Thoughts from Newfrontiers Prayer Day

Thoughts from Newfrontiers Prayer Day

On cold blustery winters days in London, I sometimes seek the solitary comfort of the Westminster Chapel auditorium to pray. From the lofty heights of the top balcony, I try to tune my ears to listen to those ancient voices that resonate in these walls from a time gone by, Samuel Martin, Spurgeon, Campbell Morgan, Lloyd Jones, RT Kendall and my dear friend Greg Haslam. Moments of joy, sadness, breakthrough, glory, sickness, anointed preaching and worship expressed in multicolored forms through different generations. I always wonder just how many saints have prayed and hungered for the glory of God to be revealed in this place, a prayer God loves to answer again and again.

What a joy to see over 500 Newfrontiers leaders gathering to pray recently in this wonderful time machine we call Westminster Chapel. What a key time to be reminded of Nehemiah and the broken down walls of the UK before turning to prayer for the government, the Brexit stalemate, marriages failing, knife crime soaring, and any sense of truth or meta-narrative lost in the seas of relativity and individualism. What a joy to meet then around the Lord’s table and be reminded that “we who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…..who has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility”.

The joy and faith released as we worshipped after this meal moved me to tears. A new first-time guest said to me after, that he had sung the same hymns and songs but not experienced this level of passion and joy as we sang. Simon Brading and band brilliantly led us in worship to the throne of grace, where we boldly asked our Father for his kingdom to come.

Newfrontiers together as one family with different spheres not jealous of one another but zealous for one another, so no surprise to hear prophecies for our togetherness. The prophetic gifts among us seeing bonfire beacons of revival prayer lit up and down the nation and into Europe, the clear call to go North. I had a real sense that these days of prayer were important for each sphere as bees gathering to a central hive, cross-pollinating and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct our flight paths to new orchards in the UK full of spring blossom.

It is no surprise I came back buzzing and excited by all God has called us in Commission and Newfrontiers to do in the coming year, and am looking forward to the next time we gather.

Thoughts from the Phillipines – Heather Miller

Thoughts from the Phillipines – Heather Miller

When I look back on our time with Open Doors Church, Cavite, Phillippines recently I am reminded of the words in Acts 2: “All the believers were together and had everything in common…they ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of the people.” As with the early church, there was a group of people who lived near to each other and were frequently in out of each other’s houses. They ministered together, attending the prison, school, youth and prayer times, as well as constantly preparing and eating food together. They did it with great cheerfulness and fun too. Vast tables were laden with fish, rice, vegetables, bread and fruit and we seemed to be constantly eating, feasting morning, noon and night!

Despite only being with them for four days we had a wonderful insight into the life of the church and its ministry. Being met at the airport we were greeted by a huge banner with ‘Welcome to Vinu and Julie, Guy and Heather’ printed brightly and hearty hugs and smiles. We quickly realised that we were part of this family too, not bystanders but each one of us joining in and playing our part.

The first morning we were taken to Bulihan jail where all four of us had the opportunity to speak to the 60+ male prisoners crowded into the hot rooms. Despite seeing photos from Andy’s previous trips we were still taken aback by the incredibly cramped conditions behind the steel bars and the quiet anticipation as row after row of men sitting cross-legged and waiting. The church has faithfully visited each week sharing worship songs, testimonies and food, earning the respect of the prisoners and the staff alike who have commented on how their presence brings peace and calm to the inmates, even if for a short time.

On the second day, we were taken to the local Burol Elementary school where each of us was expected to go and teach a class. It’s been a while since I’ve stood in front of a group of school kids but I thoroughly enjoyed my lesson about Samuel hearing the voice of God. I was amazed at the attentiveness of the children and their delight in the simple games and story I brought. The staff too although slightly more distracted, listening to Guy speak to them about leadership and we felt they really welcomed the input of this little church.

