Tuesday 1st September 2015
"So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed" - Acts 19:20
A door of opportunity had opened in Ephesus for the supernatural power of God to be manifest in unusual ways through Paul and his companions. There was also much opposition to the message of the Gospel, even to the extent of charges being brought against God's servants and riots in the street. Yet, in the midst of such progressive activity and malicious hostility, we read the glorious statement "So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed" there (Acts 19:20).
It is such a joy to be able to testify to 15 years of God's faithfulness in preachtheword.com (more on this below). In the midst of all the ups and downs in life and in ministry - the opportunities and the opposing forces of the enemy - GOD IS FAITHFUL and the Word of God has been continually increasing and bearing fruit through preachtheword.com. In the words of the Psalmist: "...the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!" (Psalm 117:2b ESV). All glory goes to God for "God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). God is ALL in ALL!
I would like to pay tribute to Andrew Watkins, webmaster and founder of preachtheword.com, and the Watkins family and the tireless work that goes into all their labour for the Master. As I said of Andrew in our last prayer letter, he has been one of God's greatest gifts and blessings in our lives – "I have no one else like him..." (Philippians 2:20). If you haven't already seen it, do watch Andrew's story.
Apart from the itinerary on the left, there are some things I would like to highlight for your attention and prayer:
- The Israel Tour in October has been cancelled due to a lack of bookings for the trip.
- Portadown House of Prayer continues every Friday, but we would like to see more development in this Kingdom prayer initiative in this coming season with God’s help.
- The Stables, Enniskillen will be a major focus of ministry this year with meetings every month and further prayer ministry at other specified times. We are very excited about what God is doing here.
Thank you once again for your faithful intercession on our behalf - it is priceless to us.
It is with great joy and thankfulness that I can share with you that 'Preach The Word' celebrated its 15th anniversary on the 1st September. Fifteen years is a long time on the internet - a lifetime! When we launched in September 2000, there was no high-speed broadband internet, no wireless home networking; there were no iPods, smartphones or tablets, no eBook readers, no YouTube, Twitter or Facebook. How things have changed - but our message and our aim to spread it using the internet remains the same!
Looking back over these 15 years, there is one thing in particular that stands out for me. Is it the rapid pace of change that we see, increasing every year on the internet? Is it the great diversity of people that visit our site from all walks of life, and all corners of the globe? Is it the remarkable, continuing hunger for clear, yet deep, truth from God’s word? No, the one thing that stands out for me since the day that 'Preach The Word' was tentatively launched onto the world wide web is the faithfulness of God. He has been faithful in equipping me for every task He has presented me with. He has been faithful in providing for every need in the ministry. He has been faithful in sustaining me physically for the work He has called me to, despite my daily difficulties and increasing weakness. I know David would also testify that He has been faithful to him and his family through all their changing circumstances in the past 15 years. It is to the glory of God that the 'Preach The Word' website has been available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the past 5,500 days, so that people can be helped to deepen their relationship with God, and so that many can hear the Good News of the Gospel. Please pray with us that God will continue to enable us, and continue to use this means to reach many with the truth of His Word – that all the glory might be His.
"Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father...
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!"
- Andrew Watkins - @andrewwatkins - email@example.com
Friday 1st May 2015
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" - 1 Corinthians 3:6,7
We give all glory to God for His 'increase' over the last number of months:
Gospel Missions: in both Lisburn and Monaghan Elim we had encouraging meetings with folk seeking the Lord for salvation, restoration and various other needs.
Portadown Elim: we had a wonderful time of ministry which concluded the church's period of 40 Days Fasting and Prayer. These were special meetings when God was evidently speaking.
Newtownbreda Baptist: at the church's request I preached on 'Intimacy with God', and particularly obstacles to intimacy in the area of 'Sins, Wounds and Demons'. The three week-nights in particular proved to be a significant turning point for many as they experienced God's power and grace upon their lives in a new way.
The Stables: the blessing continues in Enniskillen and we are seeking the Lord as to how He would have us harness this and see further 'increase' in the coming months. Please pray for wisdom in this.
P-HOP: Portadown House of Prayer is a year old in May and we are thankful for much progress. We continue to wait on the Lord for His guidance as to how to develop this work to see His 'kingdom come' and His 'will be done, on earth as it is in heaven'. The Portadown House Of Prayer exists to welcome God's transforming presence to our town and community.
As you will notice over the next months there are much fewer preaching engagements than normal. We believe that this time has been ordered by God for His purposes, which He will make clear.
