Christmas was absolutely delightful for the Virgo household. On Saturday 22nd December Simon, our third son, married Caroline Green at Canterbury. The sun shone, the wind dropped, the rain held off, the temperature rose a few degrees and we were delighted that we were able to have photographs in the sunshine.
It was a special joy to have Anna, our daughter, home from Cape Town with her youngest child, Bethany. They flew back to South Africa through the night of Christmas Eve, looking out of the aeroplane window for Santa Claus – the only other person flying that night! She got back to Cape Town for Christmas morning and celebrated all over again in the Southern Hemisphere.
So Christmas was a very special family event with an added wedding (our second this year!) – our first winter one and a total joy.
Now I am off to Dubai, that extraordinary city in the United Arab Emirates. I understand that President George Bush has just been there but I am not daunted by that.
I am going to visit the church that we as a Newfrontiers team have been serving for many years. I look forward to having time with its leaders and then gathering with the church, and then subsequently gathering with a larger group of leaders from many churches across the city, and finally speaking at a large inter-church celebration.
Two years ago I was there with Matt Redman and we enjoyed an extraordinary time together with approximately 2,000 packing into a large meeting place where we celebrated God’s grace together. What a privilege to preach the grace of God in such a location.
I am continuing to enjoy Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ outstanding book on Revival and was stirred to find the following quote in his chapter entitled Doctrinal Impurity, which he sees as one of the hindrances to revival because it results in the quenching of the Spirit.
‘They say, “Baptism of the Holy Spirit is something which is non-experimental. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is that which happens to every man when he is born again, when he is regenerated. So we are all baptised with the Spirit, we have all received this baptism.” Now, remember, they are talking about the thing which is described in the second chapter of Acts. And they say. “Yes, this was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But we all get that now, and it is unconscious, we are not aware of it, it happens to us the moment we believe and we are regenerated. It is just that act of God which incorporates us into the Body of Christ. That’s the baptism of the Spirit. So it is no use your praying for some other baptism of the Spirit, or asking God to pour out His Spirit upon the church, or to baptise the church afresh with His Holy Spirit, a baptism of power. This is non-experimental, and it has happened to all of us, we must not ask for it.” ‘
The Doctor goes on to say, ‘Examine again your doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of God, be careful lest, in your neat and trimmed doctrine, you are excluding and putting out this remarkable thing which God does…’
I am enjoying this remarkable book!