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FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE: >>C:NEWS MEN’S CONFERENCE AND YOUTH CONFERENCE >>MAKING A DIFFERENCE – PASTOR GERRI DI SOMMA >>EXCEPTIONAL SEASONS – PASTOR MICHELLE DI SOMMA >>UGANDA 2008 – MISSION TRIP


SERVICES Sat 18.30HRS Sun 08.30HRS SuN 10.30HRS CONTACT CARMEL:CENTRE 817a Bath Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 5NL T: (0117) 977 5533 F: (0117) 977 5678 W: www.carmelcentre.org

‘He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.’ Luke 9:2

EXECUTIVE EditorS: GERRI AND Michelle Di Somma, PRODUCED BY: WWW.CRE8ION.CO.UK Printers: Yeomans Press Bible quotations are from the New King James Version unless stated otherwise. Full

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G DI SOMMA TEACHING

G DI SOMMA TEACHING

6-7

M DI SOMMA TEACHING

PRAYER WORKS

8-10

CLA MISSION TRIP

12-13

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DATE

All teachings in this edition are abridged. versions are available to order on CD or DVD.

carmel:

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EVENT

TIME

Sat 5

carmel: bible college Graduation

6.30pm

Mon 21

carmel: christian school Summer break begins

Fri 25-Sun 27

Valiant Men’s Advance Ross-on-Wye

JULY

av

Sun 27-Fri 1Aug ‘Invading the Wye?’ St. Revolution Youth Camp AUGUST Sun 24

Pastor Charles Graham

SEPTEMBER Wed 3 carmel: christian school new term begins Sat 6

Valiant Men’s Event with Breakfast

Sun 7 Fri 12-Sat 13

Basics Course begins Ladies Advance Chantmarle

8.30am

Mon 15 carmel: bible COLLEGE Registration

9.30am-12.30pm

Tue 16-Fri 19 carmel: bible COLLEGE Orientation Week Sat 27

Promise of Purity Introduction

OCTOBER

Gerri and Michelle Di Somma

A partner is a sharer, an associate, one who engages with another in business, one who plays on the same side as another.

‘A GodThing Conference’ L i g h t

Account Details

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.

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Should you wish to donate by Gift Aid please contact the church office.

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STOCKWOOD

United Kingdom Allied Irish Carmel Christian Centre Sort Code: Account No: 23-85-85 00709260

APPROX. 4 MILES TO BRISTOL CITY CENTRE

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Partnership in sharing – The whole ministry of sharing is to give oneself in the areas of love, time, talents and finances.

Wed 29 – Sun 2 Nov

8.30am

A4

Partnership in caring – We are instructed to watch over and take care of the partners in our charge (Acts 20:28).

Ladies Breakfast

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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.

Jerry Savelle at carmel: 7.00pm

Sat 11

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Partnership is important – It releases power to get the job done. We can accomplish the Great Commission together in unity.

Fri 3

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BRISLINGTON PARK & RIDE

TOWARDS BATH

from Bath Follow A4 towards Bristol, bypassing Keynsham, to the Park-andRide (on your left) on the outskirts of Bristol, just before traffic lights. At these lights proceed straight (in outside lane) for approx. 150 yards (McDonald’s on your right). HSBC Bank follows on your right. Immediately before the Bank, take the driveway along its right, between the buildings. carmel:centre is behind HSBC. from M4 J19 Proceed towards Bristol along M32 to J3. Leave M32 at J3 heading left onto dual carriageway, following signs for A4 and Bath. Approach next roundabout in left lane and continue to follow signs for A4 Bath, to traffic lights. Proceed straight on and over a high level bridge, descending to another roundabout. Proceed straight on, in right hand lane, to next roundabout. Leave this roundabout to the right with Sainsbury’s on your left. Keep in left hand lane and go straight on at next two sets of lights which come a short distance apart.


LATEST NEWS

catch up on the latest happenings at carmel: by visiting our website www.carmelcentre.org or emailing us on info@carmelcentre.org

FRUITFUL WORDS Aware that many church leaders both here and overseas value the production of our magazine, 24:7, from which they teach others and support their own lives as Christians, it became clear that there was a great need for the teaching here at carmel: to be more systematically available to these people and any who call on us to support them in this way. Hence ‘A Word In Season’ was birthed, and has been multiplying ever since. Each month a key message is selected from the preaching and teaching of Pastor Gerri Di Somma and transferred onto CDs. These CD messages are carefully edited so that nothing is missed in communicating the vital principles of the Word of God in each and every message. The ‘Word In Season’ department has received extensive positive feedback from teachers and pastors who have been encouraged by these recordings, and the Word has spread. Increasingly we are receiving requests for copies from family and friends of those receiving the CDs. More than that, some pastors have told us how they are spreading the Word by copying our discs and sending them to others they know who will be blessed by the anointed message. Some pastors are preaching to their congregations from these CDs because they represent the only regular teaching they get. Some give their assistant pastors copies of the recording so they can go out into the villages around them with the powerful Word of God. So, just how many are receiving these anointed messages is impossible to say.

