I had the great privilege of attending the recent World Watch Conference. Speakers from the UK, Cuba, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Philippines spoke about how the kingdom of God is advancing in this world. Despite the crises; despite persecutions; despite natural disasters - God's church is growing and his people are a voice to their nations.
There is so much that inspired and stirred; it would be impossible to summarise it all. I hope at some point the video from the DRC will be made available online, as that was one of the highlights - as soon as it is, I'll post a link to it. It was a great example of the church not just growing but transforming the nation. Not only have 200 new churches been planted, but thousands of children who would otherwise have had no education are being schooled by the church. People from the church have also gone on to obtain high positions in local and national government. It truly is a church that is bringing the kingdom to that nation. What makes it all the more remarkable is that all of this work has been led by a man who started his walk with God as a boy in an English class taught by a man from our churches in the UK. Dave Emmett sowed his time into this boy - teaching him English, then leading him to the Lord, and discipling him in his ways - and as a result a whole nation is being reached.
It was also a conference of great teaching. Here are a few sound-bites [these are taken from my notes so word-for-word accuracy is not guaranteed!]:
* One thing that will damage the people of God is smallness of vision.
* You need to go to the watchtower, not to see the world, but to see what the God of this world will say.
* Men of God are not echoes of the past, but voices for the present.
* All idols have clay feet; make God not preachers central.
* We live in covenant. When someone falls we are not to be like sharks circling to take a bite, but brothers there to pick them up.
* Our prayers must be based on what we know the will of God is.
* The cry from the cross, "Why have you forsaken me," was so that no child of God would ever have to say that again!
* You don't have to understand a miracle!
* Nations are shaking because a kingdom is emerging.
* Don't get ready - be ready. It's not coming - I'm living in it.
* Most of a nations problems come down to a wrong relationship with God.
* Be very careful upon whom you lean.
* There is a rise of militant atheism.
* There is hope, because there is a prophet in the city!
* What good is a prophet in a cave?
* Hold the door against everything that does not bear the truth of Jesus.
* What we need are words, not just about the future, but about tomorrow. Now words.
* If there is revelation there will be things said that you have not heard before.
* We need anointed brothers not just good brothers
* We have kept God locked up in the church!
* The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of excellence.
* Never rob anyone of their ministry [re. tendency of leaders to do too much]
* When the Spirit moves - participate don't spectate.
Miguel [from Cuba]
* If you think you are defeated - you are!
* Key to destruction: try to be fine with everyone.
* "Here comes the dreamer" - what God has put inside you comes out.
* You do not have to run after the blessings of God - they will follow you.
* In the darkest moment, is when the light shines the brightest [re. the church in Cuba distributing food and clothing immediately the hurricane ceased]
[Bullet points don't do the passion and vision of the speakers any justice, but may jog a few memories for those of us who were there.]