Ask, Seek, Knock

The culture in the UK is becoming more and more different from years past. Our Christian faith and values have been under attack for years and we have become a nation shaped by an anti-Christian approach. Under the guise of diversity and tolerance we have failed to pass onto our children and grandchildren the most important truth that should shape our society and the world we live in.

Many see the changes as progress and development but in reality our society is free falling into spiritual darkness and a confused culture. We have a generation searching for answers in the wrong places. The English definition for the word culture is: ‘the sum of attitudes, customs and beliefs that distinguish one group of people from another, through language, material, objects, ritual, institutions and art, from one generation to the next’. What we are passing on to the next generation is a culture damaged by an ‘anything goes attitude as long as it makes one happy’. We have changed laws to accommodate what the Bible calls sin in the attempt to make it acceptable in our culture. There is a higher law that cannot be changed by a government vote or pressure minority group. The Word of the Lord stands forever and cannot be adapted to legitimise acts that God calls immoral or wicked. God’s love and mercy towards us all is so amazing. He does not condemn or judge us harshly but offers His mercy and grace as well as the power to change. We need to return once again to God and allow His Word to shape our lives, our ways and our culture.

The Bible says; ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children, talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Before you sleep and when you wake – last thing at night and first thing in the morning) Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates’. We have removed from our homes, our schools and our laws what is meant to define and shape our culture. It’s time to return and reclaim our lost spiritual heritage. What will we pass on to the next generation? A society shaped by immorality, false gods and spiritual darkness without clear guidelines of what is right or wrong in the sight of God, or a culture that is shaped by the Word of God and acceptable in His sight. Study the Bible for yourself and you will see that a lost generation is caused by man seeking to do what seems right in his own eyes.

The Bible says ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened’. If we seek God and his ways and teach them to our children and grandchildren we will see a culture that is shaped by the things that are right in God’s eyes. Seek the Lord and you will find Him.


Dead Calm

‘A dead calm is our enemy, a storm may prove our helper. Controversy may arouse thought, and through thought may come Divine change.’ – C H Spurgeon

The Christian is never promised a life of ease and tranquillity, in fact the Word of God explains we should expect the opposite. Jesus said, ‘in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’. Elsewhere the Apostle Paul explains that none of the hardships we face in both the physical or spiritual realm will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In the world today we see a style of ‘easy belief.’ Another gospel which brings no deep repentance and divine change in the heart and mind of man, when in truth only the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit can bring man to real life change and prepare him or her for the Christian life. Conversion comes only through a ‘face to face’ encounter.

  • Face to face with the truth of our condition and sin – Leading to repentance and confession
  • Face to face with the truth that only Christ can save us from hell and separation from God in eternity – Leading to reconciliation through the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.
  • Face to face with our desperation for God Himself – Leading to relationship through Christ and a brand new life.

There is a danger that man approaches God because he needs Him to fix all his life problems that he may arrive at peace. Jesus does not come to us as a mere problem solver and provider of peace, he has to come as our Saviour and Lord. If all you want Him to do is to provide you with ‘dead calm’ in life then this is a clear and present danger.


My friend John Glass, previous GS of the Elim movement relayed a conversation that took place between himself and Michael MTumi, who was then the leader of the largest and fastest growing Pentecostal denomination in the world. John asked, ‘what was the key to the growth and the willingness to serve among the Pastors and leaders?’ Michael replied, ‘you lead a group of people who are a denomination whereas I lead an army’.

When you came to Christ you joined an army of believers who must follow in obedience to the Commander-in-Chief. Jesus himself is the Commander of the army of God.

  • We are never called to physical war, but we called to the spiritual warfare of prayer.
  • We are never called to violence, but we are called to take hold of the Kingdom.
  • We are never called to be hostile or aggressive, but always called to love and peace.

We are called to lay down our lives in absolute surrender to the will and purpose of God.

You cannot be in the army and personally decide to stay in the safety zone. You must rise up and ‘go over the top’ leaving the trench of your problems and issues that have restricted you from being effective in service for many years.  Be prepared to face the onslaught of all that life can bring with determination and faith to press through in the battle. You are on the winning side not because of the easy life you are called to live, but because the battle belongs to the Lord and he is always fighting for us.

God always leads us in triumph and victory. He will deal with your problems, and promises you peace in every trial and every storm, but right now bring your full focus on serving in the army and God will deal with the rest in His way and in His time.

