Sligo18: A Song in the Desert

Wednesday 11 July

Noel leads Liberty Church in Dublin in three locations across the city. He is passionate about Jesus, His presence and His kingdom and longs for Jesus’ glorious Church to display His glory!  Here's what he had to say on Wednesday evening at #Sligo18:

I bring you greetings from Dublin!  It is great to be here.  Every preacher says that and I believe we really mean it.  It is a privilege to stand before God’s people and share the Word of God. I want to say the presence of God and the glory of God is all over this place.  It’s like there is a canopy of God’s presence.  I want to say thank you to the leadership and everybody that is involved.  Your attitude and your generosity has been obvious.

Ecclesia

A few weeks ago, I was wanting to go and hear Ed Silvoso speak in Dublin about a book he had written called The Ecclesia but I had committed to doing a kids outreach in Bray.  And I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying, “Why don’t you study the ‘ecclesia’ for yourself?”  Over the next few weeks, I looked at the scriptures and the Lord has shown me who we are as the people of God.  We are infused, enthused, in-filled by God.  God lives in us - the hope of glory.

The word ecclesia means the “called out ones.” It is not even a religious word.  It was a secular word for a group of people who have been called out for a purpose.  We have been called out of darkness into light. God has called us for Himself.  Down the years, the word “church” has been messed around with. 

Ecclesia means the people belonging to God, called out by God and unto God. Too often we say we are going to church but WE are the church! 

Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 16:17 - 20   “Peter, on this rock I will build my ecclesia - my called out ones... and I will give to the ecclesia the keys of the kingdom...”  Even the gates and powers of hell will not stand against you!

The ecclesia is not a building or a denomination. The ecclesia are people who are called out unto God.  We belong to Him, we are His.

Moses went to Pharoah and said, “Let my people go so that they may come and worship with me.”  God was calling those people out of Egypt.  Out of darkness, slavery and oppression.  We are not just called from something.  We are called to Someone - to worship Him.

Jesus said, “My Father is looking for worshippers.” He gets us out of Egypt and then He has to get Egypt out of us. And then He sends us back to become the light of the world! 

We have a location in Clondalkin and it is a broken place.  We have a service at 6pm on a Sunday evening in a community hall and it is raw and God shows up. There is only a handful of us but it feels like angels are worshipping with us.

Three weeks ago this guy  (an addict) came by on a bicycle as we were coming up.  His name was Deco and he goes, “What is wrong with you? Yous are all GLOWING.”  Those in darkness see the light in us.  He was telling us who we are.

Don’t you know that you are the shiny ones?  God brings the people out into the desert to worship Him and to see who He is.  He brings them into that place to show them His faithfulness, power and provision.  What else could you do but worship God when you see who He is?

Singing in the Desert

When we go through the wilderness we don’t like it.  We despise the wilderness but that it is in that place where we meet with God and worship Him.  If I’m in a wilderness I want to learn how to sing!  Their shoes and clothes didn’t wear out for 40 years!

One of the feasts God gave them was the Feast of Tabernacle. They used to make a lulav.  They would tie three tree branches together. They would have in one hand a piece of fruit in the other hand.  One of the branches was the palm - which is found in the valleys.  The second was the myrtle that grows in the rocky place.  The third was the willow, which grows by the streams.  And they would wave the branches as a “wave offering” before the Lord saying:

“Thank you Lord for keep me in the valley.  Thank you for getting me through the rocky place.  Thank you for being with me in the place of weeping - at the willows.  Thank you for your promise of fruit, of provision.”

What a beautiful picture! 

People have things happen in our lives and we resign ourselves.  We have failures and wounds and we resign ourselves.  He wants us to re-sign up to what he called us to be and to the promises that He gave us. 

Keep bringing those lulav branches and waving them before God because the fruit is worth it. 

He brings us through the place of “just enough” into the land of more than enough.

Say, “Thank you for keeping me.  Thank you that when I failed you were there.  Thank you Lord, you never walked out the door.  I’m pressing on.  I’m asking you to allow me to sing my way throughout the wilderness.”

In Revelation, thousands were standing before the throne with palm branches in their hands and they were singing, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and unto Lamb”.  John asks, “Who are these people?”  The angel tells him, “These are those who came through the great tribulation.”

This valley, this rocky time, this season is not going to kill you and through it all I pray that God will give you a new song.  If you want to become bulletproof, then learn how to sing because you know the end result.  Through trials and tribulation, that’s when we learn how to sing.

Were there times when you fell and you thought you’d never get back up again? I have been there.  I’ve lost three brothers to HIV.  I’m not talking about saying everything is great. 

He gives us a New Song

There are seven words for praise in the Hebrew language... one is tehillah (to sing to the Lord). It is the praise that comes out from knowing that God is good.  He inhabits the praises of His people. The Chinese language says He makes a bamboo throne and sits in the middle of his people when they sing that song of praise.

I grew up in a community in Dublin (there were 14 members of my family raised in a flat).  We used to be a singing community.  It was a great place.  The kids would sing as they played on the streets.  There was always singing.  We went to Butlin’s one year and everyone on the bus was singing. Every Sunday, an old man came around singing opera.

Then in 1979 heroin came in and the singing stopped.  We buried hundreds through the heroin and HIV/ AIDS.  We were now going to funeral after funeral.  My mother buried three boys.  Other families were burying six kids. Who would want to be there?

My friend heard about Jesus and came and told us.  And forty of us became Christians.  Then we began to sing new songs. We started a kids club in the flats.  70 kids crammed into a tiny sitting room. We just called it the Friday club and it ran for 14 years.  When we woke up on Saturday morning, the kids were singing about God’s great love in the midst of the darkness.  God wants to raise up a people to sing over the dark places.

When the people of Israel came to the other side of the Red Sea. Miriam grabs a tambourine and Moses started singing and all the women joined us.  1.5 to 2 million people came out of Egypt. Can you imagine 500,000 women dancing with tambourines?  They all started singing and dancing. 

But where did they get the tambourines?  Those were not Jewish instruments they were Egyptian instruments!  And the tambourines would have been used by their captors to silence them!

God takes the things that oppress us and makes them into instruments of praise.  Can you imagine the sound?  To be honest, it is not my favourite instrument (like a strangled seagull).  But there got excited about God’s deliverance.  No wonder that the other tribes around Israel were terrified because they heard a sound in the wilderness.  That is the ecclesia - the people of God, singing into the barren places.

Called to a place of authority

He wants to give His called out ones a place in the spiritual realms - a place where things happen.  Our weapons are not like the weapons of this world.  He wants to give you a place of authority when you pray - in your family, in your workplace, in your town or city - so that other people look at you and say, “Who is your God?”

Don’t buy into the world’s rubbish about being too old.  In the kingdom, there is no aging, there is just maturing. There is more life in you than you can imagine.  You can resign yourself to your age or handicap. I want to be like Caleb at 80 years of age.  “Show me the mountain.” Whatever your age, He wants to give you a place in the spiritual realm.

Lester Sumrall was a minister from America who went to Manila in the 1950s. He bought an aeroplane hanger. The church leaders came to him and asked, “What are you trying to do? “ He replied, “The Lord said, whatever you get, I’ll fill.”

A news story broke about a lady who was demon possessed.  The officials had tried everything. When Lester heard about the story on the radio, he prayed, “Lord please send somebody to help her.”  The Lord said, “If you don’t go, she’s going to die. Go now.” 

When the Lord speaks to you, faith is released.  Something happens.  So he contacted the mayor and he went to where she was.  There were 100 people in the room - psychiatrists, doctors, TV reporters.  And Lester prayed in the name of Jesus and she was set free.

Then Lester said to the mayor, “I want a reward.  Give me the main square to hold a crusade.” 150,000 people came to know Jesus in six weeks. 

We are called to cities, towns, villages and neighbourhoods.  We cannot take care of the enemy unless God has given us the place in the spiritual realm.  Those who hear God will see God. 

My friend Sean came to me and said, “Noel, I have a mandate. Will you come with me? We are going to the city games of Dublin and we are going to pray Psalm 24 and welcome the Lord afresh into the city.” 

On the way down Sean takes out a Shofar and he said, “The Lord told me to blow this.”  We were walking up and down praying and Sean began shouting and blowing the ram’s horn.  And I looked in through the gates and there were these three guys drugging and drinking.

One guy came towards me and I said, “I’ll handled this.”  The guy’s name was Darren and he had a can of Polish beer in his hand.  He asked, “What are you doing?” and he asked what the Shofar was.  When I told him, he lifted up his can and looked at it and then at men.  He thought he was tripping.    

I looked at him and said,” Darren, you need a miracle in your life.”  He said, “Yes.”  Sean just kept praying loudly, “Lift up your head, oh you gates... that the king of glory may come in.” 

Yer man looks at him and says, “This is serious.”  And then he turns to the girl and says, “What they are doing can get you off heroin.” 

I opened my eyes at this stage and looked at Darren and there were tears running down his face.  The sound of the ram’s horn was hitting him.  He looked at the other people and said, “Now I have hope.” 

We were releasing the sound of God into our city.  It may look a bit crazy to the natural world but how crazy is it to march around the walls of Jericho?   

If God is in it, you will win it.

You are the Ecclesia!  Faith activates the grace needed for the moment.  God can bring you through and He can give you a song in the desert!

I’m not talking about willy nilly stuff.  There are people’s likes at stake. Your city needs you. The nation needs you!

Don’t resign yourself! Re-sign up to be the people He has called you to be!