Encounter Night

November 4th, 2018

Oh! What a night! Again the Lord always surprises. A few weeks ago there was a ‘word’ that God is calling ‘the church’ to repentance, which Stewart has picked up on and doing a series on Sunday mornings. This theme seems to stay as a priority and challenge at encounter night; as we spent time connecting with God and allowing Him to speak into us.

This is what I believe God was saying to me; “Why did I ask Moses to take off His shoes, when he came to the burning bush.” I answered, “Holy ground.” He continued, “His shoes contained the dirt and the dust of the world, of where he had walked, where he had come. Shoes represent his work, his journey, his movement, even his intention. Your shoes, spiritual, need to be removed. They are man’s protection from potential thorns and sharp stones. When you stand on holy ground, put aside what you would protect yourself with, your plans, your intentions, your independence, and just come stand on the holy ground of my presence. AND THEN put on the shoes of the gospel of peace and you walk on with them. Not your own shoes, but my shoes. Not your plans, intentions, destination, but walk in my plans, purpose and intentions. SURRENDER WHAT YOU STAND UPON TO STAND ON HOLY GROUND.”

The Lord went on to talk about where His presence is, is Holy ground and in that place, this is where we belong. This is our home. “This place of my presence, this is where your home is and where you stand. When you stand, walk or rest in any other place, you are on foreign soil. Come home, just come home. Any bridges that have been burnt, any decisions made and any alternative accommodation you’ve sort, or any other ‘family’ whom you’ve been adopted; all these things pale in significance of my endless love for you. I’m calling you, ‘my church’ and ‘my bride’ home.”

So the challenge continues to be, lay down all our stuff, cares and concerns, step into His presence, to go home to where we belong. And that good old fashioned favourite word of mine, Surrender. As we responded to Him, he just kept building His presence. I mean, wow people, what is going to happen next?!! Whatever it is, I’m in!! And all I can say, all I can pray is MORE LORD!!


October 28th, 2018

There’s an old song lyric that goes, ‘it’s only just begun’! And, we have only just begun to experience the endless presence of God. Isn’t it amazing that he shows up EVERY time we come and look for Him! He shows up because of His great love, and the song goes, ‘His love is like an ocean, deeper that endless seas.’ When we step, dive, run or sink into His love we find EVERYTHING we need in that place. His love burns hot for us, His passion does not end.

He says, he is ‘a consuming fire’ and that fire He talks about is a description of His love for us. When we enter in we find compassion, forgiveness, mercy, grace, care, provision, protection, transformation. Also the not so sort after categories of conviction, correction, discipline or repentance. All are the qualities, the attributes of our awesome God. We can’t treat him like a deck of cards and discard the ones we don’t want. We fall safe, in His loving arms no matter what we face; and we saw something of his fire as He invited us to step in and to trust Him. His fire refines, sure, but it also ignites and fills us, inspires us and sends us to spread its light and truth to every person we meet.

If you haven’t been for a while come! Come and encounter Him, He never leaves us disappointed only hungry for more. So I invite you to pray this prayer every moment that you think of Him; MORE LORD!!

September 23rd, 2018

Encounter Night started with a quiet time of ‘getting’ - ‘climbing’ and ‘soaking’ in the presence of God, singing in tongues and just absolutely enjoying His awesome presence.   For a while now, it seems that we are just ‘treading’ the ‘same’ water and yet this ‘level’ of His presence is so absolutely amazing – yet we all know there is MORE. The Lord has been reminding me about faith and that every part of our walk is a reflection this. How easy it is to become discouraged or disappointed because things aren’t happening the way we want it to or as fast as we would like it!   Yet, by faith we need to pursue Him, not settling for what we have yet walking by faith and grateful for all that He is doing now.

All of us responded to the commitment to pursue Him no matter what we face or obstacles that get in our way. It’s a fight. This task to pursue God, to seek Him with all our hearts, to find intimacy with Him is not easy road and often people settle for a lesser goal. We’ve got to go for it! This is the call and the great challenge. It is a perilous journey yet full of adventure – to run the race and win the prize – intimacy with Him. Nothing else matters and it’s a life journey because there is no ‘use by’ date for seeking Him!

We are in a precious and exciting time where the Lord is bringing His presence in such a wonderful way. Let’s not miss it! Let’s not allow discouragement or frustration to trap us or pull us away from God’s intended purpose; to know Him and to be known by Him. This is a boots and all call; no matter where, no matter when, because HE HAS MORE FOR US!!

Don’t give up! Press in, push through and in faith continue to declare and pray “more Lord”.

September 16th, 2018

Another awesome night. We were reminded of a line of a song we sing, “I lay down my old flames, To carry Your new fire today.” In so many ways, we settle into the same old. We experience something regularly and it becomes the norm, whereas, God is saying to us not to settle for what we have as there is so much more.

Today’s ash is yesterday’s fire. Those things of the past, no matter how great they were, are gone. We learn from them, we appreciate them, but we don’t live there. Breakthrough comes to the hungry heart and we were challenged to consider our life and what we may need to lay down so that we can take hold of God’s new fire today!

Fire of God! Wow, just give us more Lord. Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me, that you may be glorified.