The Cost Of Being A Disciple

As we step into 2017 we are being challenged by the Word and the Spirit to set the course of our lives to be true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the greatest destiny for us because although the modern message of our day may present an alternative destiny that involves reaching personal goals and dreams, the fact is, God has a higher destiny for his disciples. It is beyond the trappings of the ‘prosperity gospel or the personal dream message’. It is the Divine will of God to establish us as true disciples willing to pay any price required to complete his purpose. Matthew 14 v 27 reminds us of the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. ‘…anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple’. The early disciples left everything behind and most paid the ultimate sacrifice in losing their lives for the sake of the gospel.

The writer to the Hebrews uses the heroes of faith from both the Old and New Testament to help us see that even when life takes us into the bleakest and darkest of times we are still able to walk by faith into the purpose of God. Jesus asked the Father to ‘take this cup from me’ referring to facing death upon the cross, but then exclaimed; ‘nevertheless thy will be done’. What would have been perceived as heaven’s greatest defeat by the enemy became the greatest victory for the whole of mankind. Let me remind you what Hebrews 11 verse 32 – 38 states, and take note that those who experienced complete victory as well as those who paid the ultimate price are commended for their faith in God. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets… Through acts of faith, they toppled Kingdoms, made justice work. They took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and yes chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless – the world didn’t deserve them – making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

(The Message) Their story of life is real history and they make up the great cloud of witnesses referred to in Chapter 12. These people blazed the way for us who now follow in the same faith and life of sacrifice as followers of Christ. Faith should not be focused upon what we can gain for ourselves but what we can give for the purpose of God. God will meet all your needs and that is a promise from him.

Thank God that I can conclude this article by writing of the ultimate victory of Christ which they and us will share in eternity. Hebrews 11 v 39 & 40; ‘These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect’.

As you walk through 2017 and on into your future be encouraged because whatever you carry for the sake of Christ will produce an eternal moment of victory. Bring your full focus upon the will of God no matter what you face and finish the course no matter what the cost.



Room For Jesus

Jesus was not born into a royal household or aristocratic family in keeping with his title or position. He was born in a stinking cattle shed to an ordinary Jewish family and laid upon the straw in an animal feeding trough. No one knows the true location where the King of heaven was born but perhaps the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem may just mark the spot where once stood that lowly cattle shed. When Mary gave birth to the Christ Child there was no NHS or Private medical health care in those bleak days. No electric lights or central heating could warm and bring comfort to Mary on that first Christmas night and yet the glory of God was seen, as the most important child to ever be born came into the world.

The story is told by the old theologian of the time a stately Christian gentleman visited the Church of the nativity. ‘He came to a great wall, and in the wall there was a door so low that he had to stoop to enter it; and through the door, and on the other side of the wall, there was the church. Beneath the high alter is the cave, and when the pilgrim descends into it he finds a little cavern about fourteen yards long and four yards wide’. Is this the place where Jesus was born? Well the tourist information may tell you it is so. We will never know, however the symbolic image that is portrayed sends a clear message to us all. In order to enter in and see Jesus every person regardless of status or position must stoop low and bow down to enter in.

I have never had the privilege of touring the significant sites mentioned in the life story of Jesus and the historic letters in the Bible. Perhaps one day I will be blessed with the opportunity of doing so, however, the Word creates images and impressions in our minds of the locations and what it would have been like to live in the times of Jesus. The great divide between the wealthy and the poor that we see in our society was even more marked, but life would have been hard for the working class family of which Jesus was part. Joseph, his earthly father, was a carpenter and is thought to have died young, which meant Jesus had to start work early in life and run the family business.

I say these things to help us see that, although the glory of God was revealed and seen in Jesus at that first Christmas, he lived and worked hard in a climate more difficult than ours today. He lived under Roman rule and had to provide for Mary and the other siblings as an ordinary family. Jesus lived at the coalface of life and had to make it work before he began his miraculous ministry at the age of thirty.

We as followers of Jesus are not called to develop empires for ourselves or to try to make our name great. We are called to follow Christ and most of the time we express His glory by serving in the routine of life. The true glory of Christ this Christmas will not come to you through the tinsel and the tree, but through stooping in humility and by bowing in worship as you make room for Jesus. Let Jesus fill the ordinary with His life and power because it will make Christmas extraordinary for you and your family.

A Sensible Christmas

I suppose that money or the lack of it is the fulcrum point of Christmas in today’s society, and could cause more heartache than anything else. The world has successfully managed to brainwash individuals to meet the unspoken demands of those around and near to them with money they do not earn, especially in these restrained financial times, as values are distorted by the pressure of compliance with a materialistic culture.

The church as well as the secular community faces deprivation during this uncertain financial era, as we face Brexit, as the money market struggles to regain balance amidst a topsy-nervy humanity. We preach a gospel of moderation in a profligate age because there is an inversion to natural common sense and morality.

