We have small group communities meeting around the city. To find out where your nearest small group is click here.
I keep having the thought that it would be a good idea. But it takes time and will anyone read it? Let me know your thoughts. You can e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org. What am I left with after such a download of a week: 1) My heavenly Dad is all around me, he is closer than I ever thought and his resources are infinite and available to me! My job is to renew my mind to line up with truth. The Holy Spirit (who is the spirit of adoption as the ESV rightly translates Romans 8;15) is crying out in us to completely convince us of our position in Christ – completely adopted sons and daughters- and he wants my thinking to line up. I don’t want any thoughts in my head that are contrary to what my heavenly father thinks about me. 2) Think about this; sons have access to inheritance-all of it. The prodigal was given complete access to his inheritance even though his intentions were poor! Every son of God has unconditional access to inheritance. 3) Healing means the kingdom is coming. His presence intensifying is the Kingdom coming. Joy is the kingdom coming. Because the kingdom is righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (the presence). The kingdom coming means transformation of not just bodies, but of the interior workings of our hearts and minds. God is after internal reality not external conformity. This leads to us transforming situations and people around us, and ultimately our culture. All done through love and mercy not criticism, or politicking. We overcome evil with good, judgement with mercy and fear with love. The nature of God is our most powerful ‘weapon’. Mercy love and goodness are transforming and incredibly powerful. Therefore we need to be immersed by experience in His mercy, love and goodness. Not feeling ‘judged’, ‘distant’ or ‘disqualified’, but loved, joyful and free. 4) God has given us as a church an open invitation to revel in His love, delight in His presence and get intoxicated in His joy. To fall thoroughly in love with Him for His own sake. 5) God is also giving us an assignment to heal the sick, cast out demons and transform our city through Love, Joy and power! One prophetic word we received said that people would leave the bars to come to church because it was more fun (joyful) 6) If we are sons of a Father, then kingdom is family. It’s a government headed by a dad, not an aloof potentate. That means as leaders we need to grow in fathering, and new leaders need to be sons of this household. Meaning they reflect and honour the heart we carry, the vision God is giving and that the relationships between us are increasingly sweet, open and strengthening. I was so struck by this: Bethel had achieved a team that was together and honouring and dependant on each other – they needed each others ‘best’ in their lives. All this was done without anyone having to ‘reduce’ who they were for the sake of team togetherness and sanity. In fact everyone was more who they were meant to be because of the culture was honouring, confronting and freeing. I am dreaming a dream, lots of powerful people in God all pulling together, releasing one another, blessed by one another and holding one another to account with no fear of losing the relationship because love hold them at every level.
Andy Merrick, 09/11/2010
They talked about finance and generosity and how when they were in need they gave money away to other churches…something we have started to do. They talked about the importance of pursuing God for his own sake, and much more. Their interaction was great to see and the way they receive and lift up Bill as their leader was refreshing and real.
Then we had Bill’s some preach. Wow what a message, at the end Bill Johnson simply said ‘who’s son is that?’. He spoke about how Jesus had constant awareness of God’s abundant supply; hence he could look to heaven and multiply bread to feed multitudes. He said how we can develop that awareness and move more in the miraculous. He said hunger is different to desperation. Hunger knows there is provision, so go to the fridge, desperation isn’t confident of an answer.
I went to the afternoon session on how to increase in the healing. It was great! They basically told lots of amazing stories, said that God was the healer not us so there’s no pressure, and then got us all whacked in the Spirit! So more breakthrough is coming Hope Church!
We then had another evening meal all together and an evening session with testimonies, prophecy, from a guy who called out people he didn’t know by name, a short talk from Bill and then a massive and outrageous fire tunnel. They prayed for everyone (800-900) and God broke out in power. I have never experienced what I experienced there, God is taking me deeper, and he is taking us all deeper. We crawled out about 11pm.
Thursday was a free day, apart from buying loads of stuff from the bookshop, then we had a final meal at the Mexican, and celebrated Theresa’s birthday.
The journey home was long and tiring.
We had an amazing and profoundly wonderfully liberating time at
Thanks for reading our exploits
Andy Merrick, 07/11/2010
Other favourite phrases here are – ‘that’s a good word right there’ and when some amazing report has come Bill says ‘wow ,wow, wow’ …look out for Americanisms when we return, having been soaked in their lingo for a week some of it is unavoidable. Yesterday was SO full on. So liberating and So inspiring and SO challenging. Bill reminded us (in a way where every line needs writing down), that His presence for its own sake must be our thirst above all thirsts and our quest above all. He said to appreciate the dramatic and the subtle touches from God as both are equally important and can be equally life changing. I got ‘sozoed’. Sozo is a prayer ministry that frees you up from lies and hurts and controlling spirits, which are affecting your relationship with Jesus, the Father or the Holy Spirit. It was so powerful and incredibly liberating. Theresa and I had a prophetic session which zoomed right in on us both being joy carriers and again the sense of the atmosphere that God was wanting to create in Hope was one that was so free and joyful that people would leave the bars and come to church for a better time. Then we had some amazing testimonies. One stood out – a guy involved in rescuing boy soldiers from drug cartels! Incredible. Then we had Chris Valaton on the transition we are in. He sees the church moving from what is primarily a pastorate model, which even when apostles have emerged they have been shaped and constrained by, to a truly apostolic environment. He said we are in the middle of this and it’s like the days when cars were starting to replace horses, for a while people thought horses were better! He said the apostolic was about national cultural transformation. He quoted stats that showed that the cities with the mega churches had the worst social stats, pointing to huge cultural inactivity by the masses of Christians. He told of doors that had opened to him to prophecy over 80 members of parliament of a certain country as well as all the leading bankers. We are here to change the world. Must go, another world shaking day awaits. It truly is Awesome With love Andy