Stewart McLellan

September 2nd, 2018

Wow, an interesting start to our Encounter Night this week. The Presence of God was there right from the moment we started our 'pre-service' praying, and when the time came to 'start' the meeting, we sat in silence for over 15 minutes simply enjoying his presence and enjoying spending time with him, no strings attached. These moments of silence are precious in our busy, on-the-go world. They are times when we can shut the world out and come before him without a list of wants, come before him simply in surrender of our life.

As an average sized church, it is just wonderful not to be forced into time constraints with God, not having to keep an eye on the clock to ensure the run sheet is up to date because the next service is about to start. A while back now God showed me his run sheet quite clearly. The only thing written on it was 'Start'. The next time you come into God's presence, why not come just to meet with him and not with a list of prayer needs. Let him talk to you and experience his love.

I believe we have all been seeking breakthrough in our relationship with Jesus and looking for that special encounter with him. He responds to our hunger and a word of encouragement was given, "Be patient." It would seem that all the little ducks haven't been lined up yet and so Lord, we wait with bated breath for all that you have for us. All we can ask is, "More Lord and in your time, even more."
Stewart McLellan

26th August, 2018

There is such a sense of the Lord building upon His presence and His anointing week after week!  How awesome is our God!!!
Stewart started the evening asking us to consider and pray through John 14:12 -14. "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
Stewart believes this coming move of God will be evident through healings and miracles and we need to get ready and BELIEVE for them.
Ralph also shared this word he believes is from the Lord:

"I am for you. I am the God of over-abundance.  Not the God of the just enough. I have called you into being. You are an expression of my heart. My heart and my passion.  I have brought you through fire and water.  It seems like the enemy is on frontal assault against you but in truth, he is fighting a rear-guard action.  He is the master of smoke and mirrors.  He makes defeat look like triumph.  Black look like white.  Do not look at what you see.  The enemy wants you to operate in seeing.  I want you to operate in knowing.  Knowing my truth, knowing my faithfulness.  Look at what you know, declare what you know and not what you see."

Just how exciting is this time we are living in!  What a privilege to be a believer and to be part of this awesome congregation at this time.  As I said at the start, the Lord is building His presence and this is not just happening at 'meeting' level but a very personal and individual level.  For me personally, it feels like God is consolidating and strengthening my relationship with Him.  There is no better investment of your time and energy than to spend it in His awesome presence.  When we stand in His presence, every time we do, every time we simply ask Him for more, it's like a fine 'layer' of anointing He covers us with.  Layers and layers building and moving us deeper into Him. So, if you are hungry for more, all we need to do is ASK and keep asking, expect and keep expecting because God ALWAYS wants to meet with us!  So, if you haven't been - come and join us at Encounter Night - come and be blessed because no matter how much you currently have in the Lord - there is MORE!

More Lord

12th August, 2018

God is so good! Always right there when we seek, when we ask. He’s always full of surprises and every Encounter Night is always different including this night.

Before the night starts we meet to pray and in that time the Lord gave a simple picture; we were all squeezed into, what looked like our church foyer, we could barely move, it’s a small foyer! People could get out or ‘back out’ but we couldn’t get through to the main room. It seemed that we were ‘stuck’ in this small room. I asked the Lord, “How do we get through the next door?” His answer was a series of questions, “Is this place too small for you? How fed up are you, with this restricted space? How desperate, how hungry are you really?” I asked Him, “How do I get hungry enough Lord?” “The more sugar you eat, the more you want sugar, the more you crave it.” So I said, “So you’re saying the more I eat ‘the fresh bread’ and drink the ‘new wine’ the more I want to eat and drink?” He replied, “It’s the desperate hunger that motivates you. This moves your heart and moves you forward.”

It all seems to me that we’ve got to this comfortable place where we are certainly experiencing a level of His presence yet there is so much more! And we’re just in the foyer! We asked everyone to pray through this all and several came back with what they felt the Lord was saying to them; Alan: “All the Lord ever asks us is to respond to His Holy Spirit and respond to His love, grace, mercy, and conviction with a fully yielded and surrendered heart, so we must press on.” Simon & Wendy: “God is asking what are you willing to give up for Him? Is it just time or is there more to give if we want to get close we have to surrender everything to Him.” Ralph: God saying to him, “You are not desperate enough, not just as an individual but a corporate being. The time for playing church is over. The time of seeking maximum spiritual return with minimal spiritual investment is over. This is no condemnation, this is my passion for you. Are you prepared to pray and seek me in greater and more extraordinary ways, to spend time calling down heaven. Then I will be found by you.”

In conclusion, God is opening a new door to a deeper place in Him. It’s time for us to climb on the altar, to find that place of surrender and to ramp up our hunger. Let’s not get stuck in the foyer, when we can enter into the throne room! Let’s be desperate and hungry for the more. It’s time to press in, to focus upon and to call out, MORE LORD!!

29th July, 2018

There have been many prophesies over this church about God moving and even revival, the latest being on Saturday when Hickson Lome, a visiting speaker, prophesied the church will see revival and with it will come healing. We shared that with those attending and also the fact that we have failed in telling others about this. What we have done is basically missed giving God the glory He deserves. We need to do better here!

When the Lords presence fills the room, the air that you breathe, all you can do is stand and drink it in.

I saw a picture of Jesus, standing in the shallows of the river. He gave me a cup of water to drink, and then another and another. How awesome is His presence! One the themes for the night that people were hiding, restricted by these. One of those attending saw a picture of rolled up ball of string, quite messy. As Jesus started to unroll it, pieces of paper attached to the string could be seen; and on those pieces of paper were written assignments for people. There was an assignment for each person; some knowing what their assignment is and others having it revealed as they read the note.

