As I have been pondering before the Lord what our focus should be as we start the New Year, I feel He is saying this is to be a year to develop infrastructure.
In everyday usage, ‘infrastructure’ refers to transport networks, power supplies, and other facilities (e.g. water and sewers) that enable a country or organisation to function effectively. ‘Infra’ is a Latin word meaning below or beneath.
I believe God is saying we need to prepare a supporting structure in readiness for what’s coming.
It is my conviction that we are approaching a time – an outpouring of the Spirit – when large numbers of people will turn to the Lord and become Christians. God has already shown us what’s possible – for example in the Welsh and Azusa Street revivals of the early 1900’s. And we know those outpourings were only a small foretaste of what God can do – and will do.
But it is fair to say that the UK church is not yet ready for a large influx of new believers. Indeed, it seems a daunting task knowing how to gear up. But the same Jesus who said, ‘I will build My church’ will work with us as we look to Him. With God, we can accomplish what is impossible with man alone.
So what kind of infrastructure is needed? It is vital that we build only what the Lord is building: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.’ (Ps. 127:1 ESV) Jesus is the One with the Master Plan – but He wants to reveal to each of us what we need to do to play our part.
There are things we can all do as individuals. Here are some of my priorities for 2017:
1. INTIMACY – to take time in the secret place with God. Jesus longs for us to be with Him where He is and to see His glory. (See John 17:24.) It’s vital that we each learn to meet with Him daily: to experience His love and worship Him; to hear what He’s saying, and then do what He says. When people come to us to be discipled, this will be the most important thing we can teach them – how to receive their daily bread direct from the Lord.
2. BIBLE – most importantly, the Bible is a place to meet with God and hear from Him. In order to help make disciples, we will need to be familiar with the scriptures for ourselves. If anyone wants to try reading the Bible in a year, Claire has set up a Facebook group where we can encourage one another through the year.
3. PRAYER – personally I am feeling a pressing need to learn how to pray more and better, so that my ‘prayer life’ can handle all the people and situations that are on my heart to pray for. In the days ahead, we are going to need to know how to pray.
4. FRIENDSHIPS AND COMMUNITY – learning how to share life together with people we love and trust. We all need friendships where we are praying for one another, sharing life together, and encouraging each other day by day. Organised meetings should just be the overflow. If you share a house with others who love Jesus, this is a great opportunity to pray for and encourage each other daily. In addition we can all ask God to show us people we can pray for, and show us if there are people we can share life with. When new believers are added to the church, they are going to need community – to be joined with families of Jesus-lovers. As a good friend has taught us, family sustains revival.
5. HOUSES OF WORSHIP AND PRAYER – God is enthroned on the praises of His people. (See Psalm 22:3.) King David was so convinced of this truth, that He established a place of 24/7 worship and prayer at the very heart of his kingdom – so that God would be enthroned continually. This caused the nation to be transformed during his 33-year reign. How much more, in these last days, do we need to align earth with heaven through our praises, thanksgiving, worship and intercession. Across the earth, God is raising up houses of worship and prayer, and these will be a vital ingredient in sustaining a move of God in the nations. We would love the Melbourne Centre to become such a place – where God is enthroned 24/7 – and see our city and region transformed.
A final thought: In the light of the above, I know I need more self-discipline in my life. The problem is, the harder I try, the more I seem to fall flat on my face! It’s a kind of paradox. But I believe there's an answer! To take time (to lavish time) on intimacy with God – loving Him and experiencing His love for me. To press beyond the point where it feels like I’m wasting time. Without a fresh revelation of His love for me, my passion will soon dry up. To quote Bill Johnson, ‘Living out of passion is so much more Christ-like than merely living out of good discipline.’
I would be fascinated to hear your thoughts and insights. Are there other ways in which the Holy Spirit is leading you to get ready for the coming move of God?