Sermon preached by the Very Revd Andy Bowerman, Dean of Bradford.
Notes from the sermon:
Billy Bremner or Eddie Gray…
Since I was first found by God in my teens – I have wanted to be like Jesus – to do what Jesus did or does.
Insightful – wise – anointed – whole person maker – fire starter
I have had some moments of inspiration or anointing but so much that is ordinary or less than that – yet we are called first as ordinary people to live extraordinary lives – first disciples learnt on the job as we have to do!
We have this indignant leader who is angry because Jesus recreated someone and made them whole on the sabbath – the day for recreation! Of course he could be just jealous because Jesus has such authority to speak into the moment with clarity, insight and power.
Perhaps He can see the revolution starting with this man who can make people whole again, and he sees the future that is coming & it’s one of transformation & change. One of fire and refining. And he’s not ready for that.
CS Lewis quote – In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw people into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time.”
How do I, how do we become more like Christ. With deeper heavenly insight, more supernatural power and brighter creative imaginations. Full of compassion for the lost, the lonely, the other
Earlier in Luke Jesus anoints his disciples Ch 9 beginning –
‘When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.’ v1,2
Get ANOINTED. Baptism. Confirmation or in prayer. Last week I anointed a young boy in the Lady Chapel as he was dedicated to God by his parents – come ask Jesus for his anointing.
Yet we know that they were not always successful – Ch 9 before the end!
Even after they’ve seen the feeding of the 5,000 and some experienced the transfiguration still they can’t
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”
Luke and Mark cover the disciples failure to heal, their failure to be like Jesus.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
Jesus replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer & fasting.
Perhaps One of the areas we need to strengthen as individuals and as a family is our prayer and our fasting if we want to see more of what Jesus did happening in our time, across our city, in our church
Mobilise prayer & fasting – especially in the last part of the year as we seek new clergy and fresh vision.
Prayer – corporate MP & EP more of you are welcome but we also plan some new opportunities through the weeks and months ahead. Meditative, quiet, healing, wholenesses – prayer is rightly described as the engine room of heaven.
Individual as well. I don’t know what your habit is? I prefer mornings but I’m privileged as I can stop on a regular basis to pray & still call it work!
Journal – rhythm – nature – move and pray – pilgrimage – what are your prayer habits? How can we help you build up your life of prayer ?
What about is fasting?
What is fasting?
Spiritual resistance against western cultural numbness.
Richard Foster – Celebration of discipline. ‘More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us…we cover up so much of what is inside us with food and other good things’
So fasting is Refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. Nothing more, nothing less. It doesn’t twist Gods arm. It’s about going deeper in our relationship with God, allowing him to search us, allowing ourselves to be found.
It could be a meal – it could be for a day or a period – or refraining from meat and rich foods (Daniel)
If we want to see Revival, visibility, growth – breakthrough then scriptures show us it’s a key component. If we want to be refined and made ready for what he has called us to be.
We do often have an odd relationship with food – Delia book more than 20 cookbooks – it’s the most instagrammed thing! It’s all over Facebook. So if you have a particularly difficult relationship with food perhaps talk with a friend about what might be helpful and safe for you. But there is no doubt in scripture that praying and fasting will help to potentially do the things that Jesus did. Which might bring with it it’s own fear. Because prayer and fasting bring some incredible results.
Moses 40 day fast resulted in the revelation of the ten commandments (Exodus 34.28)
Hannah fasted and God released a prophet who changed the destiny of an entire nation (1 Samuel 1:7-20) MP
Esther called for a fast, and her people were delivered and their enemies defeated.
Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and overcame the temptations that held humanity in bondage (Luke 4)
Fasting helps us move from
How do I feel, what do I want to more deeply consider
what is God saying and what am I/are we going to do about it.
Lone prayer in the Aiden chapel.
15-20 mins most weeks.
May we be a people who wrestle in prayer, who seek God for breakthroughs in our city, for an ongoing reviving in our communities that we might become a city full of little Christs spreading refiners fire in all the dark places. That crowds might rejoice at the wonderful things he has done.