Lastly, there were some words given about trusting the Lord. This is what the Lord said to me while we were praying before the meeting; “Give everything to me, surrender it all. I’ve taken it, don’t take it all back. Trust me!

Trust me to show you,

Trust me to fill you,

Trust me to provide for you,

Trust me to cover you,

Trust me to release you,

Trust me to send you,

Trust me to protect you,

Trust me to fulfil everything I have promised you!”

When you’re feeling down, frustrated, tired, bored or even hurt; this is His message for us all! We all need to be reminded. He’s got it all sorted and all we can say and pray is MORE LORD!

22nd July, 2018

It started differently, with a water baptism for our lovely Troy. Gearing a declaration of faith always stirs me and reminds us all of that simple truth, we are followers of Jesus Christ our Lord! And we’ve chosen to be!

We took time just to ‘get in’ Gods presence, to find and connect with Him. Always as we wait, He comes! People responded to a picture of a large waterfall of His presence right in the middle of the room. Jesus stood in the middle of it and one by one beckoned us to come. He reached out and held our hand. After holding our hand, He put His other on our head and then our heart. Around Him the waterfall formed a deep pool and as people stood in it, the water was for healing. The more people came, the heavier the presence of God become.

“For we bring our hearts like vessels

To the ever flowing stream

Come O Lord and overflow us with Your love.”

Lastly, another picture came, the Lord was ‘sorting’ out; coverings, mantles, cloaks. Some had slipped from peoples shoulders, some carefully tucked away and only ‘used for good’. Others were undone and needed straightening. Some wore them for protection, warmth, comfort. Many were mantles of anointing. He was going to each one, some replacing, some buttoning up. He said, don’t just wear it over your shoulders where it can slip. It has sleeves, put it on! And keep it on!

He doesn’t just want to do good things. He wants to do great things! Not just enough, but abundance and not just more but more than we could ever hope or imagine!

Let’s stand in the waterfall of His presence this week, and ‘put on’ all He’s given us and all He’s called us too. MORE LORD!!

15th July, 2018

What can I say! Much to Stewart’s amusement I am writing this report with almost no memory of what actually happened. All I can say is God turned up. Rumour’s may service, but as far as I know, I spent most of the evening on the floor laughing and perhaps a tad drunk in the Holy Spirit (I am pretty sure that any other reports will be greatly exaggerated!).

I have been frustrated with Encounter Nights for some time – just knowing that God wants to do so much more but not seeming to personally access it. For me, it started on Sunday morning. I woke up feeling frustrated at the level of relationship I was currently at. In the morning prayer meeting I saw a picture of the Lord’s hand, holding lots of little flames. He said, “do you want it?” Obviously, I said, “yes!” We are experiencing such an amazing level of God’s presence yet how quickly we have become ‘used to it’. It’s like making do with the warmth of the Holy Spirit without seeing the fire (like a heat pump rather than an open fire) and we so need to stir up our hearts and cry out for more. Anyway, this all caused me to cry out to the Lord; “take me out or fill me up Lord!” I think that was what the Lord was responding to at Encounter Night. It seemed He was ‘taking me at my word’ … and it was just awesome!!   Today, I feel like God has shifted some things; perhaps doubts, worries, frustrations – I am not really sure. I just know he’s done ‘something’ and I feel ‘different’.

Stewart had a word that we were to stop the ‘plea’ for His presence and to come expecting. (In the place I was in I remember laughing out loud when I heard that as I thought; “too late, He’s already here!”)

Expectation is such an important and essential place to come to. When we come with expectancy our eyes (of our heart), our focus and our attention turns to Him. I think, expectation is tied up with hunger and when we come in that attitude – anything can (and will) happen. So, let’s take a moment to consider; what do you expect when you walk into Church, your Small Group, a prayer meeting? How about your own God time? Or, just in that moment of connection with God in conversation with someone or the middle of the night? How easily we reduce our expectation to ‘normal’ or ‘same old same old’! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go back to that place. I’ve been there and done that and ended up in a lukewarm state feeling disconnected with the Lord, bored, tired and disillusioned.

The Lord has so much more for us. My response to this? I am laying down the old flames that I can carry His new fire. If you are reading this today, don’t settle with the old, stale or comfortable! Come before the Lord expecting Him to touch you, lift you, fill you and fire you – and He will!!

More Lord

8th July, 2018

Our God is an awesome God, who reigns in heaven and earth, our God is an awesome God!!

Another Encounter Night and another encounter with God! How wonderful, how awesome is the presence of God.   The main theme of the night came from a picture that was seen of each one of us standing at a table. In front of each one of us was a large old type leather embossed open book. Each book was open about half way through. The front part of the book was full of written words; the story of our lives, what has been said and done. On the right hand page(s) of the book – it was blank. The interpretation was that we were not to keep on going back over the old stories or trying to rewrite history; not to get stuck going over things or holding onto regrets but to move forward. The blank page(s) meant that the Lord was starting (writing) a new chapter. We took some time to pray through and seek the Lord asking Him these two questions:

  • What is the heading (word or words) of this new chapter that the Lord is writing?
  • What may be the first line or paragraph (picture)?

