Monthly Archives: May 2008

Wellingborough Youth Project

I have just got back from the 1am to 2am prayer slot at the new premises of the Wellingborough Youth Project – 50 Angel Lane.

Fantastic place and a lovely time of prayer – wish I had booked more than an hour, but then I have to be up in 5 hours to go to London for Outcome: Unblessable?

Anyway this was part of a 24 hour prayer time in this new place getting ready for a launch real soon now.

The space and facilities are great, as was the set up as a prayer room. I spent ages in the Prayer Labyrinth that Mike had laid out.

Off to bed now.

Get Cycling Show 2008

We spent today getting rather windswept at the Get Cycling Show 2008, too bad if you did not get there cos it was great.

We especially enjoyed meeting a whole load of friends from the Company of Cyclists holidays that we went on for four years (and may do again in 2009).

We got plenty of opportunities to ride on strange bikes as well as test out practical ones for the future as well.

For example the longbike centre enabled me to ride a Yuba Mundo, a Kona Ute and an xtracycle. I have to say I liked them all for different reasons (first impressions):

  • Best speed: Kona Ute (but the Mundo suffered from a back brake that was rubbing all the while, still the Ute is much lighter and a much wider gear range)
  • Toughest: Yuba Mundo
  • Best sorted luggage options: xtracycle
  • Best comfort: Kona
  • Greatest load capacity: Yuba Mundo
  • Cheapest: Yuba Mundo (unless you have a suitable donor bike in which case it is the Xtracycle).
  • Best looking: Kona Ute

Sadly no Surly Big Dummys at the show, availability is so tight, they would be at the top of the quality, flexibility and total capacity list – but at a high price.
We only took our youngest son (others were revising or at Scout Camp), he loved the Bumper Bikes, Scalectrix Racing, KMX Track (both KMX Trikes and 4 wheel go karts) – in fact we were surprised he did not collapse as soon as he got in the car as he spent so long racing around at the show.

Todd Bentley and prosperity

When Peter Kirk visited  the Dudley "Outpouring" he wrote: Gentle Wisdom » A visit to the Dudley outpouring.

At the end of
this they took up an offering, which was rather protracted but
mercifully carefully avoided any prosperity gospel type teaching that
people should give so that they get a greater benefit for themselves.
Instead the point of the offering was clearly stated as to benefit
others, to build up a “war chest” for future outpouring events.

Sadly we see a different picture from Todd Bentleys published sermons at Fresh Fire Ministries (my emphasis in it):

In this regard, on three occasions over the past couple of years I’ve had a visitation from the Lord in which I’ve seen the angel of finance. Every time this happens (in our meetings) there is an incredible financial breakthrough—something is opened up in heaven, it invades the earth, and people respond by giving generously. And afterward many testimonies come in to Fresh Fire reporting the abundant blessings that people have received in return!

So let’s look at what happened in a meeting when I went into a trance-like state and I saw, for the third time over the course of a few years, the angel of finance. [A trance is simply a dream-like state but you are awake. For more information on trances, refer to Acts Chapter 10.] In that trance I experienced one of heaven’s realities and then that experience became a reality here on earth.

Here’s what happened. At first I saw heaven open, and as I ascended a ladder into the heavens I saw full vibrant wings and feathers! These feathers were white and as real as they would be in the natural realm; that’s how vivid it was. Then I noticed wings that moved and there was an arm under one wing and another arm under another wing! As the wings lifted I saw every precious gem you could think of under those wings; and then I saw the angel standing, having a body like a man with six wings. I knew it was the angel of finance.

Next, I saw a door called “treasure” and the door was open. Without thinking or considering what to do, I found myself in a treasure room in heaven. The only item in this room was gold coins, and I began stuffing those coins into my pockets until they were falling out. Then, after filling up another pocket, I opened my trousers and started filling my trousers with gold coins. After that, I stuffed them into my suit jacket. I even opened my shirt and started stuffing gold coins down my shirt!

Hat tip: But how will you Get more Gold, Todd!.

Note that it is worth reading the whole of this "teaching" and noting the place of scripture within it (almost none existent) – another concern for me.

In related news and not knowing if this the start of something more, today I got a weird spam email, I guess as a result of my posts (42: Top Bentley post & 42: More on Todd Bentley) or maybe from my comments on several of Peter Kirk’s posts. I confess that both the English and the layout were so bad that it was pretty much unintelligible. However, it seemed to be all about huge US law suites between some people Todd Bentley invited on stage and the author of the email.

This is an odd thing, way outside my own experience which makes it hard to understand and evaluate. Behaviour by both those extremely in favour and extremely against this "outpouring" is so far from Christianity and Christ like behaviour that I am frequently bewildered by it. I do pray for discernment and for a growth in the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) on all sides of this debate.

[Update]

I have now written several posts on Todd Bentley you can find the others at:

Methodists choose Bible Study first

A relatively new feature of the (steadily improving) Methodist Church Website is A Word in Time:

Daily Bible study linked to the Methodist Prayer Handbook.

Despite being relatively new this is apparently the most popular part of the website.

To make it easy to use there is a RSS feed provided by our webmaster David W (yeah I know a coincidence, but not me honest), so now I get Daily Bible studies into bloglines. Although I don’t use it there is an audio feed as well.

