Seeing through the Cross

I took communion last weekend.  The cross, as it should be, was re-printed on my heart.  The cross is a universal symbol of hope, peace and joy.  Many wear it around their necks to display an allegiance to the One who was murdered on it.  Some groups love to depict images of Christ still on the cross.  But the good news is He is no longer there.  He gave his life so that we could have it.  The cross was the journey to a resurrection.  That alone is a good word for anyone walking through challenge right now.  There is always hope for a resurrection.  That is the glory of the Kingdom.

Rightfully, communion narrows my focus to Jesus.  It is a powerful means to simplify the good news to one man where I volitionally offer thankfulness and praise.  In the past decade I cant think of an Easter Thursday where I have not attended a Maundy Thursday service that reflects on the journey to that barbaric event at Golgotha.   The torment Jesus suffered to the cross was immense.  The physical flailing he received was unimaginable.  History reveals many died after a Roman flogging yet Jesus summoned enough strength to rise from it, carry his cross further up the hill only so he could be crucified in order to become our atoning sacrifice.  He became our wrongdoing and sin so we may become the righteousness of God.  The exchange is glorious and one that leads to worship and adoration.

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In no way do I want to downplay the significance of the events leading up to the cross.  Colossians reminds us the cross was the moment in history where the debt of sin and wrongdoing was cancelled.  In fact, the power and authority of the enemy was disarmed as Jesus re-claimed the keys that had been taken from Adam and Eve in the Garden so many years before.  Without the cross there is no forgiveness, redemption or restoration.

But the Jesus who rose again on the third day is no longer the suffering servant but rather the victorious king.  The death and torment He suffered has been replaced with triumph and glory.  It is a significant day when a believer renews their thinking to dwell on the  resurrection life flowing through their veins.   Reflecting on the cross is necessary but pursuing the victorious Christ is the greater option.  The bible informs us that a believer’s life will undergo challenges but it during these moments where looking through the cross is pivotal.  Jesus suffered so he could be resurrected.  Hebrews reminds us powerfully, “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus could see through the cross.  As he suffocated on that cross carrying the weight of shame and sin of all humanity he endured because he could see beyond it.  Through eyes of faith he could envision the stories of redemption, the magnificent restorations and healings, the freedom of accessing heaven on earth, the release of the Holy Spirit and much more.   He did not deny his pain, after all, it ultimately killed him.  But there was a resurrection life that was to flow again through his veins.  He knew it and that spurred Him on.

Whatever challenge or torment you may be experiencing today there is hope if you can see through it.   Resurrection awaits you.  That is why James can write we can count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds.  The trials are not enjoyable if there is no hope.  But when you can see through the cross and envision the maturity and completion of your faith, it is possible to arise today and walk through the challenge. No matter the obstacle before you, there is a joy awaiting you.  It will be glorious!

Maybe you have become hopeless because vision has dimmed.  Chronic sickness can do this.  Ongoing situations of disappointment can too. But turn on your faith again.  Your healer is alive and well. Your deliverer lives inside of you.  Believe God again for your preferred future.  Trust His goodness.   Recognise the perseverance you display today is part of the process to complete and mature your faith so it lacks nothing.  We all want that – a faith that is perfected.

Look through the cross.  Set your heart on Him again.  Lean into Him.  Thank Him in advance for the perfection and completion of your faith.  Then keep going and don’t give up.  Trust me, the glory on the other side of your challenge will far outweigh this season of difficulty.

Be blessed.  Craig

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REDDING PART II

After a wonderful time back in Australia we have completed our first two weeks back here in Redding.  It felt strangely familiar returning to the city, house and car we had left just 15 weeks earlier.  Our transition time from arriving at the airport to school starting was 72 hours so the familiarity served us well.  We suffered minimal jet lag which was aided by enjoying some warmth of the latter end of the Californian summer and a few swims at Whiskeytown Lake plus catching up with some old friends.  Missing summer once is regretful but to miss our second Australian summer in a row is only abated by the glory we experience in this place.