Below is a small sample of what people shared:

  • Chapter title: New Beginnings

Go forward with my love and grace. Step closer to me

  • Chapter title: Proclaim My Victory

Behold, a new season is upon you. In the past you received my understanding, now you begin to live out of my understanding.

  • Chapter title: Without Me you can do nothing
  • Chapter title: New Things
  • Chapter title: Fresh wave of the Spirit

No one can be bored with God doing His stuff! Isn’t He just so incredible!

God is calling us forward – never backwards! How tempted we often are to go back and revisit our past. We love to reminisce about the good old days. We often find ourselves going around in circles and old patterns of behaviour or even fondly wishing for great times we once had in God. But!! Today is a new day and He is doing new things and we get to have new encounters and new experiences with Him. There are new and fresh chapters to be written; no matter how old we are, how tired we are or how much we know; God has got plans – and they’re good! Sometimes, we need to get over ourselves and embrace what the Lord is speaking over us and what He has anointed us to do. So, let’s take hold of the new! Allow Him to write a new chapter as you step into all the Lord is calling you to.

He has got more for us all – so keep knocking, keep seeking and keep asking for more!

‘More Lord’!!

1st July, 2018

23 people attended.
Holy Spirit time on the floor to began the night. Back in our chairs the people shared what they had heard from God.
There was a theme running through, all the words about learning from God, listening to him and following through on what he says. He’s always close enough to catch us if we don’t get it right.
4 people were praying Nattallie, Jean, Marilyn and Stewart, people came forward, onto the line for filling.
There was very much a feeling of the next move is close, but to access it we personally have to press in. Not just turn up and be blessed on the day .

24th June, 2018

What an awesome God we have! He just keeps coming, keeps showing up, keeps touching our ives and bringing the new & the fresh! I think in all of these Encounter Nights we’ve had, and the diversity & variety of our God in the midst of it all, HE IS CONSTANT; CONSTANTLY THERE, CONSTANT and FAITHFUL is our God. Nothing or no one can compare & His constancy, His faithfulness is because His love us!

One of the pictures I saw at the start of the night was the river and in t the middle of the river was a buoy anchored. In my picture I swam out to it and held on. This is what I believe God said to me, “So many people have ‘reached’ the buoy and it seems that this is popular and sort after destination. It seems that this is enough; but I am about to ‘wash them’, wash off this place because even though its ‘in the river’ and it offers safety, staying there stops you being carried by the current to further places and deeper water. The buoy is in swimming distance yet there is so much more to see and experience.”

The second picture I saw was myself floating down the river. After a short time I saw Jesus by the shore beaconing me in. As I reached the shore He reached out His hand to pull me up. As soon as he touched my hand I found myself sitting on a park bench looking over the river. I sat there, dripping from head to foot, not in water, but in oil. My face shone from it and it dripped from my hands and hair. This is what I believe God said to me, “Here is the anointing oil I want to cover you in, where there is no part of you not immersed, covered and saturated. I anoint all of you not just a part; a ‘whole heart anointing’. Be fully immersed in my presence. When this happens, every part of the world diminishes and all you see, feel, all that surrounds you is my presence.”

When we’re ‘covered’ in oil, we can’t hold anything; everything else slips through our hands. Nothing else can be mixed with the oil, except more oil! He said, ‘’you can’t mix the things of the Spirit. Wade into the oil of my anointing and it will wash away & neutralise every other thing.”

6 types of oil: anointing oil – call, rubbing oil – healing, refining oil – cleansing, igniting oil – fire, covering oil – protection and marinating oil – soak.

He went on to speak of putting a torch in people’s hands; “for when the oil has saturated the cloth, so it will burn as a torch that will light the way and that will ignite those who are called to carry the fire; Light the fire!”

I want to encourage those of you, reading this message, to go find the river wherever you are. Find a place to stand under His awesome anointing!! Don’t allow yourself to stay where you are no matter ‘how much’ you already have, because there is more, much, much more for you to find and to experience.

Encounter Night – every Sunday night Christchurch North Elim Church address 803 Main North Road at 7.15pm.

Everyone is welcome. Come and encounter God

More Lord!

10th June, 2018

My goodness, another amazing Sunday evening Encounter service! There are a few of us who meet at around 6pm to pray for the service and this Sunday was no different. Mary wasn’t too well and actually had to go home early, which was a shame. However, God was in the house and who could ask for more!

As people were arriving we prayed for each one for an open heart and for them to be taken to a deeper level in God. His presence was stunning. People were touched by his presence and it was like an appetiser for the evening. There were pictures of us entering in to the throne room of God, of going before him and laying our cares and issues before his throne so that we could be free from distractions.

That seemed to set the atmosphere for breakthrough and we moved into a time of spiritual declaration, declaring out our God given dreams and desires, salvations, gifts of the Spirit, healing etc. There were times of prayer when we stood with one another over spiritual renewal, times of praying healing and impartation, as well as times where we could just focus everything else out and have some ‘alone’ time with God.

Another wonderful night where God wrapped his arms of love around us and blessed us with his presence.

3rd June, 2018

Wendy writes, “All Encounter Nights are very different each week. It is a place where we learn to step in and listen to the still small voice that God speaks. I have had many different experiences and I know that I learn more every time I come along. This is where we learn to leave all our baggage behind, move and step in deeper into God’s loving arms. In all of this there has been highs and lows. I have found a new joy in my heart. I want a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father and I try to be a good daughter for Him. Thanks to all the people that have given me more tools to get through every day.”

