Another Fallen ‘Giant’ – News We Don’t Like Hearing

Most people, by now, will have heard how one of the world’s most well-known Christian leaders, Ravi Zacharias, has been exposed as a long-term sexual abuser. He died less than a year ago, but he had so effectively managed to keep this dark side of his life covert that Mike Pence, the Vice-President of the United States, accepted the invitation to speak at his funeral in May 2020.

This is not just a case of a man having fallen into sexual sin once, as David did with Bathsheba, it is a case of a man knowingly practicing deceit, in order to feed his sexual appetites, over most of his adult lifetime. The details are dreadful.

I knew of accusations that were circulating a few years ago and he was given the opportunity then to come clean. But in his pride he not only rejected the offer but labelled the accusations as false and convinced all the members of his staff and teams of his innocence.

Now that everything from hundreds of accusers is out in the open, it is clear that Ravi Zacharias was a practised liar who carefully and wilfully planned and lived out his fantasies over a long period of time, without any consideration of what he was doing to his family, the women who were his victims or, worst of all to the Body of Christ and above all to the Lord.

He was a liar and a cheat who deliberately and knowingly supressed his conscience in order to wilfully steal from others – all under the cover of being one of the world’s leading charismatic teachers and Christian apologists. The fall-out in the Body of Christ is massive.

So how could such a thing happen? Rather than write an extended blog on the subject, I have decided to re-publish below an updated version of an article I wrote over twenty years ago, at the time of another Christian leader’s fall from grace.

Sailing with the Bow Doors Open!

On the 6th March 1987, the Herald of Free Enterprise sankjust outside Zeebrugge harbour. This large roll-on roll-off car ferry had crossed the North Sea many hundreds of times and had already made four crossings on that day between Belgium and the UK.

When disaster struck 193 people lost their lives. The tragedy of this tragedy is that it was totally avoidable. It was not an accident. The ship sailed with the bow doors open.

It had become a regular practice for the ship to set sail before the bow doors were fully closed. On this occasion the crew were unusually late in closing them. As the ship hit the open sea, water flooded the car decks. The ship took a heavy list to one side as vehicles began to move and then the whole ship capsized in just 30 feet of water..

As I watched a TV documentary the disaster God began to speak to me of the dangers of sailing through life with the bow doors open. The crew had set sail like this on many previous occasions without consequence, but on this occasion the unthinkable happened. The Captain of the ship was responsible for setting sail with the bow doors open. The crew were responsible for not closing the doors in time. The victims who died were innocent bystanders of an avoidable drama.

We are all individually responsible for the ship of our lives. If we are sailing with the bow doors open, then nothing untoward may happen for a long time. There is little danger when the waters are smooth. Complacency and pride can make us careless in our conduct. And when the unthinkable happens it’s not only the individual who suffers, but all “the passengers” who were depending on us for their well-being are in danger of becoming victims.

Those passengers include our own families, our colleagues, those who work for us and all who look to us for spiritual input and care at various levels of church life. For a Pastor or leader of a Christian ministry, the passengers include their whole congregation, staff, the wider Body of Christ and the readers of their books. When the disaster occurs to a high-profile Christian leader the ripple effect can become a tsunami.

Many of those I have prayed with, whose lives had experienced some form of shipwreck, had been sailing through life with the bow doors of their lives wide open. For some, disaster struck by way of public exposure of immoral conduct. For others, the torment of inner guilt was the root cause of personal breakdown. For yet others the circumstances of life had turned against them and when everything was laid upon the table, it was painfully evident that ‘bow doors’ which had been left open years ago had never been closed.

The enemy will use anything and everything in our lives which is out of harmony with God’s covenant of blessing. The ten commandments are referred to as God’s covenant in Deut. 4:13 – they represent God’s very best for us. Unresolved sin issues always condense down to wilfully choosing to ignore one or other aspect of God’s laws – His covenant of blessing for His people.

There may be reasons in the past as to why a particular sin has remained out of control – such as abuse or various aspects of parental damage – but sin is still sin and it is far better to face the fact of it, and receive healing for the cause, than to wrestle on one’s own to close a bow door that has been jammed open and which seems immoveable. There are answers.

