Living the Dream

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

Joseph‘Living the Dream’ has to be one of my pet hates when it comes to a social media status update. Perhaps I am just jealous, thinking others are having a better time than me! But living his dream is something that the Old Testament prophet Joseph did, even when he thought he was in a nightmare. I am sure there is a phenomenal amount we can learn about living the purpose-filled life from him. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make sure your dream really is from God. It may be exciting for you (Genesis 37:6-11) and others may endorse that God is with you (Genesis 41:38-39) but will the outcome of your vision be of benefit to others? This is often the litmus test of whether we  are on track with heaven (Genesis 45:7).

2. Be careful who you share your dream with! Joseph’s brothers were supremely unimpressed (Genesis 37:5-11). Heavenly business is not everyone’s business and sharing too much may lead to arrogance or self importance – this was Paul’s concern too (2 Corinthians 12:1-7). Best to take a leaf out of Mary’s book and keep things hidden in your heart (Luke 2:19).

3. Accept that God may need to ‘edit you.’ The Joseph narrative has him lose his robes again and again (Genesis 37:23; 39:11-13). For some of us, every time we work out who we are and what our work is, we find ourselves being remoulded for the next season. Slap bang, back on the potter’s wheel, just when we had established life’s future shape. Each robe Joseph wore was a containment that just looked like a blessing. Let God edit, painful though it may be. While the Lloyd-Webber show ends with Joseph asking for his ‘coloured coat’, in fact it wasn’t for him by then. We often have to ‘move on’ in God’s plan.

4. Serve the vision of others. Before he ruled the planet, Joseph ruled the prison and Potiphar’s place. Before his dream came true, he interpreted the dreams of his fellow ‘waiting room’ companions (Genesis 40). It’s rare to meet someone who has found success in ministry and service to Christ, who has not first served wholeheartedly the vision of their local church or leader. We are not the centre of the universe, just a link in a chain.

5. Pass the character tests. Most of us are aware that we face tests but those who find God’s greatest blessing are those who realise that these are tests to be passed! Joseph was hated, abused, attacked, sold into slavery, tempted with sexual activity, falsely accused, wrongfully imprisoned, forgotten by a vital government department… the list goes on. Perhaps the biggest test was that he was later given authority – the power to deal harshly with everyone who had wronged him. He forgave with joy and thanked God for the journey. Keep a good heart, otherwise your dream is just a fantasy.

6. Praise God even if the dream seems to die. The vision of being the sheaf of corn that rose above them all must have seemed absolute folly as Joseph entered his third year of dungeon time. What he couldn’t possibly have known was that each ‘negative’ step was taking him closer to the day of its fulfilment. Sometimes we have to let a dream go and accept that we have got it wrong; other times, we need to rejoice. The sovereign Lord is taking us to a great place, even if we wouldn’t have chosen the route ourselves. We may be nearer than we think.

I love how the story concludes. The character-tested dreamer has not had his faith stolen during the process and he has clearly held on to God through it all, rather than just the dream. He says to his rogue brothers: “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). If God has spoken to you, even if you are a thousand miles from any sense of fulfilment, watch out – you may in fact be living the dream after all.

Night Fight

Posted: November 2, 2013 in spiritual life


For sure, the passage in the Old Testament where Jacob wrestles with a mysterious angelic being who we later discover to be none other than God Himself (Genesis 32:22-32) is a very strange portion of the Bible. Yet, it could not be more applicable to so many of us in our spiritual journey. Even for the most devout, perhaps especially for them, there comes a dark season of life:  an seemingly endless, pitch-dark struggle. Like Jacob, we feel alone, confused and, worse of all, it appears that God is behaving like our opponent. Doors we prayed open remain shut; illness we thought we had overcome returns; families shatter; circumstances conspire against us to frustrate and confuse us in our faith. Our heart, if not our lips betray us: “Oh Lord of Heaven, I sought you to help me, yet it seems you have become my foe!”

We would do well to learn from Jacob. He soon became weak as a wrestler with God and resorted instead to clinging on to God. “I will not let you go!” he affirms. The Lord requires the same of us. In our confusion, pain, disappointment, we must cling on to God, believing above all else that He is a blesser. It’s the only way to have our name changed.

