8th April, 2018

How deep can we go! Again, another Encounter Night different from all the rest. The Lord seems to be taking us on a journey where the word ‘depth’, (whatever that means), is the only way to describe it. It was time where we were ‘doing business’ with God. A picture that was shared; it described the Lord handing out assignments, instructions, commissions for each of us. Would we accept the piece of parchment; would we say yes? What was written on the paper was different for each and mostly it was not the time to look, yet all of us were left with this ‘commission’ in our hands.

Another picture described the invitation to move from a ‘kindling fire’ and the Lord placing fresh coal in our hearts that would burn hot and hold its heat & light. This builds ‘a solid foundation’ and passion for the call and commission to sit upon.

There is often a gap between where we stand now and where we are called to be. It’s time to be ‘sold out’ for Jesus. He’s breaking apart the dam of limitations, conditions, restrictions and control; either built by others or built with our own hands. He wants the river to flow freely in, over and through us.

It’s time to go deeper, it’s time to be ’all in’, ‘boots and all’, and to say, “Yes God; I’ll do it; I’ll go; send me”.

Lord, take us deeper and remove every obstacle in our path. Set a new fire in us; and Lord, commission and send us for your glory. We cry out, we pray, we declare, ‘more Lord.’

1st April, 2018

Stewart, Marilyn, and a group from our congregation just came back from the ‘Raging Fire Conference’ in Wellington. It was awesome to see and hear what the Lord was doing. They were fired up with passion and excitement and it swept into the Encounter Night like a fresh breeze! How we so need a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit!! How easy it is it is to become comfortable, even complacent! God is so good to stir us again and with it, takes us deeper in Him.

And He’s only just begun! We talked through a picture that had come through at the weekend and again as we waited on the presence of God. It was of thunder clouds and lightning breaking over the mountains in the distance of a great desert plain. As ‘we stood’ in the dry river bed, the water from the mountains begun to trickle around our ankles. The water was dirty, full of sand, dirt, and debris, yet as the water began to rise it become clearer and clearer. And just as in time lapse, the surrounding plain becomes full of wild flowers and grass. We are in this time!

The Lord is bringing revival; streams are beginning to flow again in desert places. Can you hear the distant thunder; can you see the lightning? Can you feel the drops of fresh rain on your face? Will you let Him come and begin to saturate the dry places of your soul, your spirit? Lift up your eyes and earnestly pray for the drought to be broken, that you would encounter the King of Glory.

Personally, I came away from this night with a fresh hunger and a determined desire to intentionally seek Him for the rivers, for fresh encounter and for ‘More of Him’!! As the old chorus goes, “If you’re thirsty and dry, Lift your hands to the sky, It’s beginning to rain.” MORE LORD!

25th March, 2018

Wow! What a night! We say “God’s presence turns up,” yet how inadequate are those words. His presence just absolutely flooded the room and continued to build throughout the night. We could use the word; encounters, meeting places, river experiences, fire falling, break throughs, anointing, and all of these describe some of what the Holy Spirit packed into the night.

The Lord ministered from a picture given; Jesus walking into the room with a bag of seed, slung over his shoulder. For some people He was scattering seeds at their feet. As they moved forward they would walk into the great harvest. For others he was placing seeds in their hands that would produce/increase call and ministry. And lastly, sprinkling seeds over their heads; with this came wisdom, knowledge, prophesy, gifts of revelation and power. These ‘seeds’ trickled down into hearts, mixed and flowed with empathy, mercy, grace, and compassion. The gifts of the spirit joined seamlessly with the fruit of the spirit. This causes His gifts to be ministered with great care and love

Each seed he ‘sowed’, distributed, with love, produced great fruit and none would be wasted or rot away. Now is the time for He has prepared the ground, and it is ready for the seed.

This reminds us that His presence, His gifts, His fruit and the character He builds in us is not just for us to have a party! He always has an eye on the harvest; to those in need, to those yet to experience Him, to those who are hurting, broken and sick. We carry these great seeds of potential and are equipped and anointed for this harvest. The bible tells us, the harvest is ripe yet the labourers are few. Will you put your hand up and use what the Lord has planted in front of you, over you and in you? Let’s say yes and further, let’s say with passion and joy and say ‘More Lord’!!

18th March, 2018

It is hard to find new words to describe the awesome and precious sense of His presence. Everyone has a different experience, yet all can enter in; each one of us is responsible to find Him, to knock, to ask, to seek. Each one of us has things to do and places to go in Him; yet none of us can minister from what we have! We have to ‘receive’ what we want to impart, whether it’s the river, the fire, the anointing, the oil, or the wind.

The word tells us out of our bellies shall flow rivers of living water. We must stop to consider, ‘how it get there’ and ‘that we must receive it to give it’. And God, and God gives it; gives us all we need and more. Let’s pray that the lord increases our capacity to receive, so that He would then increase our capacity to give and impart; and live and move in His mighty presence. I say go for it all!

