I want to take a moment to explain the importance of ‘The Wave’ picture which most of you have heard me mention over the last few months.

In the autumn of 2012, during a time of prayer, I was reminded of a prophetic picture which God had given me whilst I was an Elder in Hedge End. It had been provoked by a picture of a wave coming into shore that had hung above the fireplace in my parent’s home as long as I could remember.At the time God spoke to me saying that a wave that was coming that would change the landscape of the church in Hedge End. God reminded me that a wave has the power to change the landscape of a coastline forever. I asked my mum if I could have the picture and subsequently hung it in my office as a prophetic encouragement. Over the coming years the church in Hedge End grew and changed significantly. When I moved to Winchester to lead this church the picture went into the attic of our new house.In the autumn of 2012 God reminded me again of the picture. I felt God say it was time to get it down from the attic because a wave was coming that would change the landscape of Winchester Family Church . I brought it into the office at Stanmore and during that autumn numbers of you heard me say that God was about to bring remarkable change to the church.

At the start of 2013 we began a series entitled “A Thoroughly Modern Family”. The next few months were scary but exciting! There were numbers of significant answers to prayer, including some things we had been praying about for years like the sale of our Stanmore Lane building. It really did feel like a wave of God had come on us and the church would never be the same again.

At a meeting just before Christmas I was talking to a few of the leaders of Commission churches about the last year and had brought the picture to show them. As I was about to start talking it fell off its stand and the glass shattered! I just had to pick the picture up and carry on. As I finished talking a number of the leaders present felt that it was an important prophetic moment for us as a church. Here are some of the things they shared:

“When the glass broke I immediately felt it was significant. It reminded me of the beginning of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” when the waves pour out of the picture into the room. God is saying the wave of what He is doing can’t be contained and cannot live within a frame. The wave has burst out! Initially the moment the glass broke it looked devastating but it was actually incredibly positive.”“I felt the glass shattering was significant. It reminded me of an episode of Dr Who when there was something living within a picture being held in behind a glass front. The breaking of the glass has released something. It is the breaking of the glass ceiling over the church. The wave is breaking out.”“I felt the moment was prophetic. The frame and glass were old and fusty. Even though much change has happened in the church there is still a tie to the past. It is now time for the wave to break out. Steve, your response could be to put it back in the attic or to reframe with new glass but I feel as a prophetic act you are to reuse the picture unframed! There is no longer a need for a frame.”“I felt it was important that you didn’t view 2013 as the year of the wave. There are many other waves starting to rise in the picture. In the coming year and the years ahead there will be more waves coming on the church…”

Finally Laurena Brown, who had not been there when it had happened and so had heard none of the above, woke up that night and felt God speak to her. She said,

“Last night (about 4.15am I couldn’t sleep) I couldn’t stop thinking about the wave picture that you had dropped the day before. I felt God kept saying to me that it was more than just a smashed picture and that it was actually quite profound. I kept praying and I felt God say to me that:

1. He is much bigger than a glass box – he can’t be contained or squashed down into a box.
2. That sometimes people, ministries, churches etc can seem all pretty and ok from the outside but actually they are covered by a glass façade. God wants people etc to be set free and smash their ‘glass’ that so often holds them/ministries/churches back.

God also gave me a picture to confirm what I had been thinking. The picture was of an aquarium. The aquarium glass breaks and all the water surges powerfully out. This is something God wants to do. The water is so powerful that whatever it encounters is immediately thrown over/down.”

As a response to all this I have had the picture put on canvas and have it in my office!These are exciting days for us as a church. I want to encourage you to be open to what God is doing and going to do. Please pray for the leadership, the church and yourselves at this time.Last Sunday we gave out cards with a picture of “The Wave” on the front and some encouragements to stir us to pray on the back. Please put the card on your fridge or in your Bible and use it this year as a focus for your praying. If you didn’t get one last week or weren’t there please make sure you pick one up from the front desk this coming Sunday! Let’s be ready for all that God wants to do amongst us!

Much love and grace