Worship in the Heart of the Perth Cultural Precinct?

Yesterday afternoon, we were walking home from the Perth CBD after doing a bit of shopping and we happened to walk through the Perth Cultural Precinct.

They were playing Olympic highlights on the big screen outside the State Library. The setting actually reminded me of an amphitheatre. An amphitheatre for worship!

And then the thought came to me. What if we could gather the church together for an afternoon of passionate, heartfelt worship right in the heart of the city’s cultural precinct? And in the line of sight of everybody?

The worship team (which would consist of musicians and singers from different churches) would stand right under the screen. The people would gather in front of the screen and up around on the steps.

We could put the words up on the big screen with other video images.

We could have dancers and flaggers.

And I wondered how much it would cost to hire a sound system and some crowd barriers and to get public liability insurance.

Recently, I finished reading Steven Furtick’s book Sun Stand Still, which is all about activating audacious faith. I wonder whether this could be my own “sun stand still” prayer?

Do you think it’s possible? And maybe it’s even better if it’s impossible so that if it does happen, we’ll know that God orchestrated it. What do you think about this idea? Is it worth pursuing?

Living with Audacious Faith

Who is this Steven Furtick anyway?

I first heard about this young pastor when I was at the Hillsong Conference in 2011. He was advertised as one of the keynote speakers for the 2012 Conference.  So I did a bit of reading about him.

Now, I’m reading Furtick’s book Sun Stand Still and I like it a lot.  The book is all about audacious faith: a faith so bold, so radical, that would cause God to unleash the supernatural and impossible in the midst of our ordinary.  Like in Joshua 10, when Joshua needed more time to completely rout the Amorites and he prayed (in verse 12), “O sun, stand still over Gibeon”.  The result?  “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.  There has never been a day like it before or since…. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel” (vv 13-14).

Furtick lives out his thesis.  When he was 16, he read a passage from Jim Cymbala’s Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and was completely ruined by this statement:

I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show himself mightily on our behalf.

God then birthed a vision in Furtick to plant a church in Charlotte.  Somehow, he managed to convince 7 other families to sell their homes, change jobs and move their families to plant a church with him in apparently the most “overchurched” city in America.  Elevation Church was born.  Four years later, the church had grown to 6,000 people.

Last Sunday, Pastor Benny shared about the power gifts of the Holy Spirit:  faith, healing and miracles.  And he said that in these last days, more people will come to the saving knowledge of Christ through a release of miracles across the earth.

So what is “faith”?  According to Pastor Benny, it is the “God-given ability to believe God with certainty for the impossible in a particular situation”.

Pastor Benny highlighted 7 kinds of faith:  natural, historical, temporary, saving faith, faith in God, fruit faith and the gift of faith. I want to include in the list “audacious faith”.  Maybe it shouldn’t technically be a separate category, but when I think about it, I most of us probably live lives in which the incredible moves of God are in absentia.  Yes, we say that God was working in our lives in an invisible and subtle way where an outsider might try to rationalise it as a coincidence.  But where are the loud, obvious, in-your-face miracles of God that makes them say without a doubt, “God did this”?

Like Elijah on Mt Carmel in 1 Kings 18.  He drowned the sacrifice to make the miracle look even more incredible!  And when God finally answered with fire, the entire nation fell down and declared “the Lord, He is God”.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Paul makes a very strong point in Galatians 3:5.  He asks rhetorically: “Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”

Faith, not works, is the key to the release of miracles.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see more of the impossibilities of God invading the ordinariness of life.  And I think it takes our living out a vision bigger than what we are naturally capable of, and having audacious faith in God that nothing is impossible for Him.

Tonight I met a guy who was in the process of preparing to go on a long-term mission trip (uprooting his entire family) to a closed nation.  He shared about his plans and intentions.  I was there to help advise him on structuring his affairs.  But I was completely inspired by this man.  I jokingly told him that he was so selfless, it was disgusting.  But here was a guy who was moving out in audacious faith.  And I have no doubt that he and his family are on the threshold of some of the greatest miracles they will ever see in their lifetime.


Our New Stash of Stuff

We went to the Christian bookshop today and stocked up on some new stuff for our next season of reading and listening.

Here’s our stash:


// Healing Unplugged / Bill Johnson and Randy Clark
// Hosting the Presence / Bill Johnson
// Sun Stand Still / Steven Furtick
// Intercessory Worship / Dick Eastman
// The Devil Has No Mother / Nicky Cruz
// Expecting Miracles / Heidi and Rolland Baker
// Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes / Kenneth E Bailey

// Decade / Israel Houghton and New Breed
// Cornerstone / Hillsong
// Centre of It All / Desperation Band
// Lift Him Up With Ron Kenoly – 25th Anniversary Edition

// Experience Unceasing Fruitfulness / Joseph Prince

These are going to keep me occupied for some time!

I’m particular pleased with Lift Him Up which was in the bargain bin. I’ve decided that given the volume of new worship recordings coming out all the time, there’s no point buying old worship CDs anymore. If a church hasn’t taken a song up, there’s very little chance of finding good, usable songs from two or three years back. We will just need to give them up to music heaven and push forward with the new things. But I make an exception for classics like Lift Him Up, an album that in my opinion really changed the worship landscape. I listened to my old Lift Him Up cassette so often that the ribbon eventually snapped, relegating the cassette to a different type of music heaven. So glad that I was able to find the CD incarnation. It’s like connecting with an old friend after all these years.