Andy's Blog

Thursday-last day of leadership transformations

Well the $64000 question is – are we transformed. Well we you will have to wait and see I guess, but we have been in a faith filled, Spirit filled, supernatural environment for 7 days and it feels like we have been imparted to. I feel recharged to go after the more of God breaking in on our church. To go for more healings and to introduce the whole church to a more intimate and Spirit led way of relating to God. Over recent months I have seen things, felt things and experienced stuff from God that He wants to be our common experience. Hope Church, a place of visions, dreams, encounters with God, healings and visions of heaven. In fact if you are sick, come Sunday, if you need God, we will pray. I know we are having a setting in of elders but we can still pray for you.

Anyway, what happened today? Well we had 2 hours with the prophetic intercessors ‘soaking’ in God’s presence (a literal application of waiting on the Lord and being still and knowing He is God). This was different again…I was out of my comfort zone, but found myself in God’s revelation zone with visions I will not quickly forget. I will tell you more when I get home. Heaven isn’t like I thought it was and God works differently to how I thought. And angels can be show offs!

We also had a session from the main prophet on the team, who gave the clearest explanation of their view of the apostolic and prophetic we had heard all week. It’s a very releasing perspective if you are of that bent. They are totally committed to community transformation through supernatural inspired ministry and not trying to make apostles and prophets into pastors and teachers, otherwise there is no room for the true pastoral gifts and the apostles and prophets lose there edge. We need to create a style of church government that creates an environment for all gifts to be released and can host God’s presence and revelation effectively.

Well that’s it from Bethel . I am so looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday. We have a great church and I have missed it though we have only been away for a week.

With love

Andy


Andy Merrick, 18/09/2009


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Wednesday

We are getting happier by the day by learning in this environment to be better hosts and friends with the Holy Spirit. Every person who speaks to us runs a department or ministry in the church and they are all so passionate about what they do. They are all led by the Holy Spirit in their leadership of their departments. For instance the whole post marriage programme came from a dream a couple had; the head of children’s work had an open vision that inspired her to write a new programme for children’s ministry. Every area of ministry is done supernaturally. So they are teaching their kids to prophecy, pray for the sick and enter God’s presence to have dreams and visions from about age 3 . They say the kids may be young but they all have the full sized Holy Spirit. In one conference they bring the kids in and have them prophecy over church leaders, often with profound accuracy.

The leadership atmosphere is one of honour, but not something sloppy. They have learned how to confront one another in a way that grows the relationships and keeps away from fear and stays in love. This confrontation is essential to help keep all these powerful people on track. Everyone is prone to take a left when God goes right so we need to be open to confrontations based on love and trust. I have to say Nick is good at this, as I have been on the receiving end a couple of times, he is already modelling something good.

Bill Johnson talked to us for an hour or so today and then prayed for us all…great! His basic point was you can’t sustain zeal and passion across the church by teaching and good organisation no matter how good it is. People need to be regularly exposed to the power of God to keep their spiritual fires burning; seeing God moving fires you up! Look out Hope Church. The heart of it is to be constantly hungry for God and ‘going after’ more of Him and his power.

Tomorrow they let their band of prophetic intercessors loose on us for 2 hours – awesome (as they say here all the time). It’s our last day, so if you get chance pray we would get totally wasted on God and able to return fired up!

Looking forward to Sunday

With love

Andy

Andy Merrick, 17/09/2009


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Tuesday

We are getting a jolly good feed. We had another packed day, full of helpful tools and insights and more of God’s presence. They have an insatiable desire for more of God’s presence here. They see healings and breakthroughs all the time, but the thing they seek is Him, more and more of him.

Nuggets of the day

– ‘this church works by powerful people who may disagree on some things working together honouring one another.’ ‘honour allows powerful people to thrive around you’

– ‘the thought ‘there has to be more’ starts us on a wild ride with God’

– ‘we are following a movement of God where the Holy Spirit is calling the shots’

– ‘I have three rules for my team, and I am legalistic about it. They are 1) Get drunk in the Holy Spirit. 2) Stay drunk in the Holy Spirit. 3) Get someone else drunk in the Holy Spirit. ( I thought Glaswegians would get this as long as we underlined the word Holy before spirit)

– ‘a test is a prelude to a testimony’

– ‘being happy is a big core value-sinners understand this’

– ‘we are moving from a pastor/teacher dominated mind set to an apostolic and prophetic shaped paradigm’

The morning was about a biblical spirit of excellence, dominated by love, seeking to excel, seeking to be shrewd and wise in all we do. This was followed by sessions on their developing small group structure and ‘love after marriage course’. I will let Nick fill you in more on these as he really buzzed with this.

In the afternoon we were exposed to 2 crazy guys (crazy in a powerful way). The first one was the staff evangelist who told story after story of on the street and in the store miracles. He said the core values of the church were love, honour, the presence of God, power and Joy.