If the bow doors are not closed there will come a time when disaster will strike. That is why the healing ministry must be a vital and integral part of Church life. It is the unhealed areas of our lives that leave us vulnerable to being overwhelmed with a flood. God wants to heal us before it’s too late. He takes no pleasure in the casualties, pain and trauma of public shipwreck.

The history of Christian ministry is, sadly, punctuated with disasters caused by people sailing through life with bow doors open – and the more senior the person the greater the disaster. The Captain of the Herald of Free Enterprise was complacently doing what he had always done, but when disaster struck the consequences were terrible.

Just as this shipping disaster was totally avoidable, most of the spiritual disasters, which give the enemy so much leverage in the Body of Christ, are also avoidable. All that is required to begin the journey of hope is humility, open-ness and honesty.

Pride may say “I can never own up to this or that thing – it would not be edifying. I could never let anyone know what I’m really like on the inside”. Pride also says “keep sailing even though the bow doors are open”. Humility says, “get the doors closed before there is a disaster.”

A Christian leader I know could no longer cope with the pressures of his calling. He pensioned himself off from service in the Body of Christ. He then heard how God had restored a colleague on one of our schools and discovered that the sexual problems of his youth had left a bow door wide open. For decades he had used all his surplus energy to try and keep the water out, but one can only do this for so long. The enemy was robbing him of his destiny. Today he is healed, restored and back in the front line. The bow door that the enemy had used to overwhelm him is now well and truly closed.

There are many disasters waiting to happen in the Body of Christ – people who are shipping water privately through open bow doors. Those disasters can be avoided. All the problems a person has in this life are not automatically resolved at conversion. When we get to heaven the old man will fall away, but right now we are still wrestling with the consequences of the fall – even after we are born again. Conversion is but the beginning of a journey of discipleship.

The name of the vessel that sank over thirty years ago was Herald of Free Enterprise. God wants each one of us to enter into the fullness of His destiny, but if we choose to live a life of Free Enterprise, independent of the discipline of God’s love and without heeding Paul’s advice to Timothy “Guard your life and doctrine closely” (1 Tim.4:16), then we will only give the enemy opportunity to one day sink the vessel and devastate the lives of hundreds and, as in the Ravi Zacharias case, many thousands who have been so terribly betrayed.

When Paul told the Corinthian Church “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2) – he was speaking to those who already knew the Lord. In the New Testament the word salvation not only embraces entering the Kingdom of God, but the healing and deliverance of those who are already in the Kingdom.

Since 1987 over 3000 people have died in similar roll-on roll-off ferry disasters – because the lessons of earlier disasters were not learnt and applied by the crews of other vessels. Now is the day for getting our lives in order and closing all the bow doors there may be in our lives – testing days are coming when the waters may not be calm. We must take action now to remove the ground from our lives on which the enemy is standing and avoid more disasters in the Body of Christ.

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Healing Through Creativity

It was a very exciting moment when the first copy of Healing Through Creativity was placed into my hands. My wife, Fiona, has been pioneering the ministry of healing through creativity for almost twenty-five years and for most of those years I have lived with a wife pregnant with excitement at all that she saw God doing – especially as she ministered hope and healing to some of the most damaged and hurting ‘lambs’ who came through the doors of our centres desperate for the Shepherd’s healing touch.

God is our Creator and Scripture tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of our God. So, every single one of us is made to be creative! Our creativity was designed by God to be a vital part of who we are, to be encouraged and developed as a natural part of growing and maturing as human beings.

But if, for whatever reason, our God-given creativity is discouraged, crushed or damaged our human spirit, at the very core of who we are, can become disabled, with all manner of side-effects and consequences, even causing long-term spiritual, emotional, psychological, psychiatric or physical symptoms.

So, if the disabling of our creativity can cause such inner and serious damage, it is not surprising that the restoration of our creativity can result in such profound and life-transforming healing! Instead of treating the external symptoms, God heals the broken heart. And then the healing flows from within to wherever the need for healing lies. In Revelation 22:1 the water of life is described as flowing from “the throne of God and of the Lamb”, watering the tree of life, the leaves of which “are for the healing of the nations.”

