Tuesday 14 July
Paddy de Lasa from Donegal was sharing at the third evening celebration at New Wine Ireland's summer conference - Sligo 15. Here VOX editor brings you a summary of his message:
The kingdom is not just something Jesus talked about. It is not just something that happened 2000 years ago and it is not just something we have to wait until we die until we can see it. Each of us has the capacity to release the kingdom of God where we are.
Mathew 9:37 - 38: Jesus did not teach us to pray for the harvest to come. He taught us to pray for the labourers because the harvest is plentiful. Maybe you feel, “I’m not able to do stuff like that. I’m unqualified.”
You are exactly who God had in mind when He thought about reaching this world with the Gospel. You are that person.
When we moved to Falcarragh, it did not take long to realize that everything we had learnt about doing church and ministry wasn’t going to work. 90% of the population within a 15-mile radius would have a nominal, traditional faith but not a personal relationship with Jesus. About 5% were Christians and the other 5% were atheists, artists or into other spiritualties.
The “attractional” model of church was not going to work because asking people to come to your church was like asking them to leave behind their identity and culture.
God put it on our heart to read through the scriptures as if it was for the very first time I was reading it as a new believer. When I was reading through it, I saw John 3 where Nicodemus came to Jesus. He was scared to come to Jesus because of what would happen. So he came to Jesus in the dead of night. There was one verse that I had read before but I had not noticed. John 3:6 - Flesh gives birth to flesh but spirit gives birth to spirit. The only way that transformation can truly happen in our lives is through the power and work of the Holy Spirit. The problem is, we as humans try to see spiritual transformation through the works of the flesh.
I felt like God was saying to me, “Stop leaning on your own ability of perform and start leaning on Jesus’ desire to transform.” When that sinks in there is an incredible release in your life. It is not about you anymore. God’s desire to transform and to save is greater than our desire.
Have you ever cried out to God for mercy, as if we are trying to convince Him to have mercy? Don’t we realise that God is mercy. God is love. God is grace. We don’t have to convince God to be those things but we position ourselves to be the conduits of those things. We don’t need to convince God to move but He moves through us.
If you are praying for revival… do you understand that you are the revival? Does your life look like the life of a disciple? Do you want it to? We felt God was saying to us, stop building a theology around what you know because I am bigger than what you know. Build your theology around Jesus Christ. If what you believe about God is not found in Jesus, then it is about time to change what you believe. We sought after God with everything that we had.
Things happen when you are in a place of desperation. We were praying all the time. We were going to bed praying and waking up praying. Through a dream and an encounter with God we realised that the Holy Spirit is a person to be loved. He is the person of God, one with the Father and with the Son.
A man came to teach us on evangelism but he could not speak because he was in so much pain with his tooth - he had had some work done at the dentist but it was only half done! We simply prayed, “Tooth be healed in Jesus name.” The tooth improved slightly. So we prayed again and then again. Eventually the tooth was about 50% better and he was able to teach us about evangelism that night. The next day, he phoned to say that the tooth was completed better. When the dentist saw him, the tooth was completed restored.
A young man called Andrew came to us with chronic asthma. We simply prayed, “Lungs be healed in Jesus name.” He texted me the next day saying, “I haven’t had to use my inhaler yet.” This went on for a month, then six months. A year later, I asked, “When was the last time you had to use your inhaler?” He answered, “It was before you prayed for me.” What is even more incredible is that through this miracle, Andrew realised that God is alive and He is still moving today. He is now on fire for God.
Everybody deserves a Kairos moment. The church has not just been called to be relevant; it has been commissioned to be influential. The difference between us and other humanitarian agencies is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. We are salt and light. Salt is so powerful that only a small amount makes a difference! What God has placed in you is far greater and stronger than anything in the world.
Your faith brings the world to life. How much faith did Lazarus have when he was raised to life? How much faith did Jairus’ daughter have when she was dead? The mandate on us today are to be the people who carry the world to the feet of Jesus. We need to step outside of the normal. He is going to transform them.