TV

Jon Hancock – @jonhancock_tv at Ivy MCR – Micaiah 1 Kings 22

Here are my notes on Jon’s talk tonight, Ivy MCR Grow Groups are welcome to use them for your meetings too.

Jon Hancock is a BBC TV producer who has been at Ivy about a year, the family moved up with the Beeb move to Media City etc.

Jon talked about our journey as a church recently and the symbolism of that:
Meeting at Gorton Monastery, reclaiming that place.
Then the Trafford Centre where so many ‘worship’ every day.

NOW we’re off to the Vue Cinema near Media City: We’re moving all over the city worshipping Jesus in these strategic and symbolic places!

Please pray for this next move!! Can you provide lifts etc – contact the office please.

Study: 1 Kings 22

Micaiah

Looking at it from a TV producer point of view – this is a very interesting story…
There’s a ‘OH NO!” – Fist in mouth – ‘I can’t believe he did that’ moment in this story – look out for it.

Characters:
King Jehosophat – at heart, one of the good guys. Wanted to restore the nation back to God, but a bit weak willed

King Ahab (booo!!!). Loved to go to war a bit too much. married to Jezebel, a very bad sort.

Micaiah – this is the only time we hear of him in scripture.

1 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. 2 But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel. 3 The king of Israel had said to his officials, “Don’t you know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us and yet we are doing nothing to retake it from the king of Aram?”
4 So he asked Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?”

Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” 5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD.”

Now Ahab’s desire may or may have been the right thing, but it could have just been a rush of blood. Jehosophat wants to consult God.

Ahab then called in a non – prophet organisation (Rentaprophet) who’d say what he wanted to hear.

6 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”

“Go,” they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?”

What does this remind you of?! A spoilt brat of a monarch, with people sucking up all around, like Queenie on Black Adder. Jon showed a fabulous clip.

8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.

9 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”

10 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. 11 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the LORD says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’”

12 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.”

13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”

14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what the LORD tells me.”

15 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?”

“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.” (? Was he being sarcastic?)

16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?”

17 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”

18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”

19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’

“One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’

22 “‘By what means?’ the LORD asked.

“‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’

23 “So now the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.”

That by the way, was the ‘fist in mouth – I can’t believe he said that’ moment!

24 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the LORD go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked.

25 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”

26 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son 27 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’”

In other words, ‘Stuff you – I’m not bothered – I’ll do it anyway.’

Question: Are you aware of shaking off what God has said in the past – how has that worked out?

28 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.

(Gutsy! Great plan! But it didn’t work out how he thought)
31 Now the king of Aram had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” 32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “Surely this is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but when Jehoshaphat cried out, 33 the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel and stopped pursuing him.

34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” 35 All day long the battle raged, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died. 36 As the sun was setting, a cry spread through the army: “Every man to his town. Every man to his land!”

37 So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there. 38 They washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria (where the prostitutes bathed), and the dogs licked up his blood, as the word of the LORD had declared.

What can we take away from this amazing story: questions to ponder and discuss:

  • Do we consult God – at all? Enough?
  • Do we ask the right people?
  • Do we just follow the crowd like the RentaProphets?

If you have something to say – even if you’re right, there’s a way to say it and a way not to – is Micaiah somewhat too sarcastic and cutting?

Do you have to give it/ say it? Had this prophet been so negative in the past he could no longer deliver the word of the Lord because it’s not just the words but the heart – ‘grace AND truth.’

Is it your place?

Do we sit on it long enough to digest it or just spit it out without chewing it over?

Two major themes:

CONSEQUENCES & REPUTATION. 

Re the Riots that have been going on – how many of those involved were only thinking of the ‘now’ moment – and not aware that there are consequences. Every decision has consequences.

There were consequences for Ahab’s choices throughout his life, despite MANY warnings. He closed his mind and heart.

There were consequences for Micaiah. Maybe he spent the rest of his life in prison!

There are consequences for those caught – in terms of reputation.

Ahab had a reputation as a tough king.

Micaiah had a rep as one who’d speak the truth, even when the truth hurt. What do you want a reputation for?

We are writing a story.

You are writing the story of your life.

You are the co-author with God of that story.

What are you writing?

Quote: ‘You can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again.’

You have more chapters to write! You have not reached the end of your story!

‘Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.’ (African proverb).