KIDZ KLUB

KIDZ KL UB

Saturday the 7th of June was the launch of Kidz Klub which provided a few hours of entertainment and activity for children in one of the toughest areas of Bristol. ‘Party on Broadway’ saw children play football, bounce on a bouncy castle, jump and dance to music, eat beef burgers and hot dogs and generally have fun in the activities prepared at Filwood Broadway in Knowle West, Bristol.

carmel: leadership academy organised the Party and it was easy to see that the large number of children who attended thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Many of the younger children had their faces painted. There was no shortage of boys playing football on the small pitch on the green in the Broadway. Inside the Community Hall alongside the green, various games involving music and movement were played out, some specifically linked to what the Bible teaches. The smell of smoke from the barbecue drifted down the Broadway enticing people to taste the food being cooked, and a steady queue of people kept the cooks busy. In the early afternoon the Overload Band, which is part of the Youth Ministry, entertained the crowds in the Hall with Christian music and songs. The weather was sunny and bright, adding to the pleasure of what was a very enjoyable occasion. The children from the area who signed in for the Party, which was a preview of things to come, have been sent a letter thanking them for being such fun and telling them about the planned Saturday morning Kidz Klub which will open soon.

KID ZK LU B

If you want to know more about ‘A Word In Season’, please contact the Missions Department at carmel: christian centre.

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St. Revolution Conference 23-24 I 05 I 08 DVDs and CDs of the Conference are available from carmel: christian centre.

The stage was prepared for the Revolution Band. A Suzuki motorbike and a Mini added effect and the background posters proclaimed dynamically the theme of the Conference, ‘The Born Revolution’. With a series of high pitched notes leading to ‘When the saints go marching in…’ the 2008 St .Revolution Conference began.

Pastor Sean Leask, the Dean of carmel: bible college, followed with a message still based on, ‘The Born Declaration’. He showed the importance of crossing the line that divides the future from the past and of committing ourselves to stay there. ‘Don’t go back into the world,’ he declared. ‘Get rid of that option.’

The praise and worship was energetic and meaningful as the audience sang to the Lord. Then followed Ralph Di Somma, the Youth Leader, who welcomed the crowd to The Born Revolution where, he said, they would face the challenge of living the revolutionary life of the born again Christian.

Taking the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), Pastor Sean pointed out the steps of the young man’s decline and return to his father. He focussed on the point when he stepped across the line and made his declaration by positioned himself so he’d never return to the mess he’d been in.

The Born Identity

The Vision For a short while in the afternoon, Ralph Di Somma reviewed the previous year of the Youth Ministry and briefly set out the Vision as a reminder of the direction the Ministry will take.

The guest speaker Friday evening was Pastor Jacob John from Vancouver, Canada whose subject was, ‘The Born Identity’. ‘Many churches have forgotten what it’s like to have an identity,’ he said. ‘Many Christians don’t really know who they are as believers. We wear glasses which affect how we see things.’ He went on to show how awesomely free we are in Christ and how we are ‘… 24/7 the target of God’s reckless, jealous love.’ The Born Declaration Saturday began with worship followed by Pastor Gerri Di Somma speaking on, ‘The Born Declaration’. ‘We are to look at what has already been declared,’ Pastor Gerri said. ‘When God makes declarations, they have profound consequences’ (Isaiah 14:24-27). ‘Your birth was a declaration of God’s existence, image and likeness. You were made in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:26-28). He said that each person was unique (Psalm 139) and that our birth declared God’s purpose for us (Jeremiah 29:11-13). To develop this, Pastor Gerri spoke about God’s 4-fold purpose for man: the importance of relationships, character, function and reproduction that make a person a true child of God.

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The Born Revolution On Saturday evening Pastor Jacob John’s message was based on the title, ‘The Born Revolution’. ‘The revolution started 2000 years ago,’ he said, referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. He went on, ‘You have the DNA of a revolutionary in you: Jesus.’ And he said the reason for the Revolution is not a ‘cause’ but ‘Christ’. Pastor Jacob continued and spoke on the cost of following Christ, the need to keep moving and not settle, and the importance of holding things loosely so they don’t hold us back. We must be peacemakers who walk in forgiveness knowing the vital importance of good relationships. The Revolution, he said, goes on until Christ returns. Many people went forward responding to the call to commit to this Revolution. The Conference as a whole was memorable and the Youth at carmel: have eagerly responded as they look forward to growing as a vital part of the church. 24:7


MIGHTY MEN’S CONFERENCE 13-15 I 06 I 08 DVDs and CDs of the Conference are available from carmel: christian centre.

