It’s always a privilege to be able to write good news! I am so grateful for God’s work through the 10 days north shore and for the personal sacrifices that many made to offer a weighty sacrifice to Jesus. He is worthy of it and I sense His pleasure as we learn increasingly to recognize and respond to His worthiness.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Report on the 10 Days North Shore 2011, June 2-12
Presence is our Purpose
The focus of the 10 days is always on adoring Jesus Christ and welcoming His Presence into our midst. This year was no exception. Throughout the days, in the evenings, and through the night watches, our focus was on Jesus Christ and our goal to make His presence welcome in our midst. My best memories of the 10 days this year are of sitting at the piano worshipping at the feet of Jesus, or of enjoying his presence in the evening with my spiritual family, or of praying for someone hurting and seeing His presence minister to them.
I love seeing the change that comes over people as they remain in God’s presence for hours and hours. A static expression changes into a gaping smile, fear, despair, and worry are wiped away and replaced with joy and hope. I love hearing the stories of how God moves when we simply remain near to Him. Long-term problems fall away in an instant, God shows us what’s next in our lives, we receive the encouragement we need for the road ahead. Friends, we come alive in His presence! We were never meant to function apart from it.
Warfare and Worship
Sometimes in prayer, we see only Jesus. These are my favorite times. Other times, there is an awareness that the enemy is opposing us in prayer. We see this in the Scriptures in Daniel 10, where Daniel’s prayers were resisted for 21 days before Gabriel and Michael brought a breakthrough. This year, I had a strong awareness that the enemy was resisting us. When we experience spiritual opposition, we respond in the opposite spirit! The enemy, of course, is trying to get us all worked up with fear, despair, anxiety, and beating ourselves or each other up. In “spiritual warfare”, we fight despair with hope, we bring peace and joy to bear on the situation. Most of all, we worship and declare the supremacy of Jesus Christ. Indeed, God has put all things under His feet!
The good thing about warfare is that when there is warfare, we win. God has promised victory and we always have it when we persevere. This year, the warfare seemed to come to a head on Thursday, June 9th during the day. It had been an intense series of days in the prayer room. That afternoon after exultant worship, two men named Gabriel and Michael received Christ at a nearby restaurant. We rejoiced for them, and also took it as encouragement from the Lord that His angels were fighting for us. As evening brought in an intense thunder and wind storm, there was a sense among many of us that “it’s finished”. Often times in prayer you receive a “burden” and then after praying through it there is a sense of completion. I don’t totally know how to describe it, but I knew Thursday night that whatever we were doing in our prayers had been completed.
Numbers are not really a reliable indicator of quality. However, sometimes numbers all by themselves can be encouraging. Consider this:
Upwards of 17 North Shore Congregations and 6 local ministries participated actively.
13 of those local congregations hosted an evening gathering
A total of 10 evenings, 8 days, and 6 all-nights were filled with near-continous worship and prayer. We shared in communion together each evening. In addition, the fellowship among area believers was especially sweet.
Many people were fasting during this time as well—we have no idea how many, but are grateful!
We had between 25 and 75 people each evening with around 250 on the final evening at Christ the Redeemer.
More than Skin Deep
Behind the numbers is the good stuff--the width and depth of relationship and partnership among believers on the North Shore. This partnership is not skin-deep but has grown out of genuine and durable friendships formed in our local pastors group as well as the relationships of believers throughout the area. Because gatherings like these are borne out of relationships and friendships, we can expect to see more partnership of this kind in future years.
Where do we go from here: Making the city-wide Church visible
In the New Testament, the word “church” could refer to a group of believers who met in a house (the church that meets at so-and-so’s house). It could also refer to all believers everywhere (the “capital C” church). However, often the word “church” is used to refer to all the believers in an area (the church of Ephesus, Philadelphia, or Boston). Your city or geographical area has a “Church”. The question is, does that city-wide or area wide church have any sense of corporate identity? Is there any communication infrastructure, any shared sense of leadership and vision? Are there relationships of love and trust between leaders of the various congregations?
The vision of these extended seasons of corporate worship is to make visible “the church on the North Shore”. If we are really “one in Christ”, there needs to be an expression of that. A “corpuscular church” model, where each congregation essential functions entirely independently or with relation only to its own denomination, will not be able to withstand the spiritual and perhaps even physical pressures of the days ahead. The time is right for us to move forward in making visible the city-wide church and gatherings like 10 days are part of God’s strategy to bring unity. Consider the following thoughts from Francis Frangipane:
“We can have national days of prayer, regional weeks of supplication---we can even call tens of thousands to pray for specific areas to change, but if the church which dwells in that area is bound and divided by strife, the enemy will not be plundered. Whenever we pray against the spiritual forces of wickedness over a region, our first line of offense is praying for the churches to be united in their worship and their warfare. Why pray for the church? If "there is jealousy and selfish ambition" in the church, there will inevitably be "disorder and every evil thing" in that locality (James 3:16).”
“Therefore, we conclude: It takes a citywide church to win the citywide war. All of our individual evangelistic programs, our Sunday teachings and aggressive attempts to bind principalities and powers are only of limited value if we, the born-again church, remain divided. However, even as one person"s transformation from carnality to the image of Christ can revolutionize a church, so the transformation of the citywide church into the image of Christ can revolutionize a city.”
See the entire Article here:
Father, we pray that you would raise up a united Church in cities and towns across New England. Show us a new way to live together as your people where we value the diversity of the many tribes and also reveal that we are all “one nation” with a common identity in Christ. Cast down despair and cynicism and raise up expectant hope and unrelenting faith. Fill us with love for one another “as Jesus has loved us” so that the world will see that You sent Jesus and that You have loved us just like you loved Him.
Let it be Lord!
--Jonathan Friz, June 21 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
You are invited to the upcoming 24hrs of Prayer in Boston, June 24th-25th, Fri 8am-Sat 8am.
Individual Churches and Ministries will lead 1-2 hrs of Worship and Prayer within the 24hrs of Prayer.To get involved, please sign up/confirm your participation[ by call/e-mail] as Worship team, Prayer leader or Minister of the Gospel.
Consolata Apwapo, coordinator of ICPAN
Please email at email@example.com to sign up!