Great power, great responsibility

I’m sitting watching Spiderman 2 tonight. It’s the one where Peter Parker tries to live what others would call a normal life, but destiny beckons.

It’s one of the few sequels that are better than the first film, in which Parker  longs for what others call a normal life, and the less he exercises his powers, the less evidence that he has any.

His faith is fading, but the need is urgent – and without him stepping up to make a difference, people are dying.

The most memorable quote?

Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Christ-followers have great power at our disposal (it’s not our power – but it’s His in us). Power to change lives here and eternities.Power to bring hope to the hopeless. Power to be good news to the poor and to set captives free. There are some things that if we don’t do it – nobody else can.

Bill Hybels is right, “The local church is the hope of the world.”

Now is not the time for us to lose our confidence in who God calls and enables us to be and to do.

Here’s how Jesus put it two millennia ago:

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.  “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!

Time to step up to the calling

the fat closed in over it

That has to be one of the yukkiest lines in the Bible doesn’t it? The moment when Ehud the left handed man, stabs fat king Eglon, described with a bit too much detail, thanks.

I saw on the news yesterday that the government are spending £3 million on a campaign to educate kids to the dangers of carrying knives in the wake of this terrible surge of teen killings – it’s hard to get accurate figures, but 26 in London last year is 26 too many! Maybe they should get them reading that Bible story – it’s pretty gross.

The government’s images are awful (I said images, not image, though you could be forgiven…)

This is probably the tamest of the pictures in the campaign

(this is the tamest of the pics )

Knife wounds and fingers missing are pretty graphic, and meant to show kids the reality you never get from watching Rambo films or playing your X box 360 “I’m an assassin” games.

I’d have to question though whether a generation raised on violence – 200,000 violent images viewed by age 18 – are likely to be much put off by more images of it. They pay to see stuff like that!

Anyway, the reality can’t be portrayed by a photo.

The smell of blood and fear, the powerlessness of the victim, the shock and horror after a moment of madness. I’ve seen a lot of people stabbed and cut. I was first through the door when a 15 year old girl had just killed her mother with a knife. Unforgettable. It’s given me an aversion to sharp objects in general! I don’t even like watching Casualty and I know they’re doing the operations on footballs and tomato sauce, not real people. Too many kids have exactly the opposite exposure – they see so much of the unreal they’re amazed when their knife actually slices skin or severs an artery.

On one hand we’re told that family can be ‘whatever you want it to be,’ and that we can feed kids minds with all kinds of violent junk – because what they see on TV etc. doesn’t effect them (try telling that to advertisers!), at the same time we wring our hands over a generation growing up fatherless and angry, fearful and frightened – wielding a weapon of mutual destruction.

I may just get back into football

I was put off organised footie after so many fights and scrapes as a policeman, especially for the short time on the Tactical Aid Group, when all we did was dash from match to match where the fighting was thickest. After a while it kind of loses its fun when associated with beer, blood and spit.

After last night’s match, however, I think when we move back to Manchester I’ll be tempted back to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ again. A great bonding moment with Joel as we jumped around the lounge when United won, as often, it’s a shame it went to penalties and you just expect a bad result when that happens (well it will be for one side!).

My first ever visit was when I was a police cadet at 16. I’d been in all of about three weeks when someone went sick and I got the chance to work the match. My uniform was miles too big for me and though I considered myself a man of the world by then, I probably didn’t even look 14! The job before and after the match was crowd control, which consisted for me and my mate Dean of standing with arms outstretched saying, “Wait at the kerb please,” or “Cross now please.”

At kick off the streets emptied we asked a passing Sergeant what we should do now. “I don’t know – go in the executive box if you want.”

He reckoned without us being daft enough to take him at his word. We went through every security checkpoint, and when asked, “Where are you going?” we just replied, “The executive box.” Doors opened, and we found ourselves watching the match with Martin Edwards, then chairman. After a fantastic time, we walked back to our posts at the end of the match. The Sergeant asked “Where the hell were you?” and when we told him, he went white as a sheet, then red as a United shirt.

I suppose there’s a sermon illustration there for me, about just believing the word, or walking in authority. Or maybe it was just a great first trip to Old Trafford I’ll never forget!

The old joke is that nobody who actually comes from Manchester supports United, though my Granddad Jack was a fanatic of the first order and always wore something red. My older brother rebelled against that and became a City fan, to the disgust of the rest of us. Last night I rang him at half time and he was telling me that in his opinion 70% of city fans would rather Chelsea won the European cup than United (‘ because they have a bit of blue…’). Bizarre in my opinion, there’s more that unites us than divides us.

