VOX LIVE Blog: Sligo15 (Day Three)

Tuesday 14 July

VOX magazine is LIVE at New Wine Ireland's Sligo 15 conference this week.  Through the VOX Blog we'll be bringing you highlights each day and taking a closer look at what happens behind the scenes.  We'll find out  about New Wine Ireland's passion for God's Kingdom and discovering about their focus on Worship, Prayer, Outreach and Kids Ministry.

09.30 Good morning from Sligo at the start of Day Three!  We have a full day in front of us but the day is starting with worship in The Arena and the new video link venue.The Glass Space.  Late this evening we will be ending up with worship and intercession in nearby Calry Church in Sligo!

Greg Venables is speaking at the Morning Bible Sessions this week.  Greg and his wife Sylvia have been missionaries in South America for 37 years.  Greg has been Bishop of Argentina since 2000.

10.05  Reading from John 7: 37 -39.  God has so much more for you - rivers of living water, not a little trickle!  And God wants so much more.  God wants all of you.  Do not judge God in the light of your experience, judge your experience in the light of God.

God will never overcome your free will.  He will always wait to hear you say welcome.  Love depends on how you respond. Are you thirsty? 

All our good intentions, all our human wisdom, all the technical, scientific and medical advances have done nothing to change human nature - it's the same old mess, just a different address!

10.22  God calls us to the impossible (Abraham - the father of many nations had no children).  Why?  So that God will get the glory.  It can only happen by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Religion doesn’t do it.  Church services don’t do it.  It is God’s power, His Spirit.

It is called “trust” - we need to trust Him.  He says, “I’ll be with you.”  And you get there and you find that He is there.  Most people don’t go because they don’t trust.

10.30  Every step of the way, God has confirmed where we should go through His word.  If somebody asks me for something, I give them a straight answer.  Why do peole think that God plays games?  If you want to know, ASK.  Set time aside and listen!  God does speak and it is always to do with His word, confirmed by the Holy Spirit.

The Son of God did nothing until He was filled with the Holy Spirit.  He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And then at His baptism, He was filled with the Holy Spirit.

10.40 People are dying because they can’t see Jesus.  When you go there, filled with the Spirit, people see Him.  He gives us supernatural gifts and He blessed and uses our natural gifts.  He produces fruit and makes us more like Jesus.  He gives us discernment to know His will.

None of this is automatic, it requires your collaboration.  You have to say yes.  You have to seek and spend time with God.  You need to persevere and stand firm even in the face of opposition.

10.58 Read a summary of Greg's message here: Saying YES.

Worship and the Kingdom of God

New Wine's Paul Jardine (right) introducing Neil Bennett at the start of his seminar on worship

New Wine's Paul Jardine (right) introducing Neil Bennett at the start of his seminar on worship

11.47 Looking at Worship and the Kingdom of God with Neil Bennetts.

What do you mean when you use the word worship?

Answers:  Way of life.  Adoration. Exalting God’s Holy name.  Being in God’s presence. Giving thanks and praise to God.  Singing.  Obedience. Responding to God’s love.

What do you mean when you use the word kingdom? 

Answers; God’s rule and authority.  God’s power in heaven breaking into earth. God’s family.

I have led worship and experienced the power and presence of God in powerful ways in venus all around the world but as I walked through the slums of Kampala, I experienced the presence of Jesus in a special way.  I've been thinking about this a lot - bringing together worship and the coming kingdom of God.  When we worship we want to see people healed and restored.  We want to see people coming to faith. 

12.11  Dallas Willard's definition of the kingdom: "The kingdom is where what God wants done, gets done."  The narrative of scripture is all about grace!  God wants to do great things with ordinary people - that's grace!  In Scripture, the instructions about worship went hand-in-hand with feeding the widows and taking care of the poor, the lost, the broken and the foreigner.  This was God's heart for His people.  Not how we get chosen but how we express that we are chosen!

My definition of worship - to worship God is to wholeheartedly orientate our lives around His presence and purposes.  Worship is the entire activity 24/7 of a kingdom-minded people.

The pattern of worship in Scripture

  1. Manifestation of the presence of God
  2. A revelation of the character of God
  3. An expression / response of worship
  4. A re-orientation around the purposes of God

Examples from the dedication of Solomon's temple, the messages of the minor prophets, Jesus' baptism, Pentecost and Revelation.

When we worship we are not trying to drag a reluctant God into the room.  He is already in the room and willing to work.  The only question is whether we are willing to surrender to Him.  The work of the worship leader is to encourage a deeper surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit.  

12.46  There is a challenge to me personally to be engaged with issues of justice, the poor, the oppressed… Every person has to have a ministry to the poor and the broken.  You don't necessarily have to go to Africa.  There is a single parent who lives down the road, why don’t you start there. 

12.48  There is an invitation here to a fullness of life.  If we engage with the purpose and presence of God, then we are doing things that we are meant to do and we come alive when that happens! 

Walter Brueggermann (Old Testament scholar) - “When the powers of injustice are overthrown and the new powers of Yahweh come into place, there is celebration and worship in the throne room of Yahweh and He shows His glory.”

19.20 The blog has been quiet this afternoon but it was a chance for us to call in to the Prayer Teepee in Yeats Village.  This creative space provides a haven and a chance to step aside and spend time with God.  Created in partnership with 24/7 Prayer Ireland, this prayer space provides opportunities for people to express their prayer in different and creative ways.

19.10 Back in The Arena we're excited about what God is going to say and do this evening as we gather to worship.

20.06 Paddy de Lasa from Donegal is speaking at tonight's evening celebration about the Kingdom of God:

The kingdom is not just something Jesus talked about 2000 years ago and it is not just something we have to wait for until we die.  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 unqualified. You are exactly who God had in mind when He thought about reaching this world with the Gospel.  

In John 3:6 it says, "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.

Stop leaning on your own ability of perform and start leaning on Jesus’ desire to transform.  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.

20.30  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.  What God has placed in you is far greater and stronger and more victorious 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.  

Read a summary of Paddy's message here: Releasing the Kingdom.

20.50 Ministry time at Sligo 15 this evening as people respond to tonight's message.