published by carmel: ministries international
accommodating change everything has a season, but can you handle it?
For a full list of carmel: events see our website www.carmel-uk.org
‘He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.’ Luke 9:2 Excitement about the year ahead continues to grow. You have only to read c:view to recognise God’s awesome provision, love and power concerning carmel:, the local community and beyond. It is breathtaking to realise the vision fulfilled last year and His plans and purposes for the future. On a more personal note, our granddaughter Mia celebrated her third birthday in March and her little brother Max is one in May. When you read our daughter’s testimony (page 11), you will understand what a particular joy this is to our family. In March, prophecy was fulfilled in the provision of a home of our own, and Pastor Gerri, our daughter Sylvana and I moved from the house we have rented since we came to Bristol 10 years ago. We are so thankful for His faithfulness. The teaching in this issue highlights areas in which we all need to change. Let the Word of God touch, equip and prepare you to welcome change as each season of your life unfolds, becoming all that God wants you to be.
Michelle Di Somma
>> prayer works
c:view latest news 4-5 ignorance is no excuse
free to function 6-7 interview 14-15
8-10 All the teachings are available to order on cassette or CD Call us today!
carmel: twentyfour 7 is published by carmel: ministries international. Reproduction of this publication in part or whole is prohibited.
For comments and suggestions for the next twentyfour7 please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org Editor:
Michelle Di Somma
Lyn Birdsall Julian Clarke
Lyn Birdsall, Julian Clarke David Owens, Sanya Adewusi Margaret Stoltz, Beryl Stanley
All quotations from the Bible are from the New King James Version unless stated otherwise.
forthcomingevents event APRIL
Anointed Marriage Covenant Renewal Ceremony
Tue 4th to Fri 7th 6.15pm – 10.00pm Sat 8th 9.00am – 4.30pm Sun 9th
Mon 17th & Mon 24th
7.00pm – 8.00pm
Bank Hols– Office Closed Fri
Bank Hols– Office Closed Mon 17th abtc:/aila:/ carmel:school resume
Guest Appearence Henry Olonga
Sat 29th & Sun 30th
Sun 7th to Sun 14th
Valiant Men’s Breakfast
abtc:/aila:/carmel:school Half term break Fri
6.30pm 8.30am 10.30am
817a Bath Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 5NL
Tel: Fax: Email: Web:
Saturday night Sunday morning Sunday morning
(0117) 977 5533 (0117) 977 5678 email@example.com www.carmel-uk.org
Bank Hols– Office Closed Mon 1st Promise of Purity Registration and Introduction
10.00am – 12.00pm
JUNE Positioned for Blessing
Thu 1st Fri 2nd Sat 3rd
6.00pm – 10.00pm 9.30am – 4.00pm
abtc:/aila:/carmel:school resume Mon 5th Joint Summer Breakfast Sat 10th
Promise of Purity Sat 17th cbc: open day Mon 26th
9.30am – 4.30pm 6.30pm (Ceremony)
carmel:partners meeting Wed 28th
carmel:school inset day
becoming a partner
A partner is a sharer, an associate, one who engages with another in business, one who plays on the same side as another. Partnership is important – It releases power to get the job done. We can accomplish the Great Commission together in unity. Partnership in prayer – We believe it is vital for every partner to develop a strong personal prayer life, and to pray for the leadership for godly wisdom and direction from the Lord. Partnership in caring – We are instructed to watch over and take care of the partners in our charge (Acts 20:28). Partnership in sharing – The whole ministry of sharing is to give oneself in the areas of love, time, talents and finances.
United Kingdom Allied Irish Carmel Christian Centre Sort Code: Account No: 23-85-85 00709260 Should you wish to donate by Gift Aid please contact the church office.
South Africa Anchor Ministries International First National Bank, Cresta Branch Sort Code: Account No: 25-49-05 51440080590
carmel: ministries international is a registered charity (Charity No. 1094052) with Luke 9:2 as its mission statement. All finances sown go into the work of establishing God’s Kingdom through evangelism and preparing labourers for the harvest.
