Today we launched the vision we have as a church. You can read it here
Today we launched the vision we have as a church. You can read it here
All through the scriptures we hear of God’s people re-telling what God has done and in doing this review of 2017, I seek to give God the glory in terms of what He has done. I’m not here to glory in what we have done as ICF, but I seek to point to what God has done through us and among us and around us.
In January 2017, we started a series on Sunday mornings in 1st Peter entitled – living a Godly Lifestyle.
Now this series was something that was on my heart to preach on towards the end of 2016, and I must say, I was not expecting the series to finish in November 2017 – after all there are only 5 chapters in 1st Peter.
We’ve covered a lot of ground, dealing with subjects like grace, peace, hope, suffering, holiness in our individual lives, holiness in the church, holiness in the world in that we are aliens and strangers in this world. We’ve looked at what it means to obey God and not man, entrusting our hurts and suffering caused by others to Him who judges justly. We’ve looked at home life, the integrity of our characters, the thrill of knowing Jesus. We’ve encouraged ourselves to apply the teaching Peter has given to our minds and to our lives; to let the light of Christ shine through us irrespective of our circumstance, to be humble and to stand firm in our faith in Christ.
In bringing the word of God to you through this series, I have been so challenged in my own life and I trust that challenge has come through to your own lives to live a godly lifestyle where you are, in the circumstance that you find yourself in, because the living hope that we have in Jesus Christ needs to be very real in our hearts as we face on the onslaught of this world and the suffering and trials of many kinds we face, while we are in this world.
In February, we launched small group bible studies. The heart behind these groups was to provide a means of discipleship, for deeper study of the word of God. Discipleship is so important because if we are to make disciples we are to be disciples, so, God willing, more of these groups will be taking place over 2018, and more people will be leading groups. Our vision for these small groups is that they are happening all over the city and beyond, for people to learn together, fellowship together, and grow in their faith together.
The other reason for running these groups was to provide a place where people who come to know Jesus can get ready access to small group bible teaching to allow for nurture and growth. If we are believing for people to come to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour, then we need the infrastructure in place to allow people coming into relation with Christ to grow in their faith, and small group bible study is one such component of that growth.
At the end of 2016, as an eldership, we also believed God was wanting us to focus on mission, and so in February 2017, on Sunday evenings we started bringing teaching on mission, and what it means for us as individuals; because we are all called to be His ambassadors, all called to share Jesus with others.
In March 2017, we just did more of the same; Preaching through 1 Peter, teaching on Mission and running small group bible studies.
In April, we kicked off with Chris Williams’ ordination as a Prophet in the body of Christ. We are so blessed to have 5 fold ministry being recognised in and operating in and from ICF, and we are believing for all 5 ministries of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher all to be recognised and all to be operating within ICF. Why? Because they are essential
for the equipping of the body of Christ for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.
In May, Nick Watson from Brisbane in Australia was over in Scotland again, and we took the opportunity to have him minister among us and once again we were blessed with prophetic words and healing, spoken over, and experienced, in people’s lives and for that we give God glory.
In May we also took part in the National campaign of Thy Kingdom Come to pray for others to come to know Jesus, and we used the Try Praying booklets as a tool to use and then lose, as we gave it away to someone. This was just one outworking of our heart for mission that we believed God was wanting us to focus on in 2017.
June was a special month. We hosted the Big Lunch here in MCC and that was a wonderful way of inviting the community for lunch on us, and around 50-70 people from the community came along to that. It was such a great opportunity to serve the community in which we worship, a great opportunity to meet people in the community; to reach out beyond the walls of the church.
And our heart remains to be church in the community as a pre-requisite to community coming to church. Our heart is to keep looking for those opportunities to bless the community and to minister within the community and the Lord has opened the doors for us to do so in 2017, not only in the big lunch but also in other ways that I will come onto later.
In June we also held a baptismal service with Rachel Spriggs and David Murray going through the waters of baptism and that was such a blessed occasion that gave God the glory. Baptism is not a means of salvation but a public declaration of what has already taken place, and we would want to encourage anyone who knows and loves Jesus as their Saviour to be baptised in water as a public declaration of your faith in Christ. And if you’ve not been baptised as a believer in Jesus, then I would encourage you to be baptised in 2018.
