Nick's Blog

 

Everything is big in America

This is my first visit to America and I know I've heard that everything is big in America but you don't get it until you see it. The cars, the meals, the people...

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But America is small on the earth. The Earth is small next to the Sun, The Sun is small next to a star like Betelgeuse (brightest star in Orion, 700 times bigger than the Sun). Betelgeuse is small compared to our galaxy which is tiny in the universe...

Our God created all of this! ...and we think we can figure God out and fit Him to our schedule? That we know anything about God is His amazing grace to us and sheer revelation. Show us more of yourself God.

I feel very blessed and refreshed. This has been a great download from heaven. I’m looking forward to getting back to my lovely family and the amazing church God has made us part of. The real test of what God has done will be in the coming days and weeks. The biggest disappointment is if this is all a flash in the pan. What if… ? I’m not even going to go there!

God has spoken clearly to me in many ways. As well as hearing clearly about Bethel ’s core values, God has spoken personally. The biggest issue centres on whether it is OK to be me? The closer you get to God the more you become aware of your inadequacies and insecurities. We have a choice right there – do we retreat to well practiced acceptable ways and tried and trusted formulas (get that happy Christian smile out)?. Or do we stay vulnerable before God and people with the risk of being misunderstood and seen as not quite making the grade? I have to constantly battle with the thought of how I compare with Andy (or anyone else I respect and get to know).

We had the experience of sitting in a low-lit room with lots of draped fabric and an illuminated ladder depicting Jacob’s dream of the ladder to heaven with angels ascending and descending. This may sound weird. It felt odd when the only instruction was to receive from God (soak in His presence). For quite a while I sat eyes closed and enjoyed the peace but began to wonder if that was it! It took quite a while to get past my brain and find that connection with God but I did! They had about 20 intercessors who then came and prophecied over each of us. I had just prayed silently when this man stood behind me and brought exactly the word to answer my prayer!

God really does know us and still likes us and (wait for this) wants to bless us by including us in His life.

So that’s it from California . Bags are nearly packed. Tomorrow it’s up for all American breakfast just one more time then airport for the 17 hr flight home. Please pray for my bum! It only just survived last time. Clearly I need more padding!

On that note… Much love, Nick


Nick Treadgold, 18/09/2009


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Another day at the office?

How blessed are we to be called the sons of God. I feel my eyes have been opened even more to how much all that we do flows from our relationship with God. If we walk close to God and hear His voice we find peace, joy and the miraculous are normal. If we don’t then we get wound up, tired and wonder why things don’t go so smoothly.

You’ll be relieved to know I’m not going to try and get 13 sides on A4 notes onto one blog. I do want to encourage you that what we’re hearing is refining, directing and encouraging us in all that He has already started in Hope church. I feel excited when I think of the faithful God-lovers in Hope, and inspired to move forward with hope and faith into the new that I believe God is leading us into.

Sometimes conferences can make you want to copy the stuff you see. Don’t worry! What we see in Bethel is good but God has given us something unique to do in Glasgow . It will have common values and themes to His work over here but probably look quite different.

I believe that God is building Hope into a church where the atmosphere is love and not fear; where individuals are empowered to grow their gift and ministry; where everyone from children to the retired are honoured, valued and encouraged to continue pursuing God; where mistakes and issues are addressed in a way that builds us closer together and where God gets glory for the amazing things he is doing in our midst and the community around us.

Woo Hoo

Nick


Nick Treadgold, 17/09/2009


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Tuesday 15th Sept

This is the challenging stage of the conference when everything is so good and God is touching lots of areas of life that you start to feel spiritual indigestion. I feel really blessed to be here and very encouraged that so many are checking out the blog. Bethel have a good set up and look after us well. The day is a concentrated 9 – 5pm which leaves the evening free to chat and download.

You’ll all be thrilled to learn that it is still 32 – 33 C when we finish so it’s a swim in the pool followed by a good meal. 

                         

This week we get to meet all their senior leaders and major ministries. Each has a fund of wisdom and great quotes. How can I give a flavour of what God is saying?

The day started with Barry Byrne who leads their pastoral ministry teams (transformation centre). He is a marriage and family therapist and his theme was a culture of excellence. He gave a solid bible based explanation of their definition of excellence - an attitude of heart which seeks God's presence, blessings and ways above all else while diligently and vigorously using all my gifts and abilities. The main thing I picked up was this cooperation between professional training and Holy Spirit anointing. Trusting God for the impossible and asking God questions while listening carefully. Important to be tender hearted towards God, and to honour one another - to do this even if we see gift coloured by weakness. We are all clouded by humanist thinking which places natural empathy and compassion above God's truth and His ways. Many times we need to be shrewd in dealing with unbelievers. Jesus wasn't nice. He could have avoided rebuking Peter out of his love for him. Matt 10.16 ‘be shrewd as serpents but gentle as doves’.

His wife Lori joined him to share specifics of their small groups and ministry teams, then they both shared on Love After Marriage, their marriage enrichment course. They see strong marriage as a key to keeping the church strong and together. All their ministry points people to God.

