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Thursday 28th July - Day 6

So, I am currently sitting in Heathrow airport- waiting for our last flight to Edinburgh. Its just coming up to 6.30am Pacific time- 2.30pm GMT. A bit spaced out to say the least, but one things for sure- life can't be the same. It just can't. This past week has been an incredible experience and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to go.

Theresa Dedmon kicked off the third day of the conference with a message about Creativity and annointing. She has incredible stories of things they have done in their community. Children are willing to give things a go coz they have not yet been labelled with talents or weaknesses. They're not scared to get it wrong. When we create, we reflect the creator. We ALL were made to be creative. I have always said "no, no- I'm not arty, my sister is the arty one" but I'm learning that that is a wrong mindset. Of course, Lauren is extremely artistic and talented- but I am creative in different ways. I too reflect the Creator in some way. When I criticise something I've made, I am criticising the Creator. This statement seems a bit extreme but I see what she's getting at. When I cut off or shut down my  reativity, I cut off a part of who I was made to be. Theresa also chatted about bringing the supernatural into our  creativity. And letting go of narrow-minded vision. What I create won't be the same as what someone else will do. Good stuff.

Lunch... I cannot remember now... It was probably good! The afternoon main session was a guy called Joaquin Evans. I learned I have always said this name wrong- oops! Wakeen is apparently how its said. Not Jo-quin. Haha. I was pretty tired through this session so lay down across some chairs and just caught bits of it. What I heard was good. God can't work for me if I'M working for me. God is free, and where His spirit is, there is freedom. He wants us to be free so that He can move freely through is. We were called to BE FREE. The world needs people who live what they believe.

Breakout session- woooooaaah- FREAK OUT! Le freak by Chic became our theme tune for this part of the day. Basically its seminars, but they're called breakouts. Good. Jake Veach= absolute legend. Title- Christ's Nature and our response. AMAZING! Def going to listen to it again. It was brilliant. Everything Jesus did and said set a standard for how we are to live life. Holy Spirit is here to remind us of what JC said and did. Jesus is the living word (logos)  when God said let there be light- that was JESUS! When God spoke creation, He spoke Jesus. He spoke a reality. He created a reality with his words. Everything JC spoke, He revealed the nature of Father God. Mark 8:1-21. Jesus expected the disciples to see the miracle, but more importantly, see His NATURE. He expected them to live differently having seen His nature. He expected them to live knowing that with Jesus there is not lack. They not only worried, but the moved into unbelief. When we've seen him heal/ provide, we've seen His nature. Anytime we don't live by that stajndard, we move into an area of doubt and unbelief. I am required to live at the standard He has set for me. Saying no to that violates the nature of God inside of me. Choosing faith is choosing to honour Him. Choosing fear is choosing to honour Satan. AH! What would it look like if He only had to tell us once?! WOW!!!

We had Carissa and ourSwedish friends over for dinner and then headed back for the evening meeting. Worship was INCREDIBLE!!! So great. "I can feel the rhythm of the heartbeat of Heaven.... I can feel the rhythm of the heartbeat of Heaven..." with Chris Overstreet shouting "HEARTBEAT OF HEAVEN" over the top in the gaps... probably doesn't sound incredbile typed out like that, but it really was. Kevin shared his life story- wow. That man is amazing!

A brilliant second last day :) Will blog about last day and final thoughts on the trip when I'm back from Newday. For now it's over and out.

Elanor McAdam, 31/07/2011


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Wednesday 27th July - Day 5

Phew, end of day 5 and I am tired. But also strangely awake. The day began with Danny Silk. The man is hilarious. He has this funny little voice that he does when impersonating an annoying American Christian. Not annoying coz they're American- might I add. He was speaking on 'Living in an Apostolic Age' It was pretty tricky to follow but it was good. He spoke about different gifts and how it is not the label that's important but the fact that the gifting/annointing is functioning in the church. Basically, just listen to all the teaching from the this whole conference.

Lunch was had with some new Swedish friends who I happen to have a mutual friend with. Once again, ate too much. Not so much of a food baby, but food twins accompanied me to the afternoon session. Chris Overstreet did it once again! What a legend. We have bought his book. He spoke on fear and core values. Not fear as a core value, but you get me. Fear makes you feel powerless. It is impossible to move in the stuff God has for me when I give up my authority to fear. 6 Core Values: Love, Honour, Living in the presence of God, Power, Joy and Faith. Faith= risk with love and honour. Trying makes things difficult. Just relax. God loves my heart when I step out, when I'm motivated by love. And love never fails.