Directions from Bath: Follow A4 Bath Road towards Bristol, past Keynsham to the Park and Ride on the left hand side. At the traffic lights go straight ahead past McDonalds on your right and turn right into the forecourt of HSBC bank. We’re just behind. Directions from the M4: Take Junction 19 into Bristol on the M32. Take Junction 3, the A4 Link Road, and follow the signs for Bath. Pass Sainsbury’s on your left and at the traffic lights (Burger King will be on your right) continue straight on towards Bath. Follow the road up the hill and continue down the other side. You should see a petrol station at the bottom. Continue following the road round to the right and up the hill under a bridge. You will come to a retail complex (JJB Sports) on your right hand side and a Jaguar garage on the left. Keep going past this and turn left into HSBC bank forecourt and we’re just behind it. Directions from Bristol City Centre: Follow Temple Way towards Temple Meads Railway Station passing it on the left. Follow the A4 Bath Road passing a Kwik Fit garage on the left. At traffic lights with HTV Studios on the right and Burger King on the left, follow the road round to the right uphill and continue down the other side. You should see a petrol station at the bottom then shops on the left. Continue up the hill under a bridge. You will come to a retail complex (JJB Sports) on your right hand side and a Jaguar garage on the left. Keep going past this and turn left into HSBC bank forecourt and we’re just behind it. 3
‘Write the vision,’ wrote Habakkuk (2:2). On 14 and 15 January Rev Gerri Di Somma with imagination, wisdom and divine revelation set out what God specifically desires carmel: to do in this city and nation as we tracked the vision with him.
carmel:’s influence and resources are touching nations and we are being prepared for what prophecy has already spoken, a time of considerable influence on the international scene.
carmel: is now established in the City of Bristol which we see as a City of Faith, it being a place where Whitefield, Wesley, Müller and others have played a significant part in the city’s spiritual heritage.
Last year was crucial in terms of preparation for 2006. We had to ‘believe God for the impossible and trust him to the maximum’. This resulted in a wonderful testimony of God’s abundant provision, for example:
What we did in 2005:
>>02 On May 1 we launched our first Outreach Centre in Stroud, called carmel:stroud. >>03 Our first Christian AIM International Conference was held on 16 June. >>04
The Anchor Bible Training Centre (abtc:) graduation ceremony in July welcomed the first Anchor International Leadership Academy (aila:) class graduates.
>>05 Also that month we held our first Child Training Conference with Rev Reb Bradley. >>06
‘Get Sported’ and World Sports Ministry launched their first sports outreach into the Brislington School.
>>07 In August, near Ross-on-Wye, the Wash Team ran the Wash Away Camp for 63 young people.
>>01 Winning our appeal against the Local Authority meant we have the ‘change of use’ necessary to remain at 817a Bath Road.
>>09 By 8 September we had raised the deposit of £75,000 for the purchase of 817a. >>10
The ‘aGODthing!’ album was launched during October’s ‘Ignited’ Holy Spirit Conference.
>>11 On 4 November we became owners of 817a, our new spiritual home.
>>12 That month our largest Valiant Men’s Advance took place at Hill House in Somerset. >>13 We also hosted a city wide Ministers Leadership Day here at carmel: >>14 And November saw the final completion of the ‘Promise of Purity’ DVD production for international distribution. >>15 Our December hamper project increased from 360 to 600 hampers, feeding approximately 1200 people.
>>08 In September, 97 of our ladies celebrated their Empowered Women’s Conference in Sidmouth.
>>16 And on 31 December we officially ran out of space when launching the ‘Healing Rooms’, the ‘Wash’ youth offices and the coffee shop.
There was significant growth across church departments and we celebrated the congregation doubling in the last two years. There’s now a pre-school class with 9 children and the departmental services to the congregation and community grew from 45 to 60. Also many international speakers, such as Rev Wynne Lewis, Dr Jesse DuPlantis and Pastor Chris Lodewyk, brought God’s Word to us in what was a dynamic year.
While seeking God’s strategy for 2006, the Lord took Pastor Gerri to Isaiah 61:4-7 and showed him how past generations had been left desolated and that it was time to ‘raise up the generations’ that would follow Him, demonstrating His presence in the city and nation. The preparatory structures were laid in 2005, making it possible to begin the ‘Raising Up Generations’ strategy of 2006.
latest news c:view highlights some of the major events in carmel: ministries international since our previous issue of twentyfour7. For more information contact carmel: on 0117 977 5533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This presented a strategy in which we are to: >> uphold the Truth of God’s Word without personal preference or compromise. >> honour the established structures that God has put in place and abide within their framework. >> protect the integrity of God’s name without causing shame to come upon it. >> live our life to our full potential in the light of God’s purpose for us in terms of spirit, gender, temperament, gifting and calling. This is to be implemented by: >> teaching and defining what it means to be a Christian in name, action and occupation. >> returning to the values of God’s structure in relation to family, church and citizenship. >> raising again the godly values that society has discarded as antiquated and old fashioned. >> continually challenging any system that tries to minimize the importance of the Christian faith, values and structures. >> demonstrating the power of God’s Word to bring success and prosperity in life. Our focus will be to: >> teach and train the generations on financial responsibility to God, neighbour and themselves. >> start a ‘finishing school’ with an emphasis on etiquette and manners. >> establish a course which will teach the biblical pattern of courtship and marriage. >> raise a group of mature Christians to teach on how to bridge the generation gap and overcome prejudices and relate positively to each other.