During the struggle, the Lord asks Jacob: “What is your name?” (verse 27). It was not that God lacked this knowledge. It was so that Jacob would speak the truth. He was not “Esau” stealing a blessing, but Israel contending for one. Not from Isaac but from Christ. If you feel the fight has drained everything from you, hold on to the invisible Jesus. See the night through. You’ll be Israel in the morning.

cambridge church

Over the last month, it has become quite obvious that King’s Church in Cambridge is experiencing the activity of the ministry of the Spirit in a new and exciting way. The church has long been a place to witness genuine charismatic gifts in operation and to learn how to improve in their use, but the last few weeks has seen this move to a different level. Week by week, and certainly not just on Sundays or in church meetings, men and women are being confronted by  Jesus Christ, who is dramatically healing the sick, touching lives for the good, and speaking through revelation and wisdom gifts, leaving some guests quite shocked and having to re-evaluate their worldview. People are healed by the laying on of hands, a simple petition, or even a brief but persistent prayer over the telephone. Prophecy is spoken with love, humility and accuracy, many times including some ‘impossible to know’ information. As Paul wrote in First Corinthians, the guest who enters finds “the secrets of his heart… disclosed” and “he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you” (1 Corinthians 14:25). It is not as dramatic as that at Cambridge but certainly close.

I had the privilege of being at the Church over the weekend. I am its former Minister. The anointing, for those who believe that they can sense such things, is obvious as soon as the service begins. I don’t believe we should call this anything like revival – it is very small, and in fact, it is just the church ‘warming up’ to that which should be normal Christianity after all! But I do want to encourage anyone in the Cambridgeshire area who has a deep emotional or physical need, or is hungry for the reality of God’s Kingdom today, to pay King’s Church a visit as soon as possible. Personal miracles aren’t guaranteed and never are, that would be foolish, but a presentation of God’s love and power is. You’ll find out when you get there.

To God be the glory!

The Christian Atheist

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Christianity

Confused man

I know it sounds odd, but it seems to me that it is perfectly possible for a Christian to be an active atheist. Of course, not in the way that we normally use the term – meaning: someone who intellectually or emotionally does not believe in the existence of God. No, I mean in the way that the Bible perceives of the atheist: a person who lives as though there was no God. “The fool” who says in his heart, “There is no God!” (Psalm 14:1) is not an intellectual atheist, but a practical one. The term ‘fool’ as used in the wisdom literature of the Bible is not an ‘idiot’ but a person who has chosen an immoral path. He behaves as though no-one is watching him, as though there were no consequences to sinful actions, and no day of judgement. In that regard, the most devout Christian can have a season, or even a daily lifestyle, of atheism mixed in together with their Sunday faith. We need to guard against it.

Psalm 14 goes on to tell us what this “foolish” practical atheism does to a person’s heart. He or she performs vile deeds (verse 1), has a prayer-less life and neglects to seek God (verses 2-3), despises people (verse 4), lives in fear (verse 5) and exploits, or at the very least has no concern, for the poor (verse 6). By these standards, I’d say we all ought to watch out for atheism.

I was once challenged with this thought: Don’t tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do. Then, I will be able to tell you what you believe. So, do you believe in God?

Lucky Dip!

Posted: September 2, 2013 in renewal

Pool of Bethesda

I have been thinking recently about the story of the pool of Bethesda from the fifth chapter of John. The sick people around the pool believed that on special occasions an angel would stir the waters and the first person in was cured (John 5:1-15). When questioned the man is bitter, resentful that others have made it into the water ahead of him. “I’ve got no-one to help me!” he complains (verse 7). Perhaps today, too many of us are a little like him – feeling weak or lame, waiting for our ‘lucky break’ – a piece of good fortune that we will gladly attribute to heaven as long as we get what we feel we need. Like an ‘X Factor’ teenager, we are putting all our hopes for future mobility on a big break – perhaps a career change, a marriage proposal at last, or a special empowerment or anointing from God: a lucky dip in this life. And how we disguise our indignation when others seem to get blessed ahead of us! We have all been there. But perhaps the story teaches us to take our eyes off the pool completely and on to the Saviour. The lame man is cured without getting his feet wet. It’s a genuine meeting with Jesus that we need, not a strange charismatic experience, no matter how wonderful. And don’t miss Jesus’ strong warning at the end, to turn from sin (verse 14). If we really want to stay upright, we need to hear and obey the voice of God on a daily basis. Why don’t you take your eyes off the pool today and on to Him? You can get your lucky break any time you like, as long as that break is called Jesus.