Pray for it all; the rain and the river, the wave and the flood. For the fire that refines, consumes and ignites. For the wind blows away the dust and dirt that lift and carries us. The oil that anoints, imparts, soaks into us; the new and fresh. And the wine that fills us with the joy in His presence. Drink deeply from the well, from the river, from the wave He brings. I say “more & more Lord”.

11th March 2018

Isn’t it amazing that god is always good and He’s always got a good plan (even when we don’t understand it)!

We spent a significant amount of time just waiting on the Holy Spirit, and every time we do that, His presence just absolutely fills the atmosphere. From this time of waiting one person wrote this testimony; “I found thanksgiving was in my heart for all He has been doing. There has been pain and tears, as He stripped away the layers in my life. He pours in His oil. This night I felt a relief to know there is a new season coming; The tide is turning! The verse, which was read, ‘arise my darling, come with me’; spoken by the bridegroom (Christ) to the bride (His Church), it is so full of encouragement to me.” Jan.

Many of us are finding ourselves in a place of sifting, proving and refining. There’s a challenge to pull down & push through the obstacles that may stand between us and His presence. Each one of us is individually responsible, as we consider and allow the Lord to purify our hearts.

We have come to a ‘turning of the tide’. When the tide turns, for a time, it looks like nothing much is happening, but as you stand your ground, the water comes in and you first feel the water around your feet. Eventually the waves become higher and higher to where there’s wave breaking over you (the Holy Spirit). We mustn’t be tempted to step back to calmer, shallower water or step away to dry ground. We need to receive the wave as it breaks over us.

This wave of the Spirit will firstly break apathy in the churches, as it trickles through the doors and windows; and covers the foundation. The second, He will sweep in and over washing away the dirt, dust and rubbish; washing it clean. The third, the wave will saturate and soak and fill; drowning self-will and self-purpose. Lastly, it will carry us to those who need to hear of its coming.

We are entering a new season! Let’s stand at the turning of the tide and get ready for all the Lord will bring. And, when this new wave of His Spirits comes, let’s stand in it and cry from hungry hearts; “More Lord”.

4th March, 2018

This is the first Encounter Night report for the year. God is just so awesome! There are two things we have learnt in encountering God.

  1. He always turns up
  2. He always does something different

And this night confirmed this. There is an old song that aptly describes our night:

“Sweet spirit, sweep over my soul, My rest is complete as I sit at your feet, Sweet spirit, sweep over my soul”

It seemed to me, the Holy Spirit swept over a few souls this night!

I received this testimony: “I had an image of the water, and then Jesus taking me by the hand (both hands) was very powerful and tangible. The line of these songs is a prayer for me; “you call me upon the waters” and “for me to live is Christ” that were played this night. I experienced the touch of His hand, and a deep peace came with it. Thanks for leading us to walk deeper with Jesus.”

How amazing, how kind and how gentle is our God. He so gently takes us by our hands and guides our steps!

Come and join us as we seek Him – every Sunday night: 803 Main North Rd, Belfast, Christchurch @ 7.15pm

You would be most welcome to join us as we ask, seek and knock and with a hunger that crys out “More Lord”.

26th November 2017

I just want to say, wow! Wow God! Another awesome night with a difference; God’s ways and presence is endless! Right from the start we were met with a heavy sense of His presence. It seemed as we stood, asking for the Holy Spirit to come, His glory hung like a cloud above us. There was an invitation to respond to Him and reach out to receive; as we did, His glory seemed to fill the room.

As the night went on He seemed to build and build His presence. I’m not often stuck for words, but it’s hard to find the right words to adequately describe what we were experiencing. So this is me ‘having a go!’ We must have sat / lay / knelt for at least a half a hour in silence, under such a heavy anointing, not wanting to ‘disturb’ His amazing presence. His glory was ‘falling’ from above, yet like ‘heat waves’ rippling right across the room. Add to this a ‘blanket’ of His love wrapping around us, yet like liquid honey, thick , heavy, gentle, soft, holy, liquid glory, liquid love. All of this seamlessly reflecting our wonderful God who loves to connect with us!

How could we ever be satisfied with anything other than encountering His presence? And yet; and yet, there is much more to come!

Don’t ever be satisfied with anything less than his presence! Stir up your excitement and your focus because He wants to meet and connect with you!

And all that’s left to say is, “More Lord”!! 

Mary Ponder

12th November 2017

….And God ‘mixes it up’ yet again! Our God is a consuming fire, a mighty river & a good dose of His Glory thrown into the mix!!

I personally started the evening feeling pretty sluggish and stale. The moment Stewart & Marilyn started to pray for me, His presence fell and a heavy sense of His glory filled the room! It was awesome! We ministered through the night under that glory and from a series of pictures as the Lord inspired us.

