20150829_193216

10 Highlights from David’s Tent

Merenna and Matt on Registration
We arrived and made our way over to register, and there was Merenna, who I know from the London Olympic Burn back in the summer of 2012, and Matt, who I met in Norwich with the Fire & Fragrance team. It makes an event seem especially welcome when those signing you in are people you’ve worshipped together with heart and soul.

The Helsers Leading Worship As A Couple
Me and Taryn have been listening to Jonathan and Melissa Helser’s album Endless Ocean, Bottomless Sea for the last couple of months. So it was cool to see them leading worship in person. But what was especially cool is that they are a married couple leading together, both doing their thing with ferocious passion and conviction. Like Taryn and I aspire to do!

Steffany’s Flashing Eyes
The first night in the Big Tent, with worship being led by Sean Feucht, Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook and the Bethel Music team. Steffany’s album is another we’ve been listening to recently, its raw heart-bare songs of undone lovesick passion for the heart of God providing the soundtrack for all of our summer travels. But there was a moment as they were leading the assembled thousands in worship, and Steffany was dancing in shameless abandon before the Lord, when suddenly she paused, to share a word with the rest of us. The band stopped. The fire blazed in her eyes.

Her words were clear and simple (I paraphrase them now): ‘This is the one moment that all of us here have to worship together — this side of the veil. When we get to the other side, then we can worship Him together forever. But I believe there’s something unique that God wants to do, right here, with all of us, right now. So don’t hold back! Let’s give Him everything we’ve got!‘ And we did!

And as we did God spoke to me. About Elisha and the arrows, and about how I was like the king, and leading the R&R DTS was like him striking the ground with the arrows. It felt like a warning not to stop doing this costly annual leading a nine-month DTS after just three (which would be after this upcoming DTS–which has been the thought). But it felt also like a promise that if we can press on to do five or six, then we will see phenomenal breakthrough.

Lucy Grimble and her Band
You can listen to some of Lucy Grimble‘s music on YouTube, and it will give you a bit of a sense of her distinctively jubilant and soulful sound. But at David’s Tent she was playing with a band of black gospel singers and musicians: three other singers, and the funkiest keyboard player you’ve ever seen. They were fantastic, each of them sounded amazing, and they combined an authentic sense of reverent worship with pure unadulterated fun. So Good.

‘Light A Candle for North Iraq’
As well as the Big Tent filled with seventy-hours of worship, there were a number of other tents, including one filled with stands where you could connect with various minstries. At one of these, I met Kelsey, who is about to go to North Iraq where for the next two years (at least) she will be a missionary with Burn 24/7, gathering a community that worships Jesus, and bringing the light of the knowledge of the glory of God into the darkness of the world’s most contested war zone. As someone who has heard a lot of exhortations about going to the ‘hardest and darkest’ places of the earth, I was overwhelmed with a sense of astonished privilege to meet someone who refusing to let those words be mere rhetoric. We were able to pray for each other, and it was a real encouragement to feel like we are in this together, simply obeying what God has called each of us to do, both part of this movement of worshippers following Him wherever He leads.

Sean Feucht’s Heart For England
Most of the big names leading worship were American, and none more American than Burn 24/7 founder Sean Feucht, with his gleeful talk of being photographed with an AK47 in one hand and a guitar in the other while in that same Iraqi war-zone to which Kelsey is going long-term. But it was such a blessing to see the servant-hearted humility with which these American musicians came, declaring the greatness of God’s plans and purposes over Britain. I was particularly encouraged by listening to Sean in one of the afternoon break-out sessions, as he spoke about how he feels Britain is uniquely important in a number of ways: its Christian heritage of revival and reformation (this one I know), the way the international breadth of the Commonwealth means that the worship movement in Britain has a particular power to connect with the nations, and the impact that raising up worship and prayer in Britain will have on breaking the power of radical jihad (since a significant number of Muslims in Britain are being drawn into violent Islamism).