The theme of the Mighty Men’s Conference at carmel: centre on 13th to 15th June was ‘Principles of Faith’. Pastor Gerri Di Somma spoke at all six sessions taking the lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham as his examples. ‘Faith begins and ends with a relationship with God,’ said Pastor Gerri as he went on to show that if our foundation of faith is wrong, all sorts of problems can arise. He emphasised throughout the Conference that faith is not a formula or method, but a dynamic relationship with God. The Conference was led through a powerful exploration, development and application of the principles of faith. For many it was a revelation that altered their whole perspective on faith. Lunch on the Saturday was a barbecue set out alongside carmel: centre and special packs of meat were made available so the men could fellowship together as they stood around the barbecues. This was followed by the film, ‘Faith Like Potatoes’. This film told the true story of a farmer in South Africa who saw miracles in his life, and one in particular. When, because of drought conditions, none of the farmers in the region could grow potatoes, Angus Buchan believed God for a crop, and, despite the lack of rain, God gave him a bumper crop. The Mighty Men’s Conference was the first to be organised at carmel: centre and worship was led by the ‘Worship Unplugged’ musicians who brought the men closer and deeper into God. And the occasion marked another first, the publishing of Pastor Gerri Di Somma’s new mini-book written especially for men, ‘Men of Purpose’. This booklet is avaliable from carmel: centre. 24:7

JOHN STANKO DVDs and CDs of Dr. Stanko’s ministry at carmel: are available from carmel: christian centre. ‘Dr. John Stanko teaches Gold Mine Principles to help you find your life purpose, set high but achievable goals, and focus on your top priorities,’ says the introductory text on his website. On the weekend of 10-11th May Dr Stanko brought some of that gold to carmel: christian centre. His first book was: Life is a Gold Mine: Can You Dig It? Since then Dr Stanko has had a number of works published. In the UK he’s particularly known for his book: A Daily Dose of Proverbs – A practical Guide to Uncommon Wisdom for Contemporary Living. Dr. Stanko encouraged us to do the things we love doing rather than submerge them under a false sense of humility as if God doesn’t want us to really enjoy life. Your past has played a key role in bringing you to where you are today. Don’t miss the gold it contains as though it has no bearing on your future. Esther in the Bible was ready for the challenges she was to face because of the treasure she had gleaned from her past.

With wit, wisdom and transparency, Dr Stanko challenged our paradigms, habits and religious maxims because they have the potential to prevent us living life to the full. He illuminated his message with many examples from the lives of biblical characters “A LIFE SERVING OTHERS and, in a lively, engaging style, IS A LIFE WELL LIVED!” punctuated them with hard-learned lessons from his own experience. He encouraged us to live out the certainties of God. With God there is no ‘maybe’, he said. God is clear about your purpose and He can use you now and work that purpose out in and through you even though, right now, you are still far from perfect. 24:7 5


MAKING A DIFFERENCE... Time and again the Bible tells us that Christians should be making a difference in society, but too often we wander in and out of society and nobody knows we are different to anyone else. This is a tragedy and is a result of us not bringing ourselves to the place of absolute abandonment to God so that He can begin to impress His image on us. So let us examine how we can become like Him and thus make a positive difference to our communities. >>There’s a race to run and a prize to win The ultimate prize at the end of a Christian’s life is that they be found in the image of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul likens the Christian life to running a race, and he encourages Christians to adopt all the same practices that athletes employ when preparing for a race in which they’re determined to win the prize. Preparation requires sacrifice, dedication and discipline that, at the time, may seem painful, but the joy of winning the prize will make it all worthwhile. The prize that Christians are running for is a spiritual prize and not a natural prize. It is important to understand that spiritual things came before natural things and the spiritual will outlast this world and will continue into eternity. >>Godly character provides strength and ability to run God wants us to concentrate and build on eternal things. This refers to our character which can be defined as our moral strength and moral quality. For example, if somebody has a reputation for being a good character we are assuming that, based upon God as the measuring stick, the person measures to God’s character and nature. Similarly, when we say someone is a bad character, we are referring to him being morally bankrupt, moved away from the standard of God. Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that ‘God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds: who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person’ – that word ‘express image’ in the Greek refers to ‘character’. This means – ‘one identical to the one that is pressing him’. This can be explained as taking a sealing stamp and pressing it on a piece of wax so the image from the stamp is impressed into the wax which then becomes an exact replica of the stamp. The verse is telling us that God’s Son is the ‘express image of His person’; and who is ‘His person’? It is God the Father.

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So we have a natural example in the Son of God as to God’s character and nature. THE CHARACTER OF GOD There are four foundational attributes in His relationship with us: >>01 Absolute Holiness There is no greater standard of holiness than God’s holiness, and this means to be separated from all that is impure and unclean, which is why nothing with sin can come into God’s presence. It will immediately be consumed by the holiness of God. So great is God’s holiness that when God was visiting the mountain during the time the Israelites were wandering in the desert, Moses warned them not to touch the mountain or they would surely die because they were not a holy people. >>02 Absolute Righteousness Righteousness means right standing with God. Righteousness is the establishment of a right relationship - primarily between God and people, but also between individuals. As Christians, we are made right in God’s sight because Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross opened the door enabling us to enter into a relationship with the holy God >>03 Absolute Love There is no greater love than God’s love for God so loved that He gave. That is love; that God was willing to give His life, willing to come and tabernacle, willing to walk amongst us, willing to shed His blood. The essence of love is giving and in the same way that God gave Himself for us, so our act of love should be giving of ourselves, first to God then to others. >>04 Absolute Faithfulness This is the way God deals with us. Even though we are faithless, He is a faithful God. When God cuts a covenant, that covenant stands as long as this world remains. So when God says, ‘I love you, nothing will separate Me from you,’ even though you are at your ugliest, your meanest, or you rebel, you shake your fist at God, or do whatever you want to do, He is still faithful to you, He is still looking out for you, He is still protecting you. You should have been dead the first time you ever rebelled, but because He loves you, and because He is faithful towards you, He protects you. God gives you every opportunity to respond to Him until this life ends.