Dinner was yum, Lizzie Ford is a LEGEND. She has been feeding us so well. She is incredible. Such a blessing to be here with her and Phil. They are such a great team. And they work together so well, even when they are just being themselves. They're ace.

Evening session was Kevin Dedmon. Again, great stuff but super confusing. It was about predestination etc. Tricky times. Some notes from my wee book- Matthew 6v9->... Lord's prayer. What is God's will? God's will is always His name. He has 300 names in the  Bible. That is a lot. Saviour, Healer, Protector, Redeemer, Peace, Wisdom, Creator... Everything revolves around His name. His name is His will. So it's in His wil to heal, to bring peace, to protect, to create... Plus He never changes. So we don't need to worry that His will has changed. Coz He doesn't change. The theif comes to steal, kill and destory. Not God. Jesus came  to give life to the FULL. Jesus only did what He saw the Father do. He didn't wait around, He didn't go- is the Father healing you? No. Him? no. Her? no... ummmm, ok- he  was to heal that person. The Father is always ALWAYS being Himself. So he's always healing, etc. He is always being/doing His name. Sometimes we go too far with sovreignty and we leave it all to God, and don't do anything ourselves. We need to partner with Him. Kevin went on to say some more stuff about predestination- Calvinism and Armenian (don't know spelling) but my notes then say "I AM SO LOST!" Apparently it's all in his book Unlocking Heaven. Go read. I think I will. Last note I took was "Expanding the kingdom is about declaring. Nor petitioning and pleaing."

At some point in the day, I wrote "feeling pretty fed up. Don't know why." Think I was fed up of being tired and lacking energy. But then I drew a line under that and wrote "Not fed up this EVENING!! Wow. Worship was brill. Had a prophetic word/encouragement for a big leadery looking guy. Was good." Haha. We sang this brilliant song. I don't know if it was a pre-written song or something they just did. But it went " I can hear the rhythm of the heartbeat of Heaven... I can hear the rhythm of the heartbeat of Heaven" and Chris Overstreet  was shouting over the top "HEARTBEAT OF HEAVEN" The presence of God was so heavy. Worship has been good, but that night was great!! It was fairly close to the beasting worship we've been having at Hope!!! We are so blessed with a wonderful worship team. Totally praying for blessing and increase on what God's doing. It's exciting to be at Bethel and be thinking- wow, that was almost as good as Hope! :)

Elanor McAdam, 28/07/2011


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Tuesday 26th July - Day 4

So, day one of the conference (day 4 of the trip) was full on and challenging. The day kicked off with a session by Chris Overstreet- what a guy. He was BRILL!! He talked about identity and sonship. It was really fab. It reinforced a lot of stuff I knew/ sort of knew. But also mentioned a ton of stuff I hadn't heard before. A big part of his
message was- if we don't know who we are/ our foundation is not in sonship, we start to try and perform. We don't need to perform/work for Gods love+pleasure. We already have it. We ARE his pleasure. He already loves me, whether I do anything or not. The revelation of identity comes through Gods love. It is not possible to truly love the world if we do not truly love ourselves. When we give ourselves a hard time, we give God a hard time. Its as if we're saying what He has done wasn't enough. He wants to change the way I see the world and it starts with the way I see myself. Its a revelation that doesn't happen in one go- it grows and grows everyday. Knowing I'm his daughter is exciting- it produces joy!

Even that word freaks me out since the mission school and Kevin Dedmons sessions and some of the stuff at church. Like I think someones going to try and make me laugh like a maniac. I know they won't. But I say that I'm happy for God to do whatever he likes, but inside I'm really saying "but for sure he's not going make me laugh
like a weirdo" I'm happy to be happy, But I've already decided that for me it won't come out like a crazy person. I've managed to come up with this crazy backward logic that says- I'm mental lots of the time just being myself, so for God to do something genuine and different in me, I will have a quiet joy. I even feel like I'd much rather go out and get actually wasted than get "plastered" in the Spirit. But I don't know. I hope I'll get to the point where I really am happy for God to do what He wants. The main thing that concerns me is fakeness. My worst nightmare would be for it to be put on. I want to be genuine and real. And I struggle to see maniacal laughter and genuine-ness as the same thing. I know its something I need to get over, but I'm not quite there yet. And I don't know how to get there.
We had lunch and a pasta parlour place which was yum (I had pizza!) We had been challenged to find someone to give a prophetic word or word of encouragement to over lunch. I was fairly petrified. I actually managed to tell the waitress that God loved her, thought she was beautiful and that I could totally see she had a beautiful spirit. What is a beautiful spirit?! But she seemed enouraged. Yey.

