Francis Chan in Great Form

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Don’t know if some people in the UK will know Francis Chan – if you don’t I would highly recommend him to you.
I saw this link to a short video of him on a blog and thought you might find it interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA_uwWPE6lQ&feature=player_embedded

If I could manage the technology side of this I would have posted the whole video from YouTube directly here – but I am still reading and trying to wok out just how to do that – sorry.

Uyghur Christian Prisoner Sees Wife and Children for the First Time in Years

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I love my brothers and sisters in the persecuted church. Read this story here and cried and prayed. Please at least do the latter.

Persecution Blog 30/04/2010 00:26 Stacy L. Harp China Aid Christian Action

This is bittersweet news from our friends at China Aid. We rejoice with our brother for being able to see his family for 15 minutes, but we know he must be having a hard time, as his family are, after such an emotional visit. Please join me in praying for this precious family today, and if you’d like to write to Alim, click here and see the information at China Aid.

XINJIANG—Separated by the glass wall, Gulinuer and Alimujiang’s two sons stared at their father for the first time in over two years. On April 20, under international pressure thanks to years of legal advocacy and raising public awareness, the Xinjiang Kashgar Prison authorities allowed the Uyghur Christian prisoner to meet with his wife, children, mother, and sister for a brief 15 minute conversation—the first personal contact the family has had with Alim since he was first detained in January 2008.

Alim’s mother was extremely emotional. She encouraged her son to be strong, and Alimujiang in turn comforted her. His spirit seemed strong, and he encouraged his wife and children, “Be strong and take heart! I know that this is God’s training for me.”

Alim’s 10-year-old son expressed mixed emotions during the visit. He was thankful to see his father after two years and three months of separation, but was greatly discouraged that his father was still stuck “in that place,” unable to return home with them. Gulinuer has watched her son pray for Alimujiang every night, asking God to deliver him from prison and bring him home. Despite the pain, she remains thankful that her son’s faith is strong.

Alim’s lawyers, Dr. Li Baiguang and Liu Peifu, were barred from meeting with him only days before the family visit, even after gaining authorization from the Xinjiang Bureau of Prison Management. Gulinuer contacted the lawyers immediately after learning they would be granted a visit, but after nearly a week of work in Xinjiang, the lawyers were already at the airport en route to Beijing.

Dr. Li Baiguang views Alim’s case as one of the worst cases of religious persecution in the last 20 years. Disappointed by the Xinjiang Supreme Courts rejection of Alim’s appeal filed in January, the legal team now plans to appeal to the Beijing Supreme Court..

At last someone who knows about preaching

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Above, John Wesley, preacher extraordinary.

I saw this quote here. The first part is from James Henley Thornwell, of whom I have never heard. The second part from D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, who I most certainly have heard of. It reminded me of Bob Gordon, one of the best preachers I have had the pleasure of hearing, who would frequently move a congregation in the power of an anointed word and come away asking, “Was that ok?”.

…..from one of the greatest preachers of the nineteenth century, James Henley Thornwell:

“It is a great matter to understand what it is to be a preacher, and how preaching should be done. Effective sermons are the offspring of study, of discipline, of prayer, and especially of the unction of the Holy Ghost… My own performances in this way fill me with disgust. I have never made, much less preached, a sermon in my life, and I begin to despair of ever being able to do so.”

Distrust in oneself must mark the preacher. The most-used preachers in the church have always been those who say, ‘No-one knows how to preach.’ A self-confident preacher ought to be a contradiction in terms.

Brash Bonsall – Revival

Rev H Brash Bronsall, was the highly respected Principal of the Birmingham Bible Institute. In the Winter [not sure which year – Ed.] issue of the College Magazine Gateway, he wrote,

We as a College are poised in preparation for the Revival which God showed me fifty years ago He was going to send to this country. In this Revival, He has revealed, it is not so much religious people that will be converted but leaders in industry, professional life, political life, and experts. These will be people who have never darkened a church door and have not the scintilla of an idea of what Christ really is. To such He will be revealed. Revival means God coming to a community face-to-face when the hearts of hardest rock will flow down like lava, and men will be called to be God’s servants to the ends of the earth. They will come to this, and every available college, demanding instant training.

Len Moules – Revival

Len Moules – just before his death in 1978, this former secretary of the World Evangelisation Crusade (founded by C.T. Studd), and one of the most experienced and trusted missionary statesmen of our day, wrote,

“Of the 210 countries which constitute the world scene, the stirrings of revival have now touched well over 700 countries since 1960. Behind the Iron and Bamboo curtains the Spirit of God is moving significantly. This is but the beginning. God will pour His Spirit out on all flesh. We shall see the Spirit poured out upon the Muslims, and Issac will be more important than Ishmael, and Jesus as Saviour rather than their own prophet. The Buddhists under the Spirit’s touch will find Jesus to be the Way, the Truth and the Life. The four-fold way and eight-fold path will yield to the one above all others. Upon Confucian thought and the dark and light principles will come the revelation of Jesus who said, I am the light of the world. What exciting days! Be ready, be praying, be expectant and thankful for revival that is at our door. Hallelujah!”

Spirit and Word

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Anyone who heard Bob Gordon speak in the 4-5 years before his death would be familiar with his recounting of one particular prophetic word of Smith Wigglesworth regarding the conjoining of Spirit and Word. Bob felt a particular call to the word below, which was given just weeks before Smith Wigglesworth’s own death in 1947. In the coming weeks we will publish material prepared by Bob as he preached and taught on this movement.