GERRI DI SOMMA

We can follow the example of God’s faithfulness to us and copy it in our relationships with each other, and particularly between husbands and wives. Because of God’s spiritual covenant with the church, the bride of Christ, you can say, ‘That is why I feel safe because I know He is absolutely faithful towards me, He is loyal, He will never cheat on me and He will never lie to me or betray me.’ This is that same motivation, that same character that flows from Him to me and from me to my wife or husband. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES A CHRISTIAN MAKE? When people look at Christians, what should they see? >>01 Character not Gifts God wants to impress His image into us, so that when people see us, they don’t see our personality, they don’t see the gifting, but they see the character of God. In other words, when they come into your presence the sense of holiness, of God’s presence, His righteousness and love, will immediately overwhelm them to the point that they want to cry out, ‘Tell me about God, tell me about Jesus, there is something different about you.’ >>02 Humility not Material Pride Jeremiah 45:5 says ‘“And do you seek great things for yourself?”’ You see, so often we seek great things for ourselves ­­— a big house, fancy car, an airplane and everything else. But what’s really being asked here is, ‘Are you seeking great things for yourselves instead of seeking to be a great person?’ Do you understand – success is not measured on what you are able to do, success is measured on your obedience and submission to God. >>03 Spiritual Legacy not Temporal Acclaim How willing are you to allow the express image of God to impress itself upon you that through

you, you may be the expression of God? That’s being a great person. Then you will leave a legacy that will go many generations beyond you, you will be remembered as the person who remained faithful to God no matter what. >>04 Discerning not Uncertain or Distracted The more you become like Christ, the more you’ll instantly know what to do. You are able to discern between right and wrong, and it is not even a wrestling match, it is as simple as a – ‘Ok that is it, fine, I’m going that way.’ Then as you begin to change you will gain the respect of people that you interact with, and they will see that you are becoming a better person and they will respect you. WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL IT MAKE TO YOU? Your whole life journey must be striving for the prize of the high calling of God by asking, ‘How close can I get to God?’ The closer you get, the greater will be the things that God will impart to you, the greater responsibility, the greater the blessing God puts upon you. If you don’t first allow God to make a difference in you, you are not going to make a difference in your world. Unless you allow the express image of God to be molded in you and you become a reflection of the character and nature of God, you are not going to affect your family, your community or your church. It has got to be Jesus first, Jesus foremost, Jesus in everything. 24:7

CONTINUED IN THE NEXT ISSUE...

RUN FOR THE PRIZE

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SIX AFFIRMATIONS OF AN...

To make an affirmation is to declare positively, to confirm. The definition of ‘authentic’ is: being accurate, actual, authoritative, bona fide, certain, convincing, credible, dependable, factual and faithful. This is how the church should be - not weak, insipid and ineffective - if it is to reach the lost. Christians should live in God’s principles, not their emotions, because God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword, and separates soul, body and Spirit, thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12. ‘The church’ is not a building. The church consists of those who believe in Jesus Christ, who have the Holy Spirit dwelling within. In order to become the authentic church, there are six affirmations to implement from Colossians 3:12-17: >>01 ‘WE WILL ACCEPT YOU WHERE YOU ARE’ ‘…put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…’ Colossians 3:12.

Start with our own hearts and attitudes. None of us are finished products, and every day presents opportunities for God to challenge and change us.

It takes time for people who have lived without God to lose lifetime habits. When we obey God and ‘put on’ His godly attributes, He enables us to do whatever it takes to reach the lost and hurting. We may need to teach them life skills, as well as to learn and live God’s principles.

We must remain constantly open to allow Him to expose areas of darkness in our own lives and continue to mature. God cannot use Christians who think they are perfect and know everything.

An authentic church accepts people as they are, while challenging them and helping them to become like Christ. We will continue to accept and help them as they change, no matter what they do or how long it takes. The only exceptions are when people refuse help or don’t want to change. God does not override a person’s will and neither must we. 8

Let God’s love empower us to accept people as they are. The blood that flowed from Jesus’ veins to save us is the same blood that flowed for them. Once they are born again, even though they may still be doing things that seem weird to us, we must welcome them into the church and not judge them. We must not try to teach people how to live our culture, but the culture of the Kingdom; not teach them to be like us, but like Jesus.