 

Bethel Church

The opening bar of worship holds a roar.  It is not necessarily the volume that catches our attention, although Bethel is not a quiet experience.  Rather the sound contains an atmosphere of passion, revival and fervour.  There is no warm up – rather people are immediately ready to worship God.

One of the best maxims we have picked up already is that we worship for two reasons.  Firstly, God is worthy of it.  He is more than enough to receive our praise and honour.  But nor is He someone who just created humanity to worship Him like some needy deity looking for recognition or glory.  Rather He is a God who is unswerving on positioning His creation to become like Him.  So secondly worship positions His people for transformation.  This duality maintains passion and fervour amongst the believers here.  God is always honoured and yet alongside this value is a tension that the body must become more like Him.  That is why we must be passionate worshippers so we become more like Him.

BSSM

The start of BSSM has been amazing.  The sessions already have been extremely inspiration and powerful.  Our electives have been chosen for the first trimester and we are really going after key growth in the empowering aspect of God’s grace.

Our hope is that whatever sector of society we find ourself in upon our return, we carry more of God’s presence that atmospheres of hopelessness, sickness and fear dissipate immediately.

We have been allocated a revival group pastor who has been in ministry over 20 years.  In fact he was a Lutheran pastor for 17 years leading a large congregation before he came to Bethel.  He is passionate to position to be filled with the measure of the fullness of God this year (Eph 3:18-19).  We consider this a divine setup with our pursuit for the same thing.

Our hope is to minister in the local Shasta Regional Hospital.  God has highlighted an opportunity to move our passion for arts and healing to be used outside of the church and into the community, especially targeting mental health.  This will be a fascinating year and we are excited for what we will experience and grow through this activation.

Testimony

Craig attended the Healing Rooms recently and saw a woman arrive who had only discovered the ministry at Bethel after watching some movies on Netflix.  After some diagnosis, Craig realised they were the Holy Spirit series and it had built her faith to believe for a miracle for her ailing health.  She arrived not really knowing what to expect but was expectant for God to show up.  That He certainly did.  Her hearing was very poor.  In fact with her aids in she was unable to hear well from 50 cm away in a crowded room.  We prayed for her and the power of God fell upon her body.  She removed her hearing aids and started to share something had happened to her hearing.  I began testing her range by moving to where we started – 50cm.  No problems.  1 m away.  Clear.  2 metres away.  Still clear.  This was an amazing experience to see someone arrive significantly impaired in hearing to leave with greater clarity without aids than when they arrived.  We release this testimony over anyone experiencing hearing loss.  May God’s grace renew your hearing now in Jesus name.  Read this again and test it out.  We are expectant to hear testimonies returning with similar experiences of improvement.

Girls

Starting school again in new years has been a journey for the girls as the new classes have brought new faces.  We appreciate your prayers as the girls make new relationships with friends.  Certainly the last few days have been productive with us running into families from the Hunter Region.  One, in fact, is here from Singleton.  It is always fun hearing how someone describes where they are from doubting that you have even heard of such a place.  But alas we have and their daughters are of a similar age to ours.  We are constantly amazed at how adaptable the three girls are and feel blessed they are on this journey with us so favourably.

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Redding Life

The days since we have arrived have been hot.  The mornings are stunning.  Then as the midday sun arrives the heat intensifies dramatically.  4-5pm is peak heat time.  So swimming at Whiskeytown has been refreshing.  We have discovered the location of a natural rockslide which we have yet to experience but keen to explore in the coming weeks.  The varied outdoor activities make living 3 hours inland from the ocean fun and exciting.

Another fun activity is the cycle trails here in Redding.  Craig has joined up with a pastor from Norway and rides around the trails.  One of the painful but fun climbs is called Heart rate Hill where one is able to in fact test your fitness and health through measuring your heart rate through exertion.  The climb is not Alpe D’huez, but certainly accelerates fatigue as you continue to climb its tortuous inclination towards the summit area for several minutes.

The weeks ahead start to build in intensity now so we look forward to sharing more highlights soon.  To conclude here is one amazing maxim we have discovered so far:

  • When you lose consciousness of the God of the impossible you are stuck with what you can do.