What to expect in 2006: >>01
abtc: will be absorbed into carmel: ministries international and be known as carmel: bible college (cbc:).
>>02 aila: will become carmel: leadership academy (cla:).
The key word in this year’s strategy is ‘Respect’, meaning, ‘the acceptance of something which is established or formally agreed as right or important and adherence to it’. It’s also defined as: ‘politeness, honour and care shown towards someone or something that is considered important.’
>>03 A website will be launched called ‘Found Heaven’ to connect believers around the world. >>04 The recently launched cre8ION media design consultancy will generate finances for the gospel in accordance with 1 Kings 10.
>>05 The Saturday 6:30pm service will remain the same at which all departments will function and serve accordingly. After this, at 9.00 pm, ‘H20’ will host social events in ‘The Wash’ coffee bar for young adults who love life. >>06 There are now two Sunday services, the first at 8.30 am followed by the usual service at 10.30 am. >>07 Home groups will continue as the pastoral arm of the church while the mentor groups will continue to represent the discipling arm. >>08 All other meetings and courses will continue as scheduled during the year. Luke 9:2 continues to be the overall expression of our Mission Statement: ‘He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.’ So we press on from 2005, where the emphasis was on rebuilding, raising up and repairing, into 2006 in which we will ‘Respect God’s standard of truth, expect God’s standard of blessing’. Let RESPECT be the hallmark of the presence of God in the ‘generations’ who follow on after.
FIND HEAVEN If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, we invite you to take a step of faith to change your life!
Steps to salvation: >>01 Acknowledge: that you’re a sinner and need Jesus
What the Bible says: God made you in His image Genesis 1:27 The sin of unbelief separated you from God Isaiah 59:2 God provided the way back through giving His Son Jesus Christ John 3:16 The way back is through the cross 1 Peter 2:24 You receive Jesus by faith as a free gift, not earned or deserved Romans 6:23
>>02 Repent: ask God for His forgiveness >>03 Believe: that Jesus paid the price for your sins >>04 Receive: invite Jesus to come into your heart and life >>05 Confess: that Jesus is your Lord and Saviour >>06 Thank Him!
Simply pray the following prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and was sent to die and be raised again so I could be forgiven and have eternal life. I ask you into my heart and life. I thank you this is the beginning of a new life with you and I confess you as my Lord and Saviour. If you prayed this for the first time, contact us and let us know. We would love to help you with your new life! Contact us using the details on the inside cover (page 3). 5
How do we move to new levels spiritually? Spiritual growth is a process – line upon line and precept upon precept, through which God takes us from glory to glory and victory to victory. With God as our strength, we can do whatever it takes for our growth, becoming like strong instruments in God’s hands, not bending or breaking under pressure.
To achieve that, there are practical steps which we must take. Proverbs 4:23 warns, ‘Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.’ This is a strong warning to guard our hearts as if in a prison, protecting and maintaining the very centre of our being against whatever hinders God’s life in us. God reveals four hindrances to growth which should have no place in our hearts. >>01 Insecurity ‘Insecure’ means ‘easily shaken, unstable’. Insecure people don’t know their true value, worth or identity, often trying to become like someone they admire. They don’t know who they are in Christ and their lives are self-centred. Insecure people need frequent support and attention, and are unable to help others. Insecurity often stems from rejection. Once we are in Christ, we are no longer rejected because we are ‘…accepted in the Beloved.’ Ephesians 1:6. Salvation is just the beginning – we should then continually grow in all He has for us. Saul rejected the plans and purposes that God had for him, and God ‘…rejected him from reigning over Israel…’ 1 Samuel 16:1. Don’t let that happen to you. God has a purpose and destiny for our lives, which He longs for us to fulfil and for which He provides strength, encouragement and guidance. When we walk in relationship with Him we will neither feel rejected nor be rejected but will fulfil our potential. Insecure people try to kill the potential of others. They don’t like seeing others succeed or fulfil their God-given destiny. Once David was anointed as king, Saul became so envious that he tried to kill him. 1 Samuel 18:6-12. Become secure by discovering who you are in Christ.