GERRI DI SOMMA

We cannot change people. Unless we accept people as they are, we will drive them away, especially when we have never experienced the isolation, hurt, rejection or the abuse of those we encounter. God’s way allows people to change at their own pace as they apply His principles. The authentic church experiences the joys of seeing people grow, develop and become able to face life’s challenges God’s way. >>02 ‘WE WILL FORGIVE YOU WHEN YOU FALL’ ‘ …bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.’ Colossians 3:13. The authentic church recognises that there are no enduring relationships without forgiveness. Too often however our attitude and behaviour towards people changes when they don’t do what we want them to do, or they do something contrary to the Word of God. We avoid them or exclude them from relationship. Not only do we fail to realise that it is we who are acting against God’s Word but we risk falling into the same sin ourselves as Galatians 6:1 warns: ‘…if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.’ There are no big or little sins in the body of Christ. There is one sin that condemns you to eternity without God - the sin of unbelief. It is unbelief that says you can get away with something because nobody knows. If we are not forgiven on a daily basis we will not have the ability to forgive others. When there is no forgiveness, there is no demonstration of love and compassion for those who are hurting - and we cease to be an authentic church. Daily we mess up, which is why Jesus taught that daily we first need to ask God for our own forgiveness, and daily we need to release forgiveness to others. We also need to feed daily on God’s Word and thank Him for His mercy, which forgives us every time we fall. This will strengthen us to forgive others with the same measure of mercy God shows us.

>>The church consists of those who believe in Jesus Christ, who have the Holy Spirit dwelling within<< God is waiting for the lost to know His love. He’s been waiting for them all their lives, but He needs the authentic church to go out and tell people that He loves them and demonstrate His love. We do this first by realising it’s not our own love but God’s, and that we have to ‘put it on’ by drawing from God in our relationship with Him. When we operate in God’s love, we see people through God’s eyes. We will be able to love them even when they let us down, when they fail, when they make unwise decisions, when they sin, because we understand how precious they are. People avoid God because of sin in their lives. They feel unworthy, that God could never really love them because of what they’ve done and how they’ve lived. God’s love surpasses all knowledge, and so must ours if we are to lead them to be reconciled to Him. As we become more in touch with communities outside the church, we will meet people whose lives are controlled by drugs, alcohol, violence and abusive relationships. It is not our business to judge, but to love.

>>03 ‘WE WILL LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY’ ‘But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.’ Colossians 3:14.

If someone breaks the law, of course the penalty must be paid, but the authentic Christian will continue to love, support and visit in prison. If a church member commits a crime, however heinous, the authentic church which has ‘put on love’ won’t judge, won’t ostracise, but aim for him to be reconciled to God and to those who have been hurt or offended, and reconciled to his calling and to those he relates to in general.

God’s love is unconditional. He loves us no matter what we feel, think or do. His love is not restricted to the church - the Word tells us that He loves everyone in the world and longs for everyone to love Him. John 3:16.

God’s love in us transcends the inadequacies of human love. As we ‘put on love’ it binds people to Him and to one another because it is ‘the bond of perfection’ which affirms the authentic church. 9


GERRI DI SOMMA >>04 ‘WE WILL REMAIN AT PEACE AND BE THANKFUL’ ‘And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.’ Colossians 3:15. Peace for many Christians evaporates when bad things happen to them. But, for example, if a person loses a job and peace goes, it indicates that trust and faith was in the job and the employer, not in the Creator. God can be trusted to provide another job. In order for God’s peace to rule in our lives, our hearts and minds must not be captivated by our circumstances but by what the Word of God says. As we remain peaceful and thankful, His peace moves us through the situation. Although we may not always understand what’s happening, faith enables us to trust that even in difficult circumstances God will be glorified. He has a plan and a purpose for us and for others that He wants to reach through our experience. You see, the most powerful testimony Christians can give to others is when trouble and chaos reign all around, but our words and actions demonstrate calm and peace. This amazes people, and they ask for an explanation. >>05 ‘WE WILL SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD RICHLY, NOT COMPROMISING ON ITS TRUTH’ ‘Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.’ Colossians 3:16. Instead of seeking God, today’s church has become seeker-sensitive. We compromise the Word to avoid offending people; we apologise for speaking in tongues, even though it is a sign for the unbeliever. 1 Corinthians 14:22. We make excuses for the gifts and moving of the Holy Spirit; we quench the Spirit and prevent people from knowing that God is present. God and His Word are one, and He stands over His Word to perform it. Jeremiah 1:12; Isaiah 55:11. We’re actually saying that we don’t need the presence of God, the Holy Spirit, that we’re good enough to reach people without His help. This is pride and deception. What God demands – not what society requires. The authentic church lives by the principles revealed in the Word and is unafraid to declare its truth. This is not always easy or comfortable, because society’s values frequently oppose God’s principles. For example, Britain has banned smacking children, but the Bible commands it to establish obedience. When Christians stand firm, upholding and declaring this truth, frustrated parents who have tried everything else and failed, turn to God’s wisdom and see success. 10

