Last Saturday members of Newfrontiers churches from East Kent gathered in a field just outside Canterbury. Tom Shaw, the pastor of City Church (www.thecitychurch.org.uk) had done a brilliant job in gathering hundreds of enthusiastic people to what proved to be a magnificent camping site.
The weather was excellent and the atmosphere bright and positive.
I had been personally invited to join them in the sad absence of David Holden, who is indisposed at the moment, so I turned up, to be honest, rather distracted by my focus being on the Together on a Mission conference in Brighton, which is so imminently upon us.
Having said that, I was absolutely delighted to be there and felt that I should take my two Saturday morning sessions from my recent studies on Elijah, since these themes have been on my heart for some time now. I am persuaded that Elijah is particularly qualified to speak to our generation. He also knew the horrors of living in a ‘post-Christian era’, having watched all the former values of his nation gradually disintegrate and Israel almost entirely forgetting its raison d’être.
The nation that was supposed to be the light of the world and God’s special treasure now had a king and a very scary queen who had made the worship of Yahweh illegal! How rapidly things had changed from 58 years earlier when Solomon reigned in splendour. How horrifically seven kings replacing one another had undermined the values of the nation.
One Queen, several governments
I am personally very stirred to see how things have changed so radically in the UK in a similar period of time. Wendy and I watched a video of the Queen’s coronation a while ago. It is amazing to listen to the promises that she was invited to make (in 1953), all of which were so honouring of the Lord Jesus Christ. She made magnificent statements which sadly now seem very foreign to our culture.
Tragically in Elijah’s day, those who were meant to be living for the glory of God now found it was illegal to worship Him. How similar to some in our nation today where nurses are dismissed for offering to pray with their patients, and teachers would be in serious trouble if they spent time extolling the virtues of Jesus to their students. It’s not allowed.
How rapidly things have changed and how much we need an Elijah-like church.
I have been taking a series on Elijah now for a couple of years at Church of Christ the King in Brighton (www.cck.org.uk) – not every week you will be pleased to know! My most recent in the series was number eight, where we looked at Elijah’s prayer for rain on Mount Carmel.
It occurred to me that in going to Tom’s East Kent camp (above) I could take the verse found in James 5 concerning Elijah’s prayer – first that it would not rain and secondly that it might rain – and bring my first and then most recent sermons on Elijah.
I must confess to being genuinely encouraged by the response that has come to this series and particularly to this most recent sermon. If God is raising up more praying people I am deeply grateful. I am very grateful too to Adrian Warnock, noting that he has come across the series and is giving each preach some visibility on his blog (www.adrianwarnock.com).
Perhaps you would like to listen to the most recent talk in the series. If so, please click here
Now I must return to my preparation for the Brighton TOAM conference where I shall be speaking about our past, our present and our future, somewhat in response to Mark Driscoll’s stirring words last year. I do believe these will be important days and I am so glad that thousands of you will be with us. If you have a free day, why don’t you join us as a day visitor?
Incidentally, books referred to in the most recent sermon are:-
- DA Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation
- DA Carson (Editor), Teach us to Pray
- Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer
- Andrew Murray, The Ministry of Intercession
- Yongi Cho, Prayer, the Key to Revival