Anyway despite my rubbing his nose in the result this morning, he has taken the loss in good spirits it seems, as he sent me the attached…

The Bible says, \

Is it revival?

Well I’m tired – but WOW am I fired up! Just a few hours ago I was at Orlando airport when I got a text from J. John asking whether I thought what was going on out there is revival. My reply? (I’m hopeless at texting so it took ages).. The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame dance and many are saved!

(If that’s not revival, I’m looking forward to what comes next!). The fire is falling!

I heard last Friday about God TV stopping all its programmes because of ‘something happening in the States,’ so on Saturday afternoon I thought I’d check it out on You Tube.

I have been reading a biography of George Whitefield, which has increased by desire (and faith) for revival in our nation. I’ve also been stirred up by the increasing depravity in the news, especially the awful things we read about in Austria. When I started looking online at what’s going on out there, Todd Bentley pointed his finger at me, and God called me – revival is my heart cry and His – and I knew I had to go.

Looking at the diary it seemed impossible, but I was so hungry and ‘desperate people will do desperate things’ (interestingly, that’s what anti-revivalist Hank Hanegraff writes all of this off as; which makes me wonder – why isn’t he desperate for God? King David was!).

I prayed with Zoe and tried to book to go online, everything was going wrong, until we recalled a prophetic dream Zoe had (I urge you to listen to it here) back in January, where it wasn’t just me but me and the children wanted to go, higher up, into the pool/ place of blessing, so amazing that it would eclipse former visitations of God by comparison, (‘having experienced God in a totally different way, which is for everyone’). Amazingly, as soon as I put three people in not one, we got a great deal on flights and hotel, except we had to go Sunday – the next morning!

Thanks to the help, love and encouragement of Peter Davis and Glenn Huntington, we were able to drop everything and the three of us were flying to Florida! I’d always wanted to take them to Disneyland, but GODland is even better!

I”ll put more up in posts to come, and some photos, but there’s such a fire in me right now that is going to spread. This is the fulfilment of visions I have had for many years, and how exciting to live in these days! By the way this Sunday just happens to be Pentecost, and the Global Day of Prayer (Come on!).

With my own eyes I’ve seen people getting out of wheelchairs and walking, innumerable deaf people receiving their hearing, the woman a few rows in front came in with an oxygen mask on and was carried in by her family, later she spent ages running laps around the arena (her and her 20 year old daughter who brought her both became Christians that night, well you would wouldn’t you).

And how about Hannah, my lovely daughter? If you watched God TV last night, Hannah got up on stage and testified. She has (no HAD) degenerative disc disease, confirmed by MRI scan, and had the back of a much older person with lots of damage to discs, lots of pain etc., wherever she went for the last year she had to carry a lumbar cushion, and when we went she was on pain killers.

In the meeting – where I saw amazing visions and literally physically basked in the presence of the Lord like I’ve never known before, she felt the power of God go right through her (nobody touched her but God) and I was shocked to see here get up from her seat and touch her toes – impossible? NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GOD. She’s healed – no pain at all.

This anointing is real and it’s transferable! God’s on the move. It’s time to fan the flames all over the UK!

If you have 6 minutes more, it’s worth watching this prophetic word given months ago to Todd Bentley by Ron De Luca a Pastor in NZ who we met over there in Florida who prayed for all three of us. He really accurately prophesies this happening, and particular mention is made of England!

LORD,I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it;in the midst of the years make it known; Hab 3:2

BUT

Personally I really loved the film, Zoë didn’t like it at all – said it was one of the worst things she’d ever seen. It was called No Country for Old Men, and it swept the board at the Oscars this year. And I am not going to give the end away except to say that when it ended – all around the cinema, there was a collective “What?” People didn’t ‘get’ the ending.

A Vicar friend told me years that if I wanted to imagine a world without God, I should see a film called Seven. It is a horrible film. The thing is, the ending of it is so shocking- because you’ve been preconditioned to expect a good ending, and you don’t get a good ending. Evil triumphs. It’s awful! I was kind of in shock for days after that film. 

It’s a bit like when we watched a film called Jude - based on Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, it’s just so depressing, and that’s the happy bits!

