Coates on the Crunch

January 9, 2009

Firstly we have to acknowledge, that we as Christians may be just as guilty as those who don’t know Christ in putting our trust and confidence in banks, building societies and Downing Street statements about the economy.

This is the time to transfer our confidence from institutions to the Lord Himself.

Secondly we might also need to acknowledge that a creeping greed has overtaken us as we seek to care for family, friends, and the church with nicer homes, holidays, clothes and even church buildings.

It is not that one day we were not greedy and the next, we were. It is like the story of the frog who when put in hot water will leap out but put into slowly heated cold water will eventually boil to death as the water heats up.

This is not a time to point fingers at others, but to acknowledge where as Christians we’ve been caught up with the spirit of the age – more, more and even more!

Thirdly, we must readjust what we do with our finances as we can’t live on more. All political parties offer more when deep down we know that we can only live on less. As an individual, household, family unit or church. The last thing to go should be our giving to God and his work of church and mission.

Lastly we should be asking God to be our provider. He doesn’t owe us anything, but as Jesus Christ taught He’s a father who gives good gifts. It is not God’s job to look after us, as many think – it is our job to look after one another with the resources He’s given us, of prayer, affection and sharing.

Many of us own “stuff” in our wardrobes, garages and homes that we really don’t need. From CDs to clothes, shelves of books to DVDs, kitchen utensils to garden equipment.

So instead of falling into the trap of being gullible and feeling the “new” is the only way forward, perhaps the corporate sharing of these simple resources could enrich other’s lives with minimum cost and maximum generosity and kindness.

So many of us are sitting on piles of stuff with Christian content that we’ll rarely listen to or read.

Buck the trend.

Share resources. Sell at reduced prices. Give proceeds to mission, church and the work of God.

2009 could be a time where we change and the world take their lead from us rather than us taking our lead from advertising, merchandise and the beguiling acquisition of more and more stuff.

Thousands of jobs will be lost in these sectors but we can retrain, redistribute skills, live by different values and perhaps remind ourselves of how grateful we should because of who we have and what we’ve got – rather than compare ourselves with others who invariably have more than us. A ruinous way to live a wholesome life.

A condensed version of this article will be printed in Share Magazine soon.

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Whatever happened to Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Awakening?

October 9, 2008

An article by Gerald Coates

What of a situation, where instead of a privileged upbringing, members of your family are drug addicts, poor, abusive, alcoholic, violent and often absent. What are the chances of becoming a good, healthy, Christian influencer?

Possible? Yes

Likely? No!

And this is the background of Todd Bentley, who grew up, or some might say failed to grow up, in a dysfunctional, damaging environment. In former years he was a victim who like many others, in turn, victimised.

As young as 11 he was a regular drinker and later a drug taker, aided by his father.

An encounter with Christ changed much of that, but as AW Tozer once commented, sin ruins our manhood, and the road to recovery is very much longer than we’d like it to be.

Until earlier this year, Todd Bentley, a stocky, tattooed biker, was a revivalist. In the western world he spoke at meetings of no more than a few hundred people.  But all that was about to change in the first week of April 2008. He was to be in Lakeland, Florida for a few days for what the Americans call a “revival”, where through extended worship, prayer and preaching the church is revived. And hopefully the unchurched and backsliders have a life changing experience, bringing them into relationship with Christ.

Rob de Luca from New Zealand prophesied to Todd that he should get ready for this special series of meetings and that something unique was going to take place. The meetings started with a few hundred people, but because of the miracles, healing and deliverances, crowds quickly grew to thousands and a special tent-like building was constructed that held up to 10,000.

God TV realised something very special was taking place and began to broadcast the previous evening’s event, followed by a live broadcast. It was compelling viewing. And the initial few days turned into around 4 months, 7 nights a week.

However, Todd himself was unconventional and created controversy. It wasn’t just the meetings themselves, he was now being broadcast live into well over a hundred nations and some smaller TV channels were taking a feed and broadcasting themselves, so we have no idea as to how many nations or people were viewing this, but we can safely say millions.

With his background and age he was an unlikely candidate for global evangelism and healing. And I don’t share his background to excuse, rather to understand.