July was another special month. MCC had asked us to run their kids week as part of their 40th celebration and so we ran Superheroes with the centre’s full blessing to tell bible stories and it was a brilliant week. Over 60 children came through the doors for the kids club and all of them went away singing Jesus you’re my superhero!
I feel blessed to know the Lord is opening doors for us to walk though – whether it’s the big lunch or the kids week and my prayer is that we will continue to see God move to open doors for His love to be expressed, not only this community, but in the city of Inverness. We do not despise the day of small things and if we do at least these 2 things again in 2018, then we`re believing we will see more people come and be influenced for Jesus, than we saw in 2017.
July also saw a change of focus for Sunday evenings, by running the Life Explored series over the summer holiday period. For those who attended, it was, on the whole, profitable allowing an missional focus and discuss questions that those who have no knowledge of God may ask, and how we as, those who have Christ in our lives, how we might answer them.
At the end of August we held our annual convention, where our national leader, Tim Jack came and shared with us. What an encouragement and challenge that was to us. He encouraged and challenged us with the importance to get into and be in the presence of God, to get into His presence to gain that renewal for ministry, that recharge for service, that release into action for His glory, and to do the will of God in reaching others for Jesus.
Yet another reminder that all we are and all we do needs to be focused on the Lord and His glory – we had been saying the same thing in different ways throughout the year, and Tim brought that home to us with an authority to encourage us that we’re on the right track with what God is requiring of us.
Through September we continued with our routine activities, and held the Ladies Banquet as an expression of valuing and encouraging the ladies in our fellowship.
And at the end October, the weekly Superheroes kids club started and so far 15 kids have come along to that club and we are believing it will grow as it continues next year. That weekly kids club started with a vision that Karen had, and she came and spoke to us as an eldership to share that vision, and we were delighted to just release her into that with the financial and practical resources needed to get it rolling. Again another example of being church in the community and God opening doors for us to walk through.
You know between the kids week in July and the weekly kids club being run on Monday’s, over 70 different children have come under the influence of the gospel. That’s 70 more than we reached in 2016. And we are believing for many more in 2018, and we are believing that those kids, and their parents, and family members and friends will come to faith in Jesus.
At the start of November, Isobel Watson shared with us on a Sunday evening with a ministry for healing and that was a great evening. Again, Isobel came and shared her heart with us as an eldership and we were only too pleased to provide the opportunity to bring that ministry that we believe God is using her, and will use her, in.
Also in November, Paul Howells came to bring ministry and once more we were encouraged and challenged to be involved in the growing of church. That Jesus is building His church through people like us. Two things that he said really stuck in my mind:
He also said that building church is not like building up – like the Tower of Babel to make a name for ourselves, but building out. Stretch the tent pegs, expand the boundary.
And I want you to hear our heart in this. Coming to the eldership team with a vision you have, like Karen did for Superheroes, or a significant word or ministry you feel you have, like Isobel did, communicates to us a humble and servant heart. It allows us to pray together, talk together about how we can help develop, support the ministry. And sometimes we may feel the timing is not right but other times we can say Amen and provide the support (practically and financially) to see a vision or ministry developed. It expands the tent. It stretches the boundaries and that’s what we want to see happen for God’s glory. To influence and impact Inverness, the Highlands and the world, for Jesus
And then finally in December we had our Advent series taken from the gospel of Luke.
Through the year
Running through all of the year have been those regular activities of the weekly prayer meetings – essential because prayer precedes any move of God; we’ve being having the twice monthly ministry into Highview, there has been the monthly cherish and book club meeting, the youth and kids ministry, leadership and eldership meetings, pastoral care, etc.
People have been added to our number, we’ve lost people from our number, but we are more in 2017 than we were in 2016 – God is bringing the increase and we give Him all the glory.
So what’s next?
Well, starting in January 2018 I’m going to be sharing our vision as a church and preaching through Acts 2 – Acts 11 as the baseline, as the template, for what church is all about.
And our prayer is that you will catch that vision, and have faith for that vision and then each of us play our part in obedience so that the vision can be realised. Our vision strap-line is Influencing and Impacting Inverness, the Highlands and the world.
