Happy New Year!
1. Here are our dates for the next few months.
19th January. 12-hour Burn. Midday till Midnight.
23rd February. 12-hour Burn. Midday till Midnight.
30th March-1st April. EASTER SPECIAL.
40-hour Burn. 3pm Good Friday – 7am Easter Sunday.
27th April. 12-hour Burn. Midday till Midnight.
Some things you might notice:
– We have a forty-hour Burn over the Easter weekend! Forty hours means twenty 2-hour slots of vertical worship. That means we need more people to lead worship. So if you are already leading worship then please invite others you know to get involved; and if you’re involved but not as a musician leading worship then maybe this is your chance to get involved at the front (two and a half months is more than enough time to learn 4 chords – which is twice as many as you really need!)
– The monthly Burn begins at midday on Fridays rather than Saturdays. I realize this may mean that for those working on Friday it may be more difficult to join us from the beginning. But it will make it easier for us to stretch out into the weekend – there’s no need for us to stop at midnight if we have enough worship leaders to keep going longer! For last December’s event we had more than enough worship leaders sign up, and so we had to squeeze people down from two hours to one-and-a-half or even one. This year we are going to try and give everyone two hours (unless this is your first time and you’d like to be involved, but two hours seems too much – in that case, feel free just to do one) – and if we have too many to fit into twelve hours (that’s right, mathematicians, more than six) then we will just worship longer into Saturday.
– No Soup. We’re very grateful to Gladstones Café for the delicious soup they provided for the last couple of months, but I think it might have required more effort on their part than was really appreciated. So we’re going to just start with worship at 12 noon. Feel free to bring your own packed lunch. And the lounge will always have tea/coffee and space to eat whenever you’re in need of refreshment.
2. The Vision of ABLAZE.
Various people have been asking me for clarity as to what my vision for ABLAZE is.
At its simplest, the vision is obviously WORSHIP.
Beyond that–Who/What/When/Where/Why/How is ABLAZE?
The WHO is JESUS. And then — Every Heart, Every Street, Every City, Every Nation — ABLAZE.
That is the only non-negotiable part of the vision.
The rest is flexible: What/When/Where/Why … The real question is ‘HOW?’.
Hearts of Worship gather for Hours of Worship in Houses of Worship.
The word ABLAZE isn’t just about Gladstones Café. This is for each one of us to ask what/when/where this might look like for each of us.
3. Join the Team.
Various people have also asked me if they can join the ABLAZE team.
I’m not entirely sure there’s enough clarity yet as to what precisely ABLAZE is to be able to say exactly what it means to join the team.
But here’s what I do currently know.
– Every month we will have continual worship at Gladstones for 12 hours or more. Please COME and INVITE everyone you know to join us! It doesn’t matter what church they’re from—they don’t even have to be a Christian (yet!)
– If you want to LEAD WORSHIP at one of these events we will always need more people. The one requirement here is that you do confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour in word and deed.
– Every week, I (and a handful of others) WORSHIP and PRAY from 10.30-12.30 each Friday in the Gladstones Upper Room with whoever wants to join me that God would set us/our city/our nation/our world ABLAZE. You are welcome to COME.
– If you want to start your own ABLAZE event — gathering Hearts of Worship for Hours of Worship in Houses (where House means any physical space, whether home/café/shop/church/workplace/whatever; permanent or temporary – tents are God’s favourite!) of Worship) then please go ahead and do so! The word isn’t trademarked or anything (though if you start making money feel free to give me a tithe!). There are already some crazy kids talking about ABLAZE happening in stadiums and cathedrals, so why not your own house/church/café/pub?
– I believe ABLAZE is a word from the Lord and there is FREEDOM IN THE SPIRIT(1) for us all to run with this word however the Spirit leads. If we’re to remain a unified movement then we’ll need to continue to CULTIVATE RELATIONSHIP (2) and to HONOUR OUR SPIRITUAL MOTHERS AND FATHERS (3). (In YWAM we call these three ingredients, the TRIPOD for sustaining apostolic growth – cf. https://www.ywam.org/for-ywamers/spiritual-eldership/) For me specifically those Spiritual Parents include my own missionary parents, the trustees of Gladstones Café, the YWAM Liverpool and YWAM England founders, the Burn 24/7 leaders, Sue Sinclair (founder of CWM), and those nationally involved in leading Houses of Prayer. You’ll need to work out who the spiritual fathers and mothers are for you to give due honour.
– But if you want to CULTIVATE RELATIONSHIP with me and my family then you’re welcome to JOIN US for dinner on a Thursday. We eat at 6pm, and then (once the kids are in bed!) we can worship from 7.30-9.30pm. Please let me know at least an hour in advance if you’re coming (07580 117 541).
– If God is calling you to pursue prayer, worship and mission as a FULL-TIME VOCATION then I would love to help that become a reality. The first thing to do is to WRITE THE VISION as clearly as possible, and then FIND SUPPORT from as many people as possible – whether that support is in the form of wisdom, finance, resources, or whatever. The start of a new year is a particularly good time to reassess your personal identity/calling/vision and goals. This might be a helpful aid in that process: http://peterandtaryn.prescott.ws/prayerletters/2017/12/prescott-prayer-letter-new-year-clarity/ And if there are any other ways that I can help, please just ASK!
4. Ash Wednesday this year falls on the 14th February, which is of course Valentines Day. Now Ash Wednesday traditionally marks the start of forty days of fasting in preparation for Easter. And, as I have said, we are having an EASTER SPECIAL 40-hour Burn from 3pm Good Friday to 7am Easter Sunday.
So what is God saying to us this year in the unusual providence of Ash Wednesday and Valentines Day coinciding?
Surely that LOVE will arise from the ASHES! This is a call to return to our first love (Rev. 2:4-5) and seek REVIVAL – for ourselves, for our churches, for our city, for our nation.
I’m not sure what this should look like, but I have also booked the evening of Wednesday 14th February for us to gather in the Upper Room at Gladstones to worship and pray. As ever, everyone is welcome.
That’s all from me for now,