|On Sunday 30 April, Tim Harrold spoke at ARC Thurrock, invited by their young pastor, Ashley Gabriel. Ashley teaches humanities in a local school.
ARC – which means A Radical Church – meets in the St John’s Ambulance Hall in London Road, Grays.
At the front of their meeting room is a poster with the following written on it:
MOMENTUM – keeping it radical – keeping it simple – keeping it real
The following is the essence of the talk, which was followed by much ministry with Ashley, Tim, Vera, praying with members of the congregation. They were helped by Julie, Annette and Ruth Hughes, three ladies from Stanford and Corringham who are all passionate about helping bring people into a full understanding of their identity in God.
Tim used a scripture that he and Vera had been led to in the week. In these verses, are a whole number of things that God is saying to his church right now. Tim brought out just four of them.
What is God saying to his church right now…?
v2-3 When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the Lord your God is giving you… a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
Father is taking his church on a journey into his promises
Father God is taking his people into where are all the promises are! He’s taking us from the old place of fear to the new place of freedom and fulfilment. The die has been cast – it’s time to step over the line, with no turning back. In other words – go for it!
Father doesn’t want us to be satisfied with where we’re at right now, but to go deeper, no matter how scary it looks. Father is teaching his children to ask for more, and teaching us that there’s always more – infinitely more. Because heaven is infinite – heaven is the place of infinite resource and infinite love, all always available to all his children.
There’s a sense that If the Promised Land is in us, then we are the Promised Land. We are flowing with the milk and honey the world wants and needs! It’s all about falling deeper into the endless love of Jesus and letting it all spill out of all of us all around.
v5-6 Build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool on them. Build the altar of the Lord your God with stones from the field…
Father is taking his church on a journey from religion into relationship
The world wants to see a radical authentic church overflowing with heaven’s love; the world wants to see a radical authentic church overflowing with kingdom miracles. What’s more authentic – a lump of rock, or a house brick?
Exodus 20:25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it.
It’s a choice between using either stones found in the field (or rough hewn rocks), or quarried stones (or dressed stones or bricks), to make an altar. Father wants the latter. It’s an image of how he wants us to come to him: just as we are, rough edged and natural, just as he’s made us.
To use any tools on the altar is to defile it – that’s self-effort, from a mindset that has a false image of who God is, pagan. It’s the manmade versus the God-created.
Be naturally supernatural. Don’t just do stuff for God. Don’t just do stuff with God. But do stuff from God – because we’re from God. “Be” from a point of rest. Don’t “do” to try to get to that rest – it can never be reached through human effort. Jesus is already our sabbath rest.
v7 … rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God.
Father is taking his church on a journey into his Presence, to become carriers his Presence
Heaven invades earth through God’s people. It’s God’s people who can change an atmosphere. And as God’s people rejoice, the earth rejoices – freedom and joy break out.
Romans 14:7 … righteous, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
God’s a good, good Father – it’s who he is. We’re loved by him – it’s who we are. People out there are desperate to know this. People who wouldn’t darken the threshold of a church building are happy for the church to go into the marketplace and demonstrate the radical authentic love of Jesus.
We are to introduce people to the kingdom, not threaten with fear. John 3:16-17 clearly says Jesus came because of the Father’s love of the world he has created, and not to judge. So we ‘preach’ love, not judgment.
v9 Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the Lord your God.
Father is taking the church on a journey into our true identity
The fact of whole we are is emphatic – “Listen up! This is who you are! I’m telling you!” Father wants us to know who we are – who we really, actually are. We are his. We are his. We are his.
Our Father affirms and assures us of our complete security of this fact. When we grasp the fact of who we are, others will see Jesus in us. They will know we’ve been with Jesus, whatever our social, cultural or ethnic background. The kingdom is by its nature attractive (or repulsive!).
Romans 8:19, 21 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed… creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We bring freedom to those held in bondage. We release freedom and glory. We are co-workers and partners with Jesus. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places. We are being revealed to the world.
Father is saying to the whole church: Be a radical church! Overturn the tables! Are you ready for an adventure? Take my hand – let’s go on a journey, let’s cross over. You are free in me! I am with you! Be who I’ve made you to be…
What else can be seen in this scripture?
Three more thoughts Tim didn’t cover in his talk.
v1 Keep all these commands that I give you today…
v2-3 … set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. Write on them all the words of this law…
v 6-7 … offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. Sacrifice fellowship offerings there…