Last Sunday, a flurry of four prophetic messages were shared.
For anyone unfamiliar with ‘prophetic messages’: The Bible describes them as God's gift to us. We expect – and enjoy – the fact that God communicated with people, so that they can then speak his message to us. Such words really help us. They encourage us and build us up – and sometimes disturb us!
How do we know it’s God’s message for us? We ask:
- Are they consistent with the Bible?
- Are they in keeping with other such messages that we have received?
- Is the the person speaking of good character?
All four people whose messages we received last Sunday are indeed of good character. Many in OCC will know John Snelson personally. The other three are less well known in our church, but have all been church leaders since in the 1970s, and have proven reliable over decades in the quality of the prophetic messages that they have brought.
In particular, last week's main speaker, Dave Richards, was one of the founding leaders of our international family of churches and is received as a father in the Lord by groups of churches in Scandinavia, Africa and America.
There were two messages inviting us to be close to God, to pay attention to what he’s doing – and these are not only biblical truths, but in keeping with the prophetic guidance that we have been responding to in the last few years.
Then there were two messages about God intending to shake up our church, to mix our layers, to move us from one bottle to another, and this all serving to cleanse us. These two words have had a mixed response:
- Oh no, not more change
- Yay, more change
- It’s not great to be compared to Moab!
The church leaders are taking more time to weigh these words and what our response should be. In the meantime, I want to give a few initial responses:
- There is plenty of change already underway for us as a church – not only the changes forced by this wretched virus, but also in response to God’s guidance over the last few years. None of us expect to go back to business as usual, because God is actually working an upgrade in us, even at this time.
- The words spoken about Moab (from Jer 48:1) were spoken in judgement, but such is the grace of God that they also contained good intent for Moab. That nation’s prolonged lack of disturbance had left them lacking in substance, showing that disturbance can do us good, and God promises to disturb us for good purpose.
- These two messages were not a command to shake ourselves, but a prompt to look for changes that God himself initiates – and in that sense they chime with the other two words about paying close attention to God.
In normal times, when the view is clear, we can see far ahead. When fog descends and we can no longer see ahead, then we learnt to rely on our sense of hearing, which seems to come alive!
So, in this lockdown, when the future is uncertain in so many ways, God is speaking to us about paying close attention to him, to all that he has to say, as we move step by step through the fog.