May you never lose a focus of growing in your awareness of how God is moving in impossible situations wherever you may be serving Him.

Until next time.

Blessings C, M, B, E, J.

 

Summary of Azusa Now

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Here is a summary of what we experienced during our week in LA:

  • We witnessed the rededication of a man called Anthony on the streets of Hollywood Blvd.  He also experienced back pain subside after prayer for healing.  He and his fiancé then attended the Azusa Now event at the LA colliseum on the Saturday evening and they both experienced the baptism of the HS (see photo below).  
  • We prayed for a gentleman called Omar (who was a Muslim) who had a cast on his leg from a motor bike accident.  He said much of his pain left his leg after prayer.  Then we asked if he had experienced Jesus before and after explaining Jesus to him we had the privilege of leading him to receive Christ for the first time.
  • Shell had a word of knowledge to pray for healing for a person with a feather and dreamcatcher tattoo.  When she identified a woman with these features she handed her an artwork of a feather she had drawn.  After a short conversation, Shell discovered this woman had been hit by a car and fractured her spine only 6 weeks ago.  After prayer the woman was able to stand up and walk pain free.
  • Shell also prayed for a man who was a professional musician and due to spinal surgery was unable to play anymore.  After prayer the man said he felt no more back pain.
  • Craig had a word of knowledge for a person with a black hat, shirt and pants and sensed cancer was linked to it.  Upon meeting a woman at the train station with these items of clothing he offered prayer and found out the woman was diagnosed with breast cancer.  We prayed in faith for a miracle.  This then created a mini revival meeting for our team outside the metro station as this woman invited several colleagues to come over for prayer.  People left greatly encouraged.
  • We ministered to a man who lived on the streets and sadly was tormented by demons.  Upon moving within 10 metres of our team’s presence he seemed to regain a soundness of mind and was able to recite scripture fluently.  The atmosphere certainly shifted around him when we all were with him and praying for him.
  • We were inspired to attend the LA Dream Centre founded by Ps. Tommy and Matthew Barnett.  We were moved greatly by the testimonies of transformation many drug and alcohol addicted homeless people have received.
  • We witnessed the first concurrent prayer meeting on the West and East coast of America with Azusa Now in LA corresponding with a 25000 person prayer meeting in Washington DC.  Seeing such unity across the continent was powerful.
  • At the Azusa Now event we witnessed:
    • racial reconciliation and forgiveness
    • religious reconciliation
    • freedom and liberty from religious animosity
    • signs and wonders
  • We personally saw at the event neck pain healed, knee and back pain healed and symptoms of Cerebral Palsy reduce.  A young 22 year old woman who was in a wheelchair asked for her claw hand to be released.  After prayer her hand was straightened and all she could say was “oh my….. oh my….”,  with such joy.  We then assisted her out of her wheelchair and she acknowledged her feet were moving with greater strength.  It was an amazing experience to be a part of!!
  • At the event deaf ears were opened, paralysed individuals got up and walked, blind eyes were opened, stroke limitations were erased and crutches thrown away.
  • On the Sunday following Azusa Now we attended the Bread of Life Taiwanese church and saw more healings.  Craig also assisted a young woman riddled with disappointment and emotional pain be set free and then receive the baptism of the HS evidenced by the speaking of tongues immediately after prayer.  

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HOW HAVE WE CHANGED BY THIS WEEK AND OUR YEAR AT BSSM?

Yes that question has been burning in us all year.  There is no doubt this year has transformed both our thinking and faith.  We have received fresh revelation on our royal identity in Christ, God’s goodness and the love of the Father.  This has broken a “performance” mentality that had us held in bondage for too many years and enabled us  for more intimacy for rest in Him.  One major focus here at Bethel is that intimacy is the catalyst to transformation personally and corporately.  Seeing miracles is just an outworking of being totally confident in the nature of God’s goodness which arises from such close intimacy with the Father

What side of the coin do you see?

