I love revival! The best thing about revival is that it gave me my spouse. Elsie and I came to Catch The Fire in the early years of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We came separately as we journeyed on the unfolding path of our own personal lives. She was a professional artist and highly involved with young adults ministry and street evangelism at her Pentecostal church; I was a straight-laced evangelical missionary working overseas.
In October 2007, we attended a wedding in Toronto, and our hearts were burning with the thoughts of church planting. We always had the desire to one day plant our own church, but the stirring in our hearts for this quickened. We had prayed a lot and asked God to give us a clear sign to confirm what He was calling us to and that Raleigh, North Carolina was where we were going to do it.
This past June, Stephen and I had the privilege of celebrating 35 years of marriage. We had much to celebrate: first, our continued love for each other, and secondly, watching our two sons love their wives and children.
On January 21, 1994, Stephen and I went to our first Revival meeting. That night we received a peace we had not experienced in many years. Ministry had begun to wear us out and, little did we know, that lack of peace was very hard on our marriage. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. We didn’t know that there was more for us as a couple. We were running on empty.
Once you have tasted the presence of God in revival, there is no going back. There is a longing to see a continuation of ever increasing realms of glory that well up within you. Such was the case for my husband and me as we served as Associate Pastors at, what was formerly called, Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship in the height of the Spirit’s outpouring. We reveled in the glory and kept longing for more. In 2003, when we were asked to move to a different city to pastor a church John and Carol Arnott had previously planted, I had reservations. I wanted to be in the midst of continuing revival. How could I leave the epicenter of such a great move of God?
As we look back at nearly eight years that Catch The Fire London has been growing, the subject of how revival affects the community around the church has been prominent to the leadership. At Catch The Fire we have three journeys; the upward journey of worship, prayer, praise and encounter, the inward journey of salvation and sanctification and the outward journey of leadership and outreach. It seems that it can be easier sometimes to love God and even allow Him to change us than it is to get up and change the world.
One of the most beautiful parts of Christianity is that we get to connect to God’s inner most thoughts and really know what is on his mind. “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:10−12).
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
I’ve had spine issues with my back and problems with my knees since 1983. I had multiple accidents on my motorcycle and during karate. As a chef of 25 years, I was constantly on my feet. I have Scoliosis, a condition where your spine grows bending abnormally to the left or to the right. When I was 17 my curvature was 73 degrees and also twisted, leaving me in noticeable pain. I had 5 weeks of surgery to place a titanium rod down my spine, leaving me in a cast for 11 months. However, even after the
I tell my students and the families I serve that it’s not MY classroom. Parents and students who enter into my classroom family realize from the initiation of our relationship that they are a part of something bigger – bigger than themselves and bigger than their ideas of education. Transformation and innovation drive my instruction, but behind that is the fuel of the Lord’s love.
I know I am called to business and the marketplace in this season of my life, after a somewhat unconventional journey to get here. In 2004, my wife Jo and I left marketplace jobs in the UK to work at Catch The Fire in Toronto, Canada, while also setting up an e-commerce business and launching an internet church. After a few years, in 2010, we were asked to lead a Partner In Harvest church in Victoria, British Columbia, and after hearing God say yes, we left Toronto to relocate to Victoria. This didn’t go according to plan, and in 2013, I wrote myself on unemployment as there wasn’t enough money to provide a salary.
I finished my email. I was facing a slightly tricky decision and my father had provided wise counsel, some gently probing questions for me to consider, and also some money to support the decision if I decided to go the riskier way. It was a good picture of a perfect father-son interaction: advice, support, wisdom and money.