>>02 Inadequacy We act in accordance with what we believe about ourselves, and the devil wants us to focus on negative self images – of weakness, of inability to do, say or offer anything of value. This is exactly what happened to Gideon, until God sent His angel to say, ‘…the Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour.’ Judges 6:12. Like Gideon, we also need to recognise that God is with us and sees us as mighty men and women of valour, able to overcome anything. We need to dwell on how God sees us, because He says of man, ‘…as he thinks in his heart, so is he….’ Proverbs 23:7.
teaching version of the original teaching by Rev Michelle Di Somma
>>Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23<< God wants you to believe you have everything to offer the body of Christ. It is not arrogant to declare that you are anointed by the Lord, that the Holy one lives in you and you are an awesome man or woman of God, a gift to the body. It is what God’s Word says, so start seeing yourself as that gift. The body needs you.
‘…prepare yourself and arise, and speak…all that I command you…’ Jeremiah 1:17. Rise up and declare that you and your life can make a difference. Live a life that is powerful in Christ, so full of His word and His Spirit that life flows out of you to minister into the lives of others. It is not a one-off experience, but a continual walk in God-given authority.
To intimidate means ‘to coerce, to dismay, to frighten and to threaten.’ This is exactly what the devil wants to do to us, to hold us back. The Bible says he walks about like a roaring lion. 1 Peter 5:8. A lion roars to startle, to scare and to immobilise. The devil will try and keep us from rising up in boldness, from declaring the truth of the gospel and the works of God, and from telling people that without Jesus they will go to eternal damnation. Don’t be intimidated because ‘…greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.’ 1 John 4:4.
We cannot function without our physical bodies. Every bit has its proper job to do, and when one bit doesn’t function properly, it affects the rest of the body. The same principle applies to the body of Christ.
Overcome intimidation by walking in your God-given authority. Know that God is backing you, that the whole heavenly host is behind you, in front of you, to the left and to the right of you. Do as God told Jeremiah,
This is why Satan tempts us to believe that our local church body doesn’t appreciate us, like us or need our gifts and that we’d be better off elsewhere. Many then begin to function outside the local church, becoming free agents. They may think they are doing well, but they have no spiritual cover and no spiritual credibility. They have failed to recognise God’s key to healthy functioning, ‘…as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.’ Romans 12:4-5. Independence fades when you recognise that the body of Christ is the place God has ordained for you to function. When we become dependent first on God, then on each other, we become connected to each other in a positive way that releases and frees us to fulfil the function God has ordained. When every part is fully functioning, whether singing, ministering, praying, cleaning, operating sound or helping with administration, etc. the body of Christ functions as He intended. Then, when people walk through the church doors, they see the body of Christ – they come face to face with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. ‘…grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body…’ Ephesians 4:15-16. Become free to function by overcoming insecurity, inadequacy, intimidation and independence. Maintain a clean heart and steadfast spirit and remain unmoved by the lies of the devil. Grow to new spiritual levels and cause the body of Christ to grow both spiritually and numerically.
This teaching is available on CD/Cassette. 7
When you are five years old your sixth birthday is exciting but when you reach fifty, birthdays can begin to lose their excitement, especially if you start losing your hair and your teeth. The SEASONS of life produce many other changes like bereavement or loss of a relationship. An abridged version of the teaching by REV GERRI DI SOMMA
>>accommodating change We need to look beyond trials and see what God wants to achieve in us through those trials. How we face them and the changes they bring determines our success or failure. The Bible says ‘…count it all joy when you fall into various trials…’ James 1:2. When life is disrupted in this way joy is not a natural reaction. The key to experiencing joy is revealed as the scripture continues: ‘…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.’ James 1:3-4. Important truths within the scripture >>01 Trials test faith. Every trial provides both a challenge to exercise faith and an opportunity to deal with each trial effectively. Faith sees beyond the natural circumstances and requires a response from us. For example, when you lose a loved one, you are suddenly confronted with many changes. You may perhaps face up to your own mortality. 8
Dealing with those changes tests your faith as you realise the urgency of time. Many people never change because they think there is still time. They confront the same challenges and problems again and again without victory.
Faith tested produces patience. When you exercise faith in trials it teaches patience – how to persevere and endure hardships. Then, instead of running away from or being overwhelmed by the problem, you face it, get through it and learn life’s lessons from it.
>>03 Trials allow God to perfect and complete you. Even when things appear negative, recognise that God wants the best for you and to bring about your perfection. As He changes you, it is in anticipation of its effect on others and generations to come. When you understand this, you will make the best and the most of your time for the work you are called to do, allowing God to work in you.
teaching The letters of the word ‘c h a n g e’ help us to focus on what needs to change in us. >>02
When the enemy tried to deceive Jesus He continually quoted the Word of God. Truth is what establishes you to handle the enemy’s opposition.
