Deeper Worship

My heart was lifted by a recent article by Pastor John Lancaster who wrote on the theme of worship. He explained that we are in danger of reducing our worship of the Almighty to a time in Church when ‘we sing songs that bless us and have a ‘time of ministry’ when our personal needs are met.’ He explained that worship is an encounter with God quoting William Temple whose description of worship inspires us to hunger for an ever deepening daily encounter with God – ‘to worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind by the truth of God, to purify the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.’

God created us in His own image crafting and shaping us for relationship with Himself and spiritual worship through a daily walk with the Almighty. Because of this nothing else can satisfy the human heart and mind no matter what it is that man turns to seeking to fill the void in his life. Here I refer to the daily walk in life and not a service when we obey His Word by meeting together. That being said, our joining together in worship must go deeper than a particular style of song or an intimate atmosphere created by the modern setting of semi-darkness, lights and smoke. It involves the heart, mind and will of a person being moved by the Holy Spirit and enabled to rise beyond the limitation of the natural to the realm of the glory of God. When our full focus is lifted from the daily cares and routine of life we begin to ‘ascend the hill of the Lord’ through the revelation of the holiness of God himself. I write of an awareness of the glory of God from when we rise to when we sleep. A God consciousness and awareness of His presence that remains with us even when interrupted by the routine and often mundane aspects of life, we can live with a God consciousness in our inner being.

When we do gather together in the house of the Lord our worship should be shaped by praise, thanksgiving and adoration as the Lord reveals His mercy and grace afresh towards us. Very often we limit our meetings to a celebration style of expression which is wonderful and needed, but as we encounter Christ together we must learn to move as it were, through the outer court of His presence, to the inner court allowing ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit into the most holy place. For this we are totally dependent upon God to lead us for nothing of the flesh can take us here. As we bow, kneel before Him we humbly step into this intimate place becoming conscious of our utter unworthiness and yet through His blood we are able to stand in the glory of who He is and worship in spirit and in truth. Transparent and opened faced we behold the glory as we are transformed through an encounter with the Almighty. It is an extraordinary moment when heaven’s atmosphere invades our world. Every part of our being is moved by the Spirit, therefore it is understandable we are changed from glory to glory. Even though still limited by the restriction of the physical realm we are touched by the manifest presence of the Most High. This is not emotion based or cultivated by human staged programming for it is only made possibly by the drawing of the Holy Spirit. We can only imagine what heaven will be like when we will worship before the very throne of God. A well-known worship song uses the lyric ‘indescribable’, it says it all. O God take us deeper in you.

Retracing my steps reflectively…

Returning to UK on Wednesday 27th August, stepping back onto British concrete and seeing the familiar sites in Terminal 3, there was no mistake that we were home. After saying our goodbyes we departed to our individual journeys home. Although, we corporately journeyed to Uganda together, individually our life journey experience in Gulu has been different. Having been on mission twice now, there is no doubt that it is a spiritually, emotionally and mentally life changing experience.

This mission for me was completely different from 2013. I saw that there was a deepening of spiritual wells – in that there was a digging and a deepening of foundations, a clearing out and removal of blockage and a reconnecting to the source (the Father). I saw that there was a strengthening in relationships and hearts being connected and knitted into the vision God has for TEAMS. Most of all what I saw was that God was building a family and understanding your position as a child of God was key. Understanding your position, knowing your inheritance and what is righteously yours is imperative, in order to walk out your destiny and possess what rightfully belongs to you.

On reflection, nothing spoke more clearly to me than the relationship between father and son I saw in Liam and Daniel Chapman. The love, attentiveness and correction of the father, reflected a confident, bold and caring son. Daniel’s boldness as a son really ministered to me. He knew his identity and inheritance and walked in the freedom of this. At 11 years old, he already has a vision and used it to encourage others such as the children in the Agape programme, whom many are without parents. This really inspired the children to pursue their vision for their lives. It also reminded them that they belong to the TEAMS family and there are people who care and love them.

For a small lad, Daniel made mighty steps in Uganda and demonstrated agape love to all.  I leave you with Daniel’s experience of the trip…

Stephanie Anyan

 

My First Steps in Uganda

When I arrived at Entebbe Airport I was thrilled to be in Uganda with my Dad because I have been asking him for years to do this. When I got out of the plane the hot air took me by surprise. When I arrived at the Entebbe Guest House Hotel, I was greeted by a black dog, who jumped at me and than ran off and disappeared into the shadows.

The next day me and my dad travelled an eight and half hour mini bus journey to Gulu and found this tiring. When me and my TEAMS mates arrived at the Layibi site on Sunday, as soon as I entered the ground I was filled with Holy Spirit. The next morning during the team devotional at the hotel I was filled with the Holy Spirit and I was speaking the holy language. The strange language because I did not know what I was doing, I was a blubber mouth for the time I was speaking the Holy language. I had no control of my mouth. It was the best experience of my 11 years!