This afternoon was different again. 1st their evangelist/ outreach ministry man shared. A young passionate man who shared a lot of examples of people responding to God when they prayed for people out in the community. There are 36 ministry events through the week from the church. Good stuff even if I feel more comfortable in the teaching style with lots of scripture. He was followed by Kevin Dedmon who leads the firestorm ministry and has trainees called firestarters. His 3 rules are get drunk in the Holy Spirit, stay drunk and get others drunk.

I think there is a lot in this getting drunk in the spirit even if I know I have a lot yet to experience. Joy is an undervalued part of the Kingdom (righteousness peace and joy) I do better on the 1st two. Being drunk means you take risks more easily and talk to people you wouldn’t otherwise speak to. A good quote was 'we should work from rest, security and approval'. And 'God is good so He's in a good mood when He thinks about you and talks to you'. He came with his young team who were infectious. It’s a very healthy environment to be in. 
 

Nick


Nick Treadgold, 16/09/2009


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Bethel school of transformation Day 1

We attended the first of our four days at this workshop where Bethel church leaders show the steps they have taken to create a culture and environment where they regularly experience God’s presence and see the supernatural.

The course is small with only 40 people enrolled. This makes it intimate enough for ministry and for questions.

Here’s a quick run through of some highlights from today.

The church is clearly laid on apostolic foundations with prophetic imput which are then supported by teachers. Many churches plateau when teachers are in charge without apostolic government. Apostles are to bring heaven’s blue print into the church.

Heaven is filled with the presence of God. The Ephesians 4 five-fold ministries bring order so that heaven can flow through our lives and church. This lifts the burden of doubt and brings freedom. I can be truly me and God can use me too. God really loves me.

The basis of everything is love – God’s profound love for me and my love for others. This contrasts with the world’s structures where control and power are exerted by violence or threat of violence (fear and anger). We have been taught this from childhood. Fear and love are mutually exclusive. Which environment do we create?

Psalm 32.8 ‘I will instruct you… I will guide you with my eye.

Contrast this with verse 9 where the donkey is led by bit and bridle – controlled by pain.

2 rules – Do not quench the Spirit (disconnect from the Holy Spirit)
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (don’t break His heart)


In the afternoon we had 2 sessions which looked at how they developed their healing rooms ministry and their counselling/ deliverance ministry. These sessions were part teaching but also receiving. I found it very helpful and left feeling much lighter and more aware that doing this well is by being simple and child like. We invite God because we need him, not because we want him to do something. Having invited him and worked in partnership with him to create the right environment then we get out of the way and let God move. God doesn’t respond because we work hard or got a formula right. Supernatural encounters happen when we partner with what God’s already doing which we discern by dwelling in God’s presence.

This takes away my sense of responsibility and therefore my sense of inadequacy or failure.

We needed a really good meal after that to 'digest' all that God has been saying. It is a huge blessing to be here with Andy, to hear his insights and to bounce ideas and thoughts off each other.

Nick 


Nick Treadgold, 15/09/2009


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Sunday 13th September

Bethel worship

Sunday morning at Bethel church.

This is the 2nd morning service in the main building, there is a third in another building in between these. Bill preached at all three.

So we got our first taste of the gathered church at Bethel . God is doing so much and I am keen to relay as much as I can. It's quite a challenge as you can imagine as God seems to be doing several things and working in multiple areas of my life at the same time.

It is great to be in a large gathering and be anonymous where it's just you and God. Bethel has a lot of artists who paint on stage being inspired by the worship. We also had flag wavers and dancers which I did find a little distracting... I don't really get it!

I was very impressed by Bill Johnston for several reasons. Firstly there was no fan fare or introduction. He has a calm authority. Secondly he has some amazing insights.

His theme was about the importance of hospitality and fellowship. Acts 2:42 the church devoted themselves to the apostle doctrine; breaking bread; fellowship and prayer. This was they way they lived after the out pouring of the spirit at Pentecost. Many times God blesses us. We need to cultivate good habits that we maintain in good times and bad. It is very easy to be distracted by spiritual or material blessings and be careless with what God has given us. God often withholds blessing until He knows we can handle it.

Bethel has emphasised a continuous cry to God for more of his presence. Bill exhorted the church not to forget fellowship and hospitality, to prioritise this and not give up looking out for the visitor and stranger as well as building relationships and fellowship with the church family. These qualities in a church will keep us strong whether we face persecution or huge blessing. I'd like to be part of a church that loves God's presence and which loves people.

We needed a good lunch and chat to process much of what we heard, then back for the evening meeting. This was different again but an amazing encounter with God. However it's late so more about that tomorrow.

Nick 


Nick Treadgold, 14/09/2009


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Sat 12 September

Yesterday we had a quiet afternoon reading, emailing and updating the blog which Joel fixed after I messed it up! We went to Andy's favorite burger place Carl Juniors for tea . In case any of you are worried about our diet we have a fridge full of fruit which does for lunch!

