Thrill of a Lifetime

Roller Coaster

I remember the first time I went on a roller coaster.  It was at a theme park in Western Sydney back in the late 1980’s.  It was fast, scary and thrilling and when it came to an end I just wanted to do it again.  The one thing that sticks in my mind the most is that first hill. You slowly clack up the steep climb and seem to hang for an eternity at the top until whoosh you’re accelerating down the drop.  Your stomach is still somewhere at the top of the coaster. The rest of the ride is good too no other part of the ride can compare with that first hill.

This time next week Catherine and I are launching a new church.  We feel like we are on the crest of that first hill.  We are about to go over.  Between the two of us we have contrasting emotions.  I have my hands in the air and a big grin on my face.  Catherine is not grinning and her hands are gripping the bar very tightly.  But regardless of how we feel about February 16 there’s no stopping this ride.

What is certain is that there are many twists and turns to come, we can’t see them now but it will be an exhilarating ride.  We can’t wait.

As far as we can tell we are well placed to spend our first year growing and developing as a healthy church.  We have prepared the path to  launch by holding three monthly services, which have let some people come across us and work out that they want to be involved.  I don’t think that this would have happened if we had gone straight into weekly services.

So we can count on a core of people who will attend on the 16th and likely be there the week after as well.  We can even put a number of them on various rosters and rely on them to do various roles around the place.  This makes things a whole lot easier, especially granted that we have arrived in this town not knowing anyone, and with no “core team” working under us.

Most of all we have the deepest of convictions that we were put on the planet to do this work.  The sense of God’s calling is so strong that we would walk over broken glass to make it work.  There is no turning back for us.

In ancient times and in the Middle Ages if an invading army arrived by sea the generals would sometimes make a statement to their soldiers to burn the boats after they had landed.  It made the point in a dramatic way that there was no going back.  That they’d better win their battles, because retreat was not an option.  I can’t think of anything I could do to symbolically burn the boats, but mentally I feel that we have done that.  In my mind NorthernLightsChurch and the ministries that will flow from it will be our life’s work.  There is no going back.  If it’s tough then we press on and persevere.  It was tough for the apostles, for Paul and for many of the early Christians.  They persevered, and they prevailed.

We won’t face the obstacles that our spiritual ancestors faced in the first century but we carry the same message, and we will persevere in spreading it, just like they did.

So in just 7 days we launch.  By God’s grace we will hold thousands of services over the years that come, but only ever one launch.  If you are in Halifax don’t miss it!

John and Catherine xoxo

6 Comments to “Thrill of a Lifetime”

  1. Just had to check in with you!
    Our house circle has served its purpose and, for now, no longer meets. So Margaret and I have connected with a Wed. night small group which is semi-attached to the local Pentecostals.
    As I pondered what to pray for on your behalf it came as this – “May your feet remain solidly on the Foundation, your heads remain in the clouds of so many witnesses, your hearts remain softened by the new covenant written there by God’s own hand, and remain in the armour of God everyday. May you remain fully overwhelmed by Jesus in your lives. For God is so good, so good…”

  2. John Catherine and Poppy,
    I have been praying about your initial launch and asked God for words to say to you.
    I have never attended a new church starting up for a first time.
    I can only imagine the excitement, the joy, and the anticipation of what our mighty God will do in your midst.
    Its like launching into the deep end, but be mindful of the thought which is your portion, that what God creates he abundantly stands by.

    I’m also imagining how blessed these new folk will be to have this precious Warren family minister into their lives.
    How would I feel I ask myself if someone came all the way across the world to introduce me to Jesus.
    Unsurpasssed joy and a wave of Love and Peace I think would be the order from above.

    Be enriched dear ones and hang on. My fervent prayers are for you on Sunday … Rosalie

    An excerpt from the pen of “David McCracken” which came to me this morning via Email.
    A little bit of Aussie for you but also quite appropriate in your given environment.

    “Early this morning, I was out walking with Father in the serenity of gum trees, kookaburras and kangaroos. It is my ‘Adam’s Garden’. Such times are times of intimacy, communion and receiving significant understanding of His heartbeat. And so it was again this morning.

    But then, there he was! No, not Father! HE was a huge grey kangaroo. He and his equally large mate were grazing right at the edge of the path I was walking on.

    Nothing new about that but on this occasion, this one became extremely aggressive. Raising himself up to his highly impressive full height, he began to growl and posture in a most intimidating manner. I tried to inch myself down the far side of the track, but he simply blocked the way and became more agitated. I raised a large stick in the air and commanded him to give way in Jesus’ name! Well, he slowly backed off and allowed me right of passage.Half an hour later, on my return trip, there he was waiting for me in exactly the same spot! This time nothing would cause him to back off. And I am not exaggerating when I say that he was HUGE!

    I stood there thinking of alternate tracks back to the car when these thoughts occurred to me:
    “Wait a minute! Who is the King’s representative here?” “ Who is supposed to give way to who?”
    “I am a redeemed member of my Father’s royal family and I carry His authority!”

    I picked up a branch which still had plenty of leaves on it and, shaking it vigorously, charged straight at him and commanded him to shift in Jesus’ name. Still growling aggressively, he slowly backed off the track.

    Other than being Irish, why would I take your valuable time to share this story? Because I am convinced that many times a giant will plant himself directly in our path, defying the clear objectives that Father has placed in our hearts. At times, such a giant will resist us and seek to intimidate us into finding the convenience of another path. Initial attempts to push through seem to be met with even greater resistance. You begin to consider the alternatives.

    But it is at that point that we must remind ourselves:
    “Who is the King’s representative here?”
    “Who is supposed to give way to who?”
    “I am a redeemed member of my Father’s royal family and I carry His authority!”

    In the Book of Revelation, authority and dominion are granted to those who overcome. I believe the Lord is speaking to many of you at this time: “Go again! Exercise your authority in My name and prevail!”

    My friends, Satan’s resistance to your God-given cause should not surprise you. It merely confirms the value of your pursuit and his fear of you achieving it. But it is you, not he, that have the authority to rule in the King’s name.

  3. Still February 9 here, and I just really feel to tell you guys that He has given you everything you need to move forwards. I don’t know you John (only met you once when you came to Canada several years ago) but you are married to a great woman that I know God has given a very special calling to. I’ll never forget when Greg (Mitchell) told me that you (Cathy) are once of the most talented people he had ever met… and I totally see that. God is with you. So thankful for your blogs and so enjoy what you are doing there. I even told Kevin the other day that I’d love to pop in on you guys someday. You never know….Blessings, Kevin and Wrenetta

  4. What a scary yet exciting time. You both make an amazing team and I have no doubt the launch will be 1 of thousands of services. See you on Sunday. Xxx

  5. Wow it is so good to hear of the Gods wonderful blessings he is placing upon you and your church. Love you Ali

    • Thanks Alison. We miss you guys heaps. We love you to pieces. The photo of the pancakes by the pool inspired me to make them today for John and Poppy. YUMMY!

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