March - April 2008

Despite the cold winter winds and rain, I still feel privileged to live in such a beautiful country. My youngest son David (now 21) took this picture while we walked through the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, needing the shelter of the trees on the lower slopes. This morning I saw the first daffodils bloom in our garden and recognise the first fingerprints of Spring.


It has been a busy February, and a very blessed one. On Sunday February 3rd I had the honour of dedicating little Charis Atkinson to the Lord in a beautiful private room at a five star hotel. There is something very special about committing a child to Jesus before family and friends, both Christian and non Christian. It would be difficult not to be touched by the importance of the event.

On February 8 - 10 we had the first of two weekends with a new group of young men from Lifeline Ministry in Dublin. As previous readers of these newsletters will know this ministry offers young men from addiction backgrounds a safe house and an understanding of Jesus Christ.  The work of the Holy Spirit amongst these young men is simply awesome. The young men then attend two CRi weekends, the first for the Father heart of God and the second a ministry weekend into such issues as forgiveness, rejection and fear. This second weekend is mid March. It was a blessing beyond words when Lifeline leader and dear brother and friend Phillip Richardson asked if I would baptise three of the recent believers. This we did in one of the bathrooms in the centre. The sea was only a minute away but the thought of the cold water in February was a little daunting. The look on the lad's faces as they rose from the water says it all. The presence of God was so real.  Left to right, Fergus Tony and Graham


Two days after returning from this wonderful weekend Linda and I set off for Ellel Pierrepont in Surrey, England. We arrived at Belfast airport at 9.30am for a 10.20 flight but fog delayed all flights for some five hours and by the time we arrived at the centre just in time for evening meal I had missed my first teaching slot for Kingdom Business! On Wednesday and Thursday I taught the Father heart of God, which includes a one hour walk through the beautiful grounds of Pierrepont expounding on Romans 1:20 .."For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,"

 On Friday the missing Kingdom Business teaching was re-slotted into the afternoon, with the morning spent enjoying nearby Farnham town. On Saturday Linda and I took 'Marriage as God intended' with some seventy people attending. We flew home on Sunday arriving just in time to attend a thanksgiving get together at Walter and Anne Galway's home, to give thanks for Walter's recovery from near death and safe passage through five months in hospital.


 

The annual Christian Restoration in Ireland 'basics of prayer ministry skills' school ended on Thursday February 21st and each student got presented with their completion certificate.. The testimonies confirmed that all had grown greatly through the teaching and ministry. Here are some of the recipients.


While in England - after eating a meal which disagreed with me - I developed an upset stomach, but thought little of it. The following day during a dawn walk by the river I noticed that I became breathless after only minimal effort. When I returned home and visited the family doctor the prescribed tablets quickly dealt with the food related illness. However despite antibiotic medication the breathlessness became worse, until after several difficult days I finally agreed to go to the outpatients department of the Royal Victoria Hospital. To my surprise an oxygen mask was quickly placed on me as the oxygen content in my blood was low, and I was kept in for five days of tests (I took this pic on my iphone out of boredom after waiting some four hours for a bed to become ready!) My breathlessness disappeared after two days and all tests after that showed that normal life could be resumed.
However while in hospital I caught a very heavy cold which greatly debilitated me and upon getting home I was greatly tempted to call off the next weekend's healing retreat for the lifeline lads from Dublin. In the end I decided to go ahead because I knew how much they were looking forward to it. The weekend went very well but I cannot remember feeling so unwell for a long time. On top of everything else I developed toothache!  I was so tired that I had to stop the car on the way home for a sleep at the side of the road. As I write this I am taking a week off all duties to try and make a complete recovery from the unexpected health related events of the past two weeks!

This lovely picture of the 'lads' on the weekend healing retreat captures the joy of Jesus on all their faces. Our lives have become entwined with the Lifeline lads and their stories never fail to move us. One of the lads wrote me a poem at the weekend ..here is an extract from it.
Lord, My Saviour Jesus Christ'
Lord You have reached down to the depths of darkness
Your all consuming love and compassion touched my heart
You promised "You would not forsake me" I cried,
Your saving grace forgave me my trespasses against You Lord
I am hurt and I seek Your Light
You told me to hand over my earthly fight
Jesus in You we are a new creation
The train with the devil has left the station
I step out in faith and stand on Your Word
You have cleansed me of my sinful ways today

Following last month's purchase of this High Definition Sony video recorder plus editing software and accessories, we have begun to learn the art of video production by filming the Tuesday evening team training sessions and producing DVD's.

Through this weekly practice and the use of a training video we plan to be in a position to begin filming various teachings in April beginning with 'The Father heart of God'.


We never take our eyes of the ministry commission given by God at the foundation of this ministry. Through teaching training and prayer ministry we seek - through the leading and anointing of the Holy Spirit - to see God's people released into discipleship and their destiny.

We send a team every Thursday to minister alongside church members in training at the newly formed Green Pastures Church in Ballymena. I will be teaching there regularly throughout this year. We share the vision that God has given to Pastor Jeff Wright. "I was a stranger and you took Me in" (from Mattthew 25:35) and he shares the vision God has given us. "Let My people go that they may serve Me" (from Exodus 8:1) It is our heart to see a residential discipleship school start in the near future, and with God's help it will happen!


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