Happy New Year. We trust you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebrations.  We had a superb time having the chance to enjoy a 2 week break from school.  We took the girls to Disneyland and enjoyed the excellence and spectacle Disneyland offers.  The place is immaculate, finely organised and is the ultimate customer service experience.  The girls were memorised with all things Disney Princess, Minnie Mouse and Star Wars.  Their Mum and Dad were equally amused and we especially enjoyed witnessing the joy of seeing our girls meet many of the characters they adore.  It was a special time to enjoy as a family.

Then we picked up Shell’s parents and enjoyed our first winter Christmas together.  It didn’t snow on Christmas Day in Redding (cold enough but no rain) so on Boxing Day we headed to the mountains an hour away and enjoyed some sledding.  It was a surreal time enjoying Christmas in snow jackets, beanies and gloves.  Unique but enjoyable.  Then to complete our time with the Ingersolls we headed to Lake Tahoe for some REAL snow experiences.  Oh my….. the wind chill was scary.  We awoke one morning to -18C. Who knows what the “feel like” wind chill factor temperature was when we braved a lookout at 10 000ft.  Our ‘nose-and-lips-meter’ suggested anymore than 3 minutes in the elements was enough and the tears on the girls’ faces from the extreme conditions shortened our sightseeing at such elevation. Nevertheless, the location was stunning.  If you get the chance make sure you visit.  In the summer Lake Tahoe offers water visibility of over 7m in depth apparently.  It is the second highest fresh water lake in USA at elevation. (sounding like a travel expert hey!!) On New Years Eve we all stood on a beach, as we often do in Australia, except this time it was snow covered and crunched beneath our snow shoes. An amazing experience and vista.

We entered the new year sensing great expectation, growth and more exciting adventures.  We have walked through a season of transformation and feel positioned to embrace the next 4 months of school like a new sponge about to absorb water from a pure well.  Our heart’s desire is to experience powerful and tangible encounters of God’s grace.

God’s grace is a fascinating subject and I wonder what side of the coin of grace you see?  When you are trapped in deficit and lack emotionally, spiritually, physically and/or mentally you most often only see the redemptive side of God’s grace.  And what a side of grace this offers! Christ’s sacrifice took on our inadequacies and God’s grace removes the pain, shame and guilt lifting us up out of lack into a position of strength and health as a child of God.  Whoa!!! So good.  One can easily focus only on this side of grace as you ebb and flow through seasons of health and weakness in your spiritual identity and position in Christ.  When needed you pull into grace to make up for your shortfalls.  My journey (Craig) focused very strongly on this side of grace as I desperately wanted to prove I was a worthy son of God and only pull into this redemptive feature as minimally as possible.  The only trouble with this approach is I became what I saw and my focus of grace overwhelmed me more to avoid failure than embracing full acceptance and love that releases you to the other side of the coin of grace.

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But a change has occurred.  Without denying the need for rescuing grace (none of us are perfect or immune from restorative touches from God) we have started to recognise and importantly be responsive to the resourcing side of the grace coin.  Grace is more than undeserved favour and many would agree it is the empowering presence or operating power of God.  Grace resources your walk with God.  Grace matures and transforms us; it releases us to co-labour with God so that He gets His full reward; offers unlimited resources to fulfil God’s plans and purposes in your lifetime; enables you to dream God’s thoughts and create and build heaven on earth in the unique way you have been fashioned to influence your world. Wow! What a side of the coin to miss if only we only focus and dwell on the redemptive side of grace.

As you launch into 2016 may we encourage you to consider this latter side of the grace coin.  Remember grace is a coin and we are not suggesting one side is better than the other.  However, focusing on the redemptive side alone will limit your understanding of what is possible to achieve on earth.  Redemption offers a platform to resume living at the foundation of what God intended in the very beginning.  However, staying there only reduces the potential of what is possible.  I will never deny or downplay the significance of God’s restoration but there is so much more access to life in the fullness of God.  Grace resources this journey and like us we pray you would be hungry to explore all this might offer you in this new year.

Blessings and much love,

Craig, Shell, Brielle, Elisha and Jessika.