Awakening the Dawn
dt-worship
The main reason we were at David’s Tent is that we were signed up to lead one of the 24/3 worship slots. We were given the 5.20-6.40 am slot on the Sunday morning — the exact time that the sun was rising. And we played a set made up completely of our own songs, that have been inspired as we’ve spent time worshipping over these last couple of years. I was buzzing with a sense of anticipation, and couldn’t help but cry out for awakening — not just of the dawn, but of the nation!

Out in the Fields
Still buzzing with joy after that early morning opportunity to lead worship, I then took a guitar, opened up the hatchback of our car, and just sat there worshipping out in the field where the cars were parked. Watching as people walked up from the campsite towards the Big Tent, I was struck afresh by the idea of David, communing with the Lord in the fields, praying for the ark of the covenant to be returned to its rightful place. “Lord, remember David…” (Psalm 132).

Jonathan Helser’s Wisdom
Being 24/3 musicians, we were invited to a special Q&A in the break-out tent with some of the main musicians. And I was given the chance to ask the final question, which I asked about discipleship and worship, about pursuing excellence while releasing and encouraging everyone no matter what level you’re at. Jonathan Helser had a few things to reply,, which all seemed like God intended them to pierce me directly — he (not knowing my name) used the example of ‘Peter’, who was promised the keys to the kingdom, and in the next moment rebuked by Jesus. But one thing in particular stood out, and it was this phrase: “conflict is the price we pay for intimacy in community”.

The Volunteer’s Booth
On the final evening, apparently there was gloriously powerful moment of intercession, as Danny Calaghan talked about being set free from an orphan spirit and released to understand the Father heart of God–not just for himself, but for the nation. But we had slipped back to the tent, so we missed that. Instead though, we ran into a dozen of the David’s Tent volunteers, singing their hearts out in their booth next to the campsite, far away from any of the action happening onstage in the Big Tent. It was amazingly liberating and a reminder of the simple heart of worship to see that the glory of God was just as (perhaps more!) present there as in the midst of several thousand worshippers being led by the world-famous musicians.

___________________

Just so you know, tickets for next year’s David’s Tent are already on sale.

ylg norway

‘The Future of Global Mission’

The Future of Global Mission – A Few Highlights from Norway LINK and YLG

1. Encounter on the bus from the airport to the city centre. Standing in the queue to buy my ticket I shot a quick prayer up to God telling him that if he would open up an opportunity, I was available to be His witness. I was the second-last passenger allowed to board the bus, as all the other seats were full, and managed to sit down just as the bus started moving. Next to me a man was tapping away at his laptop, his attention fully occupied with some business deal. There seemed to be no natural way to strike up a conversation — until he made a phone call, and I realized he was speaking in Hindi. Here was my chance! So I asked ‘To aap Bharat se hai, na?’ (/’So you’re from India, are you?’) And that led to a conversation about his work, about my work, about the refugee/migrant crisis, about whether one’s beliefs were important so long as one was serving humanity, about his own conflicting thoughts on the subject of migration, about how he had immigrated from Delhi to London because the European culture of integrity and fairness made business so much easier, about how such a European culture is perhaps the fruit of a biblical worldview. Finally as we drew into Oslo bus station, I was able to give him a gospel bracelet, and explain to him what we as Christians believe about the meaning of life, the love of God, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the assurance of eternal life that simple faith can give you.

2. Worship led by Jamie from Israel (I had a great conversation with him afterward: ‘-You’re from England? Why are you here? I guess I don’t really know why they invited me here from Israel either!’). Singing lines from the Song of Songs about our beloved Bridegroom King, in the original Hebrew in which the Scriptures were written.

3. First evening on ‘Loving our Enemies’: panel discussions including Jamie who grew up in Israel in the midst of the reality of deadly terrorism (“to have real reconciliation we have to address the real issues”; “not Judaism, not Islam – only the gospel gives us a real framework for reconciliation”); Ermal from Albania (“the gospel can change the heart of people”); and a former Norwegian PM (“we must be involved with evangelism – sharing the gospel; with debate – persuading each other of our convictions; but also with dialogue – simply listening to each other”, “there are values that Christians share with Islam – the value of human life, justice, the respect for the holy. There are also lots of point of disagreement, but the challenge is to live peacefully together”).