How wonderful, how awesome is our God! We all are the work of His hand and the love of His heart. God continues to do some deep heart work in many of us; as we wait upon Him, He ministers to us so individually and uniquely in so many ways

I shared with the group a picture of a large empty jug. The simple message was; “we have to empty, for God to fill us.” And, the question; “what does the Lord want to fill us with?” We know He always wants to fill us with His presence, with the Holy Spirit, yet this takes on many forms and ways. These experiences are all definitely the Holy Spirit, yet can also be unique and specific for each one of us. Specific to our call, ministry, purpose, capacity and probably other influences as well. For instance, those with the gift and call of compassion, God fills us with compassion and other amazing blessings that compliment and grow this gift as only the Holy Spirit can. So, let’s consider for a moment; what does the Lord want to fill you with and further what do you do you want to be filled with? In His hand He has fresh and new and more; compassion, passion, anointing, joy, hope, faith, power, authority, His love, fruit of the Spirit, specific gifts, specific call or ministry, river, fire and oil.

And so the list goes on. Personally I want it all! However, the word says we are part of the body; all with different purposes and unique plans! Whatever we want and need we all know we need it fresh, we need it new (everyday) and we need it more, so, despite the ‘ tough stuff’, the challenges and trials, let’s step into all that the Lord has for us, embracing the new and asking, seeking and chasing more of Him. No matter what the cost, the time, effort or sacrifice; we say MORE LORD!

27th May, 2018

As I sit to write this report, I feel I could repeat many words I’ve already used, and yet so limited by our inadequate descriptions of the presence of God. I guess what I’m saying is His presence is indescribable, unimaginable and just awesome!! It was such horridly cold weather and we all thought it would keep people away, yet people came and as I thought about this I realise how hungry people are! Hungry enough to fight through hail and heavy rain, bitter cold just to meet with God!

That’s why He comes; that’s what draws Him.

A quote I’ve used before is absolutely appropriate here: ‘hunger is the landing strip of the Holy Spirit’. Oh, how our hunger brings His presence!!

Marilyn writes: “I saw a geyser that had a giant spike or peg, like a tent peg forced into the blow hole. Because the peg is like a cross (if you sliced through it) some of the water or steam seeps out occasionally. The peg is being forced into the geyser to stop it blowing. There is a cap on the end of the peg, kind of like the top of a drawing pin and the closer the peg gets to being completely pushed in, the cap on the end seals the geyser.

What is happening in the spirit is the ‘church’ overtime has gradually shut down the Holy Spirit but not completely. There is still evidence from time to time here and there as we all know. The enemy doesn’t realise that the pressure is building and it is only a matter of time before the geyser blows the peg out and the Holy Spirit will erupt and pour out, wider, then He’s ever done before”

The essence of what we are currently experiencing, the sense of so many is that ‘something’ in God is building and will come to a point of release. I pray, please Lord don’t let me miss it and I encourage every one of us to diligently and deliberately keep close to His presence! Keep hungry, keep desperate, keep chasing Him and let the cry of your heart shout out to Him; more, so much more Lord!

20th May, 2018

Right from the start we could sense a party! We started the night in that vein and as the Lord’s presence came it was an immediate soak! That all started at 6.40pm though technically we don’t start encounter night until 7.15pm. Isn’t it AWESOME the God shows up before His ‘allocated’ time! We often pray “whatever Lord”, yet He’s also saying ‘whenever’. Whenever we wait, whenever we ask, whenever we seek, whenever we knock, whenever we call. And that one word ‘whenever’ changes all the rules and cancels out all our little habits and rituals we develop around the presence of God.

We listened to a prophetic word is given to Stewart and the church just the day before; the highlights: Breakthrough is coming, Community impact, Not forgotten, Revival fire. And that confirmed what the Lord has been doing and saying to our congregation and at encounter night.

As the evening progressed there seemed to be a lot of ‘fire’ around and we were reminded of the prophetic word John spoke about Jesus; “he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The challenge came, “who would put up their hand and say, Yes God, set me on fire and yes God, I’ll go!” Our God is a consuming fire, a refining fire, and an igniting fire. That ‘fire’ is the same fire He wants us to be filled with.

Just one person on fire for God can change the world. Will you be that person? So climb into the furnace of His love. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and with fire, and lets adjust our heart’s cry to; Whatever, Whenever, More Lord!

6th May, 2018

Once again the Encounter Night was different from others. There seemed to be an emphasis on breakthrough which of course is part of the Elim Church DNA. Through the night we received a number of pictures and this report is based on notes taken by Ralph.

The first picture was of a castle wall. It was a strong castle but it was under siege and there were cracks appearing in the wall. The castle represents our life and the wall around it ‘protection’. It seemed that the person/people inside the castle were rushing around filling the cracks and plastering over them.

Those attacking the castle lit a huge fire at the base of the wall to make the stone brittle. As I watched, a section of the wall collapsed but the enemy didn’t rush in and the person/people inside didn’t rush out. It suddenly became clear that the breech in the wall wasn’t for the enemy to get in, but was for the person/people inside to get out.

I saw as the person inside began to come out through the breech that he began to physically grow larger and larger until the castle seemed like a cloak over his shoulders, and as the person stepped out, he was able to cast the cloak off and walk free.

