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23rd September 2012
It's great to be starting our second Season of Prayer, Fasting & Giving. It's always good when we give extended time to seek God – catching His heart and allowing him to change us.
Over these 22 days we've provided 14 different prayer meetings when we can come together and do business with God as we seek to see his church blessed and our communities transformed. We have also deliberately moved out of the Hastings Centre as we pray in Sussex Coast College (tonight @ 7pm), Bexhill next Sunday evening and Rye on the last night of this season. (More details here.)
Please join us as we pray – corporate prayer is a key to God's blessing and has been such a source of power throughout the history of the church as we seek to follow him into all he has for us. As Greg Haslam says, "The church is here to blaze new trails of effective ministry and society-transforming evangelism, just as our forbears did in previous generations." How we need to give ourselves to prayer if that is to happen!
This Season is also an opportunity to individually give ourselves to God – setting aside time to focus on God and grow in him. When we pray, read the Bible, enjoy his presence and set aside time to fast (whether missing some TV or a meal), it's amazing what God can do in us. However, this doesn't happen by default: we need to make decisions to prioritise what is important. In 2 Peter 1 we read that God's "divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness... For this very reason, make every effort..."
Let's put God first, expecting him to turn up in power. I'm so looking forward to joining you in prayer over the coming weeks – let's see what God will do!
Reading: Jonah 1-4; 2 Peter 1:1-11
Question: Which times will you set aside to pray and fast?
Next prayer meeting: 7pm tonight at Sussex Coast College
Posted by Paul Mann
17th June 2012
Followers of Jesus are characterised in the Bible as those who know the power of God and the word of God. In fact, Jesus chastised the religious leaders of his day for not knowing the Scriptures and God's power, demonstrating that it's possible to have the outward signs of religion, but to be totally missing God's great salvation plan as it unfolds before your eyes!
We can be like that, too. It's possible to do a shadow of the Christian life or a shadow of church without actually involving God at all! But the Gospel isn't about a shadow – it's about the power of God! And this power radically transforms us, not just on the outside, but predominantly on the inside, right to the core of who we are.
This power comes from the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself was baptised in the Spirit before he started his ministry. If the Son of God was empowered by the Spirit, how much more do we need to be?!
When the Spirit was poured out onto Jesus, he received a commendation from his Father. This was before Jesus had healed anyone, forgiven anyone, gone through Gethsemane and died on the cross. Before he began his ministry, the Father loved him, accepted him and was "well pleased" with him.
The very same Spirit of God testifies to our sonship as well, enabling us to cry "Abba Father" (see Galatians 4). The Spirit guides us into the truth of our adoption into God's family and reveals the Father's love to us: his love that is broad – welcoming anyone, regardless of background, social standing, significance; it is long – reaching back past the creation of the world, redeeming even the very worst things that we have done or have been done to us; it is high – sweeping us into his family, lavishing us with grace, seating us securely with Christ; and it is deep – praying the price for all our sin, carrying the whole load so that we can be free.
Because of what Jesus has accomplished, we are not disqualified from receiving the Father's love. To keep in step with the Spirit is to be strengthened with power, grasping the Father's love, allowing it to embrace us, transform us and bring us into deeper relationship with the God who created us.
Verses: Luke 3:21-23 (see also Matthew 22:29, 1 John 3:1, Galatians 4:6-7, Ephesians 3:14-19)
Food for thought:
Posted by Paul Mann