4. Shared a room with Simon Kruger, who is involved with the Danish Israel Mission, and having just finished four years of theological education is thinking of doing a DTS some time this year! It was a real joy to connect with him. And the place where we were staying has the most phenomenal rooftop view over the whole of Oslo, which is an impressive spectacle after dark, with the shimmering city lights twinkling in the night sky.

5. Wednesday began with a panel of representatives from Norwegian mission agencies working with young people – including a YWAMer.

6. This was followed by reflections from a few other Norwegian mission agencies on ‘The Future of Global Mission in Norway’. Reminiscent of some of OMF’s reflections from the ‘Slow Boat in the Fast Lane’ event in Cambridge last January. My main thought was to thank God for the privilege of being involved in a mission (YWAM) that is actually already positioned to join is with the ‘everyone to everywhere’ nature of what God’s apparently chaotic missionary plan seems to be.

7. Lindsay Brown – who had stepped in at the last minute for Michael Oh, who’d been forced to pull out because of family health issues – then shared his first presentation on The Future of Global Mission.

8. For his presentation on ‘The Future of Global Mission in Scandinavia’, Stefan Gustavson gave a sobering statistical demonstration of the disappearance of gospel passion (as evidenced by decreased numbers of missionaries, decreased evangelistic focus of missionaries, and decreased voluntary giving to mission) in the Swedish church.

9. Lindsay Brown gave his second presentation on The Future of Global Mission. I was particularly impacted by his story of Adoniram Judson, who died in an ignominous death in Burma after serving as a missionary for thirty-eight years, suffering the loss of a wife and seven children, translating the Scriptures, but only seeing twelve converts. But now there are six hundred thousand Burmese Christians who all trace their spiritual heritage to this man’s faithfulness.

10. One event concluded, the YLG mini-gathering continued. First, introductions. Humility or insignificance?

11. Lindsay then shared a number of leadership dangers to avoid: -Perfectionism, -Lack of Focus, -Pride, -Trying to be ‘Superman’, -Dryness; -Jealousy and a Critical Spirit; -Trusting Human Leaders too much; -Short-termism; -Individualism; -Underestimating the Cost; -Giving Up.

12. Thursday morning started with Justin Schell leading us through a brief look at 2 Corinthians 4. Struck by Paul’s repeated declaration that ‘we do not lose heart’.

13. Reflections on how Lausanne has worked at better preparing itself for the release of young leadership and new vision, tips on how to prepare to make the most of the event, and a look at the YLG draft schedule.

14. Praying in triplets at the end with Simon and Sanjay.

15. Back at Ole’s house. Blessed by his hospitality. Stirred to hope again for such a house for my own family, that we might invite the nations to come and rest under our roof.

16. Provoked by one of Lindsay’s comments to meditate on the sovereignty of God. Among the evangelical church, there are some who use the word to imply (although rarely explicitly say) total determinism, with the implicit suggestion that to deny total determinism is a grave form of heresy. And there are others who feel that total determinism makes God the author of sin in a way clearly contrary to James 1:13. Could I be a bridge of unity and ambassador of reconciliation in this area? Helping to bring understanding to the warring tribes of the evangelical church?

A Day at the Hillside Intensive

hillside-intensive

Taryn and I had been sorely tempted to sign up for the Hillside Intensive week of worship training, but in the end had concluded that with my parents and sister coming to camp out in our house the following week it wasn’t possible. But then our old friend Sarah Schrack (whose account of the whole week you can read here) — who we first met at the London Olympic Burn that our Circuit Rider outreach team connected with — got in touch to say that they were having an open-day and would we like to join?

So we leapt at the opportunity and got up early to drive over to the mothership that is the YWAM Harpenden base, which happened to be hosting the week. It was cool to be back–the chapel is slowly but surely being transformed into the Prayer Furnace at the community’s centre that it is called to be, and the walls are now adorned with beautiful works of prophetic art. The group involved with the Hillside Intensive was smaller than the video (made for the US version) had led me to expect — there can’t have been more than thirty people in the Chapel: staff, students and yours truly all included.