Then came the bombshell. Advisors were saying that Todd was going to leave his wife (she was not leaving him), and that there was an emotional involvement with another woman in the ministry and lots more rumour. Some true and some completely untrue but all on the web.

As time went on it became clear there was a very serious history here and he was asked to step down from ministry and was offered help and support, hopefully leading to repentance and restoration.

Sadly, it is in times like these, that parts of the body of Christ can look really ugly. I do not recall a moment of glee (from charismatic evangelicals), when a leading male Reformed Bible teacher (non-charismatic) from Cambridge left his wife, children, church and significant conference ministry, to set up home with his male assistant.

Sadness? Yes. Bewilderment? Certainly.

But it has to be said, that the “I told you so” brigade made their ugly feelings known, far more concerned they had been right than caring for Todd’s wife, children or the many thousands who’ve been saved, turned to Christ or healed. And I know some of these people.

One of the most surprising and saddest moments, was when my friend Dr. RT Kendall, now residing in the USA, wrote an open letter carried in the last issue of Sorted.

In fairness to him, this was written before the closing chapter of the Lakeland Awakening.

Basically, in the light of a number of concerns, he concludes that the Lakeland phenomenon was not of God. He rightly explained in his article that this is what he concluded regarding Toronto in 1994. Stating this at an EA meeting I was present at, I quipped that he would regret saying this. That afternoon he then asked for prayer to receive the blessing. To the shock of us all, a non-Charismatic Reformed minister, not involved in the prayer promptly feel to the floor “slain in the Spirit”. RT therefore changed his mind.

So are we saying here, that Roy Fields, who led a lengthy time of praise, worship, adoration and thanksgiving most nights, was also not of God?

Or were the Bible readings not of God?

Were all those who claimed to be healed (and he only repeated what they claimed) also not of God?

I’m currently mentoring a guy in his 20s who gets married in a few weeks, and his fiancé was healed of a serious back conditioned she’d had for years in the first meeting, in the worship, without a word of prayer! And I see her regularly.

There is no evidence in scripture to suggest that the devil loves Christians singing God honouring songs with Bible based lyrics. Some of them started life here in the UK.

Some of RT’s concerns I share, and through a mutual friend I advised Todd to step back from saying certain things as they were a distraction from the main message – which he did. But I heard some good preaching and teaching from Todd and his colleagues, and how you get the balance right 7 nights a week for 4 months, I do not know!

A 21st century revival in the west will probably come from unexpected quarters and in unexpected ways.
Perhaps it’s significant that over 2 million people have been to an Alpha Course, thousands turn out to J John’s Ten course, there are nearly a thousand Fresh Expressions of church (most of which are expressions of mission) that are traceable, and after a lull of over a decade the New Churches (formerly House Churches) are beginning a pro-active programme of church planting and mission.

But back to Todd… what are we to make of him and those 4 amazing months?

I’ve never met Todd, or visited Lakeland, though I did visit Toronto and made good friends of John and Carol Arnott. And I also visited Brownsville, Florida, and on numerous occasions I talked to pastor John Kilpatrick, his preaching colleague, Steve Hill, and made friends with worship leader Lindell Cooley.

So  let’s go back to the Bible. Was Lakeland not of God, or is it possible or even likely that God chose Todd?

Take a look at scripture and read about the sensuous, naive Samson, or Abraham getting his wife to lie, or David, who is addicted to sex, gets a man killed so he can have his wife, or the Apostle Peter who was motivated by fear and became a racist, confronted by the Apostle Paul.

If I were promoting a religion I would take many people out of the Old and New Testament as they are hopeless examples of lovers of Jehovah and followers of Christ.

But God has left Biblical figures in the storyline I would have erased, to encourage people like you and me – flawed, deceptive, dishonest and professional in the art of cover ups.

Our sin may not be as damaging as going off with someone else and leaving family, but different sorts of sin have different sorts of repercussions.

So to conclude, why was the young Billy Graham (now my hero, he is 90 years old on November 7th!) so successful when others (and sadly and I could name a few more) have failed, tragically, and often publicly.

