Vision Sunday 2015
On Vision Sunday we outlined the vision for Open Heaven Church for the 2015-2016 academic year. Focusing on our three goals; Be an Apostolic Resource Community, Be a City of Refuge and Be an Open Heaven we unpacked how we've grown in these areas, and consider what growth looks like in the future.
Weekend Away 2016 Part 1
During this first session at the Open Heaven Weekend Away Phil shares his journey to realising that, '"It's not about you", and that there is, "rank and authority", when it comes to following Jesus, with Jesus wanting to be the one in charge. Phil is a church leader who felt Jesus lead him to change the direction of his church, leaving the job of building of the church to Jesus (Matthew 16:18) and for him to focus on loving the lost. This was a costly decision but a decision leading to incredible outcomes, because he was obedient to God and following Jesus first.
Weekend Away 2016 Part 2
In the second session of the Open Heaven Weekend Away, Alain, looking at the story of Jesus clearing out the temple in Jerusalem because the people there had made it a, "den of robbers", unpacks what Jesus also says the church should be during this exchange, and that is; a place of prayer, mission and justice.
Father Heart of God
In this seminar at the Open Heaven Weekend Away, Phil unpacks a parable Jesus told, 'The Parable of the lost son', but focuses on the son that didn't go off, the son who stayed at home with the father who feels overlooked and unloved by the Father. Phil looks at how the father responds to the son in this parable to help us understand the Father heart of God.
Weekend Away 2016 Part 3
The third session at the Open Heaven Weekend Away 2016. What does it look like to outwork prayer, mission and justice in all spheres of our town? We begin by looking at Matthew 4:23 where Jesus was, "teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease", and then we unpack what it can look like for us to follow Jesus outworking these today. This talk ends with a powerful time of response and worship.
Weekend Away 2016 Part 4
During this final session of the Open Heaven Weekend Away 2016, Alain touches on the power of prayer worship, the importance of taking possession of new ground after having contended for it, and the significances of having our eyes renewed to see things in a fresh way - ourselves, our cities, and our God.
Authenticity in Pain
Life Of King David
What do we do with unavoidable pain? At this year's women's conference, Mel Cave shares her own story of pain, and her efforts to avoid it. She shares how she tried to deal with it through distraction, numbing herself to others, lowering her expectations of others, asking others to help, but none of it brought permanent relief. Mel looks at the life of King David in the bible and how he dealt with the wide variety of pain he faced in his life, in order to present how she too eventually found hope in dealing with her pain.
Women in Leadership
Ness Wilson teaches a deep biblical understanding of women in leadership. She takes a good look at questions such as, "Is it biblically okay for a woman to have a leadership position in the church?", and, "Is it biblically okay for a woman to have authority?" A real focus Ness starts with is looking at "authority" in God's kingdom, something that stands in contrast to how the world sees authority.
Christmas at the Union 2016
Our yearly Christmas gathering - Christmas At The Union. Stacey McSharry focuses on how the Christmas story is marked by 'Presence'. She highlights that God's was present on Earth in Jesus but is also present and real in our lives today. This gathering also features a testimony from a young man on the verge of suicide who was saved by encountering the presence of Jesus today.
Unity with a Purpose
Why is it so important that God's church is united? This is the question that Ness Wilson addresses at this special Loughborough Churches Partnership celebration. Ness unpacks John 17 where Jesus prays for the future church and for his disciples that they would have unity.
Is There More to Life Than This?
Invitation Sunday has been crafted to provide an accessible gathering for people to invite their friends too. During this invitation Sunday Joe McSharry takes on the question, "Is there more to life than this". Joe touches on themes such as purpose and death, and lands on who Jesus claims to be.
Weekend Away 2017 Part 1
Tre Shappard speaks at the Open Heaven Weekend Away 2017. In this first talk in the three part series, 'Revival Town', Tre speaks on the need for the church to serve the city. We exist for our communities, to bring destiny into their lives, to believe that God doesn't just want to change the lives of those people but the culture and society that they live in. "The church doesn't just exist to attract people and keep them satisfied... What we need to be asking is 'God, what is your dream for this city?'" challenges Tre.
Weekend Away 2017 Part 2
Tre Shappard speaks at the Open Heaven Weekend Away 2017. In this second talk in the three part series, 'Revival Town', Tre speaks on the need for strategy to serve the city. He shares how in his church even though it was breaking-out of the building, serving the city more and more in practical ways, and taking opportunities to move in the supernatural, the stirrings of revival actually happened a lot later. Tre remarks that often revival comes after a long time of breaking the ground and sewing into the heart of the city or locality we find ourselves.