The compromised message makes people with messed-up lives feel good, telling them that God loves them, but that they don’t need to change. The message from the authentic church says they need the Saviour, that because of the damage to their lives, they need to be delivered and the only way forward is through the power, anointing and presence of God. The authentic church has the Word indwelling richly, demonstrating life. Paul said, ‘…my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.’ 1 Corinthians 2:4. Man’s wisdom sometimes uses the Word to judge or destroy, or to force change. We must use the Word effectively to illustrate what it says about each situation, but we must recognise that it is God who brings about inward change. We should present people with the uncompromised Word, but let them make their own choices. ‘…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life…’ Deuteronomy 30:19. >>06 ‘WE WILL LIVE EXCLUSIVELY FOR JESUS’ ‘And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’ Colossians 3:17. The authentic Christian is consistent, behaving the same way at home, at work and in church. This only becomes possible through living our lives for Jesus, allowing Him to work in and through us. When we allow the nature of God to invade, He puts His Spirit in us, writes His laws on our heart and enables us to keep them. The reason we don’t keep them is because we separate our Christian life from the rest of our life. The authentic church is sensitive to the Holy Spirit dwelling within, and guided by the Spirit in all life. Authentic Christians are mature, and choose life by making right choices, such as being honest, keeping to speed limits, not taking personal advantage of the workplace or sampling the fruit in the supermarket. This is living exclusively for Jesus. Authentic Christians thank God... for His grace, His mercy, His fellowship, His Spirit and His Word that continually keeps us every step of every day in every way. Ask God to change you so that you can live and demonstrate His truth in a real and relevant way, accepting people as they are and helping them to change as they experience God’s love. 24:7


PRAYER WORKS

HEALING

STREAMS MICHELLE DI SOMMA In April I had to fly out urgently to South Africa because my Dad had become ill. Initially they told us that he had an inoperable brain tumour. When I arrived on the Monday the report was really negative and the doctor said that once they go in to do the operation, if they find any other tumours in the body they would not be able to do anything for my Dad. But they operated on the Wednesday and found no other tumours, so they continued with the operation on his brain. But in the meantime God had given me a promise from Psalm 41:1-3: ‘Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.’ I knew God was assuring me that all would be well. And all was well: when the doctors did the histology report, they discovered that not only had the tumour begun to die but there was absolutely no cancer in it. Yes, prayer really works. BERYL STANLEY Ten years ago I was knocked down while on a pedestrian crossing and, despite medical help, have been in constant pain ever since. During one Sunday service, as the Holy Spirit was moving among us, I went forward for prayer with many other people. It was Pastor Gerri’s daughter Tasha who laid hands on me. As she did, something like static electricity went through my body and I ended up sitting on the floor. After a few minutes I was helped to my feet and

returned to my seat and as I sat there I suddenly realized I didn’t hurt anymore. So I started telling people: ‘I’ve got no pain.’ The joy of it is not just that I have no pain, but that I can now sleep through the night; I can go for walks beyond just the area around my house. A couple of days after I was healed I walked slowly for about an hour and a half around my neighbourhood. I really enjoyed it. I can kneel; I haven’t done that in years. I’ve been up a ladder for the first time to reach for a vase. I found myself constantly grinning; it’s such a change. FATIMA SIBANDA My two girls had been sick with diarrhoea; we prayed and they quickly recovered. However, the same sickness hit me, adding dizziness and headaches. I couldn’t eat and became too weak to do anything – it was food poisoning. We prayed through the week and by Sunday morning I was taking soup, but was still being sick. Yet I was determined to go to church because I knew there was healing in God’s presence. As the worship started I couldn’t lift my hands or sing, but I said, ‘Lord, I’ve come here to be healed; I want to praise you.’ The church was singing, ‘There’s healing in the name of Jesus,’ and I said, ‘Lord, I know it, but just look at me; deliver me so I can worship you.’ Later, Pastor Gerri called those needing healing to the front of the auditorium. I struggled there, but knew God had granted the desire of my heart. As he prayed for me, I sensed the amazing power of the presence of God. The dizziness, headache and feelings of nausea went. Strength came back and I was filled with laughter, and I left carmel: that morning rejoicing that I was well again and enjoyed a hearty lunch without sickness or nausea. 24:7 11


‘Michelle Di Somma, founder and host of carmel: annual ‘Exceptional’ conferences, encourages you to draw from the Word to cultivate a godly response during life’s ‘Exceptional Seasons.’ THE NATURAL AND THE SPIRITUAL We are all aware of earth’s natural seasons, but perhaps may not fully recognise spiritual seasons in our lives. God’s Word helps our understanding by revealing a correlation between the natural and the spiritual. In the natural, often wind changes herald a new season. The same applies in the spiritual realm, where the wind of the Holy Spirit blows different seasons in our lives. It is God who creates the wind, both naturally and spiritually. ‘…He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what his thought is…, the Lord God of Hosts is His name.’ Amos 4:13. He creates the wind for our benefit, causing the supernatural to produce results in the natural. ‘… a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quail…’ Numbers 11:31. We must welcome the supernatural to affect our natural lives. Even in the natural, we cannot see the wind itself, only its effects: >>01 The north wind brings rain and cold. Proverbs 25:23; Job 37:9. >>02 The south wind brings hot weather. Luke 12:55. >>03 The east wind causes withering and sweeping away. Ezekiel 17:10; Job 27:21. >>04 The west wind blows away destructive elements. Exodus 10:19. We need the winds of all four seasons to live, which Ezekiel demonstrated when he prophesied: 12