Well Billy, surrounded himself with people who were different to him. He and the team began to live by self imposed rules, because perception is sometimes more important than reality.

Being alone with someone of the other sex, issues relating to what to eat and drink, were all settled fairly early on.

I know of national ministries who choose to share a room with a colleague or an assistant. It assures the late night TV channels are kept off. And whether it be through God’s doing or not, some of us at various times in our ministries have had a profile out of all proportion to our holiness, Godliness and devotion to Christ.
It’s true that each one of us, whether that profile be local, regional, national or international, have put our trust in Christ, but he trusts us with gifts and callings.

But it’s up to us, by His Grace, to make ourselves accountable and at times vulnerable and transparent. God knows everything there is to know about us and we can trust him with the information. A few good God fearing people around us supporting, encouraging and at times correcting us will cause a little bit of what’s in heaven to come to the earth.

I could perhaps do no better than finish with some words of my other hero, AW Tozer, with what is often labelled The Prayer of the Minor Prophet he prays “I am unworthy of the least of my mercies, and if men knew me as intimately as I know myself, they would withhold their honours or bestow them on others more worthy to receive them”

And elsewhere, “save me from myself and from the all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others.”

Amen and Amen!


Marsham Street – dates for your diary

August 14, 2008

WWW.FIREONMARSHAMSTREET.COM

Since we started on July 24th we’ve averaged around 500, with salvations and recommitments in each meeting, healings and some wild and wonderful times of impartation.

We are on Marsham Street at the Emmanuel Centre at 7.30pm every Thursday until further notice.

Check back here to see if we are still meeting.

Dates for your diary:

Thursday 13 NovemberNaomi Dowdy with EEC Band (Naomi planted a church in Singapore in the 70’s, it now has over 5000 people)

Thursday 20th November – Gerald Coates speaking

Thursday 27 November – Jonathan Conrathe speaking

On the nights of FOMS there will be a prayer meeting from 6:30pm to pray for London and the nation.  Free for all, open to everyone.  Come and join us in the lower hall in the Emmanuel Centre.

FOMS has now run for 18 weeks consecutively.  The last meeting of 2008 will be on Nov 27th.  In 2009 there will be a brand new series starting every Thursday in January, 7:30pm, and the Emmanuel Centre, Pioneer, and FOMS websites will be providing details.

Dates recently gone:

Thursday August 14th – Godfrey Birtill led worship and Jonathan Conrathe spoke

Thursday 21st – Gerald Coates and Wee Hian Chua spoke on “where is this awakening going?”

Thursday 28th – Mark Stibbe was a very special guest and Rex Allchurch led worship

Thursday September 4th
– David Herzog, Todd Bentley’s associate was with us for the first of his London dates.

Thursday 11th – Jonathan Aitken shared from Psalm 130 and drew heavily from his time served at Bellmarsh Prison. A gospel night

Thursday 18th – Roy Fields, who has been a primary worship leader in Lakeland, led worship and shared with us.

Wednesday 24th – with Gerald Coates and Tom Copson leading worship

Wednesday 1st October – with Jonathan Conrathe speaking and ministering

Thursday 9 October – Christen Forster and the River Church band


Marsham Street Update

July 29, 2008

Recent photographs

I’m fully aware there are many wonderful things happening with churches within and beyond Pioneer in this season.

 

But in the light of the significant positive feedback we had from our news release, that we were back on Marsham Street starting last Thursday, July 24th, I thought I’d give you an update.

Flyers and news of our return to Marsham Street was distributed just two weeks before the first evening, and as I say we received a lot of feedback assuring us of prayers and even presence.

 

On the night

 

Around 500 turned up for a very strong, vibrant time of sung worship, praise and prayer for London and beyond.

Testimonies were given, including a woman who had been in a wheelchair for a year, in and out of hospital and in significant pain. She is now without the wheelchair!

 

Three gave their lives to Christ and hundreds received prayer, impartation and prophecies in the latter part of the meeting.

We’re back there on Thursday 31st at 7.30pm and every Thursday until further notice.

The Pioneer website/my blog will inform you when we cease to meet.