Therefore put on the armour of the gospel, speak the good news and words of peace. Ephesians 6:15. Don’t reject or ignore people when they are deceived, but pray the devil out.
You have been given the ministry of reconciliation, so you must accommodate the differences in others.
When a friend of mine allowed deception to blind him concerning a matter of doctrine, I confronted him with the truth in love. He did not receive it but I kept in touch with him, maintaining friendship while not backing down. Six months later he rang to say that the scales had fallen off his eyes and for the first time he could see the situation clearly.
Anxious for nothing
Paradigms are our perceptions, the way we think and the ‘boxes’ we live in and operate from. We hold on to paradigms and opinions because this gives us a sense of security and identity. If we don’t challenge them, however, we continually see life through prejudices which will hold us captive, hindering essential growth and appreciation of others. When you forsake your opinions and adopt God’s opinion of life you no longer see gender, nationality and temperament as ‘problems.’ If you dislike someone, challenge the paradigm that tells you people are the problem. Dislike your perception of people rather than disliking the people themselves. The Bible says, ‘Judge not, that you be not judged.’ Matthew 7:1.
Opposition will come. Psalm 112:7-8. It will come from every direction, perhaps even from you. But God wants to perfect you so that you don’t succumb to opposition, but handle it, even when people antagonise you. Ephesians 6:13 exhorts, ‘…having done all, to stand.’ To stand, not to fall down as many Christians do, hoping people will leave them alone. >>01
Discover what is behind the opposition. Jesus always saw the spirit behind people’s words. When He asked Peter what men were saying about Him, Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ Jesus knew that His Father had revealed this to Peter. Matthew 16:16-17. Later however, when Peter rebuked Jesus concerning what He said lay ahead, Jesus discerned Peter was listening to a different spirit and responded to that spirit, ‘Get behind Me, Satan!’ Matthew 16:23.
Often it is not the fault of the individual, but the spirit behind them. Too often we attack the people, instead of the spirit.
Do all you should and stand on the truth of the word.
Whether you are six or sixty, change can cause anxiety. God’s Word says, ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God…’ Philippians 4:6. People who are anxious are people who don’t pray enough. When you feel anxious, start praying because prayer changes things. Pray always, not just when crisis comes. We need to anticipate the future without anxiety. The Israelites missed out on the Promised Land because they became anxious about the size and strength of the inhabitants. Numbers 13:33. Opposition always appears bigger than it is but the only way the enemy can deceive you is to pervert your perception. N
>>When the enemy tried to deceive Jesus He continually quoted the Word of God. Truth is what establishes you to handle the enemy’s opposition <<
Don’t lose out on life’s opportunities because of negativity, seeing only the problem and the impossibility of change. When Jesus told His disciples that He would be crucified and return after three days, instead of waiting for his resurrection, they went back to their previous work. 9
I have four children. Each one is special, unique and has a totally different character. One daughter is very neat and another very creative, and when they shared a bedroom it was a war zone. It’s easy to become negative and see differences as faults, or to see people as construction projects, but we should love and accept people for who they are. Ask yourself how you can change to embrace and love others.
‘Expressive anticipation’ is about confessing the plans and purposes of God. God says, ‘…count it all joy…’ James 1:2. So, thank God for the situations and relationships you anticipate, that you want to happen in the future. Don’t hinder God but move into position by your confession. Whatever change comes is for your benefit and maturity. You can make it negative by refusing to change, like the Israelites did for forty years, or embrace change and receive what God has for you.
Learn from your mistakes or they will revisit you until you are willing to say, ‘Thank you Lord, I count it all joy when I fall into trials, that I may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.’
Growing in grace
A woman going through a particular trial thought God was punishing her until I explained that God grows you to promote you. That changed her whole life - she saw that God was preparing her for the next level and that she was growing in grace.
