[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][td_text_with_title custom_title=”What’s inside the April 2016 issue of Direction Magazine…”] [/td_text_with_title][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]
EDITORIAL John Glass considers a month of openness
A LIGHTHOUSE FOR MANCHESTER
From being on the verge of death, Paul Hallam is now leading a thriving church
NEWS from Elim and the wider church
OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE GS John Glass opens his diary
BOWLED OVER BY THE GOSPEL Cardiff City Temple is combining cricket with Christianity for outreach in India
SPREADING LOVE TO REFUGEES
The refugee crisis in Calais is complex, but Elim Missions is doing all it can to help
REACHING ONE CHILD AT A TIME
Pastor Glenn Isaguirre reports on an exciting Elim project in the Philippines
I CAN DO ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
says former England striker Cyrille Regis
MOMENT I ADMITTED I’M A PASTOR!
When Elim minister Aaron Hornback joined a gym he had no idea what God would do
IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE HUMBLE Dave Newton looks at the value of humility – the most underrated character trait
MUSIC REVIEWS with Ian Yates
FREEDOMS WE MUST PROTECTLyndon Bowring on plans for a new law
EVERY CHAMPION NEEDS A COACH
We all need a mentor, says Gordon Allan
AMAZED AT GOD’S PLANNING! Dominic and Sarah John are planting a thriving church in Cologne, Germany
BOOKCASE with Richard Dodge
ANSWERS with Mark Ryan
AND FINALLY with John Lancaster
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][td_text_with_title custom_title=”A month of openness”]
It is believed that the month of April derives its name from the Latin word ‘aperine’, meaning openness.
In the northern hemisphere it is associated with the season of spring when the flowers begin to open and nature bursts into life.
From a Christian’s point of view, it heralds the story of the cross at which the veil of the temple is torn – pulling down the barrier between man and God and opening access to his presence through what Hebrews 10:20 calls a ‘new and living way’. Three days later at the resurrection, the sealed tomb is opened. Both required supernatural intervention. The first by the hand of God, and the second by the access the angels provided through the removing of a stone.
So many symbols of the work of salvation involve the concept of openness – whether it’s our eyes being opened to the goodness of God through revelation or our spirits being emancipated as God opens the prison doors to spring us free from the sin and condemnation that held us captive.
The first convert in Europe was a female fashion designer – a fact that deals with several stereotypes at a stroke. Luke records in Acts 16:14 that Lydia was a woman whose ‘heart the Lord opened’.
But openness does not begin and end at conversion. Our whole discipleship journey depends on it. It is the word of access that is essential for God to do any deep work in us.
When our car breaks down and is attended to by the recovery mechanic at the roadside, as he approaches the bonnet his first words usually are ‘open up’. When the dentist hovers over us with her instruments to deal with a troublesome tooth, her first two words are the same.
Becoming and remaining vulnerable to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the only route to progress, growth and maturity. A closed spirit cauterises the flow of God’s grace, and an open heart welcomes it.
When credit cards were first made available, the advert for the Access brand declared, “Access takes the waiting out of wanting.” What is true in the fiscal realm is also true in the spiritual.
The Chinese equivalent of April is symbolised by the plough – that cutting instrument that opens up hardened and resistant earth in order to make it susceptible to the sowing of seed and the possibility of harvest.
Occasionally God’s plough has to score the surface of our lives with blades of discipline, and even suffering, to cut a furrow across our landscape.
But openness, where God is concerned, always has deliverance, blessing and fruitfulness as its focussed destination.
My prayer this month is that you will not only experience the abundance of God’s ‘April showers’ but that he will find in us receptive hearts and open lives.
This is the route that God has ordained to transform our winter into spring and barrenness into blessing.