Good morning everyone. I think you’ll agree, there’s a big difference between going for a stroll and walking with determination towards an objective. On a stroll, when an obstacle gets in the way, one simply stops and goes off in another direction. When walking with determination towards an objective, you figure out how to get over or around the obstacle and keep heading for the objective. In Paul’s words, we press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Our fasting and prayer this week is certainly about walking with determination towards our objective. Fasting and praying to overcome obstacles and hindrances and pray in God’s prophetic invitations.
The upward call on Cobham is communicated to us through the prophetic words over this church. Prophetic words are invitations from God to lay hold of things that are his will for us. To paraphrase Watchman Nee, the great Chinese apostle, our prayers are the railway tracks along which the locomotive of God’s purpose runs. Here are the common themes of the prophetic words over Cobham:
- God is encouraging us to have big expectations. Not to think small or shrink back.
- To rely on Him and trust him and let him unfold what he wants to do. He will give us specific strategies to follow. To rest in him. To let God do the heavy lifting (my words).
- To expect God to awaken the prodigals and for us to see their return to fellowship.
- That we would see the fresh opening up of wells of Living Water that have been dug for the Kingdom but have been stopped up by the enemy.
- To expect God to move in power – in healings – physical and emotional, and to expect Him to do this amongst young people.
- The promise of unity amongst the churches
- Prayer and fasting and prayer-walking will plough up the ground and make the soil here fertile.
- Who we are as a community and our care for the wider community, will restore people’s trust in church.
- To expect to come up against principalities and powers and to defeat them.
- Revival amongst families.
One particular prophetic dream is riveting. The record of the words over Cobham read as follows:
07 July 2016, David Taylor’s dream (a local historian): A ladder took him up into a loft where there were rooms with all the equipment and resources and when he turned to go back down the ladder it did not touch the ground so he had to jump.
The thought that God has everything we need, all the resources and equipment for us to see the Kingdom come in many people’s lives in Cobham and the surrounding areas, and yet it cannot get from heaven to earth for some reason – that just moves me and arrests me.
Kingsgate’s vision is abbreviated with the phrase, ‘On earth as it is in heaven.’ We’re called to spend ourselves on the idea of getting what God has available in heaven, released here on earth.
Our pursuit of being a ‘loft-ladder‘ church lies in 3 areas.
- Transcendence. By that, we mean a real and deep connection with God. Loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. This is about ‘the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ Of ‘gaining Christ and being found in him… knowing him’ as Paul writes in Phil 3.
Personally, in our prayer and worship.
Together, in our prayer and worship.
That we would refuse to settle for a purely rational Christianity. That we would expect to sense the Holy Spirit upon us. That we would give time to slowing down to experience loving union with God. To expect to experience God.
We’d also refuse to worship by rote. We’ll explore worship. Exploring times of silence, perhaps liturgy, whatever it takes to shake us out of our charismatic sleep-walk and to encounter the Living God. We want to engage the presence of the Living God more than anything. As Pete Greig’s Lectio 365 starts every day, ‘…to recentre [our] scattered senses upon the presence of God.’
- Community. By this we mean a real and deep connection with each other. Loving our neighbour as we love ourselves. Not allowing a single day to go by without asking ourselves the question, ‘How can I live community today?’ ‘Is there someone who needs my prayer, a phone call, a visit, who needs to know someone cares, who needs an act of kindness or an act of service, today?’ – amongst ourselves as the church, but also amongst the community around us. Spirituality without community, without giving of our self for others in this fellowship – makes that spirituality all fluff and feathers. All individualistic and not what God had in mind for his people at all. He wants to see a people who actually love one another, care for one another, forgive one another, challenge one another, be vulnerable with one another, bear with one another, offer hospitality to one another, pray with one another and all the other one another’s in the NT. Christians are called to lay down their lives for one another.
- Service. By this we mean the willingness to do what God prompts us to do, in word or in deed. Is he prompting us to talk to someone? We do it. Is he prompting us to offer to pray for someone? We do it. Is he prompting us to share the gospel with someone? We do it. Is he prompting us to give something away? We do it. Is he prompting us to serve someone or serve the community? We do it.
Spirituality plus community, but without service is just a bit insular and self-indulgent. We are meant to take what comes out of our relationship with God and our relationships with each other, into the world – to serve people who Jesus died for, in word and in deeds and in wonders. “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service.” Billy Graham
If we live out these 3 things – which are simple, but difficult, we will see the resources of heaven touching earth through our lives. Someone once said that we have made Christianity very complex, but easy; whereas in reality Christianity is very simple, but difficult. We need God’s grace!
In Paul’s words, ‘12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’
Please pray these things for Kingsgate Cobham today.