Archive for November, 2013

November 19, 2013

Kick off for Northern Lights Church!

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We have started!!  What a thrill it was to hold the first ever church service for Northern Lights Church on Sunday morning just gone.

We had 23 people present, and there was a great atmosphere.

What was the most encouraging to me was when we had a time in the middle of the service for people to say hi to one another, so they did.  That doesn’t sound too remarkable, but seeing it happen it occurred to me that all these people had a connection to us, but they really didn’t know each other.  But as they spent those few minutes saying hello I realised, “this is the start of a new community.”  That’s central to our whole vision, even to our church name.  The bible says, “If we are in the light, as he is in the light, then we share in life together.”  Those few moments were the very start of that happening.  Still more encouraging was that half an hour after the service had ended almost no one had left.  People were still talking and enjoying each other’s company.  And enjoying their cup of tea, of course.

The people who came had a mixed background, some Catholic, some with no real church history to speak of.  But what was very encouraging was that I think only 4 of them apart from our selves were in church last week.  So that’s plenty of people who were not connected with any local church that are open to making Northern Lights Church their home.  Not all will, but some will, so that is great.

In the Purpose Driven Church Rick Warren makes the point that the modern trend of starting a church plant with a team of 30 odd means that the leader can get too busy looking after the needs of those 30 people, so they focus less on the community they are trying to reach out to.  Rick started with himself and his wife, so there was no other option.

Having now had our first service I can see what he is saying.  We do have a team to some extent in that we have borrowed 4 people from other churches – a keyboardist / worship leader and his friend, and a young couple who helped with numerous smaller jobs.  They were all fabulous.  We had so many people attend who had made a connection with us at some point over the last 3 months that we have been living here in Halifax.  In fact there was no one present who had not!

For the next service we will definitely do a better job of letting the community at large know about our meeting, and we will start to get more people attending who don’t have that connection with us.  When that is combined with those who do have that connection then we will be well placed.

I cannot express strongly enough that Catherine and I are so committed to this church.  We are in this for the long haul and by God’s grace we will build a church that will stand the test of time.  The Halifax Minster, the oldest church in town has been holding services on the same location for over 900 years.  My dream is that in a further 900 years the Minster will be celebrating its 1,800 year anniversary while Northern Lights Church celebrates 900 years of its own.  I love one of the prophetic words that we have been given which was that what we will build will be “like an oak tree, and an oak tree is something that stands for generations.”  I believe that, and I look forward to our second monthly service which will be on December 15.  I can’t believe that I have to wait 27 days to go again – I wish it was tomorrow!

John

November 10, 2013

Countdown to the First Service

Bigger NLC FLYER

We are exactly one week away from our first service at Northern Lights Church.

The venue has been booked. The flyers have been designed. The website has gone live. The Halifax Courier is coming this week to do a story on us. The 10,000 flyers have been printed and will be delivered to 10,000 homes reaching possibly 25,000 people this week. The Sermon is being written, prayers have and will be prayed, fasting will probably occur and the launch team will be briefed and released.

There is only one thing that we really care about when it comes to this first service – that God comes! If we are without His presence then we have nothing. We would be like a McDonalds without hamburgers. A KFC without chicken. A pub without beer. God loves the church – it’s his chosen vehicle to move around in. The Church needs lots of different things to grow and be successful but it only needs to lack the presence of God to become a clubhouse of well meaning. We are desperate for the real deal. The holy and tangible presence of God. What does that mean? Isn’t God meant to be everywhere all the time? Yes he is. To be blunt when you are on the toilet he is there with you. The difference is that he doesn’t reveal his presence to you in that moment.

God is with us always but He doesn’t always reveal His presence to us so we must be ruthless in going after him with a hunger that will not be satisfied with anything less than the real deal.

An Open Letter to God

Dearest God,

We invite you to come to not only our first service on November 17th, 2013 but to every service, every meeting, every retreat, every home group, every baptism every kids group and every conference that Northern Lights Church ever holds or opens its doors to. We acknowledge that this is your house and we are your people. We promise to make you welcome and to let you interrupt any and all of our plans. We want you to be free to move upon the hearts and minds of all present and change the lives of anyone including us. We acknowledge that without you we are nothing.

Will you please come God?

An Open Letter to Halifax, West Yorkshire

Halifax, we have fallen in love with your stone buildings and lush green trees. We love that mail comes on a Saturday and that you don’t have mosquitoes. We love your radiator heating and the awesomeness of your insulation. Most of all we love your people. We have been inspired, encouraged and enriched by every person that has come into our home for a meal or a cup of tea. We love the people that employment has bought into our lives and we love our neighbours who don’t have a choice. We love the friends from school that our daughter has made and we love the people that we have met from Churches all across Halifax. You are all doing an amazing job for the Kingdom of God. In return Halifax, we have give you our big Australian hearts and lives. We put it all on the line and hold nothing back from you.

Finally an invitation for you to become a part of the Northern Lights Family.  If you are not already part of a church family then we invite you to come to Northern Lights Church on November 17, 10:30am at the Southwood Club on Birdcage Lane. Come and hear what God has done for you and respond to Him. It will change your life. We expect God to do great things in every service. Don’t miss out. See you then.

Cheers,

John and Catherine

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