Church Rocks

Posted: July 19, 2013 in church


Jesus said, “on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). I often wondered, and still do, what is “the rock” to which Jesus referred. Discarding the view that the Lord is making His disciple a saintly key-holding figure, it seems to me we have three options:

Firstly, the rock could be the revelation process  – God’s supernatural transmission of information; the opening of our eyes to truth that otherwise we could not possibly grasp, and yet through revelation it becomes an anchor in our very soul. Jesus said that Peter’s words were not revealed to him by “flesh and blood but by my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). Disciples are made (John 6:44), matured and mobilised (1 Corinthians 2:11-16) by revelation from the Spirit of God (Psalm 25:4). Without revelation there would be no living, growing and maturing church.

Secondly, the rock could be the truth that “Jesus is Lord.” It seems as though the commission to help build the church cannot be given to anyone who does not accept the Mastership of Jesus. His servants cannot build if He is not their Lord (Psalm 127:1). They cannot believe Him for great things and neither can they be “useful to the Master” (2 Timothy 2:21). Those who aspire and feel called to serve God in church building should ensure first and foremost that Jesus is their absolute Lord. If He isn’t, they may find themselves constructing another temporary tower in Babel-land.

Finally, the rock could be the yielded and available servant, in this case Peter but applicable to any follower of Christ. I am quite sure we should not think of rock as meaning ‘strength’ (Peter was not always strong: Luke 5:8-11) but rather ‘something to work with.’ Like Peter we will all make mistakes or feel inadequate, but the Master as always is not looking for ability but passion for Him made manifest in availability (John 21:15-17), qualifying us to become co-labourers and builders with him (1 Corinthians 3:9).

So which of these did Jesus mean when He spoke this famous words some two thousand years ago? It seems to be that a good combination of all three will allow us to become “living stones” in His ever growing and glorious Temple (1 Peter 2:4-5). Did you ever notice before which disciple it was who described the church as made of “living stones”?

Mattersey Hall

After thirteen years of preaching, teaching and serving in pastoral leadership at King’s Church Cambridge, I will be moving on and have recently accepted a full time position at Mattersey Hall, the Assemblies of God National Ministry Centre, starting January 2014. Young men and women come to the College from all over the world to be prepared for church leadership and I have been asked to play my part in mentoring and preparing them for the work of Spirit-filled ministry. Among my duties at Mattersey Hall will be teaching Christian Doctrine, Communicating and Understanding the Bible, and Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies. I will also be the Archivist of the Pentecostal Library, the Donald Gee Centre, where many of the original documents are kept from the twentieth century Pentecostal revival. Most importantly, I see my role as inspiring, fathering and encouraging students in grasping good biblical truth while learning how to move in the power of the Holy Spirit.

From September 2013, King’s Church will enter into an exciting period of transition. Jane and I will often be ministering on Sundays, but room will be made for a new team to be established under new leadership. The name of the new senior leader at King’s Church will be published shortly before Christmas 2013.

We ask all our dear friends to pray for these next few months as the transition takes place and for God’s blessing to be upon all! These changes are never easy but there is a good sense of anticipation at King’s for the future and we are confident that the Lord is with us all!

The Ark

2 Samuel’s sixth chapter reports a funeral in the middle of a renewal. This tragic event, namely Uzzah is struck dead simply because he tried to steady the Ark of the Covenant (verses 1-8), has something to teach us about how to handle a move of the Holy Spirit today. Uzzah’s error was not so much that he ‘touched’ the Ark, but more fundamentally that he neglected to know and/or obey the requirements of the Word of God, even during a wonderful revival. The Law was clear: the Ark had to be particularly handled (Exodus 37:5; Numbers 4:6,15); but in the midst of ecstatic worship and anointed celebration, it is still possible to neglect the principles of the Word. Perhaps David was just as responsible as Uzzah, having not taught Uzzah the appropriate way to deal with the Ark. This should be a sobering thought for all of us today, especially leaders, who wholeheartedly love the Lord’s Presence, as represented by the Ark, and want it to come to our city.

