Encounters with God are meant to be life-changing, releasing and sometimes very humbling events. This should be something that happens on a regular basis within our Churches, and I’m very pleased to be part of a Church where that is often the case. However, for one weekend in June, KingsGate Community Church becomes a highly passionate focus for life-changing freedom as it hosts an annual retreat for people who have done/are doing the Cleansing Stream course – including many from different Churches across England.
Cleansing Stream is a series of teachings designed to help unearth and, more importantly, tackle issues that have a profound and often crippling effect upon peoples lives. The course itself isn’t without it’s detractors and has courted some fairly controversial reviews, especially across the pond. All I can say is that, doing the course myself this year, I have no doubts as to it’s legitimacy, it’s effectiveness nor it’s biblical foundation. I also have a huge amount of trust and respect for the discernment and knowledge of the KingsGate leadership, and know that they wouldn’t be a part of it if this was in any way unbiblical.
The teaching evenings include a time of worship, with a group of intercessors being present to pray for all the participants by name and who then go into a seperate room to continue to pray whilst the teaching is delivered. Because the subjects are so very personal, there is further study work that helps to get us thinking about the issues discussed and examine how they might be a part of our own lives.
Some of the topics that are covered by the very sensitive team of speakers include the power of our words, our view of God as Father and the orphan heart, understanding and taming our body/spirit/soul, abuse, sexual sin and so much more.
Then, after most of the evenings have been completed, it’s time for the retreat. This is a Friday evening and an all-day Saturday affair where we are led through some very personal issues – but again, in a very sensitive and affirming way. The atmosphere is often described as “safe”, and it is! The intercessors are there, always praying and always lifting us up and the presence of God throughout the whole time is so tangible you really do feel as though you are being surrounded and enveloped in all His love.
After a short bit of teaching on a subject, we are all encouraged to go forward for prayer – this is a brilliant way of removing that nervouse british reserve and ensuring that nobody feels that people are looking at them. Even if the topic doesn’t apply, you still go forward and get the opportunity for prayer and protection against the subject. Or so I believe anyway, as I found that there was always something that was applicable to me. Issues I had buried, and left to fest, came back and I was able to break free from them. Areas I knew I *had* to deal with were tackled head on, in a marvellous and loving manner.
After the first session on the Friday, I went home – emotionally and physically exhausted but with a real sense of peace and excitement – