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Welcome to Open Heaven
a church committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ in 21st century culture
- This Sunday's Meetings (19th May)
As we get back into the familiar routines of life, let’s not miss the moment that a New Year brings to recommit ourselves again to the first and most important relationship in our lives: Christ the King. If you have not yet taken the chance to renew your allegiance to Him and to His cause for this coming year then stop reading right now and tell him: “I belong to you”.
Cast your eye over the coming days, weeks and months ahead and just notice whether your allegiance to Him comes through in what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. If any of your life/work/family rhythms have changed recently then just assess how you are going to maintain and invest in your connection with him. Over the last couple of days I’ve written into my calendar regular time to be with Him. It’s the only way to ensure it happens regularly! I plan in my time with God just as I plan in anything else that’s important to me.
Get Ready, Fast: 1st Sep – 10th Oct 2012
About 6 weeks ago I was speaking at a 2 day conference in Liverpool, at Frontline church and was staying in the home of Dave Connelly, one of the leaders there.The conference went well and on the Saturday I was about to get a lift back to the train station from one of the interns, when Dave Connelly stopped me and said he wanted to drive me to the station instead. We chatted generally about Open Heaven and then he said: “I couldn’t sleep last night. The Lord kept me awake and gave me a word for Open Heaven that I’ve been praying into and thinking about how to share it with you.” That got my attention!
We are really looking forward to meeting and hearing from you if you are coming to Loughborough this September!
Students have been at the heart of Open Heaven since it began over 18 years ago and we are so excited to meet you all and invest into you for the next 3 years. Student life is great and will be the most amazingly fun, busy and crazy time that will shape you for years to come.
Many of you know that after living with Pete & Miri for 3 months, God provided an apartment for us to move into via an old man called Claude! He had checked his Facebook account for the first time in about 6 months to find a message from that "nice young Englishman" at the exact same moment that he put down the phone from his brother-in-law, who had asked if Claude could help him to fill their mother-in-law's two-bedroom apartment in Annecy.
This all happened at the same time that church prayed for us at the Weekend Away in February.
The world’s premier sporting event - the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics is coming to the UK!
It’s not only coming to the UK but Loughborough will be hosting Team GB and the Japanese team in their preparation for the games. This is a once in a lifetime experience and an amazing opportunity for churches to be at the heart of the celebrations.
We’ve just started our new series on the book of Acts. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Acts is probably one of the most important books of the New Testament. If we did not have it, then apart from what we could deduce from Paul’s letters, we would have no information on how the early church started, and then grew from a little known corner of Palestine, to sweep across the known world and reach Rome, the capital of the Empire- all within about 30 years.
Acts was written by Dr. Luke who in Colossians 4 v14 is called ‘our dear friend Luke, the doctor. He was the only Gentile writer in the New Testament, a companion of Paul and a gifted writer. It is in fact the same Dr. Luke who wrote Luke’s gospel and most scholars think that Luke’s gospel and Acts were written as 2 volumes of the one story. Rather than Acts being called ‘Acts of the Apostles’ (there are only 3 apostles mentioned!) it could equally be called ‘Acts of King Jesus Volume 2’ as the living presence of the risen Christ invades the whole book of Acts.
A little while ago I attending a social event where most people were strangers. It was a weekend away and I turned up to a venue I didn't know, to a roomful of people who were new and felt like I was with friends I just hadn't met yet. The atmosphere, the welcome and the warmth of everyone I met was unusual and put me at ease right away. Here was a bunch of people who would be my friends its just they hadn't had the opportunity to get to know me before.
It left me thinking; could that same atmosphere, welcome and warmth be at Open Heaven gatherings? Yes of course it could! And I am planning on making it so. With a little help from some friends!
On Sunday I shared with everyone there some of the things that have been stirring in me over the 3 month sabbatical. I summed up the main themes of the talk as 'Going Deeper & Wider'. The deeper part is all about connection and belonging. I outlined some of our thoughts about going deeper by creating an extraordinary welcoming culture, about how clusters work with social dynamics, rather than against and about mentoring groups helping develop the ministries in the church. I then shared some thoughts about going wider, prompted by some significant conversations and prophecies I've had over the 3 months. I talked about what it might mean to become an 'apostolic hub' - planting churches which plant churches. We already are a discipling community but how about using that strength to become an apostolic (sending) community? Our discipleship is not to make nice people, but is to advance the Kingdom and one of the most effective ways to advance the Kingdom is to plant Kingdom communities - whether that be clusters or church plants. So, if you're part of OH, this is an important talk to listen to and think about what it means for the future of OH. I'd love to hear peoples' responses, so listen and let me know what you think...
It is very clear from scripture that God is looking for people who will stand in the gap between heaven and earth and petition him on behalf of the people who he loves. We call it prayer. It is an integral part of heaven on earth that we talk so much about. So much so that another name for God's temple is 'a house of prayer for all nations'. Now the temple has become our hearts and when we join our hearts and express what God has put on our hearts an amazing thing called corporate prayer that really does cause heaven to meet earth.
I am starting a meeting place at my house 19 Rectory Rd every Monday between 6 and 7 (we used to have something called prayer gym at that time) to pray and hear from God.
So much has happened since our last update! It’s been a real boost to the team to have Ali and Vicky back from Montgenevre and meeting with the team regularly again. They’re a valuable part of the team and we really missed them while they were away. They’ve written a short update below.
From a practical point of view we are getting organized for moving. It’s not too long until we leave now. We’ll be leaving Loughborough on 31st July and travelling the 750 miles to our new house in France. We have sorted out a lorry for transporting all our furniture and belongings, which we will drive to Annecy ourselves. We’ll have fun and games trying to fit the contents of our house into a small truck!