had to come together. Another recognition was that hearing and responding had to move from being in the hands of the specialists to being for every Christian everywhere. One of my deepest desires is to see that everyone involved in my sphere of influence is able to hear God, respond obediently & go where he leads.
Cath Livesey addresses these things in her book “My Sheep Have Ears“: distilled from many years of being an ordinary practitioner- a hearer & responder. She uses practical illustrations and stories to help us see how we, as ordinary ‘sheep’ of the shepherd, can hear his voice in the ways unique to us, as well as the whole flock benefitting from hearing God.
In the chapter entitled ‘Learning to tune in’, Cath focuses on the change of mind that is required. I love how practical, biblical, and simple her approach is – if you struggle to have a personal practice of listening or are helping others to do so, this chapter couldn’t be more helpful.
Furthermore, she helps us explore why prophecy is actually normal for the church, and for all disciples. Cath gives simple steps to being able to hear God for others; moving it from the super-spiritual zone it often occupies in the church to very practical. The more you read the more you run out of excuses about being unable to hear God’s voice!
Where the first three chapters focus in on our personal & individual activation as sheep that can hear & respond, chapters four to six examine more deeply the gift of prophecy, the function of prophetic ministry in the church and crucially how to support and release this for the benefit of everyone. This is especially useful for church leaders & those who are recognising that they have a call to grow in the prophetic ministry as a gift to the whole church and not function as rather spooky, slightly nutty, self-servers!
She handles relevant scripture carefully, unpacking passages in a comprehensible and thought provoking way. Making clear the benefits gained by all God’s people if the ability to hear God is fully released, both as a normal fact of life for all disciples and also a gift to the whole church, ministered through people who are called to be ‘ministry’ prophets.
In the final part of the book Cath helpfully engages with different types of God’s revelation and how to respond as God reveals things to us. Cath makes comprehensible what lots of others make incomprehensible, giving practical steps and leaving you with a real sense that you can respond to what God is saying.
I have a must-read list of books to do with discipleship and mission. This book goes onto that list because it is crucial that we grow in being able release the whole flock to hear and respond. My Sheep have Ears is a vital contribution to this. Read it!
Cath is part of Accessible Prophecy, a ministry helping churches grow a prophetic culture.
At morning prayers this week we have been looking at Colossians 4: 2 -18. There’s lots about prayer in it (as well as some difficult names!)…have a read – it’s really good!
The part that really got my attention was in verse 12 where it says that Epaphras, “is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
It got me to thinking about what it means to wrestle in prayer. To wrestle implies effort, hard work, endurance and even struggle. It’s a wrestling that is not against God, in some effort to twist his arm or change his mind, but a wrestle in prayer before Him, standing on his promises to see His kingdom come more and more. A wrestle in prayer against the things that would get in the way of our relationship with him and with others, a wrestle in prayer against the things of the world, that we would see his kingdom come in our MSCs, in our schools, workplaces and families.
In Ephesians it’s says, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
The battle is not ours – it belongs to the Lord and we get to join in with what He is already doing and wrestle in prayer to see His Kingdom come. What a privilege!
I guess it’s not surprising during Launch week that the Lord wants to encourage us with a word about wrestling in prayer with Him for breakthrough. Who is the Lord asking you to wrestle in prayer for? Let’s be encouraged, stay faithful and keep on praying!
Remember, we are on a journey. We’re a family of families led by God to frontiers; places where we get to join in with him making life better. As we go it is vital that we pay attention to the Father. As one of our vision team put it the other day “An MSC without Up is just a social action club!” It’s succinct and true. We can’t lose the connection to our Father.
Think, for a moment, about the things you eat during the day. Most of us split our food into two types – meals and snacks. Three (usually) times a day we sit with someone and eat a meal; sandwiches, cereal and fruit, hot dinner and so on. This takes a bit of time, it can feel like a bit of an investment, we may rush it, but we all take time to sit and eat.
Most of us also snack – we eat on the go. If you are healthy this might be fruit or some seeds, it could be a bag of crisps a cake or a chocolate bar. You don’t have to take lots of time on it and you don’t have to eat loads, just enough to get energy levels up.
This is a great way of thinking about our prayer and worship life together: how would you rate your community’s Up? Do you snack together regularly, do you ever take time to sit and eat? Here are a few ideas of things you could try.
If you’re gathering for (a real, non metaphorical) meal, make sure you do a decent grace.
Use texts messages, Whatsapp or Facebook to share community prayer requests, testimonies or things you feel the Lord is saying. These can be really good because they can be so instant.
Pause to pray in your day – talk about whether you stop at 12 with the rest of the church. Could you build in another time just for your community?
Watch a worship video – find a song, or an inspiring video and play it together for a few minutes.
Have a worship night: I love it when the communities I have been part of sing and wait on God together. There is something really special about these times. You can use a guitar if you want to but there are other ways of worshipping – a bit of creative planning and you’ll come up with some great ideas.
Discovery Bible Study: Lots of us have been finding these very helpful to get us regularly reading and digesting the bible together.
Thanksgiving – Spend a bit of time talking about the good things God is doing. You may have to work to prompt some people to spot these in their lives. Share your stories and then start to pray, thank God for his good work and ask him to deepen it in you.
Prayer walk a neighbourhood – want to hear God’s heart for the people around you? Go for a walk together with Jesus and ask him what he is thinking.
Explore a spiritual discipline – read together about a particular practice. Decide that you are going to commit to doing that together for a while.
Have a community night of prayer – Book a longer chunk of time and pray together – once again be a creative as you want to.
Share communion together, if you are actually eating together why not get bread and wine and turn it into communion. If you decide to do this from time to time Mark or I would love to join you.
2 things not to forget
Don’t forget the feasts that are layed on for us as a family of families, an encouragement to your community to come to gatherings – especially the Up might really help you learn to worship together
Also don’t forget individual worship – When it comes to up its good to regularly snack or eat a meal on your own. How is your individual worship life going
Want to go further? Here are two recent blog posts that explore worship and prayer more deeply.
Sustaining a life of Worship – from the Missional Communities Blog
Reflections on prayer and paying the price – from Jo Saxton’s Blog
Tell us what you think? My ideas are really just starters, there is so much more you can do.
How do you currently approach up together as an MSC, is there something you feel led to take on? Tell us in the comments below.