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PS: In April we are joining the Bethel church family and school and travelling to LA to participate in Azusa Now (110th anniversary of the Azusa Street revival).  There is great expectation of a God-awakening at this event and we have been asked to join teams ministering to people through signs and wonders on the streets of LA and praying for the sick at the event.  We are still in need of finance for this week in April.  If you would like to assist us financially or prayerfully for this event don’t hesitate to contact us (cmsparrow3@gmail.com) to find out how.

Click here for a video on the event.

 

 

 

110 year anniversary – Azusa Street revival

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We are fundraising $2600 US to enable Shell and I to attend this historical event next April.  We will be joining the Bethel teams ministering on the streets of LA leading into this event releasing signs and wonders as we believe for a mark and new wave of revival to be renewed across USA and the nations.

If you would like to contribute to our mission fund please send us an email to cmsparrow3@gmail.com

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Click here for a youtube video from Lou Engle describing our involvement.

Shame down, Freedom up

SHAKING OFF SHAME

This past month has been another enjoyable and liberating month at BSSM.  The target on our radar was destroying shame – a subtle and yet destructive motivator that has lingered in our lives for too long.

You may know shame also by thoughts like: “If only I did that better”….. or “I am the only one that seems to be going through……” or “I should be farther along than I am” …… or “I will prove that I am better than this” …. or “I am still not cutting it compared to”…..

Often we position these motivators in front of us to charge us to be a better person.  Yet when shame takes the lead it only defeats you and those in its wake.  Many people have eloquently shown that you will become what you focus your attention on.  It is a much healthier option to admit when you don’t get things 100% right that you are on the journey – in fact no-one expects perfection.  Certainly God doesn’t.  Sure, he wants us to mature.  But maturity and perfection are vastly different.  One builds life – the latter sets you up to fail.

We have discovered the most deceptive aspect of shame is linked to self judgement.  This is challenging when you recognise you have an eternally significant destiny.  Thus you set high expectations for yourself.  After all, you are assisting the advancement of an eternal Kingdom.  Sadly, if those expectations are not achieved to your level of expectation, the journey of coping with self disappointment and condemnation creates difficulty.  You hear self-judgemnent when praise from others is deflected into a response expressing false humility, “It was nothing really!”  A present accomplishment is dismissed because it was deemed insignificant to the high expectations you place on attaining an eternally significant destiny.  There is some good news.  The eternally significant destiny is made up of many little accomplishments. Shame minimises these loudly.  But no more!!

Shame has been a terrible friend and thankfully the journey of breaking its authority has begun.  We said something like this, “Shame – you have been one of our worst friends.  You promise change and nothing ever happens.  Often we feel worse after we listen to you.  You are a terrible leader.  So we choose to ignore you and accept unconditional love.  He is a much better friend and easier to partner with.  So unconditional love – we are all ears.”

BREAKING OFF FEAR

This month we participated in a high ropes course.  This was the first time we had ever experienced something like this and hopefully it won’t be our last.  It was much harder than it looked.  Balancing and moving along a thin cable 12 metres above the ground took every bit of focus and energy.  Holding onto team members only we slowly and methodically wobbled across the course.  The reward was a flying fox ride at the end.  Fear is present when you allow it to come on you.  After all, we were safely harnessed in and when we fell we dropped only a metre or so.  Sounds like the exercise has a larger context.  When God is walking this life with you, one could suggest you are harnessed from above (heaven) and should you fall, the drop is not far.  You are destined to succeed when you have others around you linked to support and hold you when you it all gets shaky.  This has been a simple but profound picture of the beauty of a life in God surrounded by like minded friends in community.  This should never be underestimated.

MAKING GREAT FUN

When you live an hour from mountains that are snow capped, it would be easy to admire them from a distance.  But alas we are not that sentimental.  We would much rather be in the action of it all.  So when my (Craig’s) sister and family arrived for a weekend we headed for Mount Shasta in search of snow and a toboggan run.  The girls had never seen real snow (Hunter Valley gardens weekender does not really count).  The look on their face when we drove beyond the elevation of the snow line was priceless.  Then to watch them step into it, pick it up and then pound me (Craig) with snowballs for hours was a great joy.  We returned fire with gusto also (they were less impressed at this!!!).  Then the next day we drove to Lassen National Park and saw an abundance of snow and even better toboggan sled hills where we had a blast.  Shell’s 37th birthday will be fondly remembered by snow, sledding and saturated jeans!!!