The second crazy guy talked about how to bring the fire of God into church life and take it onto the streets. He was the one with the 3 rules. He said it’s a lot easier to get people healed and into the kingdom when you are enjoying the joy of God yourself.

Reflections

There is a big emphasis on not getting screwed up about trying to get folk healed, rather their approach is to enjoy God and his presence and in that atmosphere things start to happen and its easier for us to pray for the sick in faith, receive words of knowledge and get boldness to move out in ‘risky’ ways. There is a big emphasis on creating and preserving an atmosphere in which God loves to work. There are some very thought provoking things said about how the church over recent centuries has been dominated by the pastor /teacher gift which is not strong at plugging God’s people into heavenly resources. The pastors and teacher role changes in a context set by apostles and prophets who are keen to bring heaven to earth. Much to think about here.

Andy


Andy Merrick, 16/09/2009


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Monday

Day one of the Bethel school of transformations was another concentrated day.

The first session focused on how they saw the apostolic and prophetic foundations for their movement and churches. They focused on apostles and prophets being those who bring heaven’s government to earth. They are those who bring the Kingdom of God in supernatural signs and wonders and to the people of God and the world and prevent us just becoming reworked versions of the world around us. Ensuring that the world, its values and culture don’t set the atmosphere for the church, but rather that the church reflects the culture of heaven. This ensures an ongoing sense of the work of the Holy Spirit and healings in and through the life of the church.

The second session covered worship, and really focused on the need to be welcomers of God’s presence and the importance of the band to be up with contemporary culture in terms of music, but also that every member added to the anointing the worship band had. They also focused on getting everyone engaged with God from the youth to the seniors.

The third session was about their healing rooms ( see Saturdays blog) but was more of a ministry time. The focus was on not focusing on the sickness and battling through for victory over it, but getting the prayers and prayees into God’s presence so he could do his thing and inevitably that flowed into multiple healings, many of which are profound and glorious. For instance over 200 deaf ears were healed from June 2008 to June 2009!

The fourth session was about deliverance and inner healing and looked at how we can free people from blemishes on their soul that hindered them enjoying God’s presence and entering into their God ordained destiny.

There is so much to process. You must pray for Nick, as sometimes I am stunned and don’t have much to say (processing internally). Other times I am overcome by God’s presence and am temporarily a bit useless, and other times, like tonight, I am all stirred up and rant on about the importance of supernatural ministry over and above management and good teaching in the church (external processing all over Nick) . He has great patience to put up with these various states of mind and God is doing some very precious things with him this week too. Let’s see what Tuesday has to bring!

Andy   


Andy Merrick, 15/09/2009


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Sunday

Bethel church has about 3000 people plus visitors and it has a training school in supernatural ministry which has about 1000 students on it too, so they have real problems with fitting everyone in their 900 seater facility, hence overflows, multiple services and another venue which they hire

We made the second service at the main venue. The striking thing about the meeting this time was the preaching, it was weighty without being at all complex; it just had clout. I went away musing and Nick struggled to get much out of me over lunch as we tried to asses the importance of what was said and deal with the challenge of staying on the edge with God, and not getting complacent with the level of blessing we may have achieved. (I have to say I am desperate for more, but it’s easy to level off at any point).

Many testimonies of healing were shared this morning, they had a blind eye open in the healing rooms while we were there which made 6 blind eyes in the last 2 months – much applause, they really savour every breakthrough.

The evening meeting was preceded by an hour of prayer, which I joined. It was in a large room which we walked round in a circle for nearly the whole hour. Laying hands on one another, talking to God, and making new friends at the same time. Again you sensed the presence of God building in the room. One young guy I walked and prayed with said they did it every week to talk to God and get ‘happy in Him’ before the meeting. 10 minutes before the meeting we stood in a big circle and prayed in concert and God started meeting with folk there and then, we were then encouraged to take this into the meeting.

Worship, wow, worship. We had the most awesome worship time I can remember being in. There was a point where the musicians started playing prophetically and it went on and on as we got drawn deeper into God, lots of negative stuff was breaking of me in the process, and one of the bethel folk who was wheelchair bound started to get feeling in her legs and feet for the first time in her life as the violin played and inspired tune. Once again I think I was being set up.

The speaker for the night was Steve Strader, who is the pastor who hosted the Lakeland revival. He gave an amazing talk going through the history of that outpouring and the many confirmed healings and indeed resurrections they saw. He then had us call out for more of the Spirit, which we did….I want enough to change things, to change a city, not just for my personal blessing. I got totally whacked by God (again) but I know there is still more and we need more for what needs to happen in Glasgow, and the . I am typing this still ‘under the influence’ and really never want to not be ‘under the influence ‘ of the wonderful Holy Spirit!

Tomorrow is the first day of our course, very exciting.