The afternoon session was Kevin Dedmon speaking on Bethel's one word mission statement: revival! And a bit of the stuff he shared while he was at the mission school in Glasgow last summer. Its really good to see him in his home setting. He makes a lot more sense when you see him as part of his team, rather than on his own. I chatted to him with Carissa and Johnny and he was RAVING about Andy. A kindred spirit I think. Or whatever the spiritual version of that is. I was fairly struggling to stay awake but what I heard was good!

The evening brought us Kris Vallotton, once again - brilliant. He spoke about Ephesions 7 at about a million miles an hour. Didn't quite get it... didn't at all get it actually. I will for sure be listening to it again... probably multiple times. The worship last night was good. We sang the "jump in the river" song. Notes from journal went thus... "I want to jump in. But I'm trying and I can't seem to get there. It feels kind of like when you've been on a trampoline and then you jump on normal ground and it's so much harder than you expect. I can hear God say "stop trying and just come" but I don't know how. All that "jump in, the waters the same" stuff annoys me. But I don't want it to. It's like "run into His presence" or "press into His face" How? Actually how? Short of running into the row infront of me - what do I do?
"There is joy in the river... there is peace in the river..." Ok, that's nice. How do I get there??! Rght after that, I kid you not, they started singing "Why so downcast oh, oh my soul? Put your hope in God alone." God on my case or what? Haha. I have to laugh at myself. But still, it doesn't make it any easier... not right now. Also was pretty fed up with the whole not being healed thing. Trying to keep soldiering on. And not get too discouraged. God is good and he doesn't change. And he wants me to be healed and he CAN heal me. I just can't help but wonder when?

Elanor McAdam, 28/07/2011


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Monday 25th July - Day 3.

Well then, another day has passed already and the conference hasn't even started. I am so glad we have had these few days to settle in before hand. It's so good to take a breath and see things in their "normal" setting before a full on conference. It gives a much better all round view of things.

Yesterday was church... it was great. Bethel have a number of morning services so we went to the late morning one. Having heard how busy it could be, we turned up an hour early to wander around and make sure we got into the main "sanctuary" rather than being in the overflow room. Yes, they have an overflow room. It was nice to see that the Sanctuary wasn't ridiculously huge, and to have nice comfy seats but not those cinema chairs you get in some churches, which I find a bit much. The hour before the meeting started passed by really quickly with some people watching and finding Carissa! Yey! I loved that there was such a massive variety of people- not a set type of people that attend this church; from people who have tattooes all over their faces to young families.

The service was great! Absolutely brilliant. The worship was so passionate and hunger-filled. Everyone eager to be in His presence. Which we most definitely were. The band were really tight but also definitely not perfect. The words on the screen sometimes took a while to come up and for some reason I liked that. I realised these are just normal people in a normal local church. Not something totally perfect and un-relatable too. I also saw what Andy and Dad have been saying about Hope being very similar to it. It's obbviously different, but lots of the principles are the same. I enjoyed their approach to giving "Don't give if it's going to put you into debt" is written on their offering envelopes. The visitor leaflet starts with "There are so many great churches in this area- we aare honoured that you have chosen to come here today..." I mean, there is love and honour right there. There is absolutely zero amount of "Bethel is the only church. We're going to take over the world". I always thought it might get a bit annoying for them, if they constantly have vast numbers of people, but everyone you talk to is so genuinely pleased to see you. And it's fab to see that there is a large number of people for whom Bethel is home church.

The preach was absolutely fab. Kris Valloton was on form with a hilarious and deep hitting message. Definitely listen to it if you can. He was so easy to listen to, but his comedy did not detract at all from the massiveness of the topic. He coated what could very easily be a very bitter pill in something receivable/ swallowable. I started the preach by taking notes, but eventually couldn't keep up and wrote "Listen to this preach again. It is ace. Johnny likes it too." Haha.

After church, we went to Red Robin, which is kind of like TGIs at home. I cannot  believe how much I ate... it was fairly ridiculous. But so so good. In TGIs you get bottomless drinks- they refill you whenever you like. Here you got bottomless fries. BOTTOMLESS!! Nevermind the fact that the portions are ginormous anyway, they give you REFILLS!!! As much as you like. Mental. Brilliant. Johnny of course took full use of this.