A steady stream of people continue to come to our home for prayer ministry regularly. This has become a very blessed and fruitful ministry which continues to occupy a considerable amount of our time.
Recordings for the UCB Inspirational programme, 'God Encounter', continues every month, involving much preparation for which we covet your prayers.
Thank you so much for partnering with us in prayer and in the fellowship of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Friday 16th January 2015
Will you join me in making your New Year's resolution to read the Bible as if you had never read it before? That's very hard to do. We all have our presuppositions, and we tend to come to Scripture with rose tinted glasses on - we see everything through the lens of what we have believed before. But I'm trying my best not to do that, as far as is humanly possible. I want to come to the Bible as if I had never read it before.
Most people have never truly read the Bible in this way. Sadly, I fear that most Christian believers today are not reading their Bibles at all. I read a poem recently called 'I Thought I Knew My Bible', and it goes like this:
'Yes I thought I knew my Bible,
Reading piecemeal, hit or miss.
Now a part of John or Matthew,
Then a bit of Genesis,
Certain chapters of Isaiah,
Certain Psalms (the twenty-third!);
First of Proverbs, twelfth of Romans.
Yes, I thought I knew the Word!
But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read my Bible through.
You who like to play at Bible,
Dip and dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel, all weary,
Yawning through a hurried prayer;
You who treat this Crown of Writings
As you treat no other book -
Just a paragraph disjointed,
Just a crude impatient look -
Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in awesome wonder
When you read the Bible through!'
- Amos R. Wells
To say that most are not reading the Bible is maybe too great a generalisation – but I believe most Christians are certainly not reading it in large chunks. We might take a little portion that some daily devotional reading gives us (if we are even doing that), but this is no substitute for getting to grips with what the Bible says.
Am I saying that we have to read the Bible through in a year? That is a very worthy undertaking, but I'm not saying that you should do that. You should read the Bible at the pace that you can digest it. However, I fear that when we are not reading the Bible as we ought to read it, we are not getting the message of God - it's as simple as that. As generation after generation of professing believers fail to read the Bible in such a fashion, we are losing things.
Some of the most revolutionary times in human history were when the church read the Bible and actually heeded what it said. What I want to appeal to you to do is: let the Bible speak in your life, in the church, from the pulpit. So my New Year's resolution is to read the Bible as a new book - will you join me and try to read it as if you're reading it for the first time, being careful to listen for the voice of God?
[Read or listen to more on this subject in the sermon 'Let The Bible Speak'...]
Thursday 1st January 2015
"'Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it'. And he was afraid and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!'" - Genesis 28:16-17
Thanks be to God that, because of His victory in the passion of the cross of Christ and through the power of His glorious resurrection, we now can live under an open heaven! The veil is torn in two! It is our desire that we should experience more of this Bethel atmosphere when we minister: above us the portal of heaven wide open and a gateway to glory from which the heavenly hosts ascend and descend upon the Son of Man!
We are pleased to report that we have known something of that 'heavenly atmosphere' of late both at home and in ministry events.
Union Road Presbyterian, Magherafelt ministry week on 'The Father Heart of God' was a special time when revelation came to many hearts concerning the true love of God toward us as our 'Abba Father'. This is a truth for our 'fatherless' generation if ever there was.
C.E.F. Workers' Week, Donegal proved to be an exceptional time among the full-time C.E.F. workers in Ireland. There was a great openness to the ministry on 'Mountain Moving Faith' and testimony to God meeting with folk and doing great things, both on the retreat and at home with family and friends.
Clontibret Presbyterian, Monaghan ministry meetings on 'Life in the Spirit' went very well also, with a great receptivity to the teaching and some lives were deeply affected.
The highlight of recent ministry has once again been our time at The Stables, Enniskillen. Such a deep sense of the Lord's presence and power in the meetings, and then the Lord's moving upon people bringing deep deliverance and transformation. November's visit again proved to be another 'all-nighter' in prayer with many needy folk. The Stables is most definitely an oasis in a dry and thirsty land, and we rejoice at having the blessing of sharing in their 'open heaven experience'. As you will see from the itinerary, I intend, Lord willing, to be ministering with the team there almost monthly until the summer. Our objective is to get behind what God is clearly doing in Enniskillen. There is no doubt in my mind that God has much more to surprise us with!
Please continue to pray for the ongoing UCB Inspirational 'God Encounter' programmes, Monday-Friday 9:30am and the preparation involved. Also, the ongoing activity of Portadown House of Prayer, every Friday 7:00am-7:00pm, and PHOP's other special events.