The web-page is no-longer maintained, and just kept for archive purposes.
Christians from all over Greater Manchester came together for a great walk of witness though the cities of Salford and Manchester on Saturday 10th June 2017, to proclaim that what unites us as Christians is greater than what divides us into our different denominations.
This newsletter takes the form of a report on our Community Annual Gathering, which took place from 10th to 12th February 2017. It ends with an invitation to participate in a period of ‘watching and praying’.
Our Annual Gathering, was marked by a tangible oneness in Christ; it was an inspirational time of fellowship, rest, refreshment, worship, prayer, listening and sharing. We waited and listened expectantly for a revelation of the ‘new thing’, for which God has been preparing and shaping us over the past three years.
He surprised us, calling us to lay down the Maranatha Community, as an old wineskin.
Click here to read the rest of the Feb 2017 edition of the Maranatha Community Newsletter to find out what this means.
A time to let go.
To embrace the new thing God is doing we must ‘forget the former things’ (Is 43.18) even those things which have built our faith in the past.
A time to trust totally.
In the midst of great shaking, insecurity and vulnerability, when trust is evaporating in the world, we cling to God’s Word, Christ himself. In our frailty, when we cannot even depend upon our knowledge or understanding, we discover that, in truth, it is He who holds us.
A time to love deeply.
Our oneness with all God’s people… click to read the rest of the November 2016 edition of the Maranatha Community Newsletter on-screen (or print for your convenience).
In calling a Referendum, the Government has given us, the people of Britain, an opportunity to vote on the future relationship of Britain with the European Union. At this significant time of decision in the history of Britain we have a responsibility, as the people of God, to use our vote wisely after proper, prayerful consideration.
What is our starting point as we endeavour to discern the will of God? If we are purely focused on the specific question of how to vote, we risk missing what God has to say to His Church and to the nations right now. Last year, there was an unprecedented level of united prayer prior to the General Election. The prayer was not focused on who to vote for but rather that the will of God be done. In faith, we trust that God is working His purposes out, and will continue to do so in the measure that His people, who are called by His Name will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways.
Britain is part of the continent of Europe. However, Britain has a distinct history and, confirmed by history, a unique and distinct call and inheritance from God. Since the 9th century AD, British government and legal systems have been built upon the foundations of Judaeo-Christian belief, thought and practice. Over the centuries, God’s law took priority over man’s law. For this reason all the key British institutions and indeed the fabric of our society originated in a moral as well as legal framework. This is different to Europe, where legal codes are largely based on Roman law concepts. An example of this is that the continental approach to law starts from the proposition that only what the law expressly allows is permitted; this is in contrast to English common law which allows anything that the law does not prohibit.
Britain has been used by God to take the Gospel across the world and with it the outworking of Christian values for society. As countries once part of the British Empire sought independence, the Commonwealth emerged in which there was a particular relationship between Britain and its former colonies which shared values of democracy, human rights and rule of law. This special but informal relationship with Commonwealth nations was superseded by Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Common Market, in 1973. Although the initial body of nations was formed on the basis of trade agreement and, in post war Europe, an aspiration of peace, there was at the outset, a stated political aim for integration of the European nations. This has been progressed through a series of treaties through which the European Union emerged with new powers in the areas of foreign and domestic policy. The philosophy that underpins the European Union is secular and humanist in its origins and outlook. This article will not endeavour to cover the various arguments for and against Britain’s membership of the EU. There is further helpful factual information about the EU, its history and structure on the website www.civitas.org.uk/eu-facts.
It is important to be properly informed about the various factors involved in Britain’s relationship with the European Union. However, as the people of God, our searching should be primarily directed to discerning the will of God. The world can provide us with facts, but only the Spirit of God will lead us into Truth.
Britain is in crisis. In January 2015 the Maranatha Community presented a prophetic call at a consultation in Parliament. Entitled ‘A Matter of Life or Death – The Struggle for the Soul of Our Nation’, it gave factual information about the state of our nation, asserting that the crisis, which is evidenced socially, economically and morally, is fundamentally spiritual. The Judaeo-Christian foundations upon which Britain has been built have been systematically undermined and the fabric of our society, and the institutions which are part and parcel of it, are in danger of collapse.