Weekend Away 2017 Part 3
Tre Shappard speaks at the Open Heaven Weekend Away 2017. In this final talk in the three part series, 'Revival Town', Tre speaks on the the kingdom of heaven not being one of castles and defences for christians, but rather a mustard seed where ALL the birds of the air can take shelter. It doesn't start with something big, but rather something small. He also unpacks when Jesus said 'I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it'. Gates do not attack, but rather they stand in our city. We in the church can decide, "I've had enough of that gate", and we can take it down.
Easter at the Union 2017
Joe McSharry And Shani-Maia Alexandra
Easter makes sense of Christmas. Easter is where we understand why Christmas happened. Joe McSharry takes this opportunity to unpack why Easter happened and what it is about God that can transform our lives. He begins by looking at love and freewill; 'Anything you understand of love comes from God', and, 'The truest expression of love is freewill', says Joe. Shani-Maia then shares on experience of the two criminals crucified with Jesus.
Vision Sunday 2017
On Vision Sunday we outlined the vision for Open Heaven Church for the 2017-2018 academic year. Focusing on our three goals; Be an Apostolic Resource Community, Be a City of Refuge and Be an Open Heaven we unpacked how we've grown in these areas, and consider what growth looks like in the future.
This Will Change Your Life
Recounting her personal story of losing and finding her identity, Stacey McSharry dwells on the life-changing implications of a God who leaves everything to come and find the one who is lost. She shares how her life was transformed as she got to know the God who not only came searching for her when she ran away from Him, but who celebrated her when He found her.
Giving Sunday 2018
Ness Wilson, Rich Cave
Ness Wilson leads us through a key event in the Open Heaven calendar year - 'Giving Sunday'. It's an opportunity to invest financially in the things of the kingdom. Ness looks at scripture to outline some of the broad principles of giving (e.g. It is never about the amount you give, it is always about the heart - Mark 12:41-44.) In addition, Rich Cave gives a financial review for Open Heaven 2018.
What Playlist Are We Listening To?
Renae shares the Christmas message like how someone may share a Spotify playlist. She focuses on the celebration songs that occur in the Nativity and moves on to talk about how this is just the beginning, the opening act, the first song on God's playlist for humanity. Jesus coming into the world was the beginning of the end for sin and shame and guilt. Renae ends by asking whether we are listening to God's playlist of his love and friendship or whether it is friends, society or culture that is having the last say in our lives.
Weekend Away Part 1
In this talk, we start in Genesis looking at our identity and we walk through most of the bible growing our understanding of where God may be calling us to play our part in his kingdom come here on earth today. The hope is also that this talk will give us a bigger picture than we’ve ever imagined of what God is doing in the world.
Weekend Away 2019 Part 2
In this talk we will unpack the theme of ‘liberation’ which is talked about in the Old Testament. The aim is for us to grasp the significance of this theme, since it is the very bedrock of Jewish thinking which becomes the bedrock of Jesus’ ministry of bringing people into freedom.
Weekend Away 2019 Part 3
Starting with Isaiah 43:19-21, we look at four movements God is calling us to make as we join with Him in the partnership of recreation. This talk contains spiritual and practical advice for living out our calling to be missional, and the talk is given by a British church planting couple who moved to France.
The word baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo, which means to immerse, to saturate and to submerge. This reflects the New Testament style of baptising, which happened in seas and rivers. At Open Heaven, we practice full immersion baptisms in water, as it is the practice that was set by Jesus and the early church. It is full of symbolism about burying our old ways of living in the water and being lifted out into new life.
Created Creative: The Interviews
Across the library of scripture we see time and time again God releasing His creative vision through others such as Noah, Bezalel, Nehemiah, Joseph, David. This summer in OH2 we unpacked these stories through a series of interviews. You can listen back to all five interviews here.
Our first interview was with Gregory Smith from The Wall. The Wall of Answered Prayer is a piece of architectural sculpture built on the outskirts of Birmingham about Jesus. Made of a million bricks, each one represents an answered prayer. With the land now secured the building will start in 2020.
In our second interview we spoke with Joe McSharry. Joe told us about how his previous job in the Social Services set him up for working for Open Heaven, his vision for love, justice and equality in Loughborough and how God gave him ideas for his new role as the Chair of the Charnwood Food Poverty Group.
On the third Sunday of the series we interviewed Harry Venning. Harry told us about the transformation he's seen in his life since becoming a Christian and how this life changing decision has impacted his workplace Sport England.
David Scarborough was our forth interviewee. David spoke to us about his work at Modern Painters, New Decorators, an art gallery, shop and studios in the middle of Loughborough. The aim of Modern Painters, New Decorators is to re-energise the local by enabling artists to bring value and worth to the community.
Lastly we spoke with teacher and musician Stephen Tillyer. Steve told us about his experience in education and the everyday prayers he uses. We talked about having a vision for Loughborough and our frontline - whether that be school, home or the workplace. In the story of Nehemiah, we read of a man set apart by God to rebuild the ancient holy city of Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit wants to partner with us in co-creating His Kingdom. What is God calling you into? What job or community are you called to?