 

A number of people including Jonathan Aitken (who attended the first series in 97), worship leader Godfrey Birtill and worship leaders Dave and Pat Bilbrough are among a number who’ve said they would love to come and serve in this series of events.

 

We value your prayers, and you and friends are very welcome to join us. Obviously if you know people in the greater London area do drop them an email.

 

We’ll not be updating you regularly – we just thought you’d like to know that we have begun!

 

For our King and His Kingdom

Gerald 

 

 

 


Fire on Marsham Street

July 24, 2008

Marsham Street, Westminster – we’re going back!

 

EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT

 

 

In the Spring of 1997, the church I was a part of in Leatherhead, Surrey, invited people to gather at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster up to 5 nights a week for worship, teaching, impartation and getting right with God.

 

Those meetings lasted almost 18 months and whilst demanding on time and money, received an incredible level of interest from the mainstream media, across the UK and overseas.

 

At the National Prayer Breakfast recently I was surprised by how many people said to me “we haven’t seen you since Marsham Street.”

 

Well I wanted you to know that within a little over 24 hours I had two separate prophecies about shoes, a new journey and new work starting. One given in Surrey and one in Birmingham.

 

Shortly afterwards, one of the ladies in our church had a picture of a large bunch of plump red grapes being pressed out, and then went on to say “this will not produce a Beaujolais Nouveaux but Premier Grand Cru.”

 

Days later, Mike Andrea from the Pioneer church in Ramsgate, came across to The Theatre in Leatherhead, to an impartation meeting. Without knowing anything of this picture, he commended us for what we were doing and added “this will not produce Beaujolais Nouveaux” and then put his hand into a brown paper bag and pulled out a £90 bottle of Premier Grand Cru champagne! You can imagine the uproar!

 

Then John Arnott announced from the platform at Lakeland, Florida, that the wells dug in the 90s in London, Dudley and Sunderland would reopen. We had no plans whatever to return to Westminster and never have had.

 

Tucking these prophecies into my file of past prophecies, I flicked over wondering what the last significant prophecy was that I was sent. It was exactly 12 months ago, from an evangelist who intimated that I was planning to step back, let others come through, that my influence would diminish etc.

But he added that actually the opposite was going to happen, I would re-dig the wells in Westminster and by implication influence with church and media would increase significantly.

 

I was staggered. I have no recollection of receiving this, nevermind remembering it, but I obviously felt it was important to file it away, probably because of who sent it to me.

 

Then through a further series of “accidents”, the pastor of Emmanuel Evangelical Church in Marsham Street and I met up, and after prayer and discussion sensed that on Thursday July 24th at 7.30pm we should open the doors of the Emmanuel Centre and invite the public in for worship, getting right with God, impartation, fresh anointings and “re-dig the wells” and that’s what we plan to do, by God’s grace, every Thursday until people stop coming or the Holy Spirit moves on.

 

Revivalist Todd Bentley was to have been in Westminster in July, but due to the happenings in Lakeland, Florida, senses for the foreseeable future he needs to remain there. So he sent two of his closest associates, Jerame Nelson and Mark Eshleman, to the Emmanuel Centre last Thursday 10th, Friday 11th and Saturday 12th of July.

 

Over 3,000 people attended with many responding to the gospel and many more telling stories of healing and answered prayer. Hundreds of our flyers were handed out and when it was announced we are returning on Thursday 24th of July there was huge applause.

 

So here we go again, it’s a different time, different season but an empowered church in the community, the workplace and in fields of education, health, justice and the arts are more needed now than we were there 10 years ago.

 

I would appreciate the prayers of your church, I am not unaware that there’s loads going on across the Pioneer network, with impartation meetings, evangelism out on the streets and this is just a part of the emerging scene.

I wanted you to hear from me personally and also to let you know you and friends would be welcome to come and participate with us every Thursday or whenever you can make it.

 

Check back here or on the Pioneer website to confirm we’re still meeting.

 

For our King and His Kingdom

Gerald


Welcome to my blog!

June 19, 2008

My new blog is designed to help me respond, advise, encourage and inform those within the Pioneer network and of course anyone beyond it who would to take the time to read what I have to write!

For our King and His Kingdom
Gerald