In the evening we all took part with our testimonies at the youth event where youngsters from 10-20 years old gathered for worship and teaching. The music seemed loud in the quiet neighbourhood where many of the church members live, but nobody seemed to mind and the youngsters were thrilled to receive prophetic words over their lives. Us older ones took
ourselves off to bed afterward but the young people stayed sitting out in the street, eating, chatting until gone one in the morning! Sunday was spent with the whole church with Guy and Vinu sharing the teaching together and Julie and I got a temporary rest and just listened! They spoke of the vision and values of the Commission family and then welcomed the elders and the church into that family. Guy likened it to a small branch on the bigger branch of Commission and the large tree of Newfrontiers. They were all very excited about this development. We then spent some time praying for the long queue of adults and children who patiently waited. Healing was anticipated as many had serious health challenges. It was a huge blessing to be able to partner with Vinu and Julie into this new nation. We shared stories, doubled up with the preaching and presented a helpful visual aid to the relationship and sense of family that works within our network of churches. Their perspective was very insightful too as the Indian and Phillipino culture has some overlap. I think we also challenged their perspective about hierarchical church leadership as they saw us laughing and teasing each other.

One woman admitted to being overwhelmed at being described as a sister and yet this is what we are, families together across the world, on a mission, each with their own unique call and culture, equal in our standing as brothers and sisters in Christ. We look forward with anticipation to seeing this relationship develop. Our prayer is for leaders to be raised and lives touched by the gospel among this warm and friendly community long into the future.

Stepping into the greatest story ever told

I love a good story. From my childhood reading the Famous Five, Treasure Island, the Hobbit, the Narnia stories and of course Lord of the Rings. Pages that transport the reader to magical shores, steaming forests, deepest Mordor or sailing to the edge of Narnia, what adventures from the written word. Books invite us to give up our small worlds and become intrepid explorers of another world.

Christmas rushes upon us like a grizzly bear, disturbing our normal routines with its demands of family, food and festivities. We can panic, run to and fro from shop to restaurant spending much more than we can afford and definitely eating way beyond our calorific needs. New year comes around and we return exhausted to the familiar.

My advice, pick up a book, buy a book for a friend, and enter another story that awakens your imagination to other worlds. Climb into the pages and enjoy. And above all read your bibles, enter into the greatest story ever told.

Christmas reminds us that God himself stepped into his book, the word became flesh, the mystery long hidden became unwrapped in a crib in Bethlehem. The God who held stars in their place veils himself in human flesh, baby hands held out to his mother in vulnerability and need. Incarnate Deity. No wonder the poets and carol writers have written some of the greatest theology to music exploring the incarnation.

So step into the story, join the shepherds or travel like wise men to behold the one born king of the Jews. Join with a million angels in praising God and let the light of this King shine into your darkness.

2018 has been a wonderful year for us in the Commission family. Heather and I are so grateful for every Commission family member, every prayer, every step of courageous faith, every pound given, every church or site started, every nation visited. What a wonderful story we are writing for the glory of God. My prayer for each of you this Christmas is to find time to rest and read, times to step into the greatest story ever told.

Welcoming our first Commission church in Serbia!

Welcoming our first Commission church in Serbia!

Together with Doug and Duncan from Christchurch, Guy and I have just come back from a trip to the Balkans. The aim of our visit was two-fold. The first was to speak at the annual Balkan leader’s conference in Croatia, and the second to welcome our first Serbian church into Commission. We have been working with the leaders Miro and his wife Sneza for a couple of years now, although Doug has been faithfully serving in Serbia for much longer.

It is a complex area, as the former Yugoslavia now consists of six different countries broken apart after the war some twenty-five years ago. It is hard for us to appreciate how difficult this must have been, although evidence of conflict is obvious in Croatia with roadside fields full of unexploded mines and buildings in the city of Osijek pocked with bullet holes. The history of conflict makes unity difficult, but Miro and Sneza have gathered together about seven churches with leaders who would have been unable to sit in the same room previously.

Life is tough here, salaries low, the distance between the churches considerable and Miro spends many hours driving hundreds of miles between Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovakia. Between them, Miro and his wife Sneza lead the church, publish Christian books in the local language, run a Christian television channel and preach tirelessly. Their energy is inspirational and together they make a formidable team!

The conference was a real joy and one of the highlights was seeing all the leaders at the front of the meeting with banners flying, the shofar blasting and the congregation cheering and dancing. Even without understanding the language it was a powerful and moving time. Another highlight was meeting a pastor from Bosnia and hearing his story of growing a church in a country with a Muslim majority, where there are only about 400 Christians in the whole of that nation. What a challenge!

 It was amazing to see Siloam church which Miro leads, coming into Commission. It was packed with people and the atmosphere was one of joy and celebration. People there have seen denominations and foreign Christian leaders come and go, but we know that we will be able to commit for the long haul and see churches drawn together for corporate strength and vision. We are praying that it will be the first of many throughout that region.

Portugal blog

Portugal blog

Guy Miller

Apostolic leader, Commission

I felt as though I had arrived in Narnia, sitting in a magical garden with stone towers, exotic sculptures and moss covered boulders with bubbling streams. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a faun or centaur trot past or even for Aslan to make an appearance!

This is Sintra, a range of lush green hills to the North of Lisbon, an area once fought over by Moors and Christians which later to became a playground for the rich, building sumptuous palaces and gardens. After WW2 much of this area was left unloved and neglected to be reclaimed by nature, awaiting those with the vision to restore and replant.

I sit and think of the church, here in Iberia and across the globe, so much ignored and neglected by the modern world. Buildings tired and dilapidated, gardens strewn with rubbish, springs dry, congregations like frozen stone statues with sad expressions.

The breath of Aslan, the end of winter, the restoration of the church must be our prayer for this day. Springs to flow, seed sown, lives like flowers in full bloom full of colour and fragrance. Restoration is about glory and majesty. People loosing themselves in something bigger and beautiful. It is that sense of awe and wonder, seeing beyond our limitations and to a God who created and in whom is life.

I believe in restoring the church to all the New Testament says she should be, though many critics, she has no equals. Our nations may like quaint dilapidated church but they deserve more. A generation that rolls up its sleeves to reveal all the beauty that belongs to Christ’s bride, the church.

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Catch the moment

Catch the moment

Guy Miller

Apostolic leader, Commission

It’s June, flaming June, the sun beats down upon the green slopes of Maiden Castle in Dorset, and a young boy chases up and down swinging his net wildly at butterflies. These tiny beautiful flying jewels have captivated his heart and he is desperate to catch one, to see it up close, to examine its delicate wings. Blues, browns, whites flit and float and eventually this boy triumphantly holds a Meadow Brown in his clammy fingers.

Fast forward 40 years to another hot June day, and this now man sits on another hill, Collard Hill, and patiently waits for one of Britain’s rarest butterflies to join him for lunch. He is not disappointed. After a few minutes flopping lazily among the thyme a large blue lands upon a nearby flower and I slowly approach and marvel at this winged miracle.

As we begin 2018 I am aware how swift these precious, beautiful years fly past. So many opportunities exist to visit, spot, entertain, marvel and enjoy. We can rush into a year swinging wildly at this conference, that holiday, this experience or that show. We are surrounded by beauty, by new experiences and in wanting to catch them all we can miss the deeper joy of encounter moment that comes only in resting.

He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.” (Psalm 23: 2)

Stop, pray, thank God for this day, this New Year, and ask Him to open your eyes to the beauty that is all around you. See it in a sunset, hear it in the heart beat of a loved one, feel it in the touch of a child or grandchild. Catch these precious moments by sitting and waiting expectantly.

A great opportunity to catch those rare moments, to sit to get a bigger view of God and the plan he has for your life is our Commission Students and Thirties (CST) event.  I believe that CST is a must for all those in their 20s and 30s, J.John is a magnificent speaker and I know this day will be life changing.

I am also really looking forward to Westpoint as this year we look at the kingdom and ask God for His kingdom to come, to see more of His power and glory in our day.

Heather and I wish you a happy and very blessed new year.

Find out more about our Commission Students and Thirties event.

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