The evening service was different to the morning- different band, different preach. I didn't notice if it was a different crowd. Again, great. I was pretty tired by that point so struggled somewhat with the preach. Ended up sitting out and chatting to Johnny which was good. Danny Silk was preaching. It was great to see that all the leaders are so very different and each of their gifts is nurtured and honoured and given room for. It is no one man show. Kris in the morning, Danny at night- two exceptionally different people, differentt gifts, and different speaking styles. Both honoured equally and very highly. They stand up to welcome the speaker. Before the preach. It's very honouring.

Monday was a rest day. I managed to sleep in til about 10am which was brill. We just chilled out at the house for a coouple hours and then went to thee nearby mall. It was fun to wander around and people watch. Also bought some exciting things which Johnny has mentioned in his blog. Haha. We got chatting to the people in Victoria's Secret and they told us that Bethel is the biggest employer in the city. I think they have around 400 staff. 400!!! That's mental. And so great. They seem to have such a presence in this place. And everyone seems to think really highly of them. It's ace. The afternoon was spent relaxing at home and then we hit up the cinema in the evening. I got a diet coke that was bigger than my head and managed to drop it all over the floor. It was definitely a two hannds job carrying that vat of coke. I promised Johnny it was just a one off and no I wouldn't make it a habit! Hehe. Not that volume anyway. We saw Bridesmaids which was absolutely hilarious. Pretty grim at points, but properly laugh out loud most of the time. Loved it.

Today was day 1 of the conference. Still got the evening session to go but will be doing some resting before going back out. So far, absolutely brilliant. Definitely life changing stuff!

Elanor McAdam, 26/07/2011


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Sunday 24th July - Day 2

Good morning! Beginning of day two and I'm excited! I just want to take everything in and see what God's going to do. I am enjoying that it feels so normal to talk about God. It definitely wasn't the case for me before. I realised after reading my blog over later that I started my blog saying the encounter room wasn't weird... and then quoted my blog and clearly I thought it was pretty weird at first. Amazing what you adapt to and accept as normal!

I had my Sozo session straight after the Healing Rooms and again, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard lots of people talking about their experiences of it and of course have chatted heaps to Mum and Dad, but of course I hadn't experienced it at all myself. I still don't really know how to describe it. Sozo means "saved, healed, delivered" (haha! i just typed signed, sealed, delivered! oops!) which to me sounds pretty intense. I had decided before hand that I was going to be really open and just go for it. I was welcomed by a lady called Lori and taken through to a room with a sofa and a few seats. I sat on the big comfy sofa and Lori and her 2 helpers sat on the chairs. I took off my flip flops and snuggled in for the session. I pretty much started crying immediately... lets just say I often respond that way. If I'm angry - I cry, if I'm laughing a lot - I cry, if I'm tired- I cry, and sometimes I just cry for seemingly no reason... get the picture? And having had a pretty eventful couple of years, I have got over the crying in public/ with strangers issue. I used to hate it and get really annoyed at myself, but now there's no point. Better out than in. If I'm trying to stop myself from crying, then I'm obviously keeping something in. And if I'm working at holding something in, how can I really concentrate and be myslef? I can't. It's not like I'm constantly weepy or anything. But you know, it's just what I do. There was helpfully a box of tissues on the table next to my sofa. There's a spectrum- almost too open to unbelievably closed off. I'm pretty hard to open so I'm told, but when I feel safe, I'm there. I was there. I had been told by quite a few people to just say whatever comes into your head. I did. Even when it was telling one of the girls I really liked her shoes. So I was all set. And what can I say? It was BRILL! Basically, they chat to you and help you chat with God. The first thing they asked me was what I was expecting/hoping for. And then they fired in with "What do you think of Jesus?" my answer started (no joke) "I think he's pretty great..." Of course I elaborated but there is definitely no need for super-spirituality. Literally just say what I think. Fab. We talked about all sorts. They hardly had to ask me anything, I just splurged. It was amazing how they just sat and listened to you, and listened to God and helped you hear Him too. I was totally amazed at how easily I heard God. But also how I did not feel judged at all. If I didn't hear anything, I just said so. If I didn't see anything, no problem. We talked about stuff I was expecting to, and also some things I didn't even know I was thinking about. I was free to say I wasn't comfortable. But also free to just say stuff totally off topic and unrelated to what we were chatting about at the time.

