Yesterday’s sermon at HTB (Holy Trinity Brompton) was about Prophecy!
[Warning – Prophecy is a tricky thing, it is much more deeper and complex concept to grasp. Therefore below is only parts of the sermon that I have selected and thought relevant]
1 Corinthians 14:1-5
Intelligibility in Worship
14 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a] does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[b] but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,[c] unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
Some notes from the Sermon:
The pastor Miles Toulmin asked if we would like God to speak to us and as well as through us, to others. When God does His works through us, it’s more like a proxy. Representing on God’s behalf. God is always speaking to us. The primary way He speaks to us is through the bible but also through the prophetic. Any prophecy is not of equal value nor of equal authority as the scripture and should not contradict it in order to be considered of God.
Definition: Prophecy (Wayne Grudem)
Speaking merely human words to report something God brings to mind.
A word of prophecy can be to the nation, community and church,
or word of knowledge to an individual.
The gift of prophecy can only be received through desire and eagerness of doing God’s will with a mature and loving attitude.
Anyway, Miles spoke of two interesting testimonies. One which reminded me of a friend, the other of my situation.
Miles said that about 6 weeks ago, at the end of the service at ministry time, a man came forward saying every night he’d fall asleep then waking up with panic attacks, which has been on going for 20 years. He did not know what he was panicking about. So Miles prayed for him asking Jesus to reveal what was causing the panic attacks. They prayed and waited for a long while. Miles heard nothing……. so he felt a little embarrassed.
Then, he thought God did pop something into his head — maybe I’m talking to him not you!
So Miles asked the man if God said anything. He said says yes actually. He says he thinks it is fear of his mother dying because he associates her being around vulnerability and he’s been unconscious of that. After that they have kept in contact every week since and since they have prayed he has slept through the night perfectly! It has transformed his life and his relationship with God has been so much more strengthened.
My roommate told of my friend’s problems (she’s closer to him) since he feel uncomfortable expressing these troubles. That friend of mine has this family problem concerning his Mum especially (I think). I don’t know much about his situation but I know his Mum has had health problems as well. Although my friends’ panic attacks are not literally every night but he gets it whenever he’s sick and he does not know why. I knew from that moment, he really needed prayer.
While I was thinking of prophecy, I was reminded of a sermon long ago when Malaysia’s Albert Vun came over to HTB for a talk. Then amazingly, Miles did mention it! Basically Albert Vun had a friend called Alan who had a knee problem. Back then he did not believe in Jesus. However he went to church anyway and there, the pastor said that he wanted to pray for someone who has a problem with their right knee. Alan knew it was him but did not want to go up. The next thing the pastor said was I get the feeling God is telling me his name is Alan. Alan reluctantly went up and wanted to get it over and done with. However the pastor said now please forgive your father. This surprised Alan and he refused to forgive because his father has passed away. The pastor insisted and so when Alan forgave, he could immediately walk without a limp! His knee has healed significantly.
When I was sitting in Albert Vun’s sermon back then, I had the same problem with the same knee. When I decided to go and forgive my Dad, my knee healed as well! Although I thought to myself it’s fine if I don’t say anything, I have not actually properly forgiven. Now my Dad’s much more closer to God than before, seeking Him.
Near the end of the service, we had time for praying and I felt my friend really needed to be healed. I was scared and shy. So instead I silently prayed.
After the sermon I went to HTB Cafe at the basement looking to volunteer there. I met two lovely ladies who told me I could get started at 4pm so I left for Hyde Park to mingle in Speaker’s Corner.
I entered a debate with this guy mainly speaking about how the truth can never be known. He knows he can never ‘know’. This man believed that the only objective truth is that we perceive everything subjectively… That in itself is ironic. Also, part of the conversation ended up with him saying please don’t believe me too! I can’t exactly recall everything he said, but he spoke with confidence and was ‘humble’ enough to admit his ego. However his true motive would never be known.
An interesting observation I noticed is that certain ‘non-believer’ groups veer off into their own philosophical debate from the Christian speakers. Many struggle to be heard and desire to speak. It’s a battle field.
When one enters Speakers Corner they have to be prepared to be patient, to listen and to ask questions. To clarify. To understand or at least try to. It is so tricky! I must always pray for the wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit to guide me. I must be careful not to say too much and always be humble.
Why the non-believers also veer off is because of the uneasiness they get from the Christian signs saying ‘REPENT!’…. which me being a Christian would completely freak out.
That is not what God’s message is about. It’s not about rules. It’s about His love for us.
I remember a man asked me what do you think God is?
I replied: God is a transcendent being, all knowing, all powerful, creator of the universe.
Opps! I forgot… the most fundamental belief is that God is Love! That’s why going into Speakers Corner is extremely demanding. It’s putting you into the zone where you will be vulnerable.
Also, it is most difficult talking about sensitive issues… since people may take things the wrong way and people can be fallible to language.
I arrived back at HTB to learn how to use the till. I made my first hot chocolate ^^ and learned how to use the coffee machine~
A good Christian guy friend of mine that I recently met from the pastorate helped coach me through. He was supportive and encouraging.
After he showed me how to use the till, a man approached us asking if anything was for free. My friend said Grace of course! 🙂 haha. The man laughed and said yes, that was my first tester question. On a serious note, he asked for a book on healing. My friend showed him the section on that. Then the man gave us his testimony. He said many years ago, he was in Philippines going through a tough time. His sister, miles away in another country prayed for him and immediately the Holy Spirit came upon him and he was able to get through the tough episode. He reflected and saw that right after the exact time his sister prayed, he was healed. He’s seen many proxies or people God has used to affect the lives of others and bring them closer to Him. The man wanted to know about these kind of miracles and how they worked. It was an absolutely amazing testimony!
I was also really glad that God gave me the opportunity to share my own testimony of my right knee with my new Christian guy friend. I am really grateful and it was at that moment that I realized how amazing a Christian boyfriend would be. We talked about the books we have read and I absolutely admire his intellectual side and his passion for God. It was actually incredible. I know I do have other Christian guy friends yet… for some reason I suppose he’s the first one officially that I became friends with without another friend introducing and I could really see his enthusiasm. It was really … touching! And encouraging!