Thursday, June 08, 2006

Very big house in the country

I went to one of our big community houses yesterday, a beautiful old rectory in a semi-rural area near Milton Keynes. With its sweeping staircases, huge sash windows and noble yew trees, it's the kind of house that easily inspires romantic dreaminess.

But we're selling it. I went there to collect a few items which we're moving to my place of work and it was with a heavy heart that I left - knowing that I'd almost definitely never go there again. Why are we selling it? Well, it's a long story, but the bottom line is that the church community in Milton Keynes is really too small to make such a large house worthwhile. So they're downsizing. I've no doubt this is a wise and necessary step for the saints there to be able move on and find fresh and achievable vision. But I still find it desperately sad - and not just because I'm fond of old romantic houses (which I confess to be true).

It's just that, as I stared out of one of the top floor windows over the roofs of the rest of the house and the over the grounds, it struck me what a wonderful resource the place was for the Kingdom of God. It cries out to be full of passionate saints: living, loving, sharing, reaching out and demonstrating the great alternative that is God's new creation. I reflected on my own dreams (which amount to big houses full of passionate saints living, loving, sharing, reaching out and demonstrating the great alternative that is God's new creation). I'd like to make this happen as many times as I can fit into one lifetime. Given a chance, I'd like to grab some people, move to the old rectory and make it happen - but I can't because I'm busy giving my all to make it happen somewhere else!

Which brought me to the realisation (again) that our desperate need - for which we ought to cry out to God day and night - is people. And more: people who have seen the vision and who are ready to throw their lives at it with abandon, with grit, and with determination.

Given twenty or so of these, we could fill the old rectory instead of selling it.

There are similarities at home, at White Stone. We want to be able to grow to the point where we can create a team to be released and go and make Christian church and community happen somewhere else. But if this is to happen we gotta find people of leadership mettle - and they don't grow on trees.

Since I've only got one life to live (ever had one of those moments when you wish you could live several lives at the same time - like me wanting to move to Milton Keynes at the same time as building White Stone?..) I'm going to have to ask God to give us men and women of passion: leaders.

Recently, I've been searching my heart asking myself why I'm so keen to see the Church grow and spread. And (as I expected and feared) there's some murky motivations (ambition, romanticism, success-orientation) - but I can honestly say that the deepest motivation within me is that I love Jesus and I want Him to be known and His teachings to be lived and His Church to be glorious.

Because there's a nation to take. There's a Kingdom to be demonstrated. There's a cause to burn for. Oh God - bring it on!

"Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of Hell and setup the kingdom of heaven upon earth." (John Wesley)


HR?I said...

aww James, that sounds so beautiful! :( Im dissappointed now that I may never see Gods glory in that house.

an anabaptist said...

That is exactly what i want to do!!! Guess that might be part of the reason i married you - twice!!! (A reference to covenant, in case you're wondering, and how beautiful that it's more than just man and wife that can be that committed.)

Ahh the church...may she be shining the glory ever more brightly.

Anonymous said...

I wish you well in your journey and your search for more saints who share a vision to lead.


Paul-Samuel said...

Hey, i've just read something of worth. When Jesus spoke on the hill in Matthew5, v2 originally included "he opened his mouth". This is a greek colloquial phrase used of solemn, dignified, and weighty statements; used of speaking intimately from the heart.
God 'bless' you James

normal said...

Hey Gifted, great that you read my blog so soon! And thanks for the pointer on the 'Kingdom manifesto' (as I prefer to call the 'Sermon on the Mount', which sounds too dry for such a radical oration). I'll use that! (as well as the thing you told me about Christians always saying 'we must be prepared to... do what Jesus said'!) Nice one, bro, you inspire me.

dee braveheart said...

it is sad that Gods glory will not come to the house again but i am sure that God willmove the saints on with a fresh vision and zeal for the kingdom build in milton keynes
who knows what God has planeed
I long to be in the middle of the river and build build build for jesus 24/7 and see his kingdom shining brightly on the hill
I want to see saints burning passionately for the cause too see lost one saved and the poor and homelss find their place in the city of love and grace and forgiveness
God will do it becasue we are gonna bang on his door and cry out with urgency in our heart and he is a faithfull God

Anonymous said...

Actually James, I found it real sad we had to sell off the large eagles wings as well. Mind you, I guess its onto bigger and better things. I would have loved to have seen eagles wings growing, but maybe, just maybe, its a case of God pruning the saints in MK, as in the vinedresser, cutting back, to allow the plant to grow strong, and have real fruit??? worth a thought innit?

Praise God we've got the opposite problem in Sheffield... more people than spaces to fill!