Monday, September 30, 2013

Terry Virgo: elder statesman

This week, from 3rd - 5th October, we host Terry and Wendy Virgo for our Spirit-Filled Church conference. I thought it would be good to give people bit of a background on this remarkable couple.

Terry and Wendy are the founders of New Frontiers, a worldwide family of churches on mission together. They are from the UK and are currently based at Kings Church in London, which is led by his son.  New Frontiers has planted nearly 700 churches across 60 countries.

Terry studied at London Bible College as a young man in the 60's , and during this time his spiritual journey was deeply influenced by Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, whose quest to discover a sound theology of the Holy Spirit was almost unheard of in evangelical circles. Having been shaped by this experience, Terry became a fore-runner in the UK in planting churches with an empowered-evangelical ethos. More than three decades later, Terry has raised up and commissioned numerous younger apostolic leaders in his network, who are continuing the work of planting and establishing churches all over the world. His courageous, open-handed leadership has become a rare and remarkable model for many of us.

He has become something of an elder statesman to us. Both Terry and Wendy's commitment to the scriptures, grasp of the Gospel, hunger for the Spirit and love for the Body of Christ are a rare gift. Because we are aware that their travel to the USA is not guaranteed into the future, we wanted to make their ministry available to as many as possible for free.

Terry speaks at conferences internationally and hosts the annual Together on a Mission conference in the UK, which draws thousands of delegates from around the world. Here in the USA, he has developed close links with the Acts 29 movement of churches.

The conference is free, but we are asking people to register online anyway for the sake of administration. You can do that at our facebook page at
An offering will be taken. Please join us.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Why do the nations rage?"

Southlands has a long history of fasting and praying together as a church. I believe it has been a
key to God's grace on the community over the years. Twelve years ago to the day, the church was fasting when the tragedy of 911 began to unfold. That night was the biggest attendance at a prayer meeting since the church's inception. They knew that God had called them to cover the nation in prayer even before the events took place. Prayer and fasting is often personal, but God's incomparably great power is also at hand to ask God to change the destinies of nations.

Psalm 2 is one of my favorite Psalms when it comes to praying about the nations of the world.
1 Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
    on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
    today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron[b];
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
    and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
    and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him. 

A few nuggety truths for reflection and prayer.
1. The rulers of the earth plot in vain.
The conspiracy of the nations against God's purposes is in vain. He will ultimately have his way.
Amidst the tragedy of 911, the upheaval of the middle East crisis and the potential for a Syrian conflict, let's remember that God is enthroned above the nations, Sovereign Lord of all. He is able to bring to pass what He does want out of what He does not want. Let's pray for His kingdom of peace to increase at this time. Let's pray that God would comfort those families who have been torn apart by the ravages of war between nations, and for righteous leaders to come to the fore at this time.
2. The rulers of the earth band together against the Lord and His anointed saying, "Let us break off their shackles."
Much of the turmoil in our nation and the nations of the world is because of a rebellion against the Creator and His design for His creation. Let's pray for this nation to 'celebrate His rule with trembling.' This is not a political prayer. It is a prayer for humble submission to God and his ways.
3. Ask of me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance. 
This is God's offer to His Son, Jesus, and in turn, it is Jesus' offer to us. We are to ask God for the nations as our inheritance. We are to join Him in His mission to make disciples of all nations. We can 'speed his return' by preaching the Gospel to all nations. Let's pray for the Gospel to bear great fruit in the nations of the world today.
4. Come kiss the Son lest he be angry
This verse reveals the wonderful mystery of what it means to walk in intimacy with God but with reverence towards Him. Let's pray that a  mark of our community would be that we would walk in
the friendship and the fear of God.
See you for the feast at 630pm.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

God is Able

Yesterday we had a great time of worship and prayer around Jeremiah 2, as we turned from reliance on 'cracked cisterns that cannot hold water' and returned to God, our 'spring of living water'.

The Apostle Paul  prayed that the saints in Ephesus would know, "His incomparably great power to us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised Him from the dead and seated Him in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (1:19-21) He continued, "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!"(3:20-21)

We are not the saints in Ephesus. We are the saints in Orange County, but we share in the same status as saints because Jesus has justified us, and we enjoy the same access to His incomparably great power. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him to the highest place is at work in us. Surely this should breathe fresh confidence and imagination into the way we pray?

1. So with that in mind, can we focus on the exalted Christ today, to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given, and from whom we receive our Commission? It is He who has commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. All the weight of His authority is behind that Great Commission. Lets pray for power upon each one of us to be obedient to Him in making disciples.
Let's pray big, imaginative prayers for His power to be at work in the Fullerton and Brea communities as we preach the Gospel, love our cities, pray for the sick and serve the poor.
Can we ask Him for the miraculous to be a normal occurrence in our communities?

2. Let's pray for God's power to shield us as a church, enabling us to be 'in the world but not of it.' Jn 17. Pray that his power would be at work in our weakness, overcoming sin and temptation and freeing us from the idols of our culture. He has called us to be a compelling 'city within the city' that lives distinctly for the glory of God. Matt 5

3. Let's pray for God's providing power for us in this season. As we multiply the mission let's ask Him to multiply the 'loaves and fish' in our hands so that the multitudes would be fed.

4. Let's pray for God's great power to be at work in marriages and families, healing, restoring and bringing about His glory in the church throughout all generations. Pray for the  baton of faith to be passed down well  to the next generations.

God is able. Let's lean on His incomparably great power today.
See you at 6:30pm.

Monday, September 9, 2013

"Rend your hearts and not your garments."

My youngest son came through to the lounge this morning looking forlornly at his dry bowl of frosted flakes. "I'm not lucky," was his lament. You see, he has decided to give up what is most precious to him during our three day fast.  Milk. What followed was a little coaching conversation about remembering Jesus every time he craves milk. Fasting is not just denying ourselves what we enjoy. It's denying ourselves so that we remember and rely upon Jesus.
Fasting is feasting on Jesus.
I'm not sure he finished the conversation feeling any 'luckier' about his dry frosted flakes,
but hopefully he understood a little more about the reason for their dryness!

We are doing a liquid fast as a church from Monday to Wednesday. That means water, juice and soup. Even if our children cannot manage just liquids, I want to encourage you as parents to talk about fasting with your children, and to help them to find a meaningful way to join in. For some, it may be a media fast or fasting from snacks.

The point is not so much from what we turn, as it is to Whom we return.

The Prophet Joel said it so well.

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity Joel 2:13

Yesterday was such a great Commissioning Sunday, wasn't it? Our largest attendance ever on a Sunday in Brea, and such faith in the room, as both Brea and Fullerton communities were freshly commissioned by Jesus to Dwell on Mission. We spoke of God's call to love and serve our cities, seeking their peace and prosperity. As we pray today, can we ask God to break our hearts of apathy and criticism towards our cities, and  breathe a fresh willingness to dwell amongst them?

 I also spoke of repenting of the idols of our city and of boldness to call others to repent of them.
As we pray today, let's allow God to show us if there are idols of moralism, materialism, humanism, or hedonism that are causing us to forfeit the grace of God. Perhaps we need to repent of making community an obstacle to mission? Or have we made our gift or ministry an obstacle to simply serving the people of God?

God is a gracious God. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. He is doing great thing amongst us. He wants to meet with us powerfully at this critical moment in our community.
Revival begins as the people of God return to the Lord their God. He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents when we repent and return to Him.
Look forward to seeing you tonight at 6:30pm.