This was a picture of many Christians who sit inside their comfort zone and not allow God to break through into their life. The wall is a barrier to all God wants to achieve in our life. He is the one creating the cracks. He is the one breaking down the wall. Don’t try to repair the cracks, don’t plaster over them, let God expand the cracks and break down the wall that he may have full access to your life, your gifts, your talents so that we may contribute to the kingdom of God by fulfilling his plan and purpose for our life.

Lord have your way in our lives. Our cry is for more of you Lord, greater awareness, deeper relationship, deeper surrender.

29th April, 2018

The holidays are over! We may drop the ball, take the foot of the gas, or relax our attention or quietly go on a bit of a break, but the Lord never goes on holiday!

We had an awesome fun filled night! A reminder, I think, that the Lord has ‘got it’, got us covered. I had spent the week being reminded that when it’s tough, when things are frustrating, and when things are overwhelming, get back in the river. This was the challenge, for us all to get back in or step back in. The river carries breakthrough, it carries the Lord’s intention and purpose to take us where he wants us to go. The river means surrender; you can’t go swimming with a heavy backpack (burdens), or carrying ‘stuff’ in your hands. As you leave those things on the shore (an act of surrender), he carries us on the current of His love and purpose.

There’s more than just water in the river. There’s oil for healing and anointing. There’s wine for joy, excitement, passion and release. The river also represents shear power and force; God’s will that breaks any stronghold, obstacle or barrier, and lifts us over the rocky shoals. All we need, all we ever need is wrapped up in His river, because the river is His presence. Let’s continue to run, jump, walk, step into His river; the river of His presence everyday this week!

We pray Lord, bring your river, bring the wave, and bring a great flood of your presence. Even the little we have, we cry out, More Lord!

8th April, 2018

How deep can we go! Again, another Encounter Night different from all the rest. The Lord seems to be taking us on a journey where the word ‘depth’, (whatever that means), is the only way to describe it. It was time where we were ‘doing business’ with God. A picture that was shared; it described the Lord handing out assignments, instructions, commissions for each of us. Would we accept the piece of parchment; would we say yes? What was written on the paper was different for each and mostly it was not the time to look, yet all of us were left with this ‘commission’ in our hands.

Another picture described the invitation to move from a ‘kindling fire’ and the Lord placing fresh coal in our hearts that would burn hot and hold its heat & light. This builds ‘a solid foundation’ and passion for the call and commission to sit upon.

There is often a gap between where we stand now and where we are called to be. It’s time to be ‘sold out’ for Jesus. He’s breaking apart the dam of limitations, conditions, restrictions and control; either built by others or built with our own hands. He wants the river to flow freely in, over and through us.

It’s time to go deeper, it’s time to be ’all in’, ‘boots and all’, and to say, “Yes God; I’ll do it; I’ll go; send me”.

Lord, take us deeper and remove every obstacle in our path. Set a new fire in us; and Lord, commission and send us for your glory. We cry out, we pray, we declare, ‘more Lord.’

1st April, 2018

Stewart, Marilyn, and a group from our congregation just came back from the ‘Raging Fire Conference’ in Wellington. It was awesome to see and hear what the Lord was doing. They were fired up with passion and excitement and it swept into the Encounter Night like a fresh breeze! How we so need a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit!! How easy it is it is to become comfortable, even complacent! God is so good to stir us again and with it, takes us deeper in Him.

And He’s only just begun! We talked through a picture that had come through at the weekend and again as we waited on the presence of God. It was of thunder clouds and lightning breaking over the mountains in the distance of a great desert plain. As ‘we stood’ in the dry river bed, the water from the mountains begun to trickle around our ankles. The water was dirty, full of sand, dirt, and debris, yet as the water began to rise it become clearer and clearer. And just as in time lapse, the surrounding plain becomes full of wild flowers and grass. We are in this time!

The Lord is bringing revival; streams are beginning to flow again in desert places. Can you hear the distant thunder; can you see the lightning? Can you feel the drops of fresh rain on your face? Will you let Him come and begin to saturate the dry places of your soul, your spirit? Lift up your eyes and earnestly pray for the drought to be broken, that you would encounter the King of Glory.

Personally, I came away from this night with a fresh hunger and a determined desire to intentionally seek Him for the rivers, for fresh encounter and for ‘More of Him’!! As the old chorus goes, “If you’re thirsty and dry, Lift your hands to the sky, It’s beginning to rain.” MORE LORD!

25th March, 2018

Wow! What a night! We say “God’s presence turns up,” yet how inadequate are those words. His presence just absolutely flooded the room and continued to build throughout the night. We could use the word; encounters, meeting places, river experiences, fire falling, break throughs, anointing, and all of these describe some of what the Holy Spirit packed into the night.

The Lord ministered from a picture given; Jesus walking into the room with a bag of seed, slung over his shoulder. For some people He was scattering seeds at their feet. As they moved forward they would walk into the great harvest. For others he was placing seeds in their hands that would produce/increase call and ministry. And lastly, sprinkling seeds over their heads; with this came wisdom, knowledge, prophesy, gifts of revelation and power. These ‘seeds’ trickled down into hearts, mixed and flowed with empathy, mercy, grace, and compassion. The gifts of the spirit joined seamlessly with the fruit of the spirit. This causes His gifts to be ministered with great care and love

Each seed he ‘sowed’, distributed, with love, produced great fruit and none would be wasted or rot away. Now is the time for He has prepared the ground, and it is ready for the seed.

