We’re live blogging tonight’s main session – apologies for any spelling mistakes.

We’re off with a big video.

Damian and Rachel welcome us to the weekend and the big family that we are.  Why are we here:

  • Some of us chose youth ministry, and some of us were chosen by youth ministry.
  • We love Jesus!  Professionalism is important but the most important thing is that Jesus is right in the middle of it.

God wants to tell us tonight that we’re amazing.  Lots of opportunities to share struggles, great ideas, celebrate how amazing God is.  We’re going to start with some worship led by Vicky Beeching.

We started with: Yesterday, Today and Forever, then onto Blessed be Your Name.  The band is really rocking tonight – a good atmosphere.

Now having a look at the goody bags: Romance Academy band, scribble pad, programme, resources from Christian Aid, and the opportunity to win an iPad – ooooh!  Damian managed to find a football, pink hair-straightners, kettle and chocolate but none of them are as good as the iPad.

If you don’t tweet you’re not cool, if you’ve been following Youthwork the Conference (http://twitter.com/youthworkconf) there is a tweet up tomorrow at 3.15pm tomorrow.

Check out the exhibition and the shop – tonight think about buying Danielle Strickland’s new book on social justice – read it and be challenged.

After Hours exhibition: tomorrow is the school disco.  Tonight in the Gold Room there is the Bible WAGs!

Kiera from Tearfund and on the leadership team of HOPE sharing about what is happening in 2010-2014 – the issue of evangelism v justice is irrelevant it is both.  How do we do both sharing and telling and demonstrating and showing the story together – HOPE is here to help resource that.  Two things to do:

  • Reception at 5.15pm in Devonshire Hall with Kiera and Wendy Beech-Ward (Director of Spring Harvest)
  • Postcard about an Easter Resource early discount order using the postcard – hand it into the Tearfund stand.

Damian is now introducing an opportunity to pray corporately.  There is a prayer room to hang out and pray, Matt is leading that and will be leading our times of corporate prayer.  We’re going to stand and pray …

Now another time of corporate sung worship – starting with Open the eyes of my heart Lord, Majesty, a new song by Vicky Beeching – Glory to God and then How Great is Our God.

Video of the Bible reading – Matthew 16.

Damian is now introducing Danielle Strickland our speaker tonight.

Canada is -15 so Eastbourne is a lovely place!  A real sense of the presence of the Lord tonight, a real sense of God’s approval here tonight, he loves you.  Danielle salutes and honours us too for our work.  It’s one thing to encourage and challenge people to do something but it’s great to be here to encourage, support and help us together.  We want to be finishers not just starters.  The Lord has been speaking to Danielle about endurance and finishing well in our surrender.

This is a bright, big moment in Peter’s life.  We like him, especially male guys like him as they can relate because he gets it wrong!  Peter is this representation of us.  The moment when you get it right are exciting, the moment when Jesus is there saying blessed are you.  We need to learn to not just go invisible when people praise us, instead we need to say “I receive that”.

Even when Peter gets it right he often gets it wrong quickly, but Jesus still says Peter you’re great.  Maybe you need to keep a list of the things you get right this year.

We’re so focused on perfection we can’t share any transparency.  But just so we know Danielle is a hypocrite.  Start by making business cards with “authentic Christian community”, but then struggle when get calls at 11pm.  We put ourselves in places where we find it hard to be real, to be transparent.  People hate Christians because they’re hypocrites.  We think that about politicians, athletes, nurses who smoke outside the hospital – but we’re on that list too.  Muhammad Ali had real self-confidence, on a flight he didn’t fasten his seat-belt, he replied “superman don’t need no seat-belt” to which the flight attendant replied “superman doesn’t need a plane”.  We’re not superheros, neither was Peter.

There is so much in this text that we can’t unpack it all, Matthew demonstrating Jesus as King, Jesus being revealed as the Messiah, the living God.  There is an order of surrender – it doesn’t happen because we will it to happen – willing it just leads to religious behaviour – we know what we should look like, sound like.  True surrender is literally laying down our lives – our status, what the world thinks and says about us, how we measure success etc.  True surrender only comes from a proper view of who Jesus is.  This is what the disciples were trying to wrestle with and it is still here today, “Who do you say that I am?” – this should resonate with us in our life.

Last week in Mumbai for Stop the Traffic campaign, and met with the national leader of Salvation Army in India, a woman (the first one – that’s good  – there is a woman – bad – it’s taken this long) who’s stepped into the role following her husband.  It’s been a struggle because women haven’t really been leaders in the church because of the struggle.  On her first day a mob and the media came to re-seat here, she invited them in for a cup of tea!  She told them she was placed their by God so unless he changes his mind it’s non-negotiable.  So remarkable, what wisdom and a great distraction with the tea, this cost for her will carry on.

You stand on the rock when you completely surrender, when he’s completely in charge.  She’s not being a women leader for the cause of women (although it will help that cause) she’s literally following Jesus and she knows who He is.  When you have that proper revelation of who he is you fall in line.  When you see how big he is, how wise he is, when you see his bravery, for example in the face of Pilate – he laughs at Pilate’s self-importance not understanding the realities of the kingdom of God.  When Peter says you’re the Messiah, you’re the one who will set us free, you’re the saviour, you’re the son of the living God this langauge is loaded in Jewish scripture.  When he says the living God it is a reference to the burning bush and YHWH – it is a sign he is still alive.  How often do we do that with young people – praying for them with our fingers crossed hoping he is still alive.  We need a revelation of God, to see afresh our bigger God.