We had a time of worship before hearing from Jeremy Perigo, who is now on the faculty of London School of Theology after having spent a number of years as a missionary in Turkey where he was involved with Burn 24/7. He was speaking on the Call to Excellence. It’s a subject I have never heard taught on from somebody who so appreciates that true spiritual excellence is not about achieving some arbitrary standard of acceptably accomplished musicianship, but about continually seeking to develop the gifts God has given you, even as you step out in willingness to be faithful with whatever little you currently have.

I loved the story he told of a YWAM outreach team that was asked to lead a two-hour worship set in Turkey — and after two hours of them just strumming two chords and singing very simply, ‘I love you Jesus’, Jeremy had someone come up to him and tell him, ‘I’m sorry, I love their hearts–but I can’t take another ninety minutes of this!’ But a little later a Muslim came in and after sitting for a while, asked what was going on. When an explanation was given, he then continued, and shared that as these (musically-limited!) YWAM worshippers had been singing, he had had a vision of Jesus!

We also broke out into small groups (which we were able to join in with even though we were just visiting for the day) where we were encouraged to share — and believe in! — our different individual strengths. For me: I am good at courageously singing out spontaneously, and thus creating a culture where others feel the freedom to do the same.

In the afternoon, Sarah Schrack did a session for the ladies on the Power and Beauty of Being a Woman. Taryn was really impacted–I took advantage of the fact that I wasn’t invited to have a coffee with Andrew Bowers, and go chat to Yan Nichols about the upcoming Cambridge DTS Gathering. And then we had to head home before the evening session had really got going, so that we could put Isaac to bed.

soaking

Becoming a Master of Arts

senate-house-graduation

Today I graduate to the degree of Master of Arts.

I will don my academical gown, and my ceremonial hood, straighten my white bow-tie, wonder if I have correctly guessed how on earth the ‘bands’ are supposed to be worn, and — after some ceremonial luncheon at Churchill College — make my way to the University’s Senate House

Now, some might say that the Cambridge MA graduand is nothing but
a poor player
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it [ie. the degree] is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

And it has to be granted that I have done nothing, other than remain alive, to earn this Masters degree that was not required for the Bachelor of Arts degree which I have already received. I had been under the impression that I was required to remain out of prison (duly done!) but even this turns out to have been superfluous — or at least, I wasn’t required to show or even state that I had not taken a recent criminal turn.

And perhaps I have some unspoken sympathy with those who would belittle this academic title (which, it surprisingly turns out, is of ceremonially superior rank to the other Masters degrees — such as ‘of Philosophy’, and ‘of Finance’ — for which one actually has to work) — for the record will show that I have taken my sweet time in actually registering for the ceremony which is a required part of the whole scheme. I was eligible for the title of ‘Master’ a good three years ago, but only now — on a sunny May afternoon, just a couple of weeks before the first birthday of my first son — will I finally receive the necessary blessing in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti to seal such an accolade unto my person.

But if there is a time for everything under heaven, then perhaps as well as there being a time for entering unseen into the secret place, there is also a time for pomp and ceremonial circumstance.

At any rate, God seems to have brought the pieces together to make today a memorably celebratory occasion — Granny and Grandpa are able to join us at Churchill College for the Praelector’s Lunch, from which we will proceed to the Senate House for the ceremony itself. And once that is over, Jean-Paul and Ellie — who happen to be in Cambridge this evening — are taking us out to dinner. My wife’s wise words: “I think God’s affirming what you’ve chosen to do after graduation!

In which case I suppose this honour is not to be sniffed at!

YWAM Gathering ’15 in 4 W’s

YWAM Gathering 15

W.I.S.E. Together
It took me a little while to work out why the official hashtag for the YWAM UK & Ireland Gathering was #YWAMWISE15, but eventually I managed to work it out — it’s an acronym of Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England. And while there’s generally a YWAM England Gathering every year (last year myself and Taryn were unable to go, as we had more important matters to attend to), this was the first time in [] years that the Home Nations had gathered like this. It was repeated several times that this was not a political statement — and in chatting to a few from YWAM Scotland it turned out that there were strongly contrasting opinions on the (currently settled) question of Scottish independence — but with the UK elections coming up just days after the Gathering, it was certainly a statement about our spiritual unity being necessary and vital, regardless of our political situation.