This reminds us that His presence, His gifts, His fruit and the character He builds in us is not just for us to have a party! He always has an eye on the harvest; to those in need, to those yet to experience Him, to those who are hurting, broken and sick. We carry these great seeds of potential and are equipped and anointed for this harvest. The bible tells us, the harvest is ripe yet the labourers are few. Will you put your hand up and use what the Lord has planted in front of you, over you and in you? Let’s say yes and further, let’s say with passion and joy and say ‘More Lord’!!

18th March, 2018

It is hard to find new words to describe the awesome and precious sense of His presence. Everyone has a different experience, yet all can enter in; each one of us is responsible to find Him, to knock, to ask, to seek. Each one of us has things to do and places to go in Him; yet none of us can minister from what we have! We have to ‘receive’ what we want to impart, whether it’s the river, the fire, the anointing, the oil, or the wind.

The word tells us out of our bellies shall flow rivers of living water. We must stop to consider, ‘how it get there’ and ‘that we must receive it to give it’. And God, and God gives it; gives us all we need and more. Let’s pray that the lord increases our capacity to receive, so that He would then increase our capacity to give and impart; and live and move in His mighty presence. I say go for it all!

Pray for it all; the rain and the river, the wave and the flood. For the fire that refines, consumes and ignites. For the wind blows away the dust and dirt that lift and carries us. The oil that anoints, imparts, soaks into us; the new and fresh. And the wine that fills us with the joy in His presence. Drink deeply from the well, from the river, from the wave He brings. I say “more & more Lord”.

11th March 2018

Isn’t it amazing that god is always good and He’s always got a good plan (even when we don’t understand it)!

We spent a significant amount of time just waiting on the Holy Spirit, and every time we do that, His presence just absolutely fills the atmosphere. From this time of waiting one person wrote this testimony; “I found thanksgiving was in my heart for all He has been doing. There has been pain and tears, as He stripped away the layers in my life. He pours in His oil. This night I felt a relief to know there is a new season coming; The tide is turning! The verse, which was read, ‘arise my darling, come with me’; spoken by the bridegroom (Christ) to the bride (His Church), it is so full of encouragement to me.” Jan.

Many of us are finding ourselves in a place of sifting, proving and refining. There’s a challenge to pull down & push through the obstacles that may stand between us and His presence. Each one of us is individually responsible, as we consider and allow the Lord to purify our hearts.

We have come to a ‘turning of the tide’. When the tide turns, for a time, it looks like nothing much is happening, but as you stand your ground, the water comes in and you first feel the water around your feet. Eventually the waves become higher and higher to where there’s wave breaking over you (the Holy Spirit). We mustn’t be tempted to step back to calmer, shallower water or step away to dry ground. We need to receive the wave as it breaks over us.

This wave of the Spirit will firstly break apathy in the churches, as it trickles through the doors and windows; and covers the foundation. The second, He will sweep in and over washing away the dirt, dust and rubbish; washing it clean. The third, the wave will saturate and soak and fill; drowning self-will and self-purpose. Lastly, it will carry us to those who need to hear of its coming.

We are entering a new season! Let’s stand at the turning of the tide and get ready for all the Lord will bring. And, when this new wave of His Spirits comes, let’s stand in it and cry from hungry hearts; “More Lord”.

4th March, 2018

This is the first Encounter Night report for the year. God is just so awesome! There are two things we have learnt in encountering God.

  1. He always turns up
  2. He always does something different

And this night confirmed this. There is an old song that aptly describes our night:

“Sweet spirit, sweep over my soul, My rest is complete as I sit at your feet, Sweet spirit, sweep over my soul”

It seemed to me, the Holy Spirit swept over a few souls this night!

I received this testimony: “I had an image of the water, and then Jesus taking me by the hand (both hands) was very powerful and tangible. The line of these songs is a prayer for me; “you call me upon the waters” and “for me to live is Christ” that were played this night. I experienced the touch of His hand, and a deep peace came with it. Thanks for leading us to walk deeper with Jesus.”

How amazing, how kind and how gentle is our God. He so gently takes us by our hands and guides our steps!

Come and join us as we seek Him – every Sunday night: 803 Main North Rd, Belfast, Christchurch @ 7.15pm

You would be most welcome to join us as we ask, seek and knock and with a hunger that crys out “More Lord”.

26th November 2017

I just want to say, wow! Wow God! Another awesome night with a difference; God’s ways and presence is endless! Right from the start we were met with a heavy sense of His presence. It seemed as we stood, asking for the Holy Spirit to come, His glory hung like a cloud above us. There was an invitation to respond to Him and reach out to receive; as we did, His glory seemed to fill the room.

As the night went on He seemed to build and build His presence. I’m not often stuck for words, but it’s hard to find the right words to adequately describe what we were experiencing. So this is me ‘having a go!’ We must have sat / lay / knelt for at least a half a hour in silence, under such a heavy anointing, not wanting to ‘disturb’ His amazing presence. His glory was ‘falling’ from above, yet like ‘heat waves’ rippling right across the room. Add to this a ‘blanket’ of His love wrapping around us, yet like liquid honey, thick , heavy, gentle, soft, holy, liquid glory, liquid love. All of this seamlessly reflecting our wonderful God who loves to connect with us!

How could we ever be satisfied with anything other than encountering His presence? And yet; and yet, there is much more to come!

Don’t ever be satisfied with anything less than his presence! Stir up your excitement and your focus because He wants to meet and connect with you!

