Archive for December, 2010

December 24, 2010

Presents Under the Tree

I saw a picture of a Christmas tree overloaded with piles of presents underneath of it while we were praying together last week. God spoke to me that the presents were the multitude of testimonies He has given us this year. My heart welled up with gratitude and joy at the thought of all He has given us in 2010. Picture everything He has done in our lives this year all wrapped up under a tree. He is such a lavish Father, spoiling us silly with spiritual and physical blessings beyond our expectations.

What gifts would be under your tree this year if God were to wrap up everything He’s given you? Write as many one line comments (or longer if you want!) below as you can think of to glorify God for all He has done in 2010.

Psalm 145:3-7

3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.[b]
6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

December 12, 2010

O, Ontario! (Steve)

So good to see below how we are all having an effect on other nations through enabling people from our church family to travel and use their gifts. Two of our treasured elder & wife duos, the Sudworths and the Doans, recently travelled to Canada and spent this time of mutual ministry and refreshment Steve describes below. Read on to see how we are contributing to God’s kingdom in Canada!

November 24, 2010

Ontario Ministry Trip

I’m writing this from Toronto airport getting ready to board my flight home.Traveling to other churches to partner with them in seeing the King exalted and His Kingdom advance into the nations is a huge privilege but it’s not what grips our heart the most. Our greatest delight and joy is leading Church in the City along with the team of elders and deacons, seeing our city transformed little by little and enjoying life with each of you. Chicago is home. It is where God has called us and where we give ourselves wholeheartedly.
I visited 3 churches over the past 6 days. Hue, Vanessa, Debs and I started last Friday in Mississauga (a city about 40min west of Toronto), spending time with James and Leigh Colgan who lead LifeHouse Church. One thing that God highlighted at each of the churches was the value and importance of building relationships above church meetings. It’s so easy to slip into a “meetings mindset” where we assume that is the only time God ministers to His people. No! Every time we gather –whether as church on Sundays, a connect group during the week or over a meal with friends and family – God wants to move and minister to His people.
Sunday at LifeHouse was awesome! Their leaders ministered to the 4 of us during the prayer time before church and so we went into the Sunday meeting refreshed, full of faith and expecting God to do much. It was certainly a powerful time. Hue,Vanessa and Debs ministered powerfully in the prophetic, calling a number of people out from the congregation and speaking powerful and accurate words of life and liberty over them. I had come prepared to teach something but during the worship felt God lead me along another path. It was a stretching but I followed the leading the Spirit and after my message a young woman responded to the invitation to receive Jesus for the first time.
Debs, Hue and Vanessa flew back to Chicago Sunday evening whilst I went to Waterloo (about an hour further west). Fred and Catherine Serez lead the Father’sHouse. That’s the church Nate & Jamie took a team from CITC to for the youth event LiveAlive. I met with their core team Sunday night. What a great group of people! I ministered on Going After the Promises of God.
On Monday I flew to Ottawa to spend 2 days with Kirk and Jan Slow who lead Liberty Church, which is a year old. We met Tuesday night with their core team and God moved powerfully that evening, challenging the church from the word and then confirming His word with signs following (one woman was healed of allergies).What’s so awesome about Liberty Church is the small group that have gathered are predominantly over 60 but man-o-man, are they on fire! As we prayed for the sick they were radically involved, praying in the Spirit, trusting God for miracles…it was awesome to see.
Each church has invited us back in 2011 so I’m planning to take 2 teams; the first team in the Spring and the other late August for the youth event LiveAlive. Please let me know if God stirs your heart to come along. Thanks for releasing us this past weekend. I heard church was outstanding and Chris, Mark and Nate did an incredible job leading and facilitating ministry. The joy of working in team is that we can be more effective in more places through more people.
Much love

December 8, 2010

Released Leases (Dirk) and the Meet Dirk Challenge

This testimony comes to us from Dirk, who, with the rapid growth recently in the church, I have yet to meet. If you go to CITC and haven’t met Dirk yet, I’ll race you to meet him and Cathy. Who is up for the challenge?

Thanks to Dirk for adding this stone to the pile and letting us see God’s work in his life! It reminds me of when Jesus told the fishermen to throw their nets on the other side of the boat and they were like, “Uh, sure thing Mr. Carpenter. You know we’ve been doing this all night?” and the next thing they know their nets are bursting with sardines (I googled it- the Sea of Galilee has a lot of sardines).

November 25, 2010

My wife, Cathy, and I have been attending for a few weeks, exploring CITC as a potential church home.  In two recent services, elders put forth that they sensed the Lord wanting to release business matters that have been “mysteriously” bound.  This resonated with me, and I thought of the business I was building and how many good things were happening, yet we had a “mysterious” hole in our revenues.  Things were good, but not what I prayerfully sensed they could be.  So, when they prayed for release of revenues (is it not great that the God of the Universe actually cares about such things as business. . . .) I threw my hat and situation in the ring.  Separately, I continued to pray that the Lord, having announced the availability of grace for this (I am thinking of the stirring of the water at Bethesda), would indeed release the revenues He had in mind for our business.  Over the next few days, five (yes, five) leasing deals came out of the sky and landed in our lap.  I had been working these deals for months and they were going nowhere, and suddenly there they were. [I manage a real estate based company and leasing is the heart of the business.] This moment speaks to me of several things: the authority the elders can display at CITC; the need to respond to a word from the Lord by taking hold; the weeks I spent fighting deals without simply asking the Lord to release them if it were His will (and therefore my need to continue to increase in understanding how dependent I am on the Father).
But here it is Thanksgiving Day, so what is clearest to me is that it is certainly time to give thanks for this wonderful moment of revelation and provision from the Lord.  Thank you, Father.

And thank you, elders of CITC, for your faithful pursuit of your duties–clearly evidenced by such confirmation of your direction from on high.