The Church

The Spirit of Love, Truth and Power

I was once visiting a church and the pastor announced, “We’re not going to have a sermon today because we want to just hand the whole meeting over to the Holy Spirit and see his power”. This immediately felt wrong to me, and I started trying to think through why.

For one thing, if the preaching is from the Scriptures, then it is “Holy Spirit” truth. So it is not a choice between “Word” and “Spirit” but “Spirit” and “Spirit”.

But then I read Act 14:3, “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” The miracles came, not instead of the preaching, but because of the preaching! So if you want to see signs and wonders, then preach a message that God will want to bear witness to, with a supernatural “Amen!”

So it looks like we have two operations of the Spirit: the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of power. I wondered whether it would be possible to go through the Bible and divide the references to the Spirit into to those two categories. As I started on the project I found plenty of truth verses, such as:

  • “However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth;” (John 16:13)

And power verses, such as

  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;” (Acts 1:8)

But then a third category emerged. He is the Spirit of love

  • “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom 5:5)

I began to get excited when I found several verses that combined two of the three and some that combined all three, such as “For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7) It seems I was onto something. (The complete list of references can be found at

I see an unfortunate tendency for churches to zero in on one, or maybe two, of these three aspects of the Spirit. Charismatic churches want to see the Spirit move in power. Reformed churches love the way the Spirit leads us into truth. New churches are emerging whose main focus is strong relationship.

But what does the Spirit think of this? Does he want us to take one aspect of his ministry to the exclusion of the others? How would a girl react if a man said to her, “I like your beauty, but I’m really not interested in your mind!”

So what does it mean for churches that want to see more of God’s power? Instead of cancelling the sermon, I suggest we need to ask the Spirit to lead us into such an excellent understanding of truth that the Lord will bear witness to it in power, as in Act 14. And then we need to be radical in our love: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22)

[read more...]

A visit to Jubilee Church, Enfield London

Last weekend I visited Jubilee Church in London, UK. I was determined to visit the Saturday morning prayer meeting—Adrian had told me that it was the power house behind the growth of the church. (I blogged about the church two years ago: and there has been remarkable growth since then.)
We arrived in time for the 8:00am start. The first 20 mins were a time for coffee and fellowship and as more and more people arrived I wondered how we were going to fit into the meeting hall. (I counted over a hundred—more people than chairs.)

We began with Tope Koleoso talking about current prayer needs—the baptisms and dedications on the following day, the upcoming youth event, and a few other things. I was asked to talk briefly about Newlife church, Toronto and a prophetic word was given which was amazingly appropriate to our situation.
Then the main prayer time began which was loud and passionate. From time to time someone would begin a song and we would all join in. I felt a very strong sense of the presence of God as a warm and powerful sweetness. I would say that there have been very few occasions where I have felt it more strongly.
As the meeting progressed, prayer began to be focused on particular issues. In the picture below, all those going to be baptized the next day are being prayed for.

The meeting drew to a close around 9:30am. What a way to start the day! I could understand now why so many people were willing to get up early on a Saturday morning. It was time for a good English breakfast at a local cafe.

Sunday Morning

Jubilee meets in a Cineworld cinema in the central hub of Enfield, a multicultural urban area on the edge of north London.
Our hosts, Adrian and Andree made sure we arrived early enough for us to get seats in the main "screen" which seats around 500 because the children would be in the meeting for the baptisms and the overflow room would be needed. The church is one of the most multicultural that I have ever been in, and that was one of the reasons for our visit. I want to see something like this in Toronto.

Tope gave a short address on "thankfulness" from the story of the ten lepers. I noticed how attentive people were. He has a unique style, using unexpected turns of phrase that catch your attention and make you think about the truth, rather than letting it slip by through over familiarity.

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Experiencing the Presence of God (Delighting in God part 2)

I’ve heard it said that if you removed the parts of the Bible that deal with the presence of God, you would end up with the genealogies, Proverbs & Philemon, and maybe not even that!

Everyone recognizes that this is one of the most important subjects that there is, yet very little is written about it apart from the description of some experiences. So here I am attempting to begin to develop the theology of the subject.