The water of life has indeed flowed through Ellel centres all over the world as Fiona has pioneered these special Healing Through Creativity courses in many different places. We have seen the water of life transform broken lives in every different culture and people group.

It is not surprising, therefore, that I was so excited when I first set my eyes on the book, as you will see in this video clip:

And here’s Fiona talking about the work of healing through creativity.

For years people have been telling Fiona that she should write a book.  And she has been working on it now for close on five years. It’s been like running a marathon, but we are praying that God will use this book to bring deep healing to thousands of people the world over.

Until the 18th December Ellel is offering the book at a special introductory price of £24.99, saving £5, and, in the UK, post free. Copies can be ordered now from Sovereign World Ltd at

Healing Through Creativity, 352 large format pages, printed in full colour throughout. Over 175 illustrations.

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Keys to Healing

New Livestream Teaching Series

Covid-19 has caused devastation across the world and has successfully closed the doors of thousands of church buildings. Congregations have been unable to meet in the normal way and Christians have been deprived of personal fellowship with fellow believers. There has been a huge sense of loss across the Body of Christ.

But, where one door has temporarily closed, God has opened literally thousands of others, as on-line events have been streamed right into people’s homes. When we had to close the doors of Ellel Grange, I began a series of live-streamed events on a Tuesday to encourage people who were suddenly trapped in their own homes.

I had no idea what this might lead to. But a lot of people tuned in and there was very positive feedback. The Tuesday Livestream soon became a series of topic-related messages – all of which can still be watched via our website. I was amazed at the encouraging responses that came in from all over the world.

Then the Tuesday event expanded with a parallel live-teaching event, being translated into Russian and live-streamed every Thursday to Russian speakers right across the former Soviet Union from Ukraine to Siberia and, indeed, all over the world as well!

Suddenly, it seemed, I was privileged to be reaching far more people than ever before and in places that I could never have dreamt of visiting! What began as an emergency response to Covid-19 has become an extraordinary opportunity for God to bless His people through the ministry.

After the latest series of four messages, on the Second Coming, I sensed the Lord was encouraging me to start a new open-ended series, explaining how to use the many different keys to healing that He has shown us over thirty-four years of Ellel Ministries.

So, I will be starting this new Tuesday series on the 10th November at 1.00pm UK time and the topic for the first message is Seek First the Kingdom of God. Each teaching will then be posted on the Ellel website under Livestream Events and will also be made available on YouTube. I’m looking forward with great anticipation to sharing some of our experiences and illustrating how God uses the truth of His Word to transform hurting lives.

One of the great blessings from the livestream messages to date is hearing how God has touched people’s lives and, even, brought profound healing as they listened to the teaching. I pray that if you are able to join us on Tuesday that the Lord will encourage, bless and bring His healing into your life also.

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Jesus, Healing and the Second Coming

Exactly six months have passed since my last Blog entry at the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis. Over a million people have now died worldwide, 200,000 in the USA and close to 50,000 in the UK. Even though the restrictions, suffering and the economic consequences persist, the nations have largely got used to the idea that Covid-19 is still around and will be for some long time to come.

Since then the Christian world has moved online and the crisis has given birth to a wealth of online resources being made available. Throughout this time, I have been live-streaming a series of messages (video blogs – all still available to hear on the Ellel website) and at the end of the last series, I invited people to suggest topics for the next series. Over half the people who responded asked for teaching on the Second Coming!

It is a fact that throughout history, whenever people have been going through crises such as war, earthquake, famine or disease, there has been a parallel rise in interest in what Jesus said about the end times (see Matthew 24:6-8) and what the Bible says about the Second Coming. A book I’m currently reading was re-issued during the first world war for this very reason!

In Matthew 24 Jesus teaches about the end-times and warns His followers, in verse 9, about a time that’s coming when “you will be hated by all nations because of me.” Increasingly, followers of Jesus are being marginalised, ostracised and persecuted for their beliefs, across the world, even in so-called Christian nations.

We cannot ignore either this or the continuing catastrophic events of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, in response to those who have asked for teaching on the subject, I will be beginning a new series of live-streamed video teachings on ‘Jesus, Healing and the Second Coming,’ starting next Tuesday 6th October at 1.00pm. I pray this will be both a challenge and an encouragement to us all. It’s good news – Jesus IS coming again!