Over all…

The experience has given me knowledge and taught me not to take things for granted and I’ve changed spiritually I am a lot stronger. In fact, when a mosquito bites me it goes away saying; there’s power in the blood because I’m amaze-balls.

IT WAS THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE!!! [SO FAR]

Daniel Chapman

Day 9 – Joy

Mission to Uganda August 14

Joy is often misunderstood for happiness a lot of the time. Happiness is an unstable state whereby we can move in and out of happy moods. whereas Joy is the complete opposite. Joy is designed to always remain within us, no matter what circumstance or position in life. So, I posed a question to the team today and asked them what joy really is. The response I received was being positive throughout any situation.

From God’s point of view, He designed Joy to sustain and satisfy us. However to be clear, Joy does not come on our accord. Instead we receive it in the presence of God. Psalm 100:4 tells us that we should enter into His courts with thanksgiving and praise. Praise allows to enter into His courts because it is a confession to God that He is worthy through everything. Once we enter into His presence we can receive Joy through the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:17 challenges us (For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost) therefore, our focus is not temperamental like happiness, but instead everlasting and consistent like Joy.

Sowing into the Kingdom of God, is reaping the Kingdom fruits and enjoying the harvest, so give thanks and praise.

Ashika

Day 8 – Temperance

Mission to Uganda August 14

Definition
The most common Greek word for self-control (temperance, KJV) is enkrateia – Its root meaning is: power over oneself or self-mastery. Self-control and is also the virtue that holds our appetites in check, controlling our rational will or regulating our conduct without being duly swayed by sensuous desires.

Bible verse (1 Corinthians 9:27 KJV)

God has all given us the ability to have self control, but we can’t do it without the holy spirit.
Self control is a fruit that is produced through obedience to God, without faith we can’t obey God! It’s through faith that we will believe and trust in what God tells us to do.

Wisdom and self control and patience also work hand in hand to produce godly character.
(2 Peter 1:6 KJV)

The negative effect of having a lack of self control is walking in the flesh, which brings death, greed and selfishness! Where as, having self control involves knowledge and wisdom, which brings life.

Mission
This mission has been a great learning curb for me. I believe that I have grown in many ways and it has truly been a privilege to serve the king in Uganda!

Leslie Kimona

Day 7 – Peace

Peace – “without peace there is no trust in God”

Today’s devotional topic is peace.What does peace mean?
Freedom from disturbances, quiet, tranquil and calm.
Being in the world, peace is seen as something of a temporary nature. I never knew what the true meaning of peace was through Christ.
Being peaceful is humbling yourself and resting in Gods quietness.

When you have peace you’re allowing the Holy Spirit to move, letting go of the old mindset. Having peace in the trials means that you have trust in God, without that trust you can not have the full peace. Psalm 62:5 says:

“My soul, wait thou only upon God. For my expectation is from him”

This personally has been a scripture that I have mediated on through the storms. It’s through the storm, that I learnt to allow myself to fully trust God for as the word says “my expectation is from him” mediating on this daily has given me a sense of freedom and trust.
A song I have listened at which has spoken to me is “Be still my heart and know you are God alone” by Bethel Music.

Thoughts of the Mission:

I didn’t know what to expect coming here for the first time. Having a mindset of coming here to pioneer an idea for the sewing school, I hadn’t acknowledged the reality of what I was about to injure. Life is very different from the UK. Africa for me, has a freedom about the place it’s a different atmosphere to be around from the people, attitudes and the work ethics. Travelling with a group of friends has allowed me to build new relationships and become part of a family.

Violette Kimona

Peace – Being still in God

This morning, at our daily morning devotional, I spoke about peace one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The peace of God in our lives is beyond our own understanding. The simplicity of being still before God shows that we can rest in Him and know that He holds our future.
Peace needs to be pursued and we can obtain it only when we focus on God. If we do not have peace it means our focus is not on God. When we have the peace of God we can face all things knowing He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Thoughts on the mission:
This is my first time on a mission trip and to Uganda. The people have made me feel at home and I would like to stay longer. God is at work here and I have seen the miraculous which has really strengthened my faith. I praise God for Teams and all the people involved. God is more than amazing!!

Preena Patel

Day 6 – Kindness and Love

TEAMS UPDATE

Day – Kindness and Love

Mission to Uganda August 14

KINDNESS:
On June 16th, pending the mission trip to Uganda, as I spent my time in prayer I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to read Galatians 5, focusing on the fruits of the spirit. Lo and behold a month later it was revealed that for morning devotionals we, as a team will be concentrating on, was the fruits of the spirit. I was given ‘kindness’.

Most dictionary definitions state that kindness is: a quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. We hear of people carrying out acts of kindness or good deeds.