I don't know if this is making any sense... I hope so. Sozo seems to me to be a great tool for chatting and sharing and welcoming God into all of your life. Dealing with stuff if there's stuff to deal with. If this could happen in normal life and normal church- fab. In the meantime, it didn't matter to me that I didn't know these people. They loved God and therefore loved me. They wanted the best for me and for me to get deeper in relationship with God. They stepped in when required and stepped back when not. They were unobtrusive, but also so willing to listen to anything you wanted to say. I left feeling lighter, free-er, and more equipped to be me, and to let God love me. I left having renounced lies that I wasn't good enough, didn't deserve His love, and needed to be someone I'm not. I left knowing in my head and my heart that my Father God delights in me just being myself. That Jesus is a top dude. And that the Holy Spirit won't make me do anything I don't want to do. That He's powerful yet tender, lion-hearted but not scary. And that I can let God in as much or as little as I want. Incredible.

 

Saturday 23rd July - Day 1

Hello one and all! We have arrived and are nearing the end of day one! Feels a bit surreal.

Travelling was long but good. Rich Kennedy was a total legend and drove us to the airport in Edinburgh to start the first leg of our journey. Despite some small issues with my passport, all went well. We arrived in San Franciso airport after 24hours and 3 flights and then Phil Ford drove us all the way up to Redding - wow!! A 4/5 hour drive!! Mental. Another legend. You sure do learn a lot about people when you are all that far beyond exhaustion!

The house we are renting is great- it has air-conditioning and internet, what more do we need?! It's also really close to church and some of the other buildings we'll be at. I'm not really sure how to do this but I guess I'll just type.

This morning we went to the Healing Rooms that are run on Saturday mornings. I had no idea what to expect, despite hearing lots about it from Mum, Dad, Andy and Theresa. I had kind of pictured this big room with white curtains and drapes and stuff, with people sort of floating around praying for people. It was definitely not like that. When you arrive, someone gives you a wee form to fill in with your details and just write what it is you want prayer for. Your form has a letter at the top and you go into the "encounter room" and it's actually not weird. Haha. There are just lots of people sitting in chairs around the room, a band playing spontaneous worship- not songs that you would sing along to or anything, and people wandering around singing or dancing or jumping, waving flags, and praying for people, or just sitting. So we found a seat (there were a lot of people!) and just looked around for the first wee while. I'd say we were in there for about an hour. I'm actually going to quote some stuff from my journal so it's not so much of a fact fact fact type blog.

"Enjoying sitting in a room full of people worshipping. Just sitting. I mainly keep my eyes closed coz I'm finding it a bit busy and frantic with tons of people around. But God's saying "these people are just happy. You dont have to dance or jump but leave them to their thing- they're enjoying it. Yeah it's weird but what about me is normal?" PAHA! There's a lady wandering around with a curly trumpet thing. She's blowing it in some peoples faces and it's annoying me. But why should it? She's not doing it to me. I started trying to block it out and ignore it, but then i saw there were colours coming out of it. It kind of looked like one of those kids books where there's a little boy playing a trumpet and everything turns from grey to colourful. But God also said that I could choose to see/have colours or I could have grey if I wanted to. But I don't want grey. "

I did lots of writing, but I think the main thing was that I just need to get over myself and stop letting what other people do annoy me- like blowing trumpets and waving flags and prophetic dancing, and shouting WHAM! in your face. Ok, not so sure how i would feel if she'd blown her trumpet in my face, but she didn't. Also, I was so surprised that I wasn't the only person just sitting there. It wasn't a room full of crazies and I was the odd one out. Ok there were some of the out there crazy types to be sure, but I was totally free to do whatever I wanted.

After about an hour, it was our turn to go into the other room and get prayed for. I actually prefered the encounter room, but it was great to get prayed for. I found it more difficult to just zone out while I was waiting than in the encounter room. But soon enough two guys Randy and Michael called my name and prayed for me. Johnny came too which was good and got some prayer for his back. I felt some improvement in my hands but they're still pretty sore today. I know that God can heal me, and wants to heal me, and that it's not anything I've done thats caused me to have this illness. So that's good. I'll just keep getting prayed for. It gets pretty exhausting getting prayed for all the time, but today it was ok.

Man, this is so long already! I'm definitely taking after Mum on the essay-length blogs! I've not even got onto Sozo session and Walmart yet! Heehee. I will write some more later. Pretty tired now. It's great hanging with Phil and Lizzie. And Johnny of course :) Think we're going to make some dinner soon!

Big love xx

Welcome

Welcome to my blog. This month me, Johnny, Phil and Lizzie are going to back to Bethel 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.

 

Elli

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