>>Sometimes the very person you think is going to destroy you could be the one God will use to perfect you <<
Grace is accommodating and full of love. Grace always esteems, trusts and gives the benefit to the other. It’s not about who is right but about walking in relationship, exercising the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18. There is nobody you will agree with on everything so don’t expect everyone to agree with you. God wants us to ‘…be perfect, and complete, lacking nothing.’ James 1:4. When He sees a situation He wants changed, He will allow difficulties that will give you the opportunity to change and mature as you adhere to the Word of God. We love our children and would probably say we would never subject them to difficulty or pain. Yet we all send them to school, which is both difficult and painful, for their benefit. E
Anticipation starts by having faith and faith comes by hearing. Romans 10:17. Your confession determines your position and so places you to receive God’s blessing. So often we confess the possession but never place ourselves in a position to receive it. 10
You are the only person hindering God’s provision for you. Sometimes the very person you think is going to destroy you could be the one God will use to perfect you. I was once in business and two of my employees put me in serious financial trouble while left to run the business in my absence. I went to my biggest creditor to explain I had no money to pay him. He became very angry. The Holy Spirit told me to leave without saying a word. I obeyed, and started to confess that the Lord would deliver and bless me. The Lord told me that this man would be my deliverer and to go and see him again, which was the last thing I wanted to do. He was surprised to see me and said he wondered whether I had the courage to face him. When he asked me what I wanted from the deal, I told him all I wanted was ‘my name’, not my house, my car nor anything else. You see, the Bible says, ‘A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches…’ Proverbs 22:1. That was the turning point. He called in his wife, who was the accountant, and wrote off the entire debt. Change is inevitable. How you accommodate it will determine how successful you are in achieving all that God has purposed for your life. Are you willing to accommodate change God’s way?
prayer works BY YATASHA FORD then Medics say baby has stopped growing After a routine check-up at 30 weeks I was admitted to hospital because a scan showed that Max had stopped growing. I stayed in hospital and I was urged to have him delivered immediately. Though the placenta was not supplying enough oxygen and blood to his brain I knew that it was too early, so I asked the doctors to delay, which, praise God, they did.
life tothemax! in may 2003 my first child Mia Hope was born – a miracle against all odds. (See twentyfour 7 issue 2.) this was in answer to prayer, as I had been told I would never conceive and that having a baby would be too dangerous as I have had a kidney transplant.
Despite this, Richard and I prayed for another baby and I became pregnant in October 04. The doctors were concerned about my kidney and my pregnancy caused them considerable stress and pressure. We continued to pray and trust God. I sensed His presence and peace, assured that He would answer our prayers to safeguard me and my unborn baby. God sends a dream
The birth was my greatest test of faith, when prayers were most needed. Max was still nearly 9 weeks premature but at 31 weeks and 5 days he was born. He weighed only 850g (1lb 13oz), less than a bag of sugar, but was perfectly formed. He was able to breathe on his own from the start, but was nursed in Intensive Care in an incubator to stabilise his body temperature. Max goes from strength to strength At four weeks old, Max was maintaining body temperature and moved to a cot. At seven weeks, in July 05, he was discharged from hospital, still two weeks before his due date, but his weight had doubled to 1.70kg (3lb 10oz). Max grows from strength to strength despite every negative medical report. He now weighs 5.9kg (13lbs). His first teeth are almost through, he is alert, chuckles, coos and keeps his balance. We celebrate his first birthday on 27 May this year. We thank God for His faithfulness, for this beautiful, healthy child. What seems impossible to man is possible to God – prayer works. NOW
Before Dad (Pastor Gerri) knew I was pregnant God gave him a dream that I would have a son named Max, which means ‘greatest in strength.’ Richard and I were to remember and hold on to these promises in prayer, staying strong as we faced extremely stressful and negative medical reports and circumstances.
