Dear friends at St Aldates,
Happy New Year and may God bless you and give you the desire of your heart.
As a group of us were recently praying in the Catacombs, we accidentally lifted the roof off a model church in the Prayer Room which had been installed as part of our 24-7 prayer week. God spoke to me out of this image. He gave me the impression that He desired to take the roof not off a model church, but off His Church, letting the glory flow in. I believe that this is what He wants to do among us: to fill us with His glory, so that His grace, His transforming love and His healing power are seen in every place we set our feet.
This term, Anita and I will be setting our feet in a number of different places as we take a three-month sabbatical. We begin in South Africa, travel onto Singapore (where we are on retreat at Trinity Seminary) and then spend some time in the Far East. We dip back into St Aldates for the weekend of 26–28 Feb for the Next Generation conference and to launch a project to record a new St Aldates worship and intercession album. We finish up with a quiet month in Wales for some concentrated writing time.
It is a privilege to be able to take this extended retreat time together and we ask for your prayers that we will be restored in deeper intimacy with the Lord, be challenged through our travels and encounters and be inspired and filled so that we can return to you with renewed vision and passion.
We know that we leave the ministries of the church and you all in the capable hands of our excellent staff team. Gordon Hickson will be responsible for pastoral matters, Simon Ponsonby for Sunday services and John Tranter for the operational side of our ministries as he finds his feet in his new role. Nick Smith will chair the PCC. Please give them all your support and encouragement as you do so lovingly for us. We are so grateful for the hard work of every volunteer who serves so diligently and ask that you continue to support Alpha, Sunday services, Children’s Church, ACT! and our many other ministries.
As we leave, I encourage you to ask God to reveal how He wants to take the roof off your relationship with Him, giving you a glimpse of an open heaven that this may overflow to others in the coming months. With this in mind, I am glad that the focus for Pastorates this term and at the 6pm service will be on hearing God speak and acting on this. There will also be a teaching session on the prophetic on Sat 16 Jan led by Rachel Hickson designed for those who are in leadership teams of Pastorates or ministry areas, but open to all.
As the next Alpha course begins, do think and pray about whom you could invite. Let us believe that God wants to do more among us this year than we have seen before. I am excited that new this term, we are also starting a course called ‘In the beginning’ which addresses relationships, particularly with parents, siblings, male/female and so on—with a view to transformation.
As we head into 2010, I pray that you will know Him more above all things: that the ceiling of our expectations would be removed as God’s presence comes. We are still praying last term’s prayer: show me Your glory. Anita and I are looking forward to our break, but we will miss you all very much. Please know that you will be in our hearts and prayers.
With love in Christ