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After that we went to Bethel church for their Fri eve renewal service. Little did we know they are finishing a youth pastor's conference and Cindy Jacobs was there (she has a prophetic ministry). So it was queued round the corridors to get a seat. Fortunately we were early and got in fine. We chatted to a 73 yr old retired plastic surgeon Carl who was in his 2nd year at their ministry school with his wife. We saw him the next day and he ended up praying for Andy in the healing rooms, anyway I'm getting ahead. A lot of people we met move to Bethel for a few years to be part of the church.

 

As we entered the meeting room the welcomers were lined up praying blessing over us. One even prayed for God to turn my water into wine! However I needed water rather than wine at that point.

  

The meeting began with everyone praying for their neighbour "God here's a target on their heart, hit them right there" Then we reached for God for ourselves and launched into praise and worship. What can I say? A very loud but gifted team of musicians and a strong sense of God and great willingness to enter God's presence.

 

There were amazing testimonies and words of knowledge with many healed of neck pain, scoliosis, one girl healed of dyslexia and a woman regained her sense of smell lost after a car crash.

 

Cindy Jacobs spoke on holiness. By then it was getting late by my body clock and not easy to follow. She did make good points about holiness being motivated by love for God and not legalism.

 

We slept much better. I woke at 5.30 and thought that would be it but fell asleep again 6.00 til 7.45. We didn't have a huge breakfast but ate in the hotel - cereal, toast, fruit and coffee.

 

So we went to the healing rooms just before 10. I am so impressed. They ask you to fill in a request form and sign a disclaimer! You then go to the encounter room. This is laid out as a lounge with low lighting where chairs are drapped in covers. There is no start or finish and people wander or sit while the band plays and sings. I sat eyes closed and felt very close to God, occasionally a hand was laid on my shoulder but mostly I was left alone. People went to the front with words of knowledge and there were opportunities to respond and give testimony if you wanted. I can't easily explain how I felt except that God was touching me deeply. At times it felt sad like a loss or longing for more, I was strongly aware of needing God for many areas of life.

 

You are then called through to the prayer room in groups. Once here someone picks up your form for the first time and calls you forward to pray. Nathan prayed for me. He had many words and quickly started saying I was a mighty man and God was/ would use my hands to heal. He prayed for more fire and anointing. He mentioned several things which he just fired out. One was an engineer, not sure about that, others were a pacemaker - 'did I have patients with pacemakers?’ 'Yes, but..' I felt and then he said that God would set the pace of my heart sometimes faster then slower in time with His. He also said I was a generous man and he had this sense of an investment gone bad, but I had done work 'pro bono' (their term for free/no fee work) and that God would bless my finances. He prayed for peace particularly at night and then ended up saying he was scratching round for stuff and felt that I could quite easily be the praying for others. You can imagine I felt very encouraged.

 

Carl from last night was the one who just happened to pick up Andy’s form and he along with a woman originally from Glasgow prayed for Andy - mighty prayers for him, Hope church and Scotland. We talked to Carl afterwards in the book shop. He is 73 and we asked how he managed in such a noisy, lively environment. He loved the sense of God there. He was very inspiring and felt a strong value in Bethel is honourng one another. He felt loved by all in the church. They have a saying ‘we honour because we are honourable’ I think God is going to speak more about this and I'll come back to it later.

 

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We had a swim this afternoon and looking forward to church tomorrow.


Nick Treadgold, 13/09/2009


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Friday 11 Sept 2009

Praise God for sleep. Woke at 5.30AM which is 1.30pm UK. Often you wake up when you're used to even if that's the middle of the night in a different time zone. We set today for recovering from travelling and getting our bearings in Redding. 

Obviously the first place to start was breakfast. The Black Bear did America proud and I gave it my best shot at polishing off a large and spectacular meal.

We went to the local tourist office and had a walk in the 90 degree heat to the Sundial bridge which is a huge and impressive construction.

Sense prevailed so as well as using sun cream, which to be honest is unusual for me, we decided to retreat to the air conditioned comfort of the hotel.

Tonight we will find Bethel church and join their Friday evening renewal service.

My natural inclination is to shy away from anything new and different and to be very cautious when I don't understand what's going on. God has been working on this for a while but I hope that this will change big-style this week. I look forward to being relaxed and joining in enthusiastically to all that happens.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Pictures to follow courtesy of the amazing Joel.

 

Nick

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Nick Treadgold, 11/09/2009


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Thursday 10 Sept 2009

We travelled from Glasgow to Heathrow, onto San Francisco then Redding, North California. The journey lasted 17 hours and we were very numb by the end. The other challenge was the change in time zones. California is 8 hours behind UK time. So we arrived at our hotel 8.30pm local time which was 4.30 AM Friday UK time. 

We were very aware that this was the day before 9/11. Strong emotions and some fear is still associated with this date.

 

Needless to say we slept well. 

 

This is my first trip to America so it is all new and exciting. Andy has booked everything and is driving the car so I'm sitting back and enjoying the ride. Let's see what God will do.

 

Nick

 

 


Nick Treadgold, 11/09/2009


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Welcome

Welcome to Nick's blog. Andy and I travel to Redding in North California to attend a leadership conference hosted by Bethel church where Bill Johnston is the leader.

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

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Please feel free to leave comments or questions.

 

Nick

 

 


Nick, 10/09/2009


2 Comments