Wonderful Connections
And it was a real joy and refreshment to connect with the UK&I YWAM Family: with those from Harpenden (where the Gathering was being hosted) that we know from our time on DTS and subsequently as staff there; with those in YWAM England that we’d not seen since the miraculous reinstatement of our visa licence; with those from further-afield that I’d met at some European event we’d mutually attended, and whose names I could not always quite remember. Every single evening of the long weekend I found myself chatting with someone after the end of the evening meeting, and experiencing that rare and sudden realization that this particular conversation we were having was not idle chit-chat but rather heart-connection–our simple words sowing the seeds of relationship that you know will one day bear significant fruit. And even in that moment you can taste the sweetness of it! And a moment of simple prayer suddenly shifts into a powerful prophecy of destiny, and you open your eyes and find that you don’t dare to leave the spot you’re standing, for fear that maybe there’s more the Holy Spirit wants to do.

ywamwise15

Photo Credit: YWAM Rostrevor

Word of the Lord
Our speaker for the weekend was Alejandro Rodgriguez, leader of YWAM Argentina, and the author of a book about ‘Apostolic Vision’. He was preaching in Spanish, ably translated by Steve Bishop, who spent seven years with his family in Argentina on Alejandro’s team, and from the beginning declared his intention of sharing with us something that would be ‘simple, and yet also profound’. And so it was! His talked about the priority of love, the difference between superficial sociability and real relational depth, the necessity of sometimes losing time to win family, the need for ministries that achieve multiplication and not just addition (even though when you’re beginning, addition seems like the better option: 1+1=2, but 1×1 is just 1!).

And by the end of his final message on the Sunday evening we were on our faces kneeling on a giant map of the nations of the world, surrendering our lives again to obey the call of Jesus upon us.

Worship
I do love our regular times of YWAM Cambridge worship in which we have a fairly small group of people squeezing into a room that still always manages to be slightly smaller than adequate for all gathered, and with one instrument and a basic sense of the words and tune of the songs we’re trying to sing, we come boldly (!) before God’s throne of grace trusting that regardless of our musical accomplishment we will find mercy in time of need (and, let’s be honest, it’s almost always our time of need!) But having said that it’s something of a relief to be part of a congregation of several hundred where you can just be caught up in the joyful praise of the multitude. And yet the thing I love about YWAM is that even in the larger gathering, the value of each one being able to hear God’s voice is still believed and practised. And on multiple occasions throughout the weekend the worship was interrupted by a word from someone within the gathered group. In particular, someone shared at the end of the first session a sense they had that the Spirit was marking different people with a call to take the gospel to closed nations of the world.

And I had an image through which I felt God speaking powerfully, and which I was able to share, of a butterfly: small, fragile, beautiful yes, but almost insignificant in its vulnerability, and yet a single flap of its wings can make the difference in the chaos (to our finite minds!) of the atmosphere between there being a hurricane (and the “love like a hurricane” of which the song speaks) or a mere breeze; and God wants those of us who feel small and insignificant to faithfully flap our small, vulnerable, but-to-Him-beautiful wings, and thus release these hurricanes of love!; and God wants those of us who feel like caterpillars to not be afraid that we don’t appear able even to flap, for he can transform us completely.

So I return to Cambridge re-inspired to let my little work of faith and labour of love become a Butterfly effect in the hands of Almighty God.

17313541315_0093f7c6ae_z

(Photo Credit: Donald Jusa)

#LoveCambridge Mission Week

LoveCambridgeWorship

Spent this last week involved with the #LoveCambridge Mission Week. Also taking part were the members of the Revival DTS team (a couple of whom were still arriving as the week progressed), the DTS outreach team from Australia’s YWAM Newcastle (though just because they’ve done their DTS lecture phase in Australia, it doesn’t mean that the team members are all from Australia!), and the NYK youth group from Carlisle. So about forty of us in total.

Each day started with worship, teaching — on faith, freedom from fear, living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and the call to mission — and practical training on how to do the work of an evangelist. Then in the afternoons everyone went out into Cambridge to share the simple message of Jesus with the people that they met. And they returned with testimonies of people having heard the gospel and responded in faith!