PS Look out for an email with more details.

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A Season of Opportunity

To All our Friends and Supporters

I want to write and encourage you in the midst of this unprecedented season of world history. For these truly are extraordinary days. As I said in my last blog, we have never walked this way before. But nothing of what we are experiencing through the impact of the Coronavirus is a surprise to God. So, it is to Him we must look for help and understanding. David went through some very tough times in his life, and often expressed sentiments such as, “I call on the Lord in my distress and he answers me” (Psalm 120:1) and in the very next Psalm he tells us where his help really comes from, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). And we need His help now.

For, never before in history, have all the nations of the world been simultaneously brought to a stand-still by the same common enemy – a previously unknown virus, so small that no-one can see it, and from which no-one has any protection and for which there is not, as yet, any known cure. As a result, most of the nations are in lock-down, meaning that normal life has been suspended and people are confined to their homes.

The airports of the world have become parking lots for redundant aircraft. The economies of the great nations are being stretched to unimaginable limits in their attempts to control the spread of the disease and treat those who have caught it. Every day, the terrible statistics of disease and death are the substance of our news programmes. And no-one knows how long it’s going to last.

The Maker of Heaven and Earth

If we didn’t know where our help comes from, it would be easy to allow fear and panic to become the controlling forces of our lives. For our help doesn’t just come from some unknown spiritual being – it comes, as David reminds us, from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. And therein lies a problem for the nations, because the governments of the world have not only written God out of the script in terms of the laws of their lands, but they have bowed the knee to the godlessness of atheistic science, which teaches that the universe has no such thing as a Creator!

But, whether or not someone acknowledges the fact, all of us are made in the image and likeness of God our Maker; the creativity in every single one of us is simply a reflection of the creative power of Almighty God. And in every human being there is a God-shaped hole that desperately needs to be filled. I watched an interview on TV with a man who was seriously ill with the virus in hospital. As he lay there, not knowing whether he was going to live or die, he was saying “I wonder if I’ve been good enough?” He was asking the question because the virus was causing him to search for answers about life and death, to questions he hadn’t been asking before. The TV controllers must have allowed it to be screened, because he was representative of millions watching who would be asking the same question in similar circumstances.

Looking for Answers

Right now, there are hundreds of millions of people across the world who are locked away behind closed doors, many in fear of what might happen to them, but also looking for answers. And they are not just looking for an answer from the medics, who they hope will solve the virus problem, but for answers to much bigger questions about life, the meaning of life, death, the hereafter and why all this is happening. I have been surprised at the open-ness of people we have talked to. One said to me, “Is it because we have forgotten God and He is trying to get our attention?” and then added, “Do the nations need to repent?”

A simple answer to both these questions is, Yes. The nations do need to repent – in scripture repentance was always the first step towards the land being healed (2 Chronicles 7:14) and the people being restored. And yes, God will use whatever comes upon us as a means of getting our attention – as happened on numerous occasions in Scripture.

You cannot believe in Jesus, without also believing that God created everything. John’s Gospel begins by stating unequivocally that “without Him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:2). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus talks about Father God’s provision for His creation (Matthew 6:25-34) and then urges people who are faced with the worries and concerns of this life, however small or great they may be, to “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” And I believe that one of the most important messages that Jesus would speak to the world in the face of today’s anxieties and fears is just that – seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.

Essential Repentance

Because man has rejected Creator God, he has also rejected the God who saves and the God who heals. We learnt how important it is to begin all our training schools and conferences on healing, by laying out the foundations of faith, which begin with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” For our Healer is, indeed, our Maker. He holds the blue-print and master plan for our lives and is the only one who can restore our inner being as the maker intended.

The world does, indeed, need to repent over this – and many other things. This is a day for salvation! For, one day soon, Jesus is coming again, at a time that no man knows. But Scripture warns, in many places, about events that will shake the world in the times before He returns in glory. Jesus told many parables to warn people to be ready and of the consequences of not being ready when He comes again.