We want to be people that influence for Jesus not only in Inverness, but across the highlands and the globe. We want this gospel of Jesus to positively impact not just Inverness and the Highlands but also the world. We say this because we do not want to limit what God is able to do, because God is not bound by any limits, and neither should we. We live for His glory.
So as re reflect on 2017, let’s give God thanks and as we look forward to 2018, lets press on and have the vision, the faith and the obedience, in the context of being a healthy church, to glorify God, reach the lost and develop the found.
Robbie Halkett, Pastor, 31 Dec 2017
We are looking forward to our next Highland Apostolic Convention which we are calling “Now is the Time”. We are very excited to have Tim & Anita Jack with us and Tim will be sharing with us on Saturday morning, Saturday evening and then on Sunday morning. We are also delighted to have Out of the Box ministering to the kids while the 3 sessions are taking place.
The following slides tell you all you need to know for our upcoming weekend
We started this series on church from Revelation 1-3 by asking the question, what does Jesus have to say to church.
But before we could answer that question, we first of all needed to get a fresh vision of Jesus, and what we discovered is that Jesus needs to be central to everything we do as a church, that He is among the church empowering us, interceding for us, purifying us, directing us, speaking with my Authority to us and equipping us. And that caused us, as it were, to fall at His feet in worship for who He is and for not only what He has done, but for what He is doing among us.
He them places His right hand on our shoulder and gives us a purpose – a work to do – and He says…
I know you; I know your deeds; You are faithful people and I love you; I know everything about you and there are areas of you life I want to touch because I love you.
I want you to find again that love that you had for me at first; I want you to go back to the cross and find again the love that you had for me where nothing was impossible, where faith said you and me Lord, we can do anything. So I ask you to repent and love me again with a passion that is second to none.
I want you to know that when suffering comes into your life, not to be afraid, for I am the one who has suffered and understands suffering more than anyone, but I have come out the other side victorious, so do not be afraid, just be faithful
I want you to know that sometimes there are things that creep into our lives that ought not to be there, for some of you there are areas of your life that do not bring glory to my name, so I ask that you repent and put that right for as I am holy, I call you to be holy
I want you to know that it’s not enough just to tolerate teaching that is against my word and not say anything, but you need to speak out and take a stand for the truth, for I am the truth. For when you take a stand for the truth of my word, you take a stand for me.
These are the fundamentals of what my church should be, Jesus says, but Jesus also says there is more in me, there is always more in me, and I want to communicate what church can be
I need to shake you to wake you because there is a purpose from me that you have received and heard. There is a task unfinished and that task needs to be progressed because time is short and you don’t want to be caught sleeping when I come
There is before you an open door. I have opened that door for you to step through in faith knowing that things will be different, but that change is into a new place for I am doing a new thing among you and when you step through that door into a new place, you will find that my grace and favour towards you will be outpoured in a way you have never known before, and when you step through that door you are believing the time is short and that I am coming soon. You are active in the task that is unfinished
But in all that church should be and all that church can be there is one thing that makes all of that possible. And that is a relationship with me, Jesus says. It is a relationship that I desire. I knock at the door of your life and I long for you to open the door of your lives to me – all the doors – and welcome me in. This is not about you coming to me for my door is always open for you, this is about you opening the door of your lives to me and wanting me in your life. For I long for you to get to know me. I know you, I know everything about you but I still want to have that relationship, that personal best friend forever relationship with you.
That is the desire of Jesus. That all church should be and can be is achieved through relationship with Jesus. For He is the one that can empowers us, intercedes for us, purify us, direct us, speak with authority to us and equip us so that we can glorify Him and be the people and the church He calls us to be.
Our best days are ahead of us in God. To move into that we need a fresh vision of Jesus.
Why do we need a fresh vision of Jesus? A fresh vision of Jesus
1. keeps Christ central to all that He wants to do among us and say to us
2. causes us to worship Him for who He is and what He’s done, is doing, and will do
3. enables us to respond in action to His call
What is the vision we need of Jesus? The vision we need is to understand what our Lord is doing in our church even now present among us. He is
1. empowering the church;
2. interceding for the church;
3. purifying the church;
4. speaking with authority to the church through His Word;
5. giving order to the church through leadership;
5. equipping the church;
6. and being glorified in the church
So when we start to look at what Jesus had to say to church in terms of what church looks like, we need to have that fresh vision of know the context of why He says what He says.
