Penny Taylor – 15 November 2010

Zechariah 8

I have lately been drawn back to Zechariah 8 again. The point for making me revisit this was actually Mike’s [Betts] preach at Pakefield about the dew. I was sure that I’d heard that language before and I was right – it’s in Zechariah 8!

By way of reminder when Maurice did a series of preaches ages ago from Zechariah I followed through these passages and I could see so many similarities with our church situation at the time – the apathy, the struggle, the exile in a way and the “remnant” being left – among many other things. However I felt then as I do now that Zechariah 8 was a promise to claim for the church and it has fuelled prayer and my passion for Aylsham really.

What I find though reading through is that things are either starting to match up in promise – prophetic words making sense of this – or have already come to pass! Hurrah!

Assuming we take Aylsham / the church as Zion or Jerusalem which is how I’ve been reading it.

V1 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong. I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem. V2 I will dwell/live in Jerusalem. A real sense that we have seen some of this – the favour in the community – I believe there is more to come – the priority of His presence.

V4 Old men and women and children in the city. This speaks to me of a place of safety, of peace and of family – JFC perhaps?

V6 All this may seem impossible for you a small remnant – but will it be impossible for me says God. How many times have we felt this about Aylsham – a small church accomplishing amazing things!

V7 Rescuing people from the East and West and bring them home again…. We are starting to see this happen. I believe it will happen more and more. We will not only see new people coming along but those who were part of things previously.

V9 Be strong and finish the task. If anything has spoken to me it has been this verse in particular. I have to be honest I’ve found the last little while challenging – challenging my faith, my security even – all the what if and how will it happen? But we are to continue – “Be Strong” and finish the task.

V12 I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. We have had a lot of talk recently of harvest and seeds. I believe that yes this is in souls won for Jesus but I do also believe that there are seeds of prosperity. Things we have planted somehow that will reap their reward in a financial way. (Keith Hazell from 2006 – “You’ve cried to God for resources” – he’s not only going to give you the ability but will also give you His resources to ensure that it happens.)

V12 the grapevines will be heavy with fruit – this is the harvest of souls! Catch that fruit – Keith (Bonner) said it recently.

V12 The earth will produce its crops and the heaven will drop its dew!! WOW! What a promise – a promise of prosperity, of souls won AND the Holy Spirit falling (with reference to Mike’s preach at Pakefield).

V13 I will make you a symbol and source of blessing. This is a promise for the whole region Israel and Judah – I believe it is exactly that – a promise for the region.

V13 Be strong and get on with rebuilding the temple. Be strong again – Pakefield reference – if God says it more than once we’d better believe it and listen! It’s going to be hard work but BE STRONG and build the church!!

V15 I am now determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid!

V16 this is what you must do: Tell the truth, render justice and peace, don’t scheme against each other.

V20 People from nations and cities around the world will travel to Jerusalem. The people of one city will say to the people of another Come with us to Jerusalem to ask the Lord to bless us. Let’s worship…I’m determined to go. This I believe is very important for Aylsham. With Maurice and Rachel going to Ipswich there is a possibility that we could look at Aylsham and to the building of the church there and neglect this part – perhaps saying that people only came to Aylsham because of Maurice’s ministry BUT I don’t believe this is true! I think we need to carefully consider the nations coming to Aylsham to worship and ask for blessing (v22). What that looks like I’ve no idea but it needs to be part of the blueprint for the future.

V23 The 10 men and the 1 Jew – “Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you”. Perhaps this is the blueprint for Maurice and Rachel in Ipswich. I think they will find more men/families like the Deans etc who recognise something in them. They will walk with them – for a season, not because of who they are but because God is with them. They may not even be aware of what they’ve seen but there will be that Elijah / Elisha (in terms of grabbing their coat as it were) Paul / Timothy fathering relationship – then sending them then out for what God has.

Looking back over some of the words for the church in recent years this all makes sense! Ken McGreavy’s word in April 2006 talks about the Spiritual attractiveness of Aylsham – relates to the concept of Aylsham being a blessing – of people coming here to worship and receive a blessing. I don’t feel this is like some hyped up Toronto/Pensacola/Todd Bentley style but God does have something special for us – I guess the safety here is that it wouldn’t be about the one man but about our church as a whole. Keith Hazell prophesied about us being a spiritual ASDA. Somewhere people go pick something up and go away again. Later in that same word he says this is going to be a place where people come and get refreshed.

V13 says about being a symbol and source of blessing – Keith Hazell’s word about being a sample not a sermon also springs to mind. “an exhibition for people to see”. What God is building here will be replicated in other places.

I have felt so buoyed by this – my faith stirred again as I’ve read and considered this and I believe we are starting to see this happening. As our church looks to the future and the whole question of who could lead our church forward I believe that we need to keep these things all in contention – how to build the church in Aylsham, how to be that resource, how to be that blessing, how to maintain links and works oversees once Maurice and Rachel move on… these are the hallmarks of our church and this is the blueprint of our church. The lead elder / future eldership needs to be that which holds this vision and can run with this and bring the church into everything that God has for it. This part could just be my own personal thoughts on this but I don’t want to stop short at this stage. I love this church too much to not see it come into ALL that God has for it. Something has really stirred in me recently about this overseas part – how this fits if you are not here bringing in people to visit. I don’t know how that will work in the future but it is clear from prophetic words over the years that this is an important part of our church life and as such we need to see a team who not only have a vision for seeing the church grow locally but who will also allow God to keep Aylsham being a blessing to nations wider afield.

So there we go!! I appreciate there’s a lot there – but not necessarily new – I did feel it was important to raise it again. Especially this idea of what is the blueprint for Aylsham. I have today been listening to John Starling talking about the architects that have been given to him for the new build at BVS. Their ideas have been hindered by their experiences of what school should be (it should look like Grange Hill and have corridors etc) and he has had to work hard on making them see a new way forward for teaching. In the same way I feel it’s important that we get the right technicians, the right builders in place – how we marry growing the church locally, receiving, sending, being a blessing and impacting overseas I’ve no idea but we need to not look backwards but consider these blueprints for the future. We have the very excellent and privileged position that God is designing and building his church – if there is something that I’ve learnt in the last week or so, so clearly it is that God is building his church and nothing will stop this – not my narrow mindedness, not my ideas, in fact my position in this is to enjoy being allowed to be part of this amazing process! It’s so good!!

Penny Taylor
15 Nov 2010