VOX magazine is LIVE from Sligo this week at the New Wine Ireland Sligo Summer Conference. Visit the LIVE Blog for regular photos and updates throughout the day. Experience the action as it happens! #sligo14
Thursday 10 July
09.21 Good morning Sligo! It's a new day and although it may be raining outside, it's warm inside and we're excited about what God has in store for us today!
"This is the day that the Lord had made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!"
09.38 Praying for Ulster this morning.
09.47 Welcoming and praying for Fr Kevin Doran, the new Catholic bishop of Elphin, "Our plans for the diocese for the future, very much in partnership with Christians of other traditions, would be that the Holy Spirit would lead us to bear common witness to Jesus Christ. All of us who are Christians need to show our love for one another."
09.49 Ali Calvin reads from Psalm 8. "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise. This week God is moving among the children and young people. God knows and cares for each one of us. We've seen God doing a deep work in so many hearts and lives. What He is doing in us this week is so that we can be more effective next week."
10.19 Preparing to hear David Parker with the morning Bible teaching.
The Challenge of Connection
10.27 We have been wrestling with Matthew 10:16 - Jesus sends us into the world as sheep among wolves. Following the good shepherd and seeking to do what He does.
We need to be both innocent and true, tough and tender. We need to have deep convictions, courageous commitments and compassion. Spiritual truths are often held in tension. Jesus calls us to a depth of understanding that enables to engage with the world and not be devoured by it… not only to survive it but help redeem it.
On our own we are capable of walking but with God we can ride a bike.
Doing what Jesus calls us to do requires connection - we can't do this alone. We need to...
1) Overcome independence - independence is not a bad thing but it is a means for freely chosen connectedness (inter-dependence).
2) Overcome indifference - Jesus is calling us to engagement not indifference. It matters that we do it together. It is a terrible thing when we are indifferent to connecting with people who are different from ourselves!
3) Overcome in-fighting - What shocks someone who has never been to church before is that they will come in and everyone will love each other. Sadly it is not true. The Bible is so honest. It tells us the reality of Paul and Barnabas’ partnership in the Gospel and also their disagreements.
11.00 Read a summary of the morning teaching here.
Violence and Poverty with Ruth Cooke and Mary Good
11.52 Ruth Cooke introduces the work of International Justice Mission
Injustice is the norm in a lot of places around the world. The UN estimated that 4 billion people in the world are outside the protection of a justice system.
A study called “Voices of the Poor” asked people, “What is it that you are most concerned about?” The majority answer was personal safety and security. We need to tackle violence to make communities safer.
14 million slaves in India but you are more likely to be struck by lightning in India than to be convicted of owning slaves. IJM provides rescuers, investigators and advocates who are seeking to implement the law against bonded labour.
12.23 Hearing harrowing stories about slavery, violence and injustice around the world but through the hopeful lens of the ways in which IJM is responding to bring about justice.
Injustice is when power is abused to take from someone the good things God intends for them.
Common elements of exploitation:
- Trigger events (such as abuse, death of a family member, etc.)
- Abuse of power
Reading from Ruth chapter 2. God's law safeguards both the needs and dignity of the poor.
"God is a God of justice. He opposes injustice and sides with the oppressed."
- from Good News to the Poor by Tim Chester
Every country has their “lowest of the low” - in Ireland, those would be travellers. In India, it is the Dalit people. We are all in positions of power.
Where possible IJM works to implement existing laws within the various countries. While corruption has been a big part of allowing these systems to break down, we come across a lot of people who want to do their jobs but struggle with a lack of resources.
Recommending The Locust Effect (why the end of poverty requires and end of violence).
Pastoral Prayer with Roly and Susan Heaney from Redcross in Co Wicklow
14.54 A few years ago we began to open up our church for prayer for healing. Remember we don't heal anyone - God does!! At first, there were some evenings when nobody turned up.
Now we would average three to four people and the majority of people would come from outside the church.
What we are trying to do is to bring God into a situation and to allow God to work - seeing what God wants to do. Pastoral Prayer is not counselling.
Key issues for a pastoral prayer team:
- Personal relationship with God
There is no formula. Every single session is different because every single person is different.
- Faith - sometimes our faith is very weak. Although God expects us to have faith, He still works when we don't. God loves to use us when we are weak.
- Anointing - some people have a particular anointing to pray for healing but God wants to use all of us. Our mandate is to preach the good news, heal the sick and set the captives free. None of us are excluded from that.
- Compassion - Jesus was moved by compassion into action. Love and compassion are the foundations of pastoral prayer ministry.
One of the most important things in pastoral prayer ministry is listening:
- Listen to the person who comes in. In listening, you not only hear what is being said but what is behind the problem. It means so much if somebody really listens.
- Listen to God - humanly speaking, nobody is equipped to minister but He has given us His Holy Spirit to encourage us, to equip us to do His work.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are like a tool box. If there is a particular need, God will gift you exactly what you need to respond.
In pastoral prayer, listening is an understatement. Really listen to the person.
Sometimes nothing happens. What do we do? It is okay to say, "I don't know." Love never fails and whether you see physical results or not, make sure that person encounters God's love.
19.21 Starting the evening celebration with Psalm 36: 5 - 9.
20.02 Preparing to hear Steve Morris - see a summary below or read more of his message here.
Get rid of your idols!
I came across a prayer and I pray this every Monday morning. This prayer captured me: read it here.
Constantly in the story of God, the people got caught up with idols. The second commandment says, “You shall have no other gods before me…” Why would we have the arrogance to think that we would not get caught up in idol worship when down through the ages, God’s people have worshipped idols.
The root of all sin is the belief that God is not good so we rely on other things. Our hearts only have room for one devotion, we can only cleave to one Lord.We are told time and time again to flee from idolatry.
We were made to worship and if we do not worship God, we will find something else to worship.
Solomon had everything… money, sex and power. He had them all in abundance but his heart turned away from God. What is turning your heart away from God? What runs the risk of appearing better than God? What pulls you away?
My idol became a three-bedroomed house until I went to South Africa and I was confronted by a young 14 year old girl who had been sold my her auntie into sex slavery. She had been sold to man after man for two years. She sat in a meeting and said, “I never knew the love of God until you told me about Jesus Christ.” I said to my wife, “We need to something about these children.”
Then God challenged us to put our own bank account on the line. Later, I had to preach at New Wine in the UK unexpectedly and people started putting money on the stage. Come lunchtime people had given £30,400…And a businessman added £5,000.
What does your bank account tell you about what you believe about God?
Consumerism is a great idol in our culture. The way to defeat the idol of money is to be generous. Say to God, "100% of this is yours and now you tell me what to spend." Give with joy.
We are praying for total transformation in that township and our family is going to live and work in South Africa. "As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord…"
He deserves our worship, our adoration and praise… 100%. He deserves everything you’ve got our bank account. Can we not give ourselves to Jesus and see Him transform this nation? It will take us to be wholly and completely focused on Him.
I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed! The best way to defeat these idols is to worship Jesus and put Him back on the throne!
20.56 Steve Morris, "You are God's plan A for this nation. The local church is the hope for the people of this island. You are the hope for revival in your town, city or village."