When the world is being shaken, as at the present time, people begin to seek God again and God, in His mercy, uses times like this to cause many to repent, come to Him and find Him. Those who have ears to hear will, indeed, be listening. There is a message they need to hear. Many will turn to the Lord, and there will be a harvest for the Kingdom of God.

Salvation and Healing

In this season of desperation, our prayers must be unceasing for all caught up in the crisis, either as victims of the disease or as part of the medical teams who are striving to help the sufferers. And we need to be crying out to Him for His protection and provision. For, this is also a season of harvest and, as always, the Lord of the harvest is calling for workers to go out into his harvest field (Matthew 9:37)to bring the harvest in. That is why Ellel Ministries is about to launch a series of on-line programmes, so that we can use this season of lock-down to share the heart of God to save and heal.

I came into the work of Ellel Ministries on the back of a life-long commitment to evangelism and sharing the good news. It was part of my parental upbringing. And when we began healing retreats at Ellel Grange, thirty-three years ago, the Lord showed us that the most important healing anyone can ever receive is to be born again of the Spirit of God. It’s resurrection from the dead! It’s the beginning of an incredible journey with God our Maker. For many who were born again in this way, it was their need of healing that brought them to the Saviour – and then they discovered that their Saviour was also their healer, their deliverer and their restorer!

Countless testimonies from people who have attended Healing Retreats all over the world testify to the power of God to save, heal and restore. Their need of healing made them cry out to God for an answer. And we saw, like David describes in the Psalms, how God heard and answered their cries for help and healing. Many such stories are featured in the latest edition of our Newsletter.

It sometimes takes a crisis such as we are now going through, to make people ask the right questions. So often they can want God to heal them, for example, but they don’t want to live their lives in harmony with their Maker! Psalm 66:18 reminds us that there are times when cherishing sin in our hearts means that God isn’t able to hear our prayers. And that doesn’t always mean current sin, but often includes things from our past that have never been brought into the light. No wonder James highlighted this issue (James 5:16), when he recommended those who are sick to confess their sins as a vital part of their healing journey with God.

Prayer in the Current Crisis

Returning now to our needs in the current crisis, the opening verses of Psalm 91 remind us that to know the protection and covering of God, we need to dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in His shadow. This is the place of security and safety. When we are in tune with Him we are under His covering and there is no reason to fear. Whatever may befall us, we are in Him – both for time and for eternity, even in the face of a deadly pestilence (v3).

And as we all look to God for His answers in the face of this world crisis, it must surely be a time of preparation. A season when, in the midst of lock-down, we have an unprecedented amount of time to watch, pray and look to Him. A time to look again at our lives, face any issues that could be an obstacle to either healing or the experience of His presence with us; and a time to come back to Him, our Maker, and be under His covering. A time to seek His face.

Two ministry friends who are both now with the Lord, described their ministry as ‘evangelising the heart of the believer’. This is a season when, I believe, God not only wants to seek and to save the lost, but also wants His people to examine their hearts (1 Corinthians 11:27-30) in preparation for both receiving His healing and for a time when God’s Spirit will move in reviving power through His church and into the world. It’s vital that we are ready for when His Spirit moves and begins to draw men to Him.

May I urge you also, to spend time in prayer for the nations and the peoples of the world, that there will be many who will seek for and find the Lord, and that the church will be renewed as believers use this season to focus once again on the essential realities of their faith and prepare themselves to be workers in God’s harvest field.

And watch out for details of Ellel programmes that will soon be available free of charge on-line.

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“You Have Never Been This Way Before”

When Joshua was preparing God’s people to cross the River Jordan and enter the promised land, he told the people to keep their eyes on the ark of the covenant of the Lord, being carried  by the Levites, and when they move, to follow! Then, they were told, “you will know which way to go, because you have never been this way before.”

As I write this blog, the nations of the world are struggling to overcome a virus so small that no-one can see it. Fear has become society’s controlling force and severe governmental advice, new laws and economic remedies have swiftly followed. The simple fact is the world has never walked this way before and the leaders of the nations are making up the script as they go. Only President Trump of the world’s leaders has taken the spiritual initiative and called their nation to a day of prayer.

All of us in the Body of Christ need to be on our knees before the Lord, crying out to Him for our leaders, the medics and everyone who is fighting this virus and its effects, for this is a world crisis. We must all play our part.

