Back to Church Sunday in New Zealand

Nearly 1000 people accepted an invitation from a friend to church in New Zealand on September 21st 2008 and I had the privilege of hearing some of their stories. Not all have stayed but many are now attending weekly and exploring faith within the church community. Hamilton Cathedral in Waikato have 10 people who have been added to the church. The Bishop of Wellington told the story of a lady who did the church flowers for 20 years but never attended church, she accepted an invitation and is now weekly attending!

Prayer answers

* I did not suffer from jet lag despite most of the meetings being between 11PM and 5am UK time despite 13 flights in six days and 60 hours of travel to and from the UK/NZ
* Everyone of the 7 dioceses in New Zealand will now do Back to Church Sunday in 2009
* Every Bishop seen has promised to speak directly to the population of the area they represent in a coordinated effort to break the fear of a return to Him.
* The day in New Zealand will be lined up with the Alpha programme plus discussions with other discipleship courses like Credo.
* The Baptists of NZ are on board.
* The Christian TV and Radio station are on board and have interviewed me and will promote to Christians across the nation.
* The TV interview will be used to give confidence to invite.
* Ongoing talks with Presbyterians will encourage participation of at least a pilot.
* Back to Church Sunday will be on Sunday 13th September 2009 and it will be a major national mission.

Thought from the Trip

After flying the South Island we drove to the North Island of New Zealand beginning in New Zealand’s capital Wellington and by Wednesday we had reached Lake Taupo a former volcano now turned into a basin lake. Before going to New Zealand Sharon Stone had prophesised that on this trip I would not have to use a sledge hammer because God had provided the fissures. Gaps suddenly appearing in the surface of things breaking even the hard rock. The next major town was Roturua where Thermal springs draw people from around the world to take the cure. It was amazing to see boiling hot water forcing its way to the surface as one walked through the town. A town that suffers regular tremors and eruptions. Activity below the surface of the earth. The celtic Christians talked about Thin places where God’s presence could be felt intensely. As modern Christians we are often unaware of God’s presence and His activity. Modern Christianity resembles the ten spies who went to spy in Canaan. They brought back a report which said that we are grasshoppers in the eyes of the people of the land. They had forgotten God, they had forgotten His activity, they had lost His presence. They had forgotten whose people they were. They had forgotten their position in relationship to their Father. How different from Joshua and Caleb. They found His presence whilst the others didn’t.

Thin places where God’s presence can be felt and seen are more available than even the Celtic Christians experienced. he creates the fissures so His kingdom can extend. He walks before us, He walks behind us, He carry’s us, He holds us, He comforts us. His power is bubbling beneath the surface of our lives. He won’t force Himself on us but gently woos us into relationship.

Just as I walked through the town of Rotorua that evening seeing all that activity with my eyes for the first time, may my God bring you daily to the thin places in your homes, workplace, community and life. May you not have to use a sledgehammer to extend the Kingdom of God but may the small finger of your weakest hand find God’s fissures so that when you push, God’s power and ability will be released in ever increasing measure into your life.

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