Saturday, August 07, 2010

Spiritual Hunger

Wow, so much has happened since I last blogged.

I have spoken to a couple of hundred people at CLAN in seminars and family ministry sessions and been privileged to watch some very special times of prayer and interaction between mothers and fathers and sons and daughters. So the time was split into teaching sessions and "putting it into practice" sessions - I love this way of doing things!

Over the two days we covered some principles for raising children in the river of God, we looked at some practical ways to bring children into the heart of the church. I taught a little on how children can honour their parents vice versa. We did some prophetic activation amongst family members and in particular looked at the actual (not potential) skill with which children hear things from God. I saw some quite incredible pictures drawn by children in the family soaking time.

One 4 year old drew a tree with an acorn at the bottom. The acorn was clearly recognisable. He said "God showed me this tree when he was talking about me". I asked him if he knew what an acorn tree became. It becomes an oak and I read Isaiah 61. to him. What a special little boy! I love that he, a preschooler, didn't just draw any tree, he drew the one God showed him! His future is in the heart of that passage.

My only irritation post-an event like CLAN was that people said "oh yeah, your seminar was about kids". I feel something rising up in me (NOT anger, probably a little frustration) as the seminars were not just about kids. Its about preparing the church for the harvest to come. If we don't get this right - if we alienate the young and the generation of parents now who don't know how to teach and instill faith in their children - then we lose a generation. More than that, more than this being about numbers, we miss out on what children see with their spiritual eyes, their hunger for experience grounded in total practical reality; the way in which their prayers seem to touch heaven.

I showed a short clip from TACF's Fruits of Revival DVD, which records the ongoing testimonies and ministries arising out of the incredible 1994-to present day outpouring. The clip I showed had Trevor Baker, senior leader at the ARC church in Dudley, describing how he went out to get some prayer during the 1994 outpouring meetings. He describes (very honestly and with real humility) how his heart sank when a small boy came out to pray for him rather than one of the adults. He then describes the powerful encounter he had with God the moment the little boy prayed. Wow, wow, wow, wow.

The speaker on the final night of CLAN spoke about generations coming together and much of what he said, which I am not going to write in detail here (I need to buy the recording and listen to it again) really resonated with me - moreover, I felt affirmed.

CLAN was a really positive experience for us (Mr HIWWC did a little chunk of teaching on the heart of a dad) and I want to honour the leadership team for asking me and trusting me. I felt it was a real privilege to share what I have learned and tried out over the past seven years. We were welcomed warmly and encouraged hugely.

Today I ran team training for our week-long holiday club which starts on Monday. 80 children are coming from all kinds of backgrounds. I'm delighted to have a team of 30this year, with ten of them being really young teenagers. Four of them have just left the kids' programme and want to come back and serve - I'm really pleased about this.

But its a busy week. Pray for us and the other churches near me and you who are running holiday clubs. This is ours here

Last week it was my turn on staff devotions. I spoke about spiritual hunger. I have had a summer of contrasts - I've been in arid places and refreshing places. All part of the journey I think, like the people of Israel! But I know which one of these two places I'd rather be at.

The challenge I am facing - and we all thought about this as a team - is that we can't MAKE people spiritually hungry - its their choice - press in or stay distanced. None the less, I am re-reading the periods of "effusions of the Spirit" throughout church history and I am embedding myself in the stories of societal transformation that I was so into in the mid-90s when the Sentinel Group first released the documentaries: hunger and longing for God to touch the church in Scotland/the UK is growing, we feel it so desperately as a family, to bursting point sometimes. We're sure we're not the only ones.

Please post in the comments if you feel that too!

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