Spring meadow flowers are often trodden underfoot as cows smell water, and that appears to be what is happening today amongst the banking fraternity. The scent of profit destroys the landscape of ordered intelligence, as temperance is eschewed in favour of excess.  There seems to be an alarming thirst that needs quenching irrespective of the advice they are given or an example of self-control expected.

How do we, as the church, respond to this financial crisis, and deal with unemployment and restricted and diminishing funds? What do we do when all around us seems to be falling apart and we struggle to keep our families in necessary provisions and meet daily needs? What is it about money that causes many people problems? It is not just the lack of it, but how we use it that is important. We need a right perspective on an ordered financial life. The Bible has the answer, as it has in many ways about most things.

I suggest that we should work as hard as we can to earn as much as we can, do not get into debt, budget wisely, save for the future, and give consistently to charity to save covetousness. Follow God’s well-ordered plan and although you may never be rich, you will be wealthy in the real values of life.

Much gift spending at Advent is panic buying as people feel compelled to give because of guilt that is created by peer pressure that forces compliance with the norm. “What will they think if I don’t give a gift?” Does it really matter what they think, friendship does not consist of financial bestowment but faithful conferral of time and presence. Are you available, not are you rich?

It has been said that “The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any.”[1]   Whichever way, money will govern our lives from the cradle to the grave, it is best therefore to gain a true perspective of it. It was Margaret Thatcher who said: “No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.[2]

In a subtle way “Benefits make a man a slave”[3] as society invisibly ties ligatures around us with tantalizing offers that weave a web of materialism into the receptive fabric of our soul. “In civilised society it is the building of possessions that is the snare.”[4]   We mistakenly call things “mine” and not “His” and God is excluded from our accounts. The word of God tells us to lay up treasure in heaven not possessions on earth.[5]   “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase.”[6]

The importance is undeniable, the value high, the stress considerable in modern society. The secret of rich people living in today’s world is to “have everything but possess nothing.” [7] Abraham is a true example of this philosophy. The offering up of Isaac was a revelation of his soul. “Everything is safe which we commit to him, and nothing is really safe which is not committed.”[8] It is expedient to give all things into his hand, including our money. Happy, blessed and a wise Christmas.


[1] Katherine Whitehorn (1926) British journalist. How to Survive Children

[2] Margaret Thatcher (1925) British politician and Prime Minister. Television interview, 1980

[3] Arabic proverb

[4] Shade of His Hand by Oswald Chambers page 63 pub by Marshall Morgan & Scott

[5] Matthew 6:20

[6] Ecc 5:10

[7]The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing by A. W. Tozer in Leadership Magazine Spring 1981 pg. 95

[8] Ibid. Page 96






Brexit and Trump

We live in an age where Brexit and Trump have occurred in one year. It is a seemingly impossible situation and caused by ageing middle class whites who voted in exasperation at the muddled, ignorant and incompetent political classes, who were ill-informed of the feelings of their fellow men. The MPs were out of touch with reality; blind to the rising fury that seethed under the surface of apparent quietude and compliance.

Those who passed through the last great war, are now dying normally in their eighties and nineties, and their middle-aged children are recalling tales of the privation and hardship of their parents’ generation and realise the adversity they suffered, and perceive the deprivation that ensued. Now, they see the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer and immigration changing the nature and composition of society; many parts of the country is no longer English or in America – American. Enough is enough. Both Brexit and Trump are the result of protest voting. The seeds are now growing in many more countries. The last days are coming. Rebellion and anarchy are not too far distant. If Brexit is delayed or overthrown by political and judicial manipulation there could be riots in our beloved land.

This spirit has now entered the church in protest to modern worship, as the older people crave for hymns and songs with tunes they can sing. Many congregations now watch the platform party in a kind of vicarious worship before dimmed lights in the wider auditorium and spot lights on the platform, as the entertainment begins. Thankfully HICC has retained its policy of spiritual songs and hymns with vibrant tunes that all can sing. I had the privilege of preaching there on 6th November and I would say that 80/90% of the congregation were active in worship, in some churches I have been in, I would say that number is sadly reversed.  About 10/20% were worshipping the rest watching the platform. I can well understand that latter number voting with their feet.

I have built my ministry on worship, from the time an attendee in my first pioneer church left after the morning service and, shaking hands with my first wife said, “I thought the organ was particularly beautiful today,”  to which my wife agreed, but then realised we didn’t have an organ. God’s angels had come down to play for us! I perceived then that worship is not for God, but for us, for He existed before man was created and he could well do without us. Worship is a transforming process; we are being changed imperceptibly from glory to glory daily as we wait on and love God in adoration. Prayer is the articulation of human need, praise the acclamation of divine deeds and worship the adoration of divine worth. They mingle and hold together. Someone said: We have become so desensitised by the brutality of life, that we have lost the wonder of worship. So very sad.