I serve in a church where we value the moving of the Holy Spirit, and, yes, the adrenaline rush when experiencing the undeniable activity of a powerful God. But if we forget about obedience to the Word, applying its principles in reverent and holy fear, then a time of renewal can very easily become a funeral. To be sure, God’s goodness is to be thoroughly enjoyed. We’ll no doubt be criticised for our foolish abandonment to Him. It’s not a ‘cool look’ for the Michal’s in today’s church to see the passionate receive the touch of God (2 Samuel 6:20-23). But obedience to God’s Word will not be suspended during a revival; not then, not now.

So what is the key to handling the move of the Spirit well? Perhaps this is best represented by what happens in 2 Samuel 6:10-12. David wanted the Ark, the Presence, to go directly to his city. A noble and pure ambition. But, first, it had to go home (in this case, to the home of Obed-Edom). For the Lord of revival to take root in a church, He must first go home with all His hungry seekers. Revival can’t go directly to the city – to the places of influence and power, to the estates, to the schools, to the streets and marketplaces – not without first going home after Sunday service. Jesus is the Lord of the believer in his or her private place, on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons, as they enjoy God and know and obey His Word. That’s good soil for something very special – a fountain flowing deep and wide!


Often in the New Testament we read that upon encountering Jesus or the Early Church the people were “filled with awe.” We’ve had a saying in Cambridge for a while – hopefully, not a catchphrase or soundbite, but a heartfelt prayer – “Lord, we need the awe back!”  Despite common usage, few things in life are really awesome. According to Webster’s Dictionary, awe is: “an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder, that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.” Another reads: “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”

In the Bible, great acts of God inspired a deep awe in the people, leading them to praise God (Matthew 9:8; Luke 5:26; Psalm 65:8); sense God (Luke 7:16); share God (Luke 1:65); and seek God  (Acts 2:42-47). That’s why we need things to be awesome; not to entertain the crowds but to transform people’s broken lives. Awe speaks louder than anything to say: “God has come to help” (Luke 7:16).

This week, one of my prophetic friends was at work, making casual conversation with a builder in the men’s toilets. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit revealed all manner of private and personal details about the builder, which my friend dared to share. He was a complete stranger to him and completely unchurched. Everything was accurate, and the man – totally shocked and grasping the taps – exclaimed: “How do you know all this stuff?” My friend went on to pray for him and assure the man of God’s love. He pointed him to his local church. Awesome!

This may sound incredible but it leaves one suspecting the Holy Spirit might want to do much more, that those who come to church might say “God is truly in this place” (1 Corinthians 14:25) while others with whom we mingle for the Gospel might say, as they did in the Bible, “We have seen remarkable things today” (Luke 5:26). After all, it’s not just a song. Our God is an awesome God!


It is exciting to be around modern day people with a genuine gift of prophecy. I’m persuaded that some of my friends and colleagues in the Christian ministry are bona fide prophets, as described in Ephesians 4:11. This has been my special privilege for the whole of my Christian experience and I am convinced that wherever I go, whatever I do, I will be in their company. They are usually very ordinary people. They don’t have ‘prophet’ on a business card. They don’t carry a holy staff, or even have beards. Most of them are just humble, ordinary people.

I am concerned, however, that there is very little resource to encourage these modern day prophets in their gift, especially ‘face to face.’ Those who plant churches often mingle with fellow church planters; pastors have their Ministers’ meetings; but for the prophet it can be a very lonely business. Like any heavenly gift, it is freely given and is of grace. But it does not arrive as a fully working download, ready to go. There are no ‘plug and play’ prophets. The gift has to be developed, stretched and exercised. There is much to learn; many mistakes to avoid! We can learn to hear the Spirit in a clearer way. We can develop and improve – we ought to, given that we are representing the Lord in a very direct way.

I recently had coffee with a fellow practitioner in the prophetic ministry. We had both been experiencing the word of knowledge lately and we spent some time encouraging one another to be braver and try to go further in this ability. It was quite a unique conversation, and left me hungering for more.

So here is my question: Are there any UK prophets out there (or ‘those who often prophesy’ if that is easier to say) who would value some special time together? Iron sharpens iron, so prophet sharpens prophet. Perhaps we could create some safe space in which to meet, pray, provoke , support, love – even correct – one another. So that we can excel in a gift that God wills should build up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12).

If you’d love this, please make contact with me and let’s explore.  Could be spiritually profitable!