Baby Max is safely delivered
High blood pressure threatens mother and baby’s life From the beginning, I was diagnosed with very high blood pressure. Naturally speaking, this can be fatal. At 23 weeks my blood pressure was so high that the doctor told me that if I had been 25 weeks, he would have immediately delivered the baby. In spite of everything, I had perfect peace and knew that both the baby and I would be well. 11
>> ignorance is no excuse ‘What you don’t know may be killing you!’ We say this about our diet, but did you ever imagine it could apply to your finances? In the series on Kingdom Economics we have been confessing Psalm 35:27: ‘Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favour My righteous cause; and let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”’ Ignorance of God’s righteous cause can very often be the reason why prosperity is not forthcoming in our lives. But ignorance is no excuse for neglecting the principles of life which lead to prosperity. Even non-Christians know that. For instance, ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ is a biblical principle, but it is also recognised as a principle of life by other religions. Our flesh does not want to live by principles, but God empowers us. Ignoring God’s principles is no excuse and neither is being ignorant of them. Leviticus 5:17 and James 4:17. Let’s consider six statements of ignorance that we use as excuses and look at their remedies: >>01 There just isn’t enough to tithe Our tithe belongs to God and failing to pay it makes us a debtor to God. Leviticus 27:30-31. When I wrongly thought I didn’t have enough to tithe, I noticed that I didn’t have enough to live on. Our tithe is a response to God. We acknowledge Him with it, recognising that it is thanks to Him that we exist. By not paying their tithes - even though through ignorance – the Israelites incurred an additional payment of twenty percent the next time they tithed. Leviticus 22:14-16. Similarly, penalties exist in today’s commercial world for not paying what is due. Ignorance is no excuse. If we trust God, tithing is like an insurance policy because God promises to take care of our provision. Malachi 3:10-11. >>02 If I give to the poor, they’ll just spend it on rubbish We should consider the poor and not judge them. Psalm 41:1-3. Our responsibility is to respond to God and their responsibility is to be wise stewards of the help they receive. We can be wise as to how we give to the poor. Jesus said that the poor will always be with us, but that is not an excuse to ignore them. The Bible says giving to the poor is lending to the Lord – and God will repay. Proverbs 19:17. In other words, you are not giving out of your substance but out of God’s substance. 12
>>03 I’ll pay it tomorrow According to the Word of God, ignoring your debt is treating your neighbour with contempt. Holding back what is due to a person or a business prevents them from taking care of their financial commitments, after they have taken you at your word. In the same way, making a pledge and not following it through is sin. If you employ someone then you are obliged to pay them. Not paying them is sin. Proverbs 3:27. This also applies when we employ friends or acquaintances to do things for us. Deuteronomy 24:14-15. It is different if people volunteer to do something for us without charge. >>04 I did it because he is my friend Signing surety can cost more than you are willing to pay. It is a trap that can seriously harm your finances. Proverbs 22:2627. I found this out when I signed surety for a company I owned and got into trouble. I cried out to God to deliver me; He led me to Proverbs 6:1-5 to get me out of my mess. I did everything I had to do and sold all I could to get my surety back from the bank. It cost me dearly, but I was set free. God gives us instructions for a reason. Don’t hate your friend, but hate being surety for him. Proverbs 11:15. >>05 It just doesn’t pay to work According to Paul the Apostle, if you are not prepared to work then prepare yourself not to eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11. Working is what gives you value and provides resources for life. Genesis 2:15-16. We can see from 1 Timothy 5:8 that work is not a curse, but a cure for the infidel. You may be really struggling, doing everything you can. Keep doing it. Your breakthrough will come. >>06 Savings? – You must be joking! Save for investment, not just for emergencies. Joseph adopted this strategy when he was appointed by Pharaoh as a leader in Egypt. During the time of plenty, he instructed the Egyptians to save twenty percent of the harvest. Genesis 41:34. In our times of plenty, we often stretch our spending to the limit and then have nothing to fall back on in hard times. We miss opportunities to prosper because we have eaten our seed instead of investing it. During the famine in Egypt, Pharaoh bought land. Genesis 47:20.
teaching Testimony – Kutie Ngundu In May 2005 I had a prophecy that I would receive a financial blessing before the end of the year. I knew the word for me was ‘…believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’ 2 Chronicles 20:20. I made a pledge of money to a certain ministry. By early December 2005 I still had not seen this Word come to pass and so my wife and I asked God why. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the financial pledge I had made, but I did not think that had any bearing on things.
That same week, I heard Pastor Gerri teach that withholding pledges is a sin and therefore a hindrance to God’s blessing. This cut me to the heart. Immediately after the service I wrote out a cheque for the pledge I had made and told my wife, ‘Now it is done. I know God’s Word will come to pass.’ On 31 December 2005 my wife and I both received cheques for a substantial amount of money, far more than the amount we had sown. We give God the glory. He is faithful!
>>If you are not prepared to work then prepare yourself not to eat<<
Be prepared – hard times will come. Stop living excessively. Don’t work for money, but let money work for you. Save 20% and live on 80% after you have tithed. Don’t plead ignorance. Repent! It feels easier on the conscience to say ‘I did not know’ than it does to say ‘I do not care.’ But ignorance is no excuse! The cure for ignorance is repentance.
Proverbs 28:13 says, ‘He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.’ Review how you handle your money, take responsibility to live by God’s principles and prosper. You are the sum total of the choices that you make. Are they the right ones? 13
CARMEL: MINISTRIES ARE PRIVILEGED THAT REV MICK FLETCHER, HIS WIFE VICKY AND THEIR THREE CHILDREN HAVE JOINED US. Mick’s down to earth attitude and love for people is evident as he talks about his work among the homeless. Q You moved to Bristol last year with your wife and children. What were you doing before that? A
Until coming to Bristol I was a Pastor of a church in Stoke which was linked to carmel: and I gained quite a lot of experience with the homeless. I’ve always had a heart for people others have little concern for. They feel worthless, but we want them to know that God values them.