The thing is with these stories, we don’t want the film to have a bad ending, we don’t want to have evil triumphing. We want good and right to win the day. James Bond blows up the baddie’s lair. Hansel and Gretel push the witch in the oven, that kind of ending. Have you ever watched a film or a play or book – and at the end of it you shook your head and said, “NO – it’s not supposed to end that way! The story shouldn’t end like that.”

It’s not just in stories and films is it? In this world, people end up standing at a hospital bed or a graveside – and they say something very like that, too often. “It wasn’t supposed to end this way.” The story of a life. That’s why I think at funerals it’s such a shock, even though we know people die, we don’t want life to come to an end, yet it does. It’s so final and it’s terrible and that’s why the Bible calls death an enemy. The last enemy.

The Easter story doesn’t end at Good Friday, thank God! It doesn’t end with the whole of humanity including you and me being responsible for the death of the Son of God, and that’s it. The story is not just that God comes to earth and is rejected and is spat on and killed. If that’s where the story ends; well – it’s just a horrible story! It’s got the worst possible ending!

But…

What a fantastic little word. A word spoken by the apostle Peter in the first sermon which kicked off the church of those who follow Jesus, he said the little word changes the whole course of history. The wonderful word that changes the story, the most important word. Have you noticed that it’s always this word that changes the story?

The detective twirls his moustache – looks around the parlour – he turns to all assembled in the room. We all thought the butler did it…but!

The woman thought no-one could love her now, the man she’d secretly longed for – already spoken for… but then, the sound of hoof beats – he’s coming up to the house…

The alien space ships are triumphant, the whole world is under their command but…..

I’m a Christ follower, and you should become one too (everyone should!) because of this word, in this verse in Acts 2:24. It says…..but…God raised him from the dead! But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him!

We Christians don’t just have the dying Saviour, and the dead saviour. Wonderful as that was. Even if he gives forgiveness. Even if he offers life to the thief on the next cross to him. If he couldn’t do it, he shouldn’t offer it. If he just lived and taught and died and stayed dead – what use is that?

BUT easter-empty-tomb.jpg

This was not just another teacher! Not just a good man or a prophet! God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, to prove His claims that He really was the Son of God. Thank God for Easter!

The wisdom of crowds?

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, was written by James Surowiecki to argue that decisions are often better made by a group than could have been made by any single member of the group (the whole group is smarter than even the smartest person in it). He does go on to say that it matters how the group is made up, that people in it should be allowed independence, diversity of opinion etc., rather than just advocating crowd psychology as the answer to everything. These democratic wiki days attribute a great deal of prestige to wisdom of the many, but I have to ask – is it at the expense of the individual?

What if the crowd is wrong? What if there’s just a trend, or a panic, or pressure to conform? The Bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.”

I love that bit on Life of Brian when he shouts at the crowd, ‘You’re all individuals!’ Check out the response.

I’d take issue with Brian about not having to follow anyone, and we all follow someone – even if it’s the prevailing viewpoint. Just make sure who you’re following is going the right way!

This morning I was reading with my Friday morning men’s group through the beginning of Luke’s gospel. It seems Jesus had some issues with crowds.

The home crowd liked him at first, when he was preaching good. But then he said the good news was not just for the Jewish people, but for everyone, everywhere. Suddenly the same crowd that loved his sermon hated the application and then tried to chuck him off the nearest cliff! Now that’s what I call a reaction! I’ll never moan about a letter from ‘distressed, 3rd pew back’ again.

You can spend a lot of money on a trip to Israel to walk ‘in the steps of Jesus,’ but it’s really interesting to look through the gospels and notice the STOPS of Jesus. How often he’d see not a crowd, but a person. One life at a time. A leper who’d been left on the margin by the crowd perhaps, or a bunch of fishermen and a tax collector who would not have been welcomed by the religious elite crowd, the in crowd. Very often you notice it’s the crowd that would keep a blind man sitting quiet and unhealed at the roadside, or stop a paralysed man’s friends from bringing him to Jesus.

The only crowd Jesus was happy to sit with (and vice versa) was what you’d call the wrong crowd. The comment by the righteous observers was that he hung around with ‘scum,’ as my friend Justin’s Bible version rendered this morning.

I love what Zacchaeus did when Jesus came to his town. He got above the crowd – to see Jesus! The crowd would have kept him (and his sort) away, but Jesus saw him and said, “I’m coming to your house!”

Don’t go along with the crowd, get above – look out for Jesus – and then follow him.