No Spiritual Flabbiness, Please!
1 Timothy 4:8 says "Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever."
Over the next two weeks in OH2 we'll be talking about discipleship. Being a disciple (similar to an apprentice) of Jesus is a life-long journey. Thankfully, we are not called to do this by ourselves. At Open Heaven we have a culture of discipleship that is unusual. We set a high bar of expectation that if you want to be a part of Open Heaven, you must want to grow, be challenged and changed. It is not a Church to belong to if you are happy to stay the same! Discipleship is a biblical principle and a model with a proven track record of helping people grow in their relationship with God, and in all aspects of their lives.
Vision Sunday 2019: 5 Years, 3 Goals
On Vision Sunday we outlined the vision for the 2019-2020 academic year. Focusing on the last 5 years of our three goals; Be an Apostolic Resource Community, Be a City of Refuge and Be an Open Heaven we unpacked how we've grown in these areas, and consider what growth looks like in the future. On Giving Sunday next week we'll talk you through how and where our finances have been invested, and outline how your giving could benefit the church, our community and ultimately expand the Kingdom of Heaven here in Loughborough as we continue to make disciples who establish Heaven on Earth. This is an essential, not to be missed podcast for anyone who considers themselves part of the Open Heaven Church family.
Giving Sunday 2019
Our Giving Sunday gathering is a chance to play your part in a radical act of generosity which will transform our church and our local community. We've talked you through how and where our finances have been invested, and outlined how your giving could benefit others as we look to raise the money needed for another year of Kingdom growth.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians that God loves a cheerful giver. Each and every year our Giving Sunday gatherings continues to grow in abundance, celebration and joy as we come together to contribute to the Kingdom of God. Find out more about giving at openheaven.org/give.
The Salvation Interview
If God interviewed you, how would you answer? You've suited up, ready to present yourself to the King of Kings. Queue cards in hand, sweat on your brow, you step into His office - ready to reply to anything thrown at you. Quite suddenly the tables turn, and your whole life gets redefined. Who you are. What your past experiences were. What you expect from God.
Weekend Away 2020: Pursue Jesus, awaken hope
In Luke 13 Jesus tells us a parable of a fig tree given a second chance in spite of its inability to grow fruit. When we look at the church in the UK with our physical eyes, we see decline. But as we look to the history of revival often renewal has come when the church is on its last legs. As we prepare ourselves for what God might do next, we need to draw nearer to Christ. With Christ. In Christ. For Christ. Through Christ. This is the grammar of the Christian faith. Can we awaken hope for a new generation of believers?
Weekend Away 2020: Losing the fear of God
Isaiah 11 is often used as a passage of scripture to commission others into calling. But tucked away at the end of its opening paragraph we read the following. ‘He will delight in the fear of the Lord.’ What does it mean to have awe and reverence for God? Have we as a church lost what it means to fear God?
Weekend Away 2020: There is a river
Psalm 46 says ‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.’ As a church we are called to be a river people. To live in the promises, provision and potential of the Holy Spirit.
Weekend Away 2020: No Place Unreached
Following an update from our church planting teams, Ness unpicked and unpacked what Open Heaven Church could look like through eyes of faith over the next five years. Through trial, error, learning, prayer and the grace of God could we reach every outreached neighbourhood and people group in our town?
Walk Into More
Ness Wilson shares four keys of 'hope' for 2021. As we enter a new era it is time to ask ourselves what we have gained and want to take with us into this new year, and what we have lost and want to leave behind. If this also feels like a new era for you personally, what defining characteristic is God speaking over you?
'Heaven Is Here' Easter Devotional
An Easter audio guide taking you on a reflective walk through your town, thinking, praying and acting on the theme ‘Heaven Is Here’. Join me, Matt Hickman, as I help you connect with your local area in a way you perhaps haven’t done before.
Written by Josie Russel & Matt Hickman.
Narrated by Matt Hickman.
Heaven Is Here
Is Heaven already here? How did Jesus bring Heaven to earth? Why is Easter so important?
In this talk, Joe McSharry unpacks how Jesus broke the divide and brought Heaven to earth. Joe explains the partnership with God that we are invited to join, and the unity with God that we can experience today.
Is Jesus a Saviour? Can he lift off our burdens? Do you want to grow?
In this Easter Day talk, Rich Cave calls us to reflect on three seeds. He calls the first seed 'Jesus', and asks if we believe Jesus died, was placed in the ground and rose to life again to make us right with God. Do we believe Jesus is our Saviour? The second seed he calls 'Our lives', and he reflect on its hard shell. Things that we are not proud of and things that weigh us down can stop us receiving from God and from others. Do we need Jesus to lift off our burdens? The third and final seed he calls 'Heaven on earth'. Rich asks if we want to experience God's goodness working through us, influencing and blessing others for good, like a growing tree spreading it's seeds. Do we want to grow?