With love

Andy

By the way, Nick snores, but not badly. He wears ear plugs, so I don’t know what that says about my noise making when asleep!

andy Merrick, 14/09/2009


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Friday night/Saturday morning

Wow, what a difference 24 hours makes!

 

Redding (where we are) is a small town of about 90000 people in northern California, hundreds of miles from the famous and influencial cities of LA and San Fransico, but there is a church here that is having an influence across nations. It hosts a school of supernatural ministry of some 1000 people from the US and many other nations. And it has big ambitions to influence culture, from the arts to movies (sorry, films) and business .

 

Last night we queued for half an hour to get into their friday night meeting. The meeting started with us praying for one another and immediately you sensed we were in the presence of God before the worship started, and I received one of the most specific prophetic words I have ever had for the young woman on my left.....i thought 'wow this is easy, God is here, you don't have to work at getting things'

 

The worship rocked! the band was musically excellent and sensitive to the Spirit; at one point they just stopped playing and this beautiful singing in tongues rose to fill the room...it put tingles on your tingles.

They had artists painting their impressions of what God was saying and doing in the worship time. The whole experience had a very creative feel. The band were ready to try new things, the artists sought bring worship a visual expression. And then there was that continual and overwhelming sense of His presence.

 

When the worship ended there was a series of words of knowledge for healing, and we saw many pains go, backs straighten, and a woman who had lost her sense of smell through a serious blow on her head received her sense of smell back. oh, and then there was the 3rd grade child who got healed of dislexia and could now read well from the parents i-phone.

 

This morning Nick and I went to the healing rooms. We both had stuff we wanted prayer for. We went through 2 stages. 1st we went into the Encounter room where worship played gently and you just relaxed in God's presence, and it wasn't like a meeting at all. occasionally they would call out words of knowledge and folk were getting healed in that room as we waited for prayer in the next room where the healing teams were. I think the encounter room guys were trying to put the healing teams out of business!

 

In with the healing teams we waited for prayer. I got a guy who we had met the night before. he was 73 and on their school of ministry with all the 20 somethings, he loved to pray for folk, and he loved Scotland and had been once a few years back, his prayer partner was a frail looking but fiesty 60 something year old from Dunbar and there was a 3rd guy and they just 'laid into me in the Spirit' praying and prophecying with a passion for Scotland, Glasgow and Hope Church....wow. I got totally whacked by God and once again found myself occupying carpet space, heavily sensing God's presence and his word of promise for me, our church and nation. Phew.

 

Nick got loads of great prayer too, but I will let him tell his story.

 

Reflections: God's presence is very evident and easily entered into. Creativity is everywhere and there is room to express your gifts, be it art, music, administration, greeting and welcoming, praying for the sick, words of knowledge etc etc. Healing has become very common place here, but they sit easy with those who are not yet healed. There was a wheel chair bound guy doing very effective ministry in the healing rooms.

 

And California is HOT it reached 106 degrees farenheit yesterday.

Praying for God's power on you all tomorrow!

with love

 

Andy 


Andy Merrick, 12/09/2009


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Theological Thoughts on healing -

Can we get better than hit and miss?

For many of us, praying for healing is a bit 'hit and miss' and we put much of the misses down to God's overall sovereignty. However this says in effect, at this moment it is God's will for the person to stay sick. But its easier to deal with emotionally and intellectually than some postions that  say its the person's lack of faith that has kept them ill ie. it's God's will to heal so all the problem is at our end. I am expecting some of these assumptions to be probed a bit by our experiences this week.

 

Consider this: Jesus healed all who came to him, and all who touched him were healed. In the early chapters of Acts we see the early church having similar levels of success to the point where thay were dragging the sick onto the streets so that Peter's shadow could fall on them. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God and personified it - he was the kingdom come. We are taught to prayer for the Kingdom to come on earth 'as it is in heaven' ie. we pray for an increasingly perfect reflection of God's heart, values and will to be demonstrated in our time and space -literally in our world. We need more Kingdom to come.

 

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

 

Andy 


Andy Merrick, 12/09/2009


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We Are here!

We arrived last night feeling well jet lagged but excited at what we are going to receive through the next 7 days here. please read Nick's blog for a inside look at what we are really up to, including the consumption of a truely American sized breakfast this morning. Some say it is a sure cure for jet lag? (you can make up any cure for this you like really).

 

Any way, tonight we are off to the renewal service and tomorrow we are going to see how their healing rooms work. I am sure God wants us here to learn how to be a more powerfully supernatural church. It's well worth loking at the u-tube links I put on the church newsletter as they are great teatimonies of God at work and will give you some idea of why we want to learn from this church.

We will keep you in touch.

 

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

 

Andy 


Andy Merrick, 11/09/2009


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Welcome

Welcome to my blog. This month me and Nick are going to an amazing church in America.

Here I'll talk about my experiences and what I'm looking forward to when we get back.

 

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

 

Andy

Blog

 


Andy, 08/09/2009


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