A big thank-you to Arbury Road Baptist Church for letting us use their building, and to all the people who came from far afield to be part of the week.

“I’m invited!”

Exciting news–I’ve been invited to take part in the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering!

exclusive-invitation

The What?
The Lausanne Movement is an evangelical movement united by the shared vision of “the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world”. It takes its name from the location of the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization brought together by Billy Graham and John Stott, which resulted in the Lausanne Covenant. Since the first Lausanne Conference, there have been subsequent gatherings in Manila, Philippines (1989) and Cape Town, South Africa (2010).

As well as these three major Lausanne gatherings, there have also been gatherings of ‘Younger Leaders’: first in Singapore (1987) and then in Malaysia (2006). Occuring ‘once a generation’, the idea of these is to connect up-coming missionary leaders in ministry partnership and enduring friendship. The upcoming Gathering will be held next summer in Jakarta, Indonesia after the initial plan to host it in Ukraine was disrupted by instability within that region.

Who else is going?
The Younger Leaders Gathering is a selective, invitation-only affair. Applicants had to first be nominated, and then from the three thousand applicants, one thousand — from over 150 nations! — have been selected and invited.

Now some might say that this sort of elitism isn’t very Christian — isn’t the gospel an invitation that specifically does not require one to have the approval of any human committee? doesn’t God choose the weak and foolish things of this world to put to shame the so-called strong and wise? But while it is true (wonderfully true!) that Jesus promises salvation to whosoever believes in Him, it is also true that he thought and prayed long and hard before choosing a limited number of twelve of his disciples to be designated apostles. And after the Resurrection, and after Pentecost, the church still made use of councils restricted to ‘apostles’ and ‘elders’ (Acts 15:6).

Anyway, there are twelve of us from the UK that have been selected, including Andy Frost, director of Share Jesus International; Chine Mbubaegbu, the Evangelical Alliance’s first black female director, and the author of Am I Beautiful?; Claire Rush, the international vice-president of the Girls Brigade; Michael Ots, university mission week evangelistic speaker; Emma Lewington Follows, a doctor who’s involved with the Navigators; Owen Brown, team leader of the UCCF team in Wales; and Chris Kidd, director of Children’s and Youth Ministries at the Dibden Church.

And I’m excited and privileged to be part of it!

Partnering with YFC to ‘Be The Change’

be-the-change

We cancelled our usual rhythm of DTS teaching, small groups, prayer and worship so that we could spend the half-term week serving with YFC’s ‘Be The Change’ mission week.

They’d signed up several youth groups from Cambridge and the surrounding area to come and be part of reaching out in simple missional activity to three different parts of the city: Arbury, Barnwell and Cherry Hinton. Me and Taryn were part of the Arbury team, which was fantastic as this is actually our local community. We were involved in an afternoon kid’s club based at our very own Church of the Good Shepherd, and I also joined in with some of the cage football that the visiting YFC Nomad team were doing to draw in local kids.

In the mornings we started off with worship and teaching, and then in the afternoons we split up into our different teams to head to the different projects that we were part of.
I had the chance to preach on one of the mornings, as an emergency back-up for one of the speakers who had just fallen ill. I was able to talk about Jonah, and the incredible encouragement it is that if God can use a missionary like him (a single man in need of some serious discipleship!) to bring revival and reformation to a great city (about the size of Cambridge!), then he can use any of us.

It was interesting being involved with a missional event organised by a different organisation — Cambridge YFC is definitely not YWAM Cambridge. But it’s so good to see that what God is doing in our city is so much bigger than our little team! But I have to say that the highlight of the week was, without a shadow of a doubt, Isaac standing up on his own two feet for the first time in his life.
isaac-stands

Slow Boat In The Fast Lane

slow-boat-in-the-fast-lane

I had the privilege of being involved with this event celebrating one hundred and thirty years since the Cambridge Seven set sail for China. It was organised by OMF (the mission into which I was born), but was very much a collaborative effort with YWAM (the mission with which I now work) and WEC (the mission CT Studd founded), and there were also representatives present from most of Cambridge’s mission-minded populace.