“...‘Thus said the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’ Ezekiel 37:9. GOD’S COMPLETENESS The Bible reveals four winds, four seasons, four rivers, four living creatures and four corners of the earth. ‘Four’ speaks of union and completeness - nothing can be added or subtracted. We cannot change what God has perfectly created - North, South, East and West; winter, summer, autumn and spring. They are already set and complete. THE WINDS OF CHANGE ‘Change’ means to cause to turn, to pass from one state to another or the beginning of something new. Seasons will come and go, but each one is new, bringing about a different effect in order for God to establish His purpose for us. When the wind of God blows in our lives we should expect change and not resist it. GOD’S TIMES AND SEASONS Each season is an appointed, specific time in our lives. ‘To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:’ Ecclesiastes 3:1. ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time.’ Ecclesiastes 3:11. We can’t determine or alter a season, and we actually put ourselves at risk if we fail to recognise or respect each season; for example, by wearing summer clothes in freezing winter. If we could choose the pleasant and easy, we would eventually experience destruction. Constant hot weather brings drought, famine and death; constant rain results in floods, disease and death. That’s why we need God’s complete balance of all the seasons


Empowered MICHELLE DIWomen SOMMA RECOGNISE, ACCEPT AND FLOW WITH EACH SEASON Many believers mistakenly think that the Christian life will be without challenges and difficulties, and are shocked and disappointed when hard seasons come. Like ostriches, we may bury our heads in the sand and hope that when we re-emerge everything will be better. Instead, we discover we are still in that same season because we haven’t done what God required of us in that time and have failed to let God’s wind change us. Rather than rescuing us from hardship, God equips us to cope with life when we recognise, accept and flow with Him in each season, whatever it may bring. In fact, the Word tells us to consider hardship and trials as joy. James 1:2. This really does become possible if you learn to recognise the positive things that the season is producing in you. Then, when you know God is at work, you can actually enjoy each season. PRAY FOR STRENGTH However hard or long a season may be, the Word does not tell us to pray for a change of season. Rather it warns us not to grow weary, and to pray for strength in that situation so that ‘…in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.’ Galatians 6:9. When God strengthens you, you will not give up, but trust Him and receive faith to persevere. When you follow these God-given principles, it’s not a question of ‘if’ the season will change, but ‘when’ it will change, because the change is certain. RECOGNISE EACH SEASON’S PURPOSE Every season has a natural and a spiritual purpose which God will bring about as you persevere. In hard times, if you allow yourself to become despondent and run from the situation, you move out of God’s will. However painful your situation may be, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, get excited about what God wants to do. Welcome each season and allow God’s purpose to be made manifest in your life. HAVE FAITH – GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU We don’t like it when storms come. Even with Jesus in the boat, and His promise that they were going to the other side of the lake, the disciples were afraid when a storm blew. Jesus challenged them and asked, ‘“Where is your faith?”’ Luke 8:22-25. He reminded them of the importance of trusting His Word no matter what the circumstances. You need to know that God has a plan and a purpose for everyone’s future, plans which are specific and deliberate for each of us. Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 139.

He doesn’t want you to live my plan or me to live yours, so don’t be envious of the lives and seasons of others. PREPARE IN EACH SEASON A tree goes through all four seasons but produces only one crop of fruit in the right season. In the unfruitful seasons, be patient, stick with God’s plan for you and you will become a fruit bearer who has something to give others. When you experience a good season, don’t sit back and relax, but do what you can to prepare for whatever is on its way. One summer while in Africa, we noticed how many people had flu. This was because the winter had been so mild that it hadn’t killed off the flu bugs. Winter comes so that what needs to die must die. As seasonal changes come and you flow with God in them, there may be things in your life that need to die. Let go of ungodly desires, relationships and habits and allow God to move you on to greater heights. Springtime is the season for preparing the soil and planting, as you prepare for future growth. Summer and autumn are the seasons for harvesting what God has worked in your life. DON’T RESIST YOUR SEASON Noah recognised God’s season and prepared for the next with faith and obedience. For 120 years he built the ark; he didn’t resist or grow weary. Even when the flood came and he was shut in the ark with all the animals for 150 days, he didn’t lose heart, complain or fear for his life. There was only one door in the ark. There is only one way to God, Jesus Christ, and He is your answer no matter what the season. There was only one window, right at the top of the ark. I believe God’s purpose for it being located there was so those inside could only look at the heavens and not the circumstances. Genesis 8:1 tells us that God remembered Noah and He ‘…made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.’ That was the wind of change for Noah. The ark landed on Mount Ararat, a name which means ‘the place of pain.’ Through a long season of pain, God delivered Noah, his family, and all future generations, as well as the animal kingdom, into a new season. In every season you experience, remember that God will not forget you. He will strengthen you as you allow Him to work His purpose in your life. And as you trust and obey Him, He will send a wind to change each season and bring a harvest in its due time. May you truly enjoy your ‘Exceptional Seasons.’ 24:7

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CARMEL LEADERSHIP ACADEMY – UGANDA MISS