However, in Galatians 5:6-7 says “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love”. This spoke volumes to me in terms the root of kindness. We can look at it in this way… in Christ it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you do, how friendly, generous or considerate you are, if it’s not done in love. Kindness is rooted in Agape love. It’s one of the fruits that is birthed from another fruit of the spirit. For it’s love that compels us to act and move in compassion, that leads us to express this love in an act of kindness. If the motive is not love it becomes about self- accolades, self-promotion and self –gratification which is walking in the flesh. This leads to us become vainglorious and self-conceited (Galatians 5:26).

As 1 Corinthians 5:6 states “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump?” This shows how once you start to boast in what you do how pride begins to set in. Just a little pride can destroy all the acts of kindness as it becomes about ‘self’ receiving glory and not God.

As I meditated more on Galatians 5, I realised that kindness is NOT just doing good. After all, who is good? Jesus himself said only God is good and it’s His goodness that leads us to repentance. I looked further into what kindness is, by checking the Strong’s concordance definition of the word:

Kindness known as Charis (pronounced Kharece) means grace , favour it refers to God freely extending Himself (not expecting in return) and (His favour, grace) reaching to people because He is disposed to bless or be near them.

So kindness should be the extension of God’s grace and favour to others to bless them freely, this shows God’s Agape (unconditional) love. As God is love this should be reflected in our kindness, which should disperse His presence, drawing people to Him (ultimately it’s about relationship with Him, as He wants to be near us). This is the gospel it is through one act of kindness that we are saved. You could say it like this…

So God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (in kindness) that whosever shall believe in Him shall be saved.

The fruit of kindness is about sacrifice as it should not discriminate between any person saved or unsaved, poor or rich, no matter the colour or nationality. It’s about displaying God’s love through us to others.

So the question is a matter of the heart and motive – who are you kind to and Why?

Genuine Kindness expects nothing in return as it is activated by faith and is expressed through love.

The Mission:
This trip to Uganda for me can be summed up in one word ‘compassion’. My heart has been deeply transformed by God and is continually being shaped to understand and value the most precious jewels on this earth…that is people and their souls. The trip has increased a desire is to grow in the compassion and love that Jesus had that I may continue to bless others and draw them to HIM!!

Stephanie Anyan

LOVE:

“What’s love got to do with it?”

Love is the first fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. I began thinking about the significance of this position. Normally, ingredients of products are listed in order with the highest content percentage first. I therefore came to the conclusion that love is one thing that we should be most full of.

So why so full? Simply because God is Love. Therefore if He is inside us, we should be full of love and the impact of this should be the first thing people experience clearly and freely.

Spiritual Love:
Everybody talks about the idea of love; whether you are in the world or in the faith. But what type of love are we talking about? The love required from us is a spiritual love; this is more than just saying ‘I love you’ or doing acts of service.

Spiritual love is an attitude and condition of the heart that leads to action.

1 Corin 13 talks about the love we should demonstrate. According to this, how many of us can say we truly love? Are we consistently patient? Do we act in kindness and have good thoughts towards people no matter what they do? Can we endure in relationships and not give up? Do we always forgive? Will we serve and expect nothing in return?

The opposite of walking in spiritual love is walking in the flesh; operating in emotional love. Love in the flesh is emotional, temperamental, ultimately self seeking and conditional. It is based on feelings rather than spiritual truths.

Caring for the fruit:
Jesus’ greatest commandment was to Love The Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbour as ourselves. Meaning it is imperative that this fruit is produced without fail. It’s not an option or just a by-product.

When God plants a seed we need to allow it to grow.

Planting the fruit – God comes to live in us at salvation – the seed is in us.
The roots – As we read the Word we become rooted, grounded and secure in the truth.
Cultivate the fruit – The Holy Spirit waters us and strengthens us. He prompts us and guides us so that we grow in spirit.
Nurturing the fruit – Showing/demonstrating it to others so that it continues to increase.
Enjoying the fruit – Walking daily in spiritual love and seeing its benefits in relationships with God and each other.

Uganda Mission:
In one sense the Uganda mission trip could have been seen as an act of love. Two weeks of ministry, serving, giving, labouring etc. However, looking at the heart reveals the truth behind our love. It was something we had to judge. Were we here out of the overflow of our love for God and therefore the trip was a natural expression of this love? Or were we here because the opportunity just happened to arise, sounded exciting and made us feel good about ourselves? In everything I do God challenges me to check my heart to make sure spiritual love is driving me. When the days are long and hot, am I still patient with people? When I’m really tired, will I still serve others readily and with gladness? ‘Love’ is everywhere, let’s make sure our hearts are full of the love of God.

Galatians 5:25 – if we live in the spirit let us also walk in the spirit.

Hannah Jarrett

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