After another week of school we drove to San Francisco to share Part 2 with Cass and Tim.  We experienced our first cable car ride up and down the San Francisco topography, visited and toured Alcatraz and ate clam chowder and fish and chips (a delicacy sadly not discoverable in Redding).  Alcatraz was fascinating – the prisoners could see, smell and hear freedom only a mile away and yet were unable to enjoy such liberty.  The psychological damage this did to many was incredible.  Alcatraz has ceased to be a penitentiary but it made me wonder how many people are living life trapped in a place where they can see, hear and smell freedom but are unable to get there despite it being so close.

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A beautiful remembrance in San Francisco is at the Yerba Beuna Gardens honouring Martin luther King.  This quote is now in my memory.  Kingdom life must bring social change.

We begin our thanksgiving celebrations this week.  This will be our first US experience of this special holiday.  Friends have invited us to share this meal that is sure to delight our tastebuds and also our hearts as we give thanks for what the year has provided.  Thankfulness should never be underestimated or under-employed.  It is a powerful measure of the condition of your heart.  We pray despite this US holiday not being observed in most other nations, that the philosophy of taking time to be thankful would be embraced.  We are certainly very grateful to the experiences of 2015.  To those who have assisted us to be here, we thank you and pray God’s goodness would be realised in your world.  We are thankful to God for being His son/daughter.  We are thankful for our family.  We are thankful we have expanded friendships this year.  We are thankful our vision has been enlarged and importantly we are thankful for being different to the start of the year.  We pray these may also be true for you too.

FamilyUntil next month as we celebrate the best birthday of the year,

Blessings Craig, Shell, Brielle, Elisha and Jessika.

 

The time of our life – the life of our time

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We have just marked 2 months in the USA.  It feels, admittedly, so much longer than 8 weeks.  Perhaps it is because we have packed so much into the first two months.  Maybe it is because we hit the ground running with so many logistics and only now are we feeling a settledness here?  Whatever the reason, we are having the time of our life.  There is so many great places to visit around this area with so many different National Parks and new places to explore.  We hope to check out Crater Lake this weekend (although weather may postpone our plans).  It hasn’t rained for more than 3 days in 2 months so every bit is certainly welcomed here.  (Just prefer it happened during the week !!!haha)

It was a great joy to host Darren Fraser for a weekend in early September and then my (Craig) parents for 2 weeks just recently.  It was not only a joy to see them but also to show them our world here.  Connection is always stronger when there are shared memories.  Memories ++++ were experienced and we all feel greatly blessed.  We are only a month away from hosting my sister, Cass and husband Tim and kids for a weekend.  Then Shell’s parents join us for Christmas and New Year.  Family is a great joy and certainly its value has been elevated all the more with our move away.

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The course has been as good, if not better, than we have expected. The content, atmosphere and people have amazed us.  It is certainly the right fit for us and we are thriving in this season.  The kids have impressed us how adaptable and resilient they have been transitioning into a new school culture which speaks highly of them and also to the Bethel Christian School which has overwhelmed us in so many ways.

2 months in we can honestly say we have no regrets and having the time of our life.  But we are also experiencing a new life of our time.  The tangible presence and experiences of God have been profound.  The rich revelation and fresh understanding that is being poured into us has been significant.  In order for this new stuff to come, the old needed addressing and removing.  This is never a comfortable process but the reward is so much the richer.  If you want to experience a new sense of God’s love, pick up a copy of Jack Frost’s “Experiencing Father’s Embrace”.  This book has wrecked us in a good way.  Be brave if you want to read it as it could start undoing you also!! We have identified so many unhealthy patterns in our life that have arisen from a disfigured view of God’s love.  A new wave of God’s love is the life of our time.  It is beginning to reshape mindsets and paradigms that have hindered us from experiencing the fullness of the Father’s embrace.  We came to Bethel for many reasons – rest, renewal, and more anointing, power and increase for healing and revival.  We are confident we will receive all these.  But our priority for the year is changing.  We are less focused on the outcomes and more focused on the source.  A subtle refocus but a very powerful one.  In fact rest, renewal and power can only arise from this refocus.