And all that’s left to say is, “More Lord”!! 

Mary Ponder

12th November 2017

….And God ‘mixes it up’ yet again! Our God is a consuming fire, a mighty river & a good dose of His Glory thrown into the mix!!

I personally started the evening feeling pretty sluggish and stale. The moment Stewart & Marilyn started to pray for me, His presence fell and a heavy sense of His glory filled the room! It was awesome! We ministered through the night under that glory and from a series of pictures as the Lord inspired us.

Picture 1: imagine an old coal range burning for a few days and then the ‘scraper’ scraping out the ash that builds up; then the fire sparking back into life as the dampers are opened. This picture was likened to God scraping out yesterdays ash and re-igniting the fire in each of us and blowing on the flame with the wind of His spirit.

Picture 2: standing under a great waterfall so high you couldn’t see the top; sheets / torrents of water falling over us, “Lord, let your glory fall!”

Picture 3: the waterfall hitting the bottom causing a great churning and mist; and as the water hits the ‘fire’, steam was created. Apparently, in the science of water hitting fire the steam produced is 8 times its original volume. We prayed, “Lord, expand us and all we are created to do (x8)!”

Picture 4: the deep pool of water the waterfall creates. As we waded into this pool it was a place for healing, health, relationships, issues, finances, work, and other care and needs. We were encouraged to ‘see’ this ‘need’ as big solid brick and as we carried it into the water, (AKA: the presence of God), it began to dissolve turning into wet sand and washing away. Eventually, nothing was left and for some with an empty hand, the Lord came and took their hand in His. When we turn our ‘needs, cares and burdens’ over to Him, He takes them and transforms them in His presence. “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

This week, let’s walk in the picture of the pool, casting all our cares upon Him for He cares for us! When we encounter Him anything and everything can happen. Let’s rise up in faith and in expectation this week with a fresh cry from our hearts; “More Lord!”

Mary Ponder

5th November 2017

How gracious, how precious and how awesome our God is!! Tonight, we had a bit of everything, including miracles and healing. Isn’t God a good, good God!? If I could pick three words that reflected what the Lord is doing they would be peace, glory and surrender. There was such a deep sense of His glory falling, like waves, yet a better word, sheets. Sheets of His glory coming one after the other above us, resting on people and dissolving over our heads and shoulders. There was a time of stillness quietness and peace as he bought an invitation of surrender, and as we responded to that a heavy anointing fell.

God is so drawn to our ‘surrender ‘. As we give him all; he gives “His all” back to us! What a great deal because He brings and He is more than we could ever hope for or imagine. When we surrender in response to His love, (our will, plans, our hopes, our everything); He comes in such power and anointing because our barriers come down. It is then that we find Him in His glory.

Surrender is the greatest key as we cry out to Him, “not my will Lord but yours be done”. For all who read this, I encourage you; find a deeper place of surrender this week and from that place no matter what you’re facing, cry out with all your heart; ‘MORE LORD’.

Mary Ponder

29th October 2017

What a privilege it is to be a part of this awesome move of God in this place! And there’s more to come!

Before Encounter Night even began His presence came and He just kept building us indeed; “His train begins to fill the temple.” It seems that the Lord has broken through ‘something’ and over these last weeks there’s a new and fresh level, higher ground (if you will). It’s not just coming, it’s here! All we have to do is draw on His Presence!

There’s a new, a deeper, a fresh fire of the Holy Spirit ‘breaking out’. I believe restrictions, limits and ‘glass-ceilings’ are breaking, and we are experiencing more of His glory in this place. There seems to be a new release of His anointing and we are seeing more of His power; as He ministers to us all. There are no words that adequately describe His presence! Really; you’ve got to experience it and connect with Him to understand. The Lord is providing that connection point now, right through our Sunday services.

The Lord WANTS to show himself; He WANTS to minister to us; and He WANTS to speak to each one of us. Wherever you are and however you can; position yourself to encounter and stand under and in His amazing presence. He’s just waiting for you. Make this a prayer, a cry, a declaration, an invitation; “MORE LORD”.

Mary Ponder

22nd October 2017

We used to sing this old song:

"O Lord, You’re beautiful. Your face is all I seek. For when your eyes are on this child. Your grace abounds to me"

What truth! How beautiful, how wonderful, how powerful is the name of Jesus. And the best, the very best thing to seek, His face! As we sought Him, He came! He continues to build His presence, more and more. He sure has bought a shift and He’s coming to hungry and expectant hearts! How awesome is our God!

During Encounter Night, I saw a picture of big rolling waves breaking on a beach. The tide had turned and each wave began to creep up the beach; covering the rocks, the sand and even an old path at its fullness. It was a spring tide. The wave of His Spirit is rolling over this church, this city and eventually this nation. As the waves rolled in, eventually they began to pull and draw people off the rocks, off the beach and even off the old path, the old traditional ways, and bringing many , many into His presence to soak and be refreshed. I believe the ‘tide has turned’ and the fresh season, the spring tide is just beginning to hit pockets of our nation. Pockets first, then the great swell of His mighty presence!

What a time to be in! What an opportunity! What an amazing invitation he extends to us all! In the midst of the waves of His Spirit, he transforms our perspective, our beliefs, our traditions, our focus and our direction. Lets cry out; hungrier and thirstier that ever, MORE LORD!

Mary Ponder