(Smith Wigglesworth was an amazing and enigmatic man of God who was one of the Pentecostal pioneers of the 20th century – read more about him here).

“A week before his death, Wigglesworth prophesied again during a week long crusade. This time, he foretold a second move of the Spirit. The first move would bring the restoration of the gifts of the Spirit; the second would bring a revival of emphasis on the Word of God.

He said “When these two moves of the Spirit combine, we shall see the greatest move the Church of Jesus Christ has ever seen.”

Smith Wigglesworth
(A Man Who Walked With God; George Stormont)

Humility, the Morning Practices

Very helpfully CJM gives a number of excellent ideas for the daily mortification of our pride and development of humility in our lives. They are practical, simple and easy to remember – the practice might be a little harder though.

1. Reflect on the wonder of the cross

John Owen, “Fill you affections with the cross of Christ, that there may be no room for sin”

John Stott, “Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universes cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.

2. Begin your day acknowledging your need for God

CJM, “From the moment I awake I’ve learned to make statements to God about my dependence upon God, and in this way I am humbling myself before God.”

Martyn Lloyd Jones, “Have you realised that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself

3. Begin your day expressing gratitude to God

Michael Ramsey, “Thankfulness, is a soil in which pride does not easily grow

CJM, “What would happen if I crossed your path tomorrow morning? Would I encounter someone who was an alert and thankful observer of answered prayer, someone who in a pronounced way was grateful for God’s many mercies

4. Practice spiritual disciplines

CJM, “Prayer, the study of God’s word and worship. Do this consistently each day, preferably at the day’s outset, if possible. If we’re properly motivated, this will be a daily demonstration and declaration of our dependence on God and our need for him…I’ve found that it is possible for me to charge into my day motivated by self-sufficiency. But I’ve also learned that the very act of opening my bible to read and turning my heart and mind to prayer makes a statement that I need God.

5. Seize your Commute
CJM, “According to government figures the average american worker commutes about 25 minutes to and from work. That amounts to 50 minutes each day. If you used that time to listen to n audio recording of Scripture you’d get through the whole Bible in only 3 months.
Even if you don’t have a long commute there are countless other segments of time throughout the day – mundane moments – which can be seized as opportunities to experience God’s transforming grace by memorising and meditating on Scripture.

6. Casting all your cares on him

1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

CJM, “When we humble ourselves each morning by casting our cares on the Lord, we start the day free of care. the humble are genuinely free.

7. Staying charged up

CJM, “We are not like cordless drills, getting charged up in the morning with enough power to last us the rest of the day…Maybe you’ve wondered why your devotions in the morning seem to be effective for only an hour or so. I’ve learned not to expect what I’ve experienced in Bible study in the morning will be sustaining me at two in the afternoon.
Don’t be mistaken, God hasn’t gone anywhere…The issue isn’t God. It’s my pride that resists trusting in Him through dependence upon Him.

Spurgeon and a Bear

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Recently I read this in a sermon by John MacArthur. You might not know too much about Down Grade but his (Spurgeon’s) insight and challenge about our response to, and acceptance of, change in and outside the church is very strong and worth considering – especially if, like me, you are not too comfortable to have around at times.

You can read more about Down Grade here and here – and in lots of other places on the internet.

“At the height of the Downgrade Controversy, two weeks after he was censured by the Baptist Union, Charles Spurgeon preached a message. The title of the message was “Holding Fast the Faith.” I wish I could read you all of it, let me read you some selected portions of this message he preached after this censure in which the Baptist Union disowned him because of his cries against the downgrade.

He closed the message at least with these words, “Everybody admires Luther. Yes, yes, but you do not want anyone else to do the same today. When you go to the zoological gardens you all admire the bear. But how would you like a bear at home? Or a bear wandering loose about the street? You tell me it would be unbearable. And no doubt you’re right. So we admire a man who was firm in the faith, say 400 years ago. The past ages are a sort of bear pit or iron cage for him. But such a man today is a nuisance and must be put down. Call him a narrow-minded bigot or give him a worse name if you can think of one. Yet imagine that in those ages past, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and their compeers had said, `The world is out of order but if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row and get ourselves into disgrace. Let’s go to our chambers, put on our nightcaps and sleep over the bad times and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.’

“Such conduct on their part would have entailed upon us a heritage of error. Age after age would have gone down into the infernal deeps and the pestiferous bogs of error would have swallowed all. These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too well to see them trampled on. Note what we owe them and let us pay to our sons the debt we owe our fathers.

“Look, you sirs,” he said, “there are ages yet to come. If the Lord does not speedily appear there will come another generation and another. And all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today. We have come to a turning point in the road. If we turn to the right, may hap our children and our grandchildren’s children will go that way. But if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and His Word. I charge you, not only by your ancestry but by your posterity that you seek to win the commendation of your master that though you dwell where Satan’s seat is you yet holdfast His name and do not deny His faith.

“God, grant us faithfulness for the sake of the souls around us. How is the world to be saved if the church is false to her Lord? How are we to lift the masses if our fulcrum is removed? If our gospel is uncertain? What remains but increasing misery and despair. Stand fast, my beloved, in the name of God. I your brother in Christ entreat you to abide in the truth, quit yourselves like men, be strong, the Lord sustain you for Jesus’ sake.””