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Dean's Corner April 2015

Dear Friends

One third of the year is already past and we have just remembered Easter and the price Jesus paid on the cross in order to save us.  There was a battle at Calvary and satan thought he had won but where is his victory now?  Swallowed up in the victory of the Son of God who promises eternal life and hope to all who turn to Him.

There is a real battle going on continually in the spiritual realm where we experience dry times because of the plans of the enemy.  In this Dean’s Corner Stephen Mayers, the Western European YWAM leader, is sharing more about the spiritual realm so our eyes are open to the history and the on going ploys of the enemy.  He shares stories about the presence of the Lord in His people still today bringing the enemy to his knees.  

I pray you’ll be challenged to open your eyes wider to really see Jesus. 

Love and blessings,

Julie


In His Presence


Stephen Mayers - YWAM Europe Convener

Recently I was asked the question, “What is God saying to YWAM international?” 

My response was, “Two things – the first, flattening the organisation and establishing a shared leadership, and secondly, calling us to spend time in His presence".  

Time In His Presence

In this season many of our leaders are giving large amounts of time to worship and wait on God in order to love, listen and obey.  How important this is: to give extended, focused attention to the Lord.

Moses was a busy man, with a large community as well as elders of tribes asking for wisdom and counsel.  Yet, in the middle of his incredibly full schedule he gave much time to be in the Lord’s presence.

“As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the Lord spoke with him. … Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.”  - Ex 33: 7-11

YWAM is a very task-oriented, vision-driven mission that attracts those with a spirit of adventure who often have workaholic tendencies.   Since YWAM staff raise financial support we can feel the need to show we are producing fruit.  This is a constant source of pressure.  Yet our YWAM motto encourages our first focus is “to know God” before we “make him known.”  Worshipping God leads us into service but service doesn't always lead us into worship.

Recently my wife ran a women’s retreat in our centre and with a huge amount of work to do I had many opportunities to serve as a husband. She appreciated my help very much, but if that was all our relationship was, I wouldn't be satisfied. I like working and serving her, 'doing love', but I also look for the 'being love’ by spending time in her company, listening, talking and enjoying intimacy together.  So it is with God.  We need full agenda times where we are working and fulfilling assignments but also the ‘no agenda times’ when we simply enjoy His presence.

When I teach on personal development and setting goals I emphasize focusing on the “one thing”:

“The one thing I ask of the Lord - the thing I seek most - is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple… a single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!  I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.”  Psalm 27:4; 84:10

Moses, the great prophet, was not ready to lead the Israelites unless God's presence went with them. In response to Moses’ plea, God did go with them, in a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. God's presence is available for us too as we seek after him today.

"If your presence will not go with us, do not bring us out from here". - Exodus 33:15

Are we aware of his presence or lack of it?  

Mary wasn't aware initially that the man who spoke to her in the garden of Gethsemane was Jesus.  The disciples on the road to Emmaus weren’t aware that Jesus was walking with them.  Samson wasn't aware that God’s presence had left him when Delilah cut off his hair. After a great victory in Jericho, Joshua wasn't aware that God wasn't with him in his attack of Ai.

Sometimes we are too busy, too focused on the task or too distracted to allow our spirits to tune in and be aware of God’s presence being with us or absent from us.

I personally need extended time to quiet my soul and spirit before I can hear from God.  When I come to pray, worship and seek to enter into God’s presence, suddenly all the things I haven’t had time to think about race into my mind.  How annoying is that!  You may not have this difficulty but I have to deal with these unwelcome guests very often. My solution is to write those distractions down to come back to later. Then I am free to focus on the one important thing right now – time with the Lord.

Carriers of His presence

The presence of God filled Solomon's temple in the Old Testament. 1Kings 8:10,11 says, 'the cloud filled the house of the Lord... the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord'. Then in Acts 2, the disciples having waited for the Holy Spirit to come, were filled with his presence, spoke in tongues and prophesied and the glory of God poured out on them and into the crowds.  The Bible declares in 1Corinthians 3:16, 'Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?' The same presence that was in Solomon's temple and that was poured out on the apostles can fill our personal "temple" today.

God wants to transform us from a presence-seeker to a presence-carrier, carrying His presence wherever we go.  This is what happened to Peter as he was walking the streets of Jerusalem: 

“They brought sick people on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them...and they were all healed” Acts 5:15,16

We too can carry the presence of God that will affect our environment and the people we come into contact with.  

I was just in a meeting in England where a visionary leader, Carl Tinnion, carries His presence as he speaks to emerging leaders and encourages faith in their hearts to step out of their comfort zones and to risk everything for God.  Others carry His presence in their hearts for intercession and worship, in their anointing with people, in their ministry, and in their day to day lives.

“The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” - Acts 4:13

My prayer for every YWAM base, church and community around the world is that we will create an atmosphere where there is freedom for the Holy Spirit to move in any way that he pleases.  Our desire is for God’s presence to be manifested so we are all aware of His presence, what he is saying, what he wants to do in our lives, and experiencing his transforming power. 

Conviction in His presence

In our relationships with God, He is always encouraging, affirming and supporting us, and yet out of his love for us, he doesn't want us to stay the same. Often in times of worship we are confronted with how far we fall short as we recognise the wonders of the God we worship; this is why being personal worshippers is so vital.  

“True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” - John 4:23

“In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” - Psalm 16:11  

Lets take time like Mary to sit at the feet of Jesus, worship, listen and respond. That's what the great commandment is all about – loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  

My prayer is that we personally take time each week to be ‘In His presence’ and that all our communities become ‘places of His presence’ by setting aside ample time to worship and to listen for what God has to say to us.