Students and friends of carmel: leadership academy flew into Kampala on the 22nd April for a two-week mission under the supervision of Rev Robert Baker, head of Missions at carmel: ministries international. With his wife, Mary, Rev Baker had organised a full prograMmE so the students would get the maximum exposure to missions work in the short time there. The following are some of the comments they made in the reports they wrote on return as part of their mission’s assignment: Epi Sibindi: This was my first mission trip and I didn’t know what to expect, but I saw the Bible coming alive in miracles and testimonies, and many people being saved. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality in the churches we visited and their determination to build God’s house was impressive. The mission was a very practical experience with ample opportunities to minister. At a personal level, it was a growing experience for me, and I thank God for the lessons I learnt and will treasure the experience I gained on this mission trip. Jamshaid Tariq: It’s a poor country and people work very hard. We were involved in a crusade and their worship team was great and many people accepted Christ. There was one woman who had been suffering for 14 years and she was healed. We also worked with children and one day we composed a play after which a lot of children accepted Christ. I enjoyed my first mission trip very much. We all made a good team and the people appreciated what we did.

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Emma Reinsch: On our first day, a lady called Eva arrived and became our guide for the two weeks. She looked after us very well. That afternoon we met with one of the Pastors and his evangelism team and often we had to talk to people through translators, which was quite a challenge.

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The crusade in the evenings was amazing. We sat on a stage which wasn’t all that strong. When it came time to pray for the sick, a lot came forward to pray about jobs, husbands, children and all sorts of things as well. Esther Lambert: We had lots of fun together as a team and it was a privilege to submit to Pastor Bob and Mary as our leaders. We had to rely on the Holy Spirit all the time. On one occasion I was praying with two ladies in their home and the word got out, so we were welcomed into many other homes to pray. At the crusade there were lots of salvations and healings. About 90% of the 800 plus people who attended each night wanted prayer. One person was healed of the HIV virus. He was so ill before the crusade that his family were preparing his funeral. When we left he was working. It was while on this mission that God confirmed to me my calling to minister to those people who have been rejected by society, those who have no hope. Simon Cowling: I had been before, so this time I wasn’t so shocked by some of the things we saw. Things are so different when evangelising there. People seemed to understand about being born again. We also had to deal with the demonic and I was thankful for the experience of Pastor Bob, who was at hand to help. At one stage we also went to pray at ‘Prayer Mountain’ which was some distance away overlooking Lake Victoria. Because of my involvement with the sound set up at carmel:, I spent some time with the cusade sound controller because of the need they had to improve things. I was l so able to do this for one of the churches we went to.


SION 2008

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Alison Shelper: Meeting people where they lived was such a blessing, though it was quite an eye-opener to see the conditions they were in. We found that some people were quite literally waiting for someone to preach to them. Even so, it was strange that some of the Ugandans wanted to argue over doctrine while we evangelised. Pastor Bob, Mary and I went to the national Christian radio station for a 1-hour slot. Pastor Bob spoke for about half-an-hour and we answered many questions. The programme DJ told us that many Christians went from church to church and that churches often lacked any structure. They feared discipleship, he said, because they had heard about ‘heavy shepherding’ and the problems it caused. So we talked about authority in the church. Paul and Clare Isbell: The people at the crusade seemed to come from nowhere, but they streamed in; hundreds of them. While on outreach during the day we had seen some of them in their homes. I couldn’t forget the impoverished conditions and I was reminded of how Jesus reached out and had compassion on the crowds. And He did, again, at the crusade meetings where so many were healed, delivered and received answers to their prayers. In the second week we organised a picnic for about 200 – 300 children at the Harvest Church School. Word got round. Nearly 500 turned up. We needed all the skills we had. At the school itself, children were packed into small rooms with earth floors. Many of the teachers hadn’t been paid recently. The head teacher, himself an orphan, was provided for by Missionaries. We told the story of the fourth man in the fire from the book of Daniel and we sang ‘Our God is able, Our God is mighty…’ It was such a

privilege to see about 100 children come forward to make a commitment to Jesus. Pastor Bob and Mary Baker: The Mission was organised with the help of Pastor Peter Mutebi of Bugalobi Rural Evangelical Centre, Pastor Herman Sentamu of Passover Harvest Church and Dr John Nuwagaba of Bukoto Rural Evangelical Church. The students were kept busy and each one had opportunity to minister during the crusade or in a church service. They were all well received. Paul, Clare and Alison, who were not part of the leadership academy, had been before and their experience and individual capabilities were a great help. Pastor Peter Mutebi brought the crusade to an early close because so many responded to the gospel. He had a piece of ground levelled so a tent could be put up and a church started. We received an email from him a short while ago in which he says: ‘We recently established a church at the tent in Kitintale, the turn up is overwhelming. About 2000 people attend Sunday morning services and about 40 people get saved each week …. I have never experienced such in 20 years I have been pastoring.’ It was an honour to lead such a team and each one is a credit to carmel: leadership academy. The door is open for continued participation in Uganda and there is need for a Bible College to be planted there. 24:7

>>The students were kept busy and each one had opportunity to minister during the crusade or in a church service.<< 15


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TwentyFour7 Issue 19  

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