Q You’re now responsible for Mercy Ministries. What is that? A
Mercy Ministries is a branch of the church designed to meet the needs of the poor. Through it we can make sure that people at carmel: are never without food or clothing – and there are reasons why this may happen, sometimes because of extreme situations.
We help people in the community in a similar way and also have a weekly soup run. At Christmas we make up food parcels for people who would otherwise find the season barren without some help.
In fact, last Christmas we distributed 600 parcels which provided food for about 1200 people.
Q Do you have others working with you on the soup run? A
I have a great team, a faithful team, people that care. That’s why they are succeeding in what they are doing. There’s a mix of both men and women. Last Christmas, some of those who came from carmel: leadership academy sang Christmas songs and other worship songs. They just worshipped God as we served these guys. Some of them, many weeks later, were still talking about just how much this meant to them.
Q How’s the soup run organised? A
During the day on Tuesdays the food is prepared. We also take flasks of soup, tea and coffee. We try to make the soup special. We also have with us toiletries, socks, soap, toothpaste, razors, and things for the ladies. And we carry warm clothing, especially in the really cold months.
The team prays together and we go to our first meeting place at about nine-thirty. Most of those we see will be waiting. They know we never miss our weekly meeting with them. We make time to talk with them and then move to our second site near the inner harbour. There is a third meeting point in Clifton. There must be alternative meeting places because it may not be safe for some to meet at one of them. These people are sometimes subjected to violence, even from others in the same situation.
There is a non-Christian Trust which supervises the soup runs in Bristol – other people are covering the remaining nights. However, this does not always happen, so we are looking for further opportunities to help on additional nights.
Q What about the homelesS people themselves? A
They come from all walks of life and often are people society no longer wants. Most have experienced unfortunate events which they haven’t been able to cope with, and they just don’t know how to get out of the situation.
We’ve made some good friends. I look forward to meeting them. We’ve laughed and cried with these people. One day I gave a guy a hug and he wouldn’t let go and he wept. I just knew he hadn’t been hugged in his life.
And, of course, it’s important that we take the time to sit and listen to them. Some are very interesting to talk to. We always take enough people with us so we can do this. We build relationships, and with relationships comes trust – and some will come to the church when they can see they can trust us.
One recently came to the church and gave his life to the Lord. That’s brilliant. We always look for an opportunity to share the gospel.
The majority we meet are male, but we also meet a few ladies who have gone through abuse and ended >>The up onstrongest the street. I talked to one lady recently who position can ever ended upyou in prostitution because she’s a heroin addict. She’s stopped the prostitution and is making moves have isnow a husband and a wife to getin heragreement, life sorted out.
because it they is aarecovenant To assume all from the same background relationship, Godwe’ve helped was a lawyer. would be wrong.and One man recognises covenants andhim and he walked A series of events in his life broke away everything he had established. will do from phenomenal things as a result.
Q The poor are always with you, as Jesus said, so how do you view the future? is it more of the same? A
Our vision is to be able to meet with them seven nights a week, but there is also a desire to have places within the city, more than a drop-in centre, something that can affect lives and change lives. In the meantime there are other organisations we can link with to help these people get a foot on the ladder back to where they can manage their lives.
I know that as a church God has told us to do much more than we are doing at the moment. We know also it’s a progressive thing. You don’t jump in and immediately do everything. It’s a growth thing. And we’re trusting God to bring the right people as well. It’s not a job. It’s not something they can come and do as a project. If it’s not in your heart you’re going to struggle.
We don’t just try to provide the basics for these people. If we don’t give them the opportunity to know Jesus, we leave them more destitute than we find them. We always want to go one step better, and they remember this ‘goodness’ more than anything.
Don’t you appreciate a special kindness that someone has done for you? ‘Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, and the forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?’ Romans 2:4.
The Mercy Ministries team is a great team to be part of! 15
carmel: bible college formerly Anchor Bible Training Centre (abtc:)
seizetheday >>For we walk by faith, not by sight 2 Corinthians 5:7<<
carmel: bible college (formerly Anchor Bible Training Centre) is God’s fivefold ministry vehicle to fully recognise, equip, train and establish believers with the biblical life skills necessary to fulfil the calling God has placed upon their lives. God’s ‘rhema Word’ will help you leave the insecurity and failures of your past behind, disciple you
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