Europe is in crisis. Those on both sides of the Referendum debate agree the simple fact that the enormous bureaucracy of the EU is not working. The all-powerful EU Commission is an undemocratic body which is largely unaccountable and operates at supranational level. The financial affairs of the EU are extremely complex and its accounts have not been approved by the auditors for 19 years. It is perhaps significant to note that, whilst the rest of the world is seeing a huge growth in Christian faith, this is not the case in Europe. Ravi Zacharias says, prophetically, “The culture in which we find ourselves is in turmoil…the West is engaged in a momentous battle, one in which it is risking its very soul”.
Whether Britain leaves or remains part of the EU will not alter the fact that all European nations will continue to be affected by the ongoing situation with migrants from the Middle East. Many see this as a threat, but it is also a time of great opportunity for the spread of the Gospel. At the same time Britain cannot be isolated from what is to become of Greece. The financial instability of Europe affects more than just EU nation states.
Whatever the outcome of the vote, there will be serious challenges to face both for us as a union of nations – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland – and as a part of Europe, which includes the Republic of Ireland. Are we, the Church in Britain, ready to respond to the aftermath of the Referendum?
So, what is the real issue from a Kingdom perspective? The Proverb rightly says “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29.18 KJV). Those involved in the theatre of media debate are all presenting negative arguments. Sadly, so are some within the Church. What is God’s vision for Britain and for Europe? What is our vision? It is in the midst of crisis that we discover God’s time of opportunity. Will we, the Church of Christ, proclaim the hope of the Gospel and the vision of God’s Kingdom into the midst of the confusion, uncertainty and indifference?
Amidst questions about economy, political union, sovereignty, defence, immigration, the environment and the spiritual influences involved, it is important for us to ask questions that will lead us nearer to the heart of God.
What impact will a decision to leave or remain have upon the younger and future generations of Britain? What effect will a vote either way have upon our relationships with the nations that make up Britain? What impact will a vote to leave or remain have upon the relationship of Britain to the Republic of Ireland? Are we open to hear discernment from Christians in Europe? The purpose of these questions is not so much to decide on an answer but, rather, to ensure that our hearts are open to all those who will be affected by the Referendum result and especially to those who hold a different view to our own. An open heart is a heart open to revelation from God.
Similarly, we should beware of the temptation to apply human interpretation to any understanding we may have, even through God’s revelation. Scripture provides plenty of examples of the way in which God leads His people to do that which is counter-intuitive. His ways and His thoughts are completely different and very much higher than ours! His desire is that His people listen and obey.
What does the Bible say about the will of God? Paul describes the mystery of God’s will as “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Eph. 1.10). Jesus teaches us to pray to our Father “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is heaven” (Matt. 6.10). For this to happen Jesus prayed that His followers be one, with the model for that oneness being His relationship with God the Father. The oneness of the Body of Christ is essential for the putting into effect of God’s will on earth. Paul received the revelation that God’s will would be effected by a Church which is fully functioning as one body, through which “..the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 3.10). The Church is God’s chosen instrument in the spiritual battle which is escalating across the nations and the unity of His Church, under the Lordship of Jesus, is the key.
God’s will regarding Britain’s relationship with the European Union will not be brought into effect through pursuit of the answer to the question of whether we leave or remain. It will be effected in the measure that we, His people, humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways AS ONE.
Put another way, God’s will is that the Church wakes up to its responsibility for the future of Britain and enters into the real battle for the life and soul of our nation.
The Lord has sent many missionaries from all over the world to Britain. They have been faithful to their calling and have prayed fervently for this land. At the same time, God is raising up and anointing the younger generation (who will be most affected by the outcome of the Referendum) to renew and lead the Church.
In the Maranatha Community we are responding to a specific prompting on how to pray in preparation for the Referendum. At a special gathering, on Saturday 4th June, at Brunswick Parish Church, Brunswick Street, Manchester, M13 9TQ, there will be a morning of prayer led by Christians from overseas, including Europe. Following a shared lunch we will be joined by families, children and young people for a further time of united worship and prayer. All are welcome. It is hoped that there will be other similar gatherings in other parts of the country. Further information can be obtained from the Maranatha office 0161 748 4858.
20th April 2016
Now available to order though our online bookshop are…
Click here to go to our online bookshop where you’ll find them on the top shelf.
£7.00 each, or ring our bookshop on 0161 747 5672 to order 10 or more (for which discounts apply).