Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Salvation's Song on Offer!

My book has hit the remainders bin. It's official. Kingsway have put it on their special offers page (www.equippingthechurch.co.uk/index.php?cPath=171_201&page=2 ) at half price. So if you never quite got around to it, now is the time to buy!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

24 Hour Praise People

And still my heart is soaring.

For a new vision is beginning to grip me - a vision of calling others to join in our salvation songs, a vision of 24 hour praise people across the land taking the time to worship Jesus together. What if next time it's not just us and David's friends in India, but many churches all over the place joining together for 24 hours of worship? What if the idea of 24 hour worship were not just to be a calling for St Catherine's in Pontypridd, but a calling for all sorts of churches to join in with?

So I am writing to friends and asking them to pray. I am praying that the idea will stir hearts and souls and cry out to people to join us. We are a generation that has seen an amazing revolution in worship, but now to our songs and our bands and our skills and our equipment we add perseverance and an unstoppable desire to be with Jesus.

I had a perfect day in 2005. January. I was in Wengen. Every part of the day was perfect - the skiing, the weather, the food, the time with people, the time alone. It was a perfect day. I felt amazingly well, and knew it was a special day as it happened. Not just a good day - a perfect day. Last weekend was like that, but more so. And so was Monday. And Tuesday was pretty good. And so today (Thursday) is too. I want to invite Christians to take part in a Perfect Day of praise. We are going to do it again here. I can't wait!

Let me know if you want to join in.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Day after the Day

So - it is now a day on from our day of worship. I slept well last night!

And the interesting thing is - I feel really well. I mean, I feel really well. Totally at peace, content, happy. I guess I should expect this; after all I've just spent 24 hours worshipping Jesus. If there is any reality to faith in Jesus I should be feeling great! But I didn't expect this.

Which makes me feel a bit stupid! I mean, so often I teach from the Gospels and point out that when people spend time with Jesus they get transformed; his good health is catching and people get their lives turned the right way up. Yet I didn't expect it for myself, didn't go into this looking for it, didn't try to make it happen.

God is good. Honest.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

24 - One day of worship

24 hours of worship. A perfect day.

Back in Febrauary, I heard Jonathan Wilmot from Greyfriars Reading preach a sermon in Wengen, in which he referred to the Hebridean revival; the people there simply trusted that if they prayed and repented, God would bless them. It made me stop and think: should we do that here at St Catherine's?

I live by 13 words: my job is to worship God: His job is to grow the church. And it seemed to me to be the Lord's leading that if we as a church did our job, we could be sure he would do his. So the idea for a perfect day, 24 hours of worship, began to form. A further conversation with Jonathan the next day gave me the date for our day of worship - Pentecost 2006. Today.

So with the worship team here we began to plan. We created a day that would embrace all the worship styles of our church, and more besides. Jazz, organ hymns, praise band, taize, art, kids praise, silence. We also wanted to demonstrate the importance of Scripture to us, so we decided to read out loud the whole of St John's Gospel during the day - a chapter for nearly every hour. Dan Jones came up then with the idea of me reading out St Paul's letter to the Romans, which he would intersperse with some guitar suites adapted from JS Bach.

So we did it. It started yesterday at noon, and finished today at 12.30. It was one of the most awe inspiring things I have ever experienced. Time and again I was struck by the power and the beauty of our God as we worshipped. The variety of styles kept everything fresh, but the constancy of the experience of worship kept everything real. Four of us did the whole day; four more only missed small amounts. We were seldom in single figures (amazingly we were 11 for Romans and Bach at 3am!!) and the biggest crowds (apart from the celebration service to end the day) were at the Songs of Praise (old fashioned hymns) hour, and at the Praise Band (contemporary worship) hour. I think that represents us well! Friends in India of church warden David Carver prayed with us through the day - I look forwards to hearing how it was for them.

Tears and laughter, deep moments of awe, simply a sense of the Spirit of Jesus - these were at the heart of the day. Seeing the sun begin to rise as we read through Romans, and the day dispelling the night was amazing. And the kindness of people - Julie Davies making a lunch for me afterwards, and dropping it round to the house touched me enormously.

So Lord: we are doing our job. I know you are doing yours. I look forwards to seeing how this church grows. And please don't let me forget the power of this day. It has been perfect.