Picture 1: imagine an old coal range burning for a few days and then the ‘scraper’ scraping out the ash that builds up; then the fire sparking back into life as the dampers are opened. This picture was likened to God scraping out yesterdays ash and re-igniting the fire in each of us and blowing on the flame with the wind of His spirit.

Picture 2: standing under a great waterfall so high you couldn’t see the top; sheets / torrents of water falling over us, “Lord, let your glory fall!”

Picture 3: the waterfall hitting the bottom causing a great churning and mist; and as the water hits the ‘fire’, steam was created. Apparently, in the science of water hitting fire the steam produced is 8 times its original volume. We prayed, “Lord, expand us and all we are created to do (x8)!”

Picture 4: the deep pool of water the waterfall creates. As we waded into this pool it was a place for healing, health, relationships, issues, finances, work, and other care and needs. We were encouraged to ‘see’ this ‘need’ as big solid brick and as we carried it into the water, (AKA: the presence of God), it began to dissolve turning into wet sand and washing away. Eventually, nothing was left and for some with an empty hand, the Lord came and took their hand in His. When we turn our ‘needs, cares and burdens’ over to Him, He takes them and transforms them in His presence. “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

This week, let’s walk in the picture of the pool, casting all our cares upon Him for He cares for us! When we encounter Him anything and everything can happen. Let’s rise up in faith and in expectation this week with a fresh cry from our hearts; “More Lord!”

Mary Ponder

5th November 2017

How gracious, how precious and how awesome our God is!! Tonight, we had a bit of everything, including miracles and healing. Isn’t God a good, good God!? If I could pick three words that reflected what the Lord is doing they would be peace, glory and surrender. There was such a deep sense of His glory falling, like waves, yet a better word, sheets. Sheets of His glory coming one after the other above us, resting on people and dissolving over our heads and shoulders. There was a time of stillness quietness and peace as he bought an invitation of surrender, and as we responded to that a heavy anointing fell.

God is so drawn to our ‘surrender ‘. As we give him all; he gives “His all” back to us! What a great deal because He brings and He is more than we could ever hope for or imagine. When we surrender in response to His love, (our will, plans, our hopes, our everything); He comes in such power and anointing because our barriers come down. It is then that we find Him in His glory.

Surrender is the greatest key as we cry out to Him, “not my will Lord but yours be done”. For all who read this, I encourage you; find a deeper place of surrender this week and from that place no matter what you’re facing, cry out with all your heart; ‘MORE LORD’.

Mary Ponder

29th October 2017

What a privilege it is to be a part of this awesome move of God in this place! And there’s more to come!

Before Encounter Night even began His presence came and He just kept building us indeed; “His train begins to fill the temple.” It seems that the Lord has broken through ‘something’ and over these last weeks there’s a new and fresh level, higher ground (if you will). It’s not just coming, it’s here! All we have to do is draw on His Presence!

There’s a new, a deeper, a fresh fire of the Holy Spirit ‘breaking out’. I believe restrictions, limits and ‘glass-ceilings’ are breaking, and we are experiencing more of His glory in this place. There seems to be a new release of His anointing and we are seeing more of His power; as He ministers to us all. There are no words that adequately describe His presence! Really; you’ve got to experience it and connect with Him to understand. The Lord is providing that connection point now, right through our Sunday services.

The Lord WANTS to show himself; He WANTS to minister to us; and He WANTS to speak to each one of us. Wherever you are and however you can; position yourself to encounter and stand under and in His amazing presence. He’s just waiting for you. Make this a prayer, a cry, a declaration, an invitation; “MORE LORD”.

Mary Ponder

22nd October 2017

We used to sing this old song:

"O Lord, You’re beautiful. Your face is all I seek. For when your eyes are on this child. Your grace abounds to me"

What truth! How beautiful, how wonderful, how powerful is the name of Jesus. And the best, the very best thing to seek, His face! As we sought Him, He came! He continues to build His presence, more and more. He sure has bought a shift and He’s coming to hungry and expectant hearts! How awesome is our God!

During Encounter Night, I saw a picture of big rolling waves breaking on a beach. The tide had turned and each wave began to creep up the beach; covering the rocks, the sand and even an old path at its fullness. It was a spring tide. The wave of His Spirit is rolling over this church, this city and eventually this nation. As the waves rolled in, eventually they began to pull and draw people off the rocks, off the beach and even off the old path, the old traditional ways, and bringing many , many into His presence to soak and be refreshed. I believe the ‘tide has turned’ and the fresh season, the spring tide is just beginning to hit pockets of our nation. Pockets first, then the great swell of His mighty presence!

What a time to be in! What an opportunity! What an amazing invitation he extends to us all! In the midst of the waves of His Spirit, he transforms our perspective, our beliefs, our traditions, our focus and our direction. Lets cry out; hungrier and thirstier that ever, MORE LORD!

Mary Ponder