I suggest trying this soon to get hooked while the quality is high. Rumour has it that the week beginning Oct 26 may not be so good (yep it will be me – sorry about that).

More on Todd Bentley

Some short quotes, the posts are all worth reading.

maggi dawn: An Unequal Blessing.

focusing on a "bless ME" kind of Christianity particularly sticks in the throat in a month where two massive natural disasters have left hundreds of communities bereaved and materially devastated.

An Unequal Blessing « A Deconstructed Christian.

How
could a just God who cares equally for every person in the world expend
gold dust, supernatural gemstones, gold fillings and spiritual laughter
experiences on those who are in the top 1% in the world wealth stakes
and ignore the malnourished, the poverty-stricken, the widows, the
orphans…

It just doesn’t make sense.

The Simple Pastor: Revival or Jesus?.

The
thing is, if we really DO believe in the omnipresence of God, then He
is just as much here as He is there. The difference is not with Him
it’s with me.

On the other hand, Peter Kirk now has first hand experience: Gentle Wisdom » A visit to the Dudley outpouring.

Of course it was
bound to take a long time to anoint over a thousand people. How they
handled it was to line people up across the front of the hall facing
the stage, with space behind them. Trevor walked across the line
touching each forehead briefly with the cloth; I reckon he was taking
less than two seconds per person. At the touch most people fell over,
and were caught by “catchers” and lay on the floor- but only briefly.
For, as Trevor had warned would happen, after only about five seconds
each person was encouraged by the catcher to stand up immediately and
move away, so that a new line could be ready as soon as Trevor finished
the old one. It was a bit like serving communion at my church, but
faster.

[Update]

I have now written several posts on Todd Bentley you can find the others at:

Reflective Practice

For two years I have been a member of a Reflective Practice group meeting approximately monthly at Wesley House Cambridge, facilitated by Jane Leach. It has been a very valuable element of my "professional" ministry.

Over the two years we have used a wide variety of techniques to help us reflect, something I have also found helpful beyond the reflections themselves.

One of the very helpful features of this group has been the wide range of members, we are geographically widespread. That means there is no overlap or detailed knowledge of each others situations which helps avoid preconceptions as well as being good for confidentiality.

Sadly we learnt yesterday that Jane will not be able to facilitate the group next year. So I am on the hunt for a new reflective practice group to join in September. Ideally within an hours drive of Raunds. Suggestions welcome.

Renewing Methodism

In my other post (42: Loss of anonymity) I mentioned a meeting with morning for all the ministers (deacons and presbyters) in the Northampton District with Martyn Atkins, President of the Methodist Church.

Martyn is an inspiring leader, his thoughts and then his responses to the open question time demonstrated his deep commitment to mission and his determination that we respond in missiological ways to the challenges that face us. I particularly like his focus on encouraging us to become Mission Shaped Churches/Circuits. He rightly (IMHO) puts the emphasis for us on Mission rather than simply being a Fresh Expression.

In my question, which I did not manage to frame as clearly as I would have liked, I was attempting to discover which elements of our structures, rules and administration Martyn thought should be removed or revised in order to free us for mission, particularly where the low lying fruit are, the things that can be changed quickly and easily to remove road blocks and help increase momentum for mission. The question was poorly put and the answer to some extent reflected that.

Yet it is clear from Martyn’s answer (and everything else that he said) that the question is the wrong way round. He (and clearly Alison as our District Chair supports this) does not believe the Church is demanding that we "wait until the connexion has removed these obstacles, changed these rules and then go and do mission". Instead the Methodist Church seems to be saying (and supporting and prioritising) "Go for Mission and we will support you". "Go for Mission and we will sort out the rules and structures to support you, but don’t wait, go for it".

We see this being worked out in all that we hear (sorry, mixed senses) about the stationing process. We know that we are short of Presbyters and Deacons but everyone is being told that Mission appointments will be given priority. If circuits want Ministers in September 2009 (we start the stationing process in September 2008) then they are going to have to show how they are re-organising for Mission. We also see it in other areas such as grant making.

The Connexion has been doing a lot of work to restructure to become more nimble and flexible, that is not finished yet but I really feel that we are being told not to wait but to get going and let the structures and rules catch up. That is an encouraging message for the Churches & Chapels around here as many are ready at the starting blocks, wanting to get going. Now we have nothing to hold us back.

We have an important Circuit Meeting in June where we are going to be proposing a whole load of steps to take us into a new life as a Mission Shaped Circuit, ones we believe that are exciting enough to make us an incredibly attractive appointment for someone wanting to get their hands dirty in real Mission opportunities. More on that later, but of course no direct advertising cos we are not supposed to do that, however, I may accidentally let slip out where to find our policies when they are (hopefully) approved :-)

The Circuit Leadership Team has already made decisions that reflect new ways of working as a team for the new Connexional Year starting in September. These affect me directly and are exciting.

In other good news we heard today about our first female Chaplain to the Navy (about time too), obviously from the most progressive, flexible and mission minded district :-)

Plus it is now confirmed that Paul Taylor will now be our District Development Enabler and CTO (Connexional Training Officer – I think is what it means, definitely not Chief Technical Officer anyway). That is good news as it would have been a big blow to have lost Paul now that his role as District Training Officer is coming to an end.

Anyway a good time was had by all, it was wonderful to hear the buzz of excitement after the session as people were enthusiastically talking together about what we can do to join in with the Misio Dei.