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There is still many months to go but a shift has begun.  That is what we desired and prayed for when we moved here and God never seems to delay those sort of prayers.  We found out today we will complete our course in  attending the 110th anniversary of the Azusa street revival.  Lou Engle, one of the most passionate men I have ever witnessed in person, who also oversees the Call (ministry of prayer and fasting amongst young adults), is headlining the event and has booked the same stadium Billy Graham packed out many decades in the past.  Bethel Church has offered its full support with worship artists, staff and students supporting this event.  Engle purports that revival will fill stadia in the coming end time harvest.  So this event is significant as a stepping stone for LA, the States and indeed the world.  It will be a privilege to be there on April 9, 2016 and participate in street evangelism and healing in the lead up.  Stay tuned for more details.

We are also about to launch into some activation electives we have taken.  I (craig) will be attending the healing rooms every second week and Shell ministering in art and music to the sick at the Shasta Regional Hospital.  These will have some amazing testimonies we will share in the coming months.

Trust you are having the time of your life but more importantly discovering the life of your time.

Until next time – much love,

Craig, Shell, Brielle, Elisha and Jessika.

Identity is everything

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Burney Falls is an amazing place – a 70ft deep spring consistently fills this river with overflowing amounts of water to feed the waterfall (approx 400 000 L) a day.  Even in a drought when a deep spring is overflowing great abundance is released.  This can be true in our spiritual lives even when we are in a barren season.  As long as the deep spring remains overflowing we will refresh and overflow God’s grace in abundance.

Today (Tues 15/9) was another special day.  Worship touched heaven and then some.  The tangible presence of God was evident.  It is electrifying yet peace filled all at the same time.  God’s presence is everywhere, but something special happens when he inhabits the praises of his people.  The spiritual atmosphere changes where hope, grace and love increases.  Limitations shrink.  Goodness elevates.  It is glorious.

Then Lou Engle, pioneer of The Call,  author of many books and prayer apostle availed himself for an hour to inspire, stir and call us forth to a life of greatness.  He reflected on the impact of events back in 1946 when prayer and fasting movements started.  Each year later significant events occurred.  1947 saw the beginning of a move of God upon Oral Roberts, a man who now has a Christian university names after him.  1948 Israel became its own nation.  In 1949 Billy Graham began his ministry recapturing hearts back to the Lord.  Lou’s encouragement reinforced the significance of people seeking the Lord for revival.  He suggested that we are about to hit the 70 year mark past these significant historical moments where a new outpouring of God’s grace will be manifested.  In fact, next year marks the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street revival and it is another significant milestone.

When God marks an individual with a passion for revival it leaks out of them and one can’t help be changed by hearing them.  It was a privilege to be the same room as him today.  He showed a picture of Billy Graham’s evangelistic crusade in 1963 where 130 000 filled the Millenial stadium in Los angeles.  Lou’s call was to start preparing for the filling of stadia across the world.  The latter rain is coming.  Bring it on.

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Then Kris Vallatton spoke and possibly presented the best illustration I have heard around the tension between performance versus position as a child of God.  He used Genesis as his scriptural text.  Adam and Eve were made in the image of God (Gen 1) and yet when the devil tricked them (Gen 3) he forced them to do something to become more like God.  Despite the fact they were already like him, the enemy deceived them into thinking they needed to DO more to gain a closer understanding of God’s image.   This trickery has been in place since where believers are trying to become more God-like when really they are just empowering a lie that curses them.  I was challenged personally by this and reflected how often I have bought this lie also.  WOW.

Our faith is enlarging.  Our spirits are being awakened.  Our kids are hearing God’s voice and prophesying.  It is a joy to be here for the year and growing in a revival culture.  To many of you supporting us with prayer and financial support we send our love and gratitude for this privilege.  We have only had 4 days in classes and know we are in for an incredible time.

Blessings,

Craig, Shell, Brielle, Elisha, and Jessika.