The day started with David Harley, former OMF General Director, sharing some thoughts from Luke 10. Then we had Basil Scott, one of the Cambridge Seventy (a group of Cambridge students who came together in 1955 — seventy years after the Cambridge Seven — and pledged themselves to missionary service).

Unexpectedly, and most excitingly, we had Patrick Johnstone — the mastermind behind the inception of Operation World, the definitive guide to praying for the nations. He has an endless collection of fascinating slides showing the challenges and opportunities facing the church — but also a surprisingly mischievious glint in his eye. And he seemed to enjoy telling us about CT Studd’s ‘Don’t care a damn!’ motto as he did about the opportunities to reach the unreached in the Muslim world. (Well, almost!)

In the afternoon I took a large portion of those there for the day on a Tour of Cambridge’s Spiritual Heritage: pointing out the Corn Exchange, where DL Moody’s preaching caused something of a student revival; the Eagle, where William Wilberforce spent his time drinking before being radically saved into a life of evangelical activism; the Church of St Edward King & Martyr, where the first Reformation sermon was preached… et cetera. The group was I think the most interested and appreciative I have ever taken. It was certainly also the largest!

Most of those who had been there for the day left once the afternoon was over, and in the evening we had a different crowd of mainly students aged 17-21. The challenge went out to follow the example of the Cambridge Seven to fully obey the Great Commission — and a notable number stood up in response.

All in all a fantastic day to be a part of!

Report: Call To Prayer w/ Jonathan Oloyede

Autumn-Call-to-Prayer-2014-poster-jpeg-724x1024

My good friend Andy Henman has been rallying the Cambridge church with the termly Call To Prayer for a number of years now. The most major one was two years ago when Pete Greig joined us as we gathered at the iconic King’s College Chapel. (I speak as I was there, for I would have been if I could–but unfortunately I was in the middle of my DTS lecture phase at YWAM Harpenden, and so I was unable to make it.)

This Thursday we were hosted by the Great St. Mary’s and had the privilege of being joined by Jonathan Oloyede, a Nigerian convert from Islam, and the visionary catalyst of the National Day of Prayer. And a couple of hundred (my own very rough estimate) Christians from a broad range of churches came together to pray for the Kingdom of God to come on earth — and in our city — as it is in heaven. Leaders representing the full range of Cambridge evangelical churches led us in praying through the Beatitudes, before Jonathan reminded us that whatever our churchmanship, we are one body in Christ:

“We are divided by colour, by class, by culture, by creed. But we are united by the Cross of Christ!” [Tweet that.]

He then led the whole congregation in lifting up a roar of praise unto God: “You might think this is just a charismatic thing or a Pentecostal thing. But this is Biblical! In the Bible it says, in Psalm 47:1 it tells us to Clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy!“.

As well as the main Call To Prayer in the evening there was also a midday Church Leader’s Lunch at Histon Baptist Church, at which Jonathan shared a little about how he is involved with joining the dots between the different groups of praying Christians that God is raising up across Britain to pray in the coming revival. Our DTS had the privilege of being invited to this, church leaders though we aren’t, as help was needed setting up the lunch. And I was able to sit next to Jonathan and talk to him over lunch before he spoke. ‘So when did you first have the vision of praying in Wembley stadium?’ I asked, thinking I had read somewhere that it was about six years before the Wembley event. Turns out I was wrong–it was in 1992, twenty-two years before it happened. (So maybe I shouldn’t be frustrated that the vision for night and day prayer in Cambridge hasn’t already become reality!)

Later in the afternoon, before the main evening meeting, there was another bonus meeting–this time for the city’s intercessors. Again our DTS team was able to join. Jonathan spoke about unblocking the wells, apparently without any knowledge that we have prayed a lot along this theme. And from there he continued to encourage us that prayer was vital:

“If Jesus had not obtained the breakthrough in Gethsemane, he would not have won the victory at Golgotha!” [Tweet that.]

Wow! I think I still need to get my head around the implications of that idea, but it makes sense in terms of the gospel narrative, and it rings true in my spirit. So let’s start praying for breakthrough unto revival!