And He places His right hand on us and tells us not to be afraid to move into his purposes for He is the First and Last, the living One, who was dead and is now alive forever and ever and who holds the keys of death and hades.
Thank You, Lord!
It’s all about Jesus.
In line with what we did last year, we will once more be spending the month of January in prayer, together, as a church. January 2016 is about seeking His face.
So how is this going to work?
We will be holding church prayer meetings every Tuesday evening in January and also after the church service every Sunday Morning in January. There will be no Sunday evening meetings in January. We are also encouraging every Tuesday in January 2016 to be a day of fasting, if you are able.
The intercessory prayer meeting will not be taking place on Wednesday evenings during the month of January but, as last year, if you are willing to host a prayer meeting on a weekly basis through the week, please get in touch so that we can put the details in the newsletter. The more prayer, the better 🙂 The only thing that we would ask is that if you are hosting a prayer meeting outside of the scheduled church prayer meetings, please can you let Robbie or Chris know anything you feel God is saying at these meetings, so that we can get a sense of what God is saying through the whole month.
What are the themes?
The image above says “Keep Calm and Seek His Face” and that word FACE, is also going to help us, because we are going to use that as an acronym to the themes we are going to be praying into.
F will stand for Family.
A will stand for Anointing.
C will stand for Community.
E will stand for Expectation.
1. Seeking His Face on Family.
By family we mean church family. Scripture has much to say on how we we are to be with one another.
To be devoted to one another
Honour one another above ourselves
Live in harmony with one another
To love one another
To not pass judgement on one another
To instruct one another
Greeting one another
Agree with one another
Serve one another
Be kind and compassionate to one another
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ
Encourage one another
Scripture also talks about unity and how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity. That there be no divisions among us, that we may be united in love.
But also throughout scripture we see the practical aspects of care that is so essential in any church.
So as well as praying for each other and with each other, we will be praying into these themes regarding one another, regarding unity, regarding care because at the foundation is love. Love for God and love for one another. Because the church is made up of people, living stones, and those stones need to be held together in love – Jesus said that by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.
2. Seeking His face on Anointing.
This is specifically oriented to the prophetic word brought to us as a church on 13th December: To find our role and place within the church.
We all have a role but I different roles, but we have a commonality in our different roles in that both are equally vital.
But not only that we will be praying that the gifts God gives by His Spirit will be manifest among us. The gift of prophecy, healing, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, leadership, administration, compassion, giving, the list could go on – that spiritual gifts will be evident by their operation among us – why? So that those who come in openly declare, that surely God is among us. A place where His Spirit dwells and moves.
We are going to be praying for the anointing of God to come not only on this place, but on each one of us whether we are involved in spiritual ministry or practical ministry because what turns a role in the church from a chore and a duty is the anointing.
3. Seeking His face on Community.
And when we were praying at a leaders meeting about what pray about in January, there were 2 pictures the Lord brought that really spoke into this area.
The first one what that the streets of Merkinch were covered in seeds. Mustard seeds to be precise. The second one was a picture of an old fashioned telephone box on the roundabout that is in the middle of South Kessock. That spoke to us in a number of ways – firstly the need for 1:1 communication being central. But also it spoke to us that going to a telephone box to have a conversation and that there would be cost involved
And so we when we come to that theme, we will not only be praying for the community – but to pray that we will be vessels that water the seeds that are sown, to have those 1:1 conversations, and that God will move us to go, irrespective of the cost.
4. Seeking His face on Expectation
And finally, we pray into Expectation. A couple of passages, one in the New Testament and one in the Old Testament, to illustrate.
The first was regarding the upper room when the disciples had seen Jesus ascend and were now waiting for the promised Holy Spirit. They were in prayer daily, waiting. And the picture is this.
Day 1, they prayed expecting Holy Spirit to come. Nothing happened.
Day 2, they prayed expecting Holy Spirit to come. Nothing happened. Did not stop them praying.
Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 etc.
Then the Day of Pentecost came and boom. The Holy Spirit came – did the disciples know when that Day would arrive? No, but God did and it did arrive because Jesus had promised it and the disciples were ready for it because they expected it.
The second example was Elijah on top of Mount Carmel. Elijah had just proved that Lord is God and all the prophets of Baal were slaughtered, then Elijah said to Ahab that there was the sound of heavy rain: Ahab went off and Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel with his servant and started praying. He told his servant to look towards the sea. Nothing. Elijah prayed again then sent his servant to look towards the sea. Nothing. 7 times Elijah prayed and on the 7th time that the servant went to check, a cloud as small as a man’s hand was rising from the sea. The heavy rain was coming.
The Lord had told Elijah what was coming, and Elijah prayed into it. Each time expecting the prayer to be answered, but when it was not he prayed again expecting and then on the 7th time it happened and Elijah was ready. Is there a significance on the 7th time? Only that 7 is a number used to illustrate perfection, in that in God’s perfect timing God’s answer will come.
The promises of God will be fulfilled. What God says to us is going to happen, will happen – it will happen in His perfect timing, and we’re going to be praying into these things and we’re going to be praying expectantly.
So in conclusion, In January 2016, we will seek His face for Family, Anointing, Community and Expectancy because it covers everything we desire church to be – unstoppable. The Lord has been faithful to us, leading us, in 2015 and I know He will do the same in 2016.
There will be times of blessing, there will be times of trouble, but He is faithful and as we seek His face, we will find Him, when we seek Him with all our heart.
Prayer precedes any move of God and in 2016 we are praying that individually and corporately we will be a place with God dwells and moves, to His glory and praise.
Speak Lord, your servants are listening.
1 Corinthians 15
The resurrection chapter.
v3 says 3 most important things.
Paul returns to where he started in chapter 1 : Christ and Him crucified and devotes the whole chapter to resurrection!
We are amazed at doctors, nurses, paramedics, surgeons etc. they can resuscitate; but we are not talking about that – we are talking about resurrection
Ezekiel 37: dry bones vision. That is resurrection and one day it’s going to happen
Job: though worms eat my flesh yet I will see see you! He has the hope of resurrection!
Daniel: sees humanity rising from the dust of the earth. He sees the resurrection. (Dan Ch 24)
What’s important about resurrection?
If no resurrection then we are men most miserable because preaching, faith is in vain. There is no hope.
Channel tunnel: goes into English side and comes out the French side. If not then we’d be left wondering and darkness would win the day. Jesus went into tunnel of death and came out the other side!
How do we know Jesus is alive? Paul says He was seen by people and seen by himself! We know because we met with Christ, because we have a personal relationship with him. He lives within my heart. People can’t take away our experience of Him.
v32 says do you think Paul would lay his life on the line for things that are rubbish?
Then he starts talking about resurrection of people who believe in Jesus. Not just the engine driver gets out the tunnel but everyone on the train! Like putting a bulb in ground will come out completely different, so too
Paul ends with “O death where is thy sting… Grave where is your victory?”.
Bible talks of 2 resurrections. Dan 12 says some raised to eternal life and some to eternal death. 1st resurrection is the rapture, after the millennium is second resurrection. What’s important is we are in the first and that we are ready.
Let’s know excitement of resurrection!
We are delighted to have Pastor Eric Parker with us for our anniversary weekend on 5&6th September 2015
Eric is the senior pastor at The Ark, Dover and a member of the UK Apostolic Leadership Team and Director of Mission of ActionOverseas. He has previously served as a pastor in Inverness and Tain.
Eric has a strong ministry that encourages change and he loves to see God’s Spirit move, he is passionate about seeing people saved and moving on in their walk with God.
Anniversary Praise Evening
Where: Merkinch Community Centre.
When: 5th Sept 2015 at 5pm
Sunday Morning Service
Where: Merkinch Community Centre.
When: 6th Sept 2015 at 10.20am
Eric is married to Rena and they have three grown up children. Rena and Eric are registered foster parents and currently care for three young children.
Eric is one of Arsenal’s strongest supporters and a keen fisherman.