In a prayer meeting that was really flat this women fell over – at first call the medics – then realise it’s God.  The person who went to check on her also fell.  The women said she didn’t believe in this stuff!  But clearly he’s here.

He is with you as you heal, feed and change people in your community.  We have to have an encounter with the living God, we have to do that to serve Him or it just becomes a duty.

Pope John Paul II lived in an occupied Poland when an older teenager.  The Russians rounded up all the 18-25 year olds to stop any revolt and put them into a work camp.  You resolve lots of issues and put pressure on the parents with threats for their children.  His mum saw them coming and told him to hide in the attic, he replied aged 18, “I don’t need to hide” (Danielle would have hid), he lied down in the sign of the cross face ground and prayed.  The Russian soldiers search the house, look in the attic, under the beds, around the kitchen and completely missed him!  A full on miracle!  After that he entered the priest hood.  Whenever he prayed he would be prostate on the ground – an absolute posture of surrender.  When he had the revelation everything changed – he gave up the potential of marriage to a woman (he stayed friends with her for life) for this.

This isn’t a genie or a magic rabbits foot he is the living God.  Who do you say that He is?

Not jsut with our lips, we all say He is the Lord, but who he is really, do we expect him to show up, do we lvie and serve YHWH, the God who uses a shepherd to confront Pharoah.  That sort of revelation, encounters messes people up.  Danielle is praying that it’ll mess us up, it’ll mess our ministries up.  When you get it, it changes everyhting.

Who do you say Jesus is?

Just a couple of verses after this Peter rebukes Jesus.  He is an idiot!  No one would do that in a normall rabbi-disciple relationship, let alone having self-declared him as God.  Peter is many fries short of a happy meal!  Jesus says get behind me, you’re not leading, self-rabbinical doesn’t work, God is in charge.

Stand on the rock, we don’t have to give in, or buckle, we stand in his strength and authority.  If we do this we would stop suffering hte insecurity that wrecks the church.  We are so insecure.  If we base it on pur own life and skills we’ll be exactly like Peter – one minute declaring Jesus as Lord and being told we’re the rock and have keys ot heaven and hten he takes Jesus aside and clearly doesn’t get it.  We follow God, if someone disagrees tell them to take it up with God.

When Jesus says we’re given keys to loose and bind it’s classic rabbinical phrasing.  Crucial for Peter as they have to interpretae the Jewish way into a new gospel for Gentiles – he’s going to have to bind and loose a bunch of the scriptures to make that happen – he has to be on a orck as that’s going to shake the hwole Jewish community and it will take him into court and eventually to his death.  The word loose is the same as when Jesus says you’re going to loosen the enemies work.

Before the meeting we have a prophetic word about having a sword – coming at you – aaaaggghhh!  But it was loosening the binds, to loosen the work of the enemy in your life, the insecurity that stops you working in His name.  He loves you and He wants to give you authority.

He is the living God.

Mother Theresa had a real revelation of Jesus – she said she saw Jesus on a cross and he looked at her with his eyes and said “I thirst”.  A nun left the order, wrote a book in Australia, she received seven notes from Mother Theresa with Jesus on the cross and the words “I thirst”.  Why didn’t she go back?

At hte airport met a business guy who gave stuff up to work with Compassion, but now working with the steel indsutry.  He couldn’t cope with it because he couldn’t afford the mortgage on his $1,000,000 home, but he does sponsor 2 children!

Ministry is hard, Mother Theresa made her Nuns with charcoal to link them with the poor, they sleep on the floor – an American women wanted to bless the nuns so gave them a carpet when Mother Theresa was out of town.  Mother Theresa came back and was like what’s happening, and then had it all ripped out and left it on the street for others to take and use in their homes.  Wonder how many kids she sponsors?

Do you have the revelation?  What follows the revelation is the revolution.  That kind of revelation and revolution leads to real surrender.  People thought Francis of Assisi was crazy, they were overjoyed the next day when they saw how happy he was, but he carried on and they joined him in this revolution of rich kids leaving their wealth and helping the poor.  He revolutionised the church through his work, he prayed every day “please Jesus let me share in the fellowship of your sufferings” – who does that?

We ask for a revelation, we ask Him to show us himself, we get hungry, and then we posture ourselves behind him, on him.  David goes to Goliath, Goliath says you sent a child, David says I come in the power of YHWH, Moses confront Pharoah in a shepherd’s coat and with a staff.  It is ridiculous.  But when we capture the real revelation it is amazing!

Who do you say Jesus is?

Danielle wants to give us a fresh revelation, to loose us from our fear, our sin, our apathy.  To come at us with the living word, the living sword and literally free us through a fresh revelation of who He is.  Wouldn’t that be a great way to start the weekend, a great way to change your life, a great way to wreck your youth group.

We’re moving into a time of ministry now so closing the laptop down for a while.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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