Andy Merrick, 03/11/2010
We are about to be sucked into a full-on conference experience over the next 2 and a half days; and we feel we have already received so much just being in the church for the weekend. Sunday was amazing. In the worship on Sunday morning it was just so easy to encounter God, visions seem to come to you easily in this environment. In one of the meetings I saw someone cast a fishing net from a small fishing boat, and it floated on top of the water. This didn’t make sense, it’s supposed to sink deeper and capture the fish. But this stayed on the top and fish swam into it! The fish caught themselves. Then Bill Johnson preached a phenomenal message on cultural transformation, saying that we can create an environment which encourages people to get saved. One of his big points was cultivating thankfulness for all people around us, even difficult bosses or work colleagues. We do this by recognising that all are created in God’s image so we look for and give thanks for the positives we see. Sunday night was extraordinary. We went to the pre-meeting prayer, which consists of walking round a large room, talking to people and praying. Then, somehow God starts to come and people get drunk in the Spirit, and generally love and happiness breaks out in the room. Needless to say, I got pretty intoxicated with a few friends. It seemed that walking round the corners of the room was particularly challenging to a group of us. We then stopped walking and all prayed together and took the blessing into the meeting. In the meeting I was still somewhat tipsy and became a magnet for people who wanted to keep praying for me and keep me that way, a couple of people had really powerful prophetic words for me too….wow! People were getting healed around us as a testimony was given of a lady who’s taste and sense of smell was restored a week earlier. Today the sun shone and we visited the huge Shasta Lake and dam. The views were spectacular. One of the prize moments was Nick trying to teach Jan to walk along the top of a narrow wall and not look at her feet, but look ahead, with her head up. This apparently had great spiritual significance but, more importantly, was quite funny to watch. Tonight the ‘Leaders Advance’ conference starts in earnest. Its jam packed with great stuff. Theresa and I have ‘Sozo’ appointments tomorrow and a prophetic team appointment at lunchtime, as well as teaching and worship sessions. We then have an evening meal all together and another meeting. Pray for stamina! With love Andy
Andy Merrick, 01/11/2010
Friday Night / Saturday
First let me clarify the Hobbit thing. It seems that Nick can go all day from breakfast to evening meal and miss lunch, which Jan is used to. Whereas, in the world of Merrick, blood sugar levels dictate 3 meals a day. Failure to do this can result in loss of concentration and poor mood (not recommended).
This year feels so different to me. Things are more familiar and I can see how both personally and corporately we have changed in the last 12 months or so. I have come on the back of a year of some personal growth in intimacy with God and confidence. I am also hear asking the question ‘how do we go deeper and farther?’ whereas last year I was asking ‘how do we get started into healings and miracles?. It’s clear we have moved forward as a church over the last year, but we are hungry for more. A big thirst in me is ‘I want enough of God to change our nation’ what impacted me last night was how transformation of the church and the society we live in hinges on personal transformation. In other words I am going to change the world around me as the world inside me is transformed. The boldness and faith to process personal transformation is the major stepping stone to faith to impact the world around me. Good start to the week aye!? Last night was a great message from a young guy who understood in strong relief what it takes to really forgive. Its not about suppressing the pain others have caused and then saying the right words to God, but facing the pain in its reality, then seeing what Jesus has done for us, and how he sees the offending person, and releasing true forgiveness from our hearts. Jesus suffered for our sin and because of it, yet forgives freely those whose violations caused his pain (you and me). Today (Saturday) we visited the healing room. There were scores of people there from all over the world, some in great need. They come because they have heard you can get breakthrough here. I just love the atmosphere of the encounter room where we gather to wait on God. It’s not a meeting; it’s a waiting room like no other you have ever seen. There is live worship, art, dance, freedom, a place for children to play and people walking around praying gently for those they feel led to pray for. The atmosphere is full of freedom, creativity, God’s presence and a sense of safety. There is no obvious leader, but real order and there is leadership oversight. This is where you hang out before you go through to the actual healing room. It’s great to be here with Theresa and Nick and Jan. we have regular debriefs and chat to process what we are seeing and sensing. There is a lot to process, and God speaks directly to our hearts in vision and some prophetic input from folk around us. Lots of love
Andy Merrick, 30/10/2010
Hi All. My story so far, From Monkey to Hobbit
Finally got to blog. My entry route to the blogsphere was blocked by complex gobbledy gook, but we found a way. I can’t vouch for either the cogency, or the theological rigor of this 1st entry as the journey of 24 hours, and the time shift of 8, has further hindered my powers of reasoning and tryping. Travelling was made more fun by the company. Theresa Nick and Jan added interest to an otherwise dull process of being locked into a large metal tube with small windows for 11 hours. At the end of the confinement you are in a different country surrounded by big trucks and SUV’s (no one drives regular cars here) and people who speak the same language, but for whom the word toilet is rude and offensive. All signs for lavatorial facilities are written in code. The code for toilet is ‘rest room’ – to crack the code you have to realise that ‘rest’ references what Brits do in the Loo, and ‘room’ is the space in which this function is performed. Hence ‘going to the loo’ becomes ‘I am going for a rest’ which to the untrained British listener is confusing, as no beds or chairs are involved.
I am struck again by how Redding is such a small, out of the way place. Not strategic in any normal sense of that word. Yet God is using what is happening here to affect many around the world. I constantly keep thinking ‘the most strategic thing is what happens in the human heart’ – wherever that may be.
First meeting tonight. We are hungry for more.
Second breakfast anyone!
Andy Merrick, 29/10/2010
Welcome to my blog. This month me, Theresa and Nick & Jan are going to back to Bethel church in America.
Here I'll talk about my experiences and what I'm looking forward to when we get back.
Please feel free to leave comments or questions.
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