Sunday 10 July
David McClay, is Rector of Willowfield Parish Church in East Belfast. Together with his wife Hilary, he leads New Wine Ireland. On the first evening of #Sligo16 David brought the message at opening celebration. Here VOX magazine Editor Ruth Garvey-Williams brings you a summary of what he had to say.
God has a word for our churches, for our communities and for our land at this particular time of challenge and change. What has this past year been like for you? There probably have been highs and lows. Lots of stuff that can go on for us and we bring all of that with us and we bring all of that with us into New Wine this year.
Life will always include challenges and times of stretching. That is part and parcel of pursuing our relationship with Jesus and the joy of being His disciples.
Two examples: Abraham was called to leave his homeland to go to place where God had called him. God promised Abraham an incredible future. “In you all the families on earth will be blessed…” Joshua faced many battles. When Joshua had grown old and there was still much to do, the Lord spoke to him.
Our timing can be off. What we hope for doesn’t always come to pass. We can end up in a place where there is still so much more to do. Every generation hopes that they will be the generation to see revival and blessing. It is right to pray for a great move of God in our land but in the meantime, it is right to continue working in the small things.
God’s word is a word for the individual and for the corporate people of God together. God never favours one over another. We are all called to walk humbly with Him. For each generation, the promises of God are sure. God will lead us through.
But here’s the thing… The way forward and the way upward is on our knees. The posture of our hearts really matters. When did you last kneel down? I think that a lot of the Psalms were written by someone who was kneeling down… “Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker.” What does it mean for us to kneel down?
Together we need to take responsibility for the spiritual health and wellbeing of our nation. In order to do that, we need to humble ourselves before the cross of Jesus. This is a week for us to take responsibility for where we are at with God.
This will mean repentance. This week, God wants us to kneel down and to humbly admit our sin and wrongdoing as individuals and churches.
Isaiah reminds us that God’s thoughts are as superior to ours as the heavens are above the earth. Will we allow Sligo16 to become a space for deep and genuine repentance? Will you join me in asking for the mercy of God for ourselves, for our churches and for our land?
Repentance leads to blessing, to peace and to joy. The promises of God flow from a repentant heart. Charles Finney said, “A revival is nothing less than a new beginning of obedience to God.”
Revival flows out of humility. It is a moving away and a turning away from sin. It means that we become a different sort of man or woman. God is calling us to that in these days. God is always calling us to take responsibility and to repentance.
As we do this, I believe God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a deeper blessing.God invites us to receive His truth and to let His word and His Spirit go deep into our lives and to shape us for kingdom purposes. Can we ask God to make us hungry this week? Can we position ourselves before God that we can come ready to be changed?
Are we willing for God to adjust the way we think? Abraham had to leave his homeland. Moses had to stop being a shepherd. David had to kill Goliath. Jonah had to overcome prejudice. Matthew had to leave his job as a tax collector. Saul had to change his name and his entire life’s work. We cannot move to the new place that God calls us to and remain as we are. We have got to be transformed.
When God moves, change is here to stay!
Sometimes there are things we have got to say and do. There are mind patterns that have to change. There need to be seismic adjustments in how we do life. Paul got it. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ…”
Our spiritual core is who we are deep inside when no one is looking. This week, let us take responsibility. Let us repent. Let us receive more of God’s truth and so much more of His Spirit.
This week let us rejoice at some of the things that God is doing in Ireland in these days. God is at work in Ireland. There are stories of people coming to faith in Christ. There are stories from all over Ireland of people being healed. Let us expect that God will release a new anointing for us to share Christ so that we will see hundreds of thousands of people brought into the kingdom.
Let us expect that the fire of God would fall on this week upon the people of God and we would go out from this place “dripping” fire!