Yesterday, in response to Government information and advice, the Executive Leadership of Ellel Ministries had to make the unprecedented decision to pause all operations at our centres in the UK for four months. It was a huge decision for us to close our doors to those who need the help, the training and the ministry which has become the core activity and spiritual DNA of our work.

But, just as the Israelites were told to go where the presence of the Lord was and to follow the ark of the covenant, we were also looking to follow where the Lord was leading. But what was He saying? How could pausing all our operations for four months help the people that God had called us to serve?

Even as we were wrestling with this decision to close our doors for four months, we were also becoming aware that this devastating crisis could become a God-given opportunity to support and encourage the wider Ellel family and beyond, by using the internet to provide Ellel Online. We were realising that by changing our strategy, in this unique season, we would be able reach many more people across the world, than could ever come through our doors! But we needed the Lord’s clear confirmation that this was where He was leading.

Then, right into our meeting came a texted word from an intercessor to one of our Exec members. They knew absolutely nothing about the decision we were wrestling with when they quoted to us John 4:35. “Do you not say, Four months more and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

Immediately, we knew it was right to pause our centre activities for four months, but God was telling us not to wait four months before continuing operations to bring in His Kingdom harvest – for the time is NOW. This is a time of reaping, even as fear and panic is spreading across the world. For, in the middle of the crisis, there will be those who are turning to the Lord and crying out to Him. It is now that the harvest must be reaped!

We had been asking God to show us His way forward for the ministry, because we had never walked this way before. It was an awesome moment when we realised that God had spoken right into our situation.

Yes, there will be consequences of closing our doors for four months, especially in respect of our finances. For, without anyone coming on our courses, there will be no income from this source. And what about all our teams – and many other issues we will have to wrestle with? The potential problems are huge – but God has spoken, therefore, we need not fear.

We may not have gone this way before, but the coronavirus pandemic was not a surprise to God, even though it’s a season in history unlike any other that there has ever been. It is a spiritual war with an invisible enemy. There may be a physical virus to which mankind has no immunity, but as Paul so rightly said in Ephesians 6:12, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly realms.”

So, as well as doing everything necessary to protect ourselves from the virus, we need also to heed Paul’s advice and put on the full armour of God – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and have feet that are ready to take the Gospel to wherever there is one who is crying out to God for answers. We live in a world which has largely turned its back on God our Maker and His Son, our Saviour, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t millions of people who are still looking to God for an answer to the fear in their hearts and the issues in their lives.

These may be testing and challenging days – but they are also days of great opportunity for the Kingdom of God. We need to take every wise precaution physically to protect ourselves from the physical virus, but we need to be diligent also in using the armour of God to provide us with spiritual protection from everything that the enemy of souls wants to throw at mankind – and especially at God’s people.

Right now, our leaders at Ellel Grange are working on the details of an on-line programme of encouragement and teaching for the times in which we are now living. So, watch out for an email telling you how to link in with this new Ellel service. It’s coming very soon!

And may I ask you to pray for the ministry and our works across thirty-six different nations as they seek to minister faith and hope into the lives of people who are coming under the threat of a global wave of fear and panic. We may not have walked this way before, but, as children of God, we are stretching out our hands to the One who knows the way to go. May the Lord’s hand of protection and blessing be upon you and all the nations to which we belong.

Posted in Current Events, Ellel Ministries, General | 29 Comments

Time to Inspect the Walls

For the past twelve months I have been putting the on-line teaching of Ellel 365 into book form as Journey to Freedom. Hence the recent absence of Blog entries! With six volumes already out and only two more to go, I’m feeling liberated to write again!

In Chapter 2 of his book, Nehemiah describes arriving back in Jerusalem, after receiving his commission to rebuild the walls and gates of the city. It was, at first, a secret mission, “I had not told anyone what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah knew that If the city was to be restored as the city of God’s people, the very first objective had to be the repair of the gates and the restoration of the walls. Only when the walls and the gates were secured would it be safe for the people to live there. So, he surveyed the walls, assessed the damage and made a plan. He then told the leaders what he had come to do and said, “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”

As I was reading, I sensed the Lord speaking directly to me about his church and saying, “The walls of my church are broken down and its gates have been destroyed. My people are no longer living in safety. The time has come to survey the walls, assess the damage and rebuild.  Only then will my people be able to live in safety and be protected by walking in my ways, according to the truth of My Word.”

Nehemiah knew that the work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem would be opposed, as was soon demonstrated by the mocking intervention of Sanballat and his friends. So, Nehemiah taught the people to work with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other, to resist the attacks of an enemy while continuing to build the wall. And so it was that, with a carefully orchestrated plan, the walls and the gates of Jerusalem were restored.  

Nehemiah records that “The work was completed in fifty two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realised that this work had been done with the help of our God.”

I believe that God wants to see the walls and the gates of His church restored. The popular image of today’s church is largely of an imploding organisation with little respect and no significant influence on society or government. But is this surprising when so much of the church itself has lost respect for the authority of God’s Word and has chosen to tread the easy road of compromise, instead of the upward path of spiritual integrity?  The foundations are shaken, the gates have been torn down, the leaders have lost their fire and the flock has been scattered.

This is a day when, I believe, God is looking for a new generation of Nehemiahs, people who will carefully survey the walls of His church, see where they have been broken down and start to rebuild. It is time for the people of God to regain their confidence in God’s truth and, once again, for the church to become a place where the people of God will be safe from the inroads of the enemy. And the gates of the church will become a doorway of hope for those who are looking for answers, to both the big issues and the needs of ordinary people who are struggling to make sense of life in a godless society. Yes, there will be mocking opposition, but since when has opposition to the truth been a reason for abandoning it!

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Light in the Darkness

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).

Isaiah’s extraordinary prophecy was given hundreds of years before Jesus, the Light of the World, walked on Israel’s soil. Jesus began his ministry by quoting these very words (Matt. 4:16). He was making it clear that the shadow of death hovers over every human being, from the day of their conception until the moment when they die. Physical death is the one life experience that unites the whole of humanity!

In John 11:25, Jesus spoke out a mystery, telling the people that if they believed in Him they would live, even though they would die! And that whoever lives and believes in Him will never die.

This is the mystery which has been at the heart of the Christian Gospel for two thousand years. When the Light of the World comes into our lives, physical death may still be our common experience, but for those who die in Christ, He is the gateway to life – eternal life.

John began his Gospel by declaring “Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5). The nations of the world, many of which have an extensive Christian history, are rapidly turning away from those Christian foundations for life and government. Fear of God has left the corridors of power, spiritual darkness has invaded the lands and, sadly, people are choosing darkness rather than light.

But, as the darkness increases, so does the contrast between the Light of Christ and the surrounding darkness. Only Jesus, the Light of the World, can heal broken hearts, restore the lost identity of a confused generation and set free those who have been caught in the bondage of addictions, giving them back a hope, a future and a destiny.

That is what the work of Ellel Ministries is all about – declaring the gospel of salvation and giving people hope and the opportunity to have their destiny restored through healing the broken-hearted and setting the captives free. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3.16).

May the Lord richly bless you this Christmas Season

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What a man! But what a Saviour!

I was just settling down at my computer to write a blog about Strands of Destiny, when breaking news came through on my computer that the veteran evangelist, Billy Graham, had died, aged 99. Billy Graham was not just “one of the most influential preachers of the twentieth century” as he was described by the BBC, but he was, arguably, one of the most influential of all men and women of the twentieth century.

There are hundreds of millions of men and women, probably from all the countries of the world, who owe the fact that their lives were redeemed and put back on a God-honouring course by meeting their Saviour through the ministry of Billy Graham. No-one will ever be able to calculate the extent of the blessing he has been to all those people and the consequences there have been down the generation lines to children, children’s children and beyond.

I was ten years of age when I went with my Dad to hear Billy Graham at Harringay Arena in London in 1954. I was mightily impacted and will never forget how one particular man came to the Lord there through Billy’s ministry. I tell his story in Strands of Destiny. Then, many years later in 1984, I was privileged to be the originator of Mission England Praise (now Mission Praise), the song book for Billy Graham’s Mission England, and be involved in organising the meetings at Liverpool Football Club’s, Anfield Stadium. Those never to be forgotten days were part of my own personal journey of seeing faith in action.

Meeting Billy Graham, and his almost equally well-known song-leader, Cliff Barrows, was an inspirational moment that touched my life. Even though for over thirty years now I have been involved in the healing ministry, I have never forgotten that the primary calling of a Christian is to introduce those who don’t know Jesus, to their Saviour.

This will be a day of great thanksgiving in the hearts of countless people, including my own. There will be hundreds of millions of strands of destiny woven into a tapestry of thanksgiving as Billy meets His Saviour face to face.

I was going to write this blog about reactions to my book, Strands of Destiny, but that will have to wait for another time. Today is a day to thank God for a man who walked in his destiny throughout his days. His obedience to his calling has produced a harvest of extraordinary fruit.

Thanks be to God for the man – but even greater be to God for Billy’s Saviour, who called Billy to Himself when only a teenager and has now called him Home on the brink of his hundredth birthday. What a man – but, Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

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Are You Shovelling Coal or Stones?

Occasionally I have some very vivid dreams. More often than not they are forgotten within seconds of waking up, but every now and again I have a dream that persists and which I know that God is speaking through.

In one such dream, I was leaning out of the window of a long steam-hauled passenger train, as it was going round a bend in the track. I could see the engine and the front coaches of the train in the distance. Suddenly, the link between the first three coaches and the rest of the train came adrift. I watched as the engine with its three coaches disappeared into the distance, while the rest of the train that I was on slowly free wheeled to a halt.

It seemed that I was the only person fully aware of the problem. Eventually a small shunting engine came reversing down the track to connect with and retrieve the rest of the train. The shunter was accompanied by a tender full of best quality coal. And in the dream it became my job to keep shovelling the coal into the fire box of the engine, so that this small engine could get up enough steam to pull a long heavy train.

I was doing a good job and was pleased with the work I was doing. Then I noticed that as the coal began to be used up, amazingly, someone was pouring bags of fresh coal into the tender so that there was always a good supply.

But then I also noticed something else. There were some sacks of what I thought to be coal being poured into the coal-tender from another direction. And as I bent to shovel this fresh coal into the fire I was suddenly aware that these sacks did not contain best quality coal at all, but pebbles of stone, which were now mixed with the best quality coal still being poured in from the other side.

I now had a huge problem. If I continued to shovel the coal mixed with stone into the firebox of the engine the coal would burn, but the stones would be left behind. And before very long the fire box would be clogged with stone, the engine would not be able to produce any steam and the whole train would grind to a halt.

I soon saw that before I could shovel more coal into the firebox, therefore, I had to pick out the lumps of stone and separate them from the coal. But this was taking such a long time that the fire in the firebox began to burn low for lack of coal.

So, if I shovelled in the mix of coal and stone it would clog the firebox. And if I took the time to separate out all the stone from the coal, I wouldn’t be getting enough coal into the firebox to keep the engine going. Either way, whoever it was that was pouring sacks of stones into the coal tender was winning the battle.

It didn’t take me long to realise that there was only one way to win the battle – and that was to stop whoever it was that was pouring bags of stones into the coal-tender.

And then God spoke to me:

“The sacks of best-quality coal are being poured into the tender by My angels so that you will always have enough fuel to keep your life on track. When My enemy realises that you are determined to press on with your calling, he knows that he cannot stop My angels from pouring in the coal. So, in order to slow your progress, he looks for every possible opening there may be in your spiritual defences into which his ‘angels’ may pour sacks of stones.

If you do nothing about it the fire-box of your spiritual life will soon go out – clogged with ‘stones’. And if you start tackling the problem, the time you have to spend in clearing the stones out of the coal tender will also limit your potential in the Kingdom of God. Either way, eventually, your train will run out of steam and be going nowhere. Sadly, My church is full of trains going nowhere.

I am now urging My people to ask Me to show them where the holes are in their defences, through which My enemy can pour in stones, and to close them off by being willing to deal with the issues through repentance, healing and deliverance. Only then will their lives get back fully on track and they will be able to generate enough steam to pull the train of their life in the manner and direction that I intended.”

I woke up knowing it was time to go to prayer.



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