I believe that there are three ways that the Bible speaks about God’s special presence:

  1. His presence everywhere
  2. A special manifestation of his presence
    • External, e.g. in the O.T. from his presence in Eden, through to his temple presence
    • Intimate, through the Spirit e.g. Experienced by David and by New Covenant believers
  3. The chosen place of God’s final “residence” among his people (Rev 21:3)
    • We have a foretaste of this when believers are gathered and the Spirit makes God’s presence felt

So the big question is: Why do we often not experience God’s presence the way we would like to?

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Report of M09: Terry Virgo - The Folly of Achan

  • This has been one of the most glorious weeks we have ever had!

Joshua 7 — The Sin of Achan

The previous chapter couldn’t have ended with more excitement as Jericho falls and God is with Joshua. “His fame went throughout all the land”

[read more...]

Report of M07: David Stroud - Being Sure of Who We Are as a People

  • Being sure of who God has made us as people enables us to more forward
  • If as the pace picks up we are not firmly clear on whom we are then we will become unstuck
  • This morning I am going to remind us of whom we are
  • This will mean that when the spotlight is on us we will be able to respond with boldness

Five points from Acts 13:1-4

  • Church history tells us that at its height 1/3 of the people of Antioch were Christians
  1. We together are to be a People of the Spirit
    • You only find prophets where the Spirit of God has been poured out
    • Examples of people who are saved because they recognize God’s supernatural presence in our churches [read more...]

Report of TT2-2: David Holden - The Holy Spirit and your Church

  • There is a flow in the topics between these three seminars
  • It is essential that people in our churches are filled with the Spirit
    • Sometimes people come because they like the worship
    • The heart of what we are in churches is a gathering of individual people who are baptized in the Holy Spirit
    • This is the doorway that opens the gifts of the Spirit


  • What is the function of the HS as we gather?
  • Where do we get our ideas from? As much as possible the Holy Scriptures
    • John 4:21 —a huge difference between the Old and New Covenants
    • This is a radical new way of worshipping
    • Our meetings have to be Spirit led and so there is spontaneity
    • There is not a rigid structure for worship. We have moved from form to the unknown
    • 1 Cor 14:26 “whenever you come together, each one has a...”
    • 1 Cor 12 lists gifts of the Holy Spirit (I am concerned when there are no gifts being manifested)
  • The HS has a massive role in our lives. We can’t do anything of any value without him [read more...]

Report of M06: David Devenish - The Ephesus Mission: A pattern for World Evangelization

Acts 19:

  • God has said, “the earth will be filled by the glory of God as the waters cover the sea”
  • What was the apostle’s strategy?
  1. He established a base church in God’s timing
    • He said to the church at Thessalonica that the testimony had gone out from them
    • Previously he had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from doing this!
      • The timing must be prophetically led
    • Paul left Aquilla and Pricilla there in faith
  2. He ensured that key values were established in the core group
    • He noticed a serious deficiency in the disciples
    • One of the weaknesses that occurs is a failure to establish core values in the base group.
  3. Consistent teaching of apostolic revelation
    • Paul taught so powerfully in the Hall of Tyrannus that it was spread out throughout the province of Asia
    • Apostolic foundations
    • The Big Picture, from Genesis to Revelation, showing them how they play a part in it.
      • This takes people away from a “felt needs” philosophy of the Christian life [read more...]

Report of M04: P-J Smythe – Joshua part 2 - A New Phase in the Kingdom

Joshua 10

  • The book of Joshua is an account of God bringing his people into their inheritance.
  • He takes them across the Jordan, into some big battles
  • At the half way mark, chapter 13, the page is turned and there is a new phase
    • For the first half there is a new leader and a real togetherness
    • 10:29 “then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on”
    • Same kind of language in v.31, v.34, v.36, v.38, v.43, 11:7, 12:7
  • 13:1 begins the new phase when Joshua is well advanced in years
    • Joshua is old and there are still large tracts of land to take
    • He gives them a new plan: the land and the people are distributed
    • They all receive their allotment—their area to conquer
    • If Israel was to hold on to all the land that had been won during their “together” exploits, there needs to be a dividing up and putting things in place.
  • This second phase of Joshua is pivotal to any ministry in the church
    • Otherwise we run a risk of HQ ism, leading to frustration [read more...]
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