I had a rare opportunity to take myself along to share in worship with another church in the city, an opportunity that I took having felt I wanted to visit the Tyneside Vineyard Church again. The pastors there, David and Nic Bass, do a great job in good Vineyard fashion and have built a great church in 7 years which is actively reaching out into various areas of the city.
I was encouraged yet again to be in the presence of folks who are listening to the Spirit of God and who have the courage, boldness and naturally supernatural desire to bless and encourage. I was obviously supposed to be there as God used his people to encourage me in a beautiful way.
During the ministry time, Dave spoke of someone standing on the bible and that he felt God saying that He wanted to encourage that person to continue to do so and to remain faithful and not lose heart. Back in Salvation Army Training College I gave a testimony once, a bit of a declaration, that I was going to do all I could to stand on his Word and to encourage others to do so too. In that meeting I placed my bible on the floor and literally stood on it to speak. It was a firm commitment that I made that has continued to challenge me and provoke me to continue steadfast.
It was a timely word. Its not that I’ve stopped standing on scripture…it remains central to the ministry I exercise. However, I’ve been very much committed in recent years to re-evaluate my inherited ‘conservative evangelical’ doctrines I’ve been taught. Not because I doubt them, but because in some areas I think there was much more to explore and relearn; some things to really think through. I’ve come to see some aspects of evangelicalism as more culturally influenced than we like to believe. I’ve been seeking to explore those inherited things in the light of Jesus message and ministry and to hold the balance.
It was a beautiful thing to be reminded of the principled stand I committed to that day, and although my understanding of what it means to stand on God’s word continues to grow and develop, that God wanted to communicate something of his encouragement when sometimes I face the pressure to shift focus, is heartening.
The Bible remains a vital source of inspiration and instruction for our spiritual lives in Christ. It paints for us not a description of God that stays fixed, but a snapshot revelation of God through which he continues to speak to our day, age and generation. That is a Word you can stand on.