“A self-conscious holiness is a contradiction in terms,” (Washington Gladden) for true worship eyes but God. I never think of holiness, I just walk with God, He can convict me any time He wishes, and I’ll just exalt His matchless name. It was J. C. Ryle who said: “The best public worship is that which produces the best private Christianity.” But, for many people it is metamorphosis verses masquerade – you cannot form a butterfly by pinning wings on a worm. True worship will change us, it deals with private motives and physical urges. Nevertheless, praise and worship supplies energy or power to life, it is like being connected to the national grid, internally.

After one beautiful time of worship in Kensington Temple, where I was the associate minister, something happened that inspired me, and I have never forgotten it. There was a violent storm and the roof, being pitched at 50 degrees shed the water so fast the gutters could not contain it and it not only overflowed them but also dripped inside and fell on the congregation in microscopic particles pervading everywhere and the internal lights illuminated it as a yellow mist – like glorious light, and God whispered to me “I have put my glory here.” That’s the result of true worship; heaven awaits our presence, our hearts long for such an atmosphere. I think the problem with some modern worship is that the platform party love their ministry more than the congregation.



Divine Tsunami

It seems that in medieval times lent was observed with fasting but not on Sundays, for this was a day of feasting. I do not enforce fasting, [as if I could!] but do encourage any kind which appeals to the individual, for there are many ways of fasting. I remember one such Lenten period in HICC, it was a special prayer meeting midweek.  My usual intention, when senior minister, was to let the whole congregation pray together, then the men and women would separate and the come together towards the end of the hour. I suggested an hour because Jesus said “Could you not watch with me one hour.” The men were to pray not only for God’s presence amongst us but additionally for the establishment of the men’s work; thus the division. However God had other ideas. We worshipped and then broke into mixed groups and prayed for the enhancement of the vision and for His overwhelming power to invade the church.

We then came together to worship again, there it stayed as God turned up, and we were overtaken by His awe-inspiring presence amongst us. A crescendo of noise erupted as our hearts were made alive to His glorious love that was spread abroad animating our souls and stirring our spirits in response.  Such times cannot be manufactured, it is of God who quickens our spirit together.

As I was glorifying God and speaking in tongues I prayed for the interpretation and this is what God gave me. “We often long for matters and happenings in the physical realm to be paralleled in the spiritual realm, thus a Tsunami that invades a country would be echoed in its spiritual life with God’s harbour wave sweeping all before it.  Not with disaster, destruction and death but with divine energy, brushing aside all sin and sorrow, leaving purity and peace. The similarity is possible to understand, as that forceful wave is unstoppable. And God, if he decided to move, can do what he wants, when he wants to whom he wants. Nothing can stop him. But, before a Tsunami there must be an earthquake, an eruption of severe magnitude, with trembling and shaking.

Thus, we as a people, might have to pass through unmitigated trouble before the wave strikes, knowing the misfortune of loss and death to self. Experience a place where we are left with the bare necessities realising that value in life does not consist of possessions. An oft sung song in the assembly is “he gives and takes away” and this indeed may be so, for to have the one there must be the other.

In such a Tsunami we lose our history, as birth and marriage certificates are swallowed up, and icons of past memories are destroyed. Although we may lament such loss we must also realise that God can write a new history that can exceed anything that has gone before. Even as the church can look back with warmth of feeling at what God has already done, we must not depend on that memory, but in looking forward learn that it can be swept away in the new surge of life and a new one can be written that will amaze our faith and belief.”   

There was an inward urge to stay on past the allotted hour, but the folk had started their day early, as Londoners do. They had come straight from work to the church, and needed to go home, so I closed the meeting. The ecstatic utterance had covered much and needed meditation, “He gives and takes away” is fundamental to our personal individual history, to consider that would take a lifetime.  If a divine tsunami struck us what would or could we lose, and how would we react to the Lord’s will? What clutter has been piled against our spiritual life that constitutes the “cares of this world” which spoils the seed?

In a practical parable, when I moved to Solihull I took much of my furniture I had in Hampton, it was in good condition, I was used to it, and it suited my aesthetic and design needs. Later, I married my second wife and she sold her flat and now we had other furniture and personal possessions that needed sorting; life has become a process of throwing or giving things away. We keep the local charity shop well stocked! I downsized and that is a good lesson to learn, what can we do without so that God’s Spirit can take possession? If we don’t, perhaps God will!