Today I went to the newfrontiers Front Edge conference. The focus of the conference was on turning our churches’ attention to evangelism. Tomorrow forty-four newfrontiers churches in southern England will have guest services. Please join us in praying for a mighty outpouring of the Spirit to see souls saved and people healed.
I will be preaching at Jubilee Church, where we are expecting a bigger congregation than we have ever seen before. I am putting the finishing touches to my sermon tonight and would greatly appreciate your prayers.
Lex Losides spoke on Matthew 14. He gave his talk the title, ‘Recognizing Jesus and Bringing People to Him.’ He spoke about revivals – those periods of God’s sovereign blessing when ‘more can be done in a day than in a year normally.’ He urged us to follow Martin Luther’s injunction to ‘let God be God,’ and to recognise that the work of God seems to come in waves, and say to ourselves at the appropriate time – ‘this is the moment to get something from God.’ He challenged us by telling the story of how Spurgeon, as an unbeliever, went to six or seven evangelical churches, but found (as he put it) ‘nothing for me.’ How many of our churches will have the Gospel preached in such a way that it is relevant for the unbeliever? At least in forty-four newfrontiers churches in England tomorrow, the Gospel will be preached. I pray that in more and more churches that will be the case week after week!
In the second session, Terry Virgo spoke on Philip the evangelist, who is the only named evangelist in the New Testament. (Acts 6-8) I wrote the most notes during this session, which began expositionally, then ended in a passionate tale of how Terry is learning about praying for the sick. It was great to hear of a 60 year old church leader at the helm of a whole family of churches acknowledging that he, too, needs to learn. He explained that Philip’s life falls into two parts. In the first half, he is chosen with Steven to look after the social needs. In the second, he launches out as an evangelist. He was known and appreciated by the church community. He was not on the fringes, but had a good reputation. He was chosen by the people. What did they look for – ‘full of the Spirit’ – not a gift of gab! Thousands had received, but they selected those who were obviously especially tangibly full.
Also ‘full of wisdom’ – he knew how to handle things. In all our longing for signs and wonders, we need to be able to reason. He was a great team player. He was obviously hugely gifted. But he was willing to free the Apostles. Genuine servant-volunteers to wait on tables.
In the second half, Philip still needs to be a team player – the Apostles had an important role. Had to make space – let’s learn those lessons in the first half. Working together is vital.
In Acts 21:9, he won his home and daughters and brought his family into it. We must be consistent in our homes with what it is like at church.
When Philip saw God was doing a new thing, he seized the moment. Persecution opened an opportunity. We have to snatch things from Satan. He was captivated with the good news of Jesus. Despite the fact that Steven had just been killed for preaching, he proclaimed Christ. Our Gospel preaching must centre on Jesus.
We are seeing an outbreak of healing in our churches. The Kingdom of God is breaking out. We must keep pressing on to learn. The presence of the Spirit is what we need. We need to ‘open the door’ and make space for the Spirit. Allow Him to surprise us. Terry shared from his own personal experience of seeing more healings recently. He encouraged us to pray for the authority to command sickness to go in the way it was done in the New Testament.
Philip was as content to speak to a city as he was to one man. We must go where God leads us.
Adrian Holloway also spoke on personal evangelism, and I enjoyed Steve Tibbert’s talk about leading a growing church.
Please do pray for all the guest services happening tomorrow!