I’m really excited about next week Sunday, 1 July 2012.  Why? I begin preaching at Valley Vineyard, after fulfilling all my prior commitments to Sunday preaching at other churches.

Since my last blog explaining the important (and rather dramatic) shifts that have taken place in Gill and my life, here’s a brief update. In following Jesus to Valley Vineyard I’ve engaged with the leadership and staff and some members over the past two to three weeks, in response to the invitation to give leadership to a process for 2 to 3 months – in order to make firm decisions as to the way forward for Valley Vineyard, for Gill and I, and for our colleague (the current team leader). We are presently making final decisions as to budget cuts, among other things… and implementing them. So it’s all happening! Pray for us!!

But my purpose in communicating is to say I’m soooo looking forward to getting into the flow of preaching at Valley Vineyard. Sunday 1 July will be my first opportunity to give perspective and initial direction in a “family talk” to the church. Then Gill and I have a 10 day family holiday. And then I begin a series of teachings on Sunday 15 July, which will run for 9 consecutive Sundays, called “Restoration and Renewal”, based in the book of Isaiah. I cannot tell you how much I’ve missed – over the past four years – preaching and teaching sunday by sunday, pastoring and building up a community of faith through the regular exposition of God’s Word. The Word of God has a power of its own. When faithfully proclaimed under the anointing of the Spirit it penetrates and cuts like a two-edged sword, exposing all sorts of stuff, and working God’s sure progressive transformation on the inside.

My sense from God, through my own devotional journey in Isaiah last year and beginning of this year, is that God is doing a new thing. I have been personally restored and renewed over the past while, out of a sense of deep disconnection, dryness, even exile. God says, “Look! I make all things new!” I strongly believe the Lord wants to restore the exiles, gather his scattered people, and renew their faith and calling. God wants to do “a full make-over” in  a mighty outpouring of his Spirit, in a new breakthrough of his Kingdom – his Rule and Reign of Love. Precisely how this happens, how we can receive it and co-operate in his work of renewal, will be the substance of this teaching series in Isaiah.

So I ask all who read these words: first, please pray for me and for Valley Vineyard, that what I believe God has been saying to me will take place – for his glory and for the sake of his needy people. We are engaged in a most serious spiritual battle, and it is won in prayer – or lost because of prayerlessness.

And secondly, I unashamedly and unapologetically invite all followers of Jesus in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg who are not in committed belonging in a local community of Christ, to come to Valley Vineyard to enter this journey of Restoration and Renewal with us. You are welcome to send this message out to all and sundry. E.g. you may know of friends and/or family who need a place of belonging for healing, spiritual growth and formation… let them know about this journey we’re beginning, and encourage them to connect with us:

0900 every Sunday morning at Valley Vineyard (well sign-posted), 379 Spionkop road, Northriding (off Aureole road right near NorthGate), phone 010-2220582 (or 010-2220583/5/6).  

Thanks so much in anticipation for your faithful intercession and loving support. Father, may your Kingdom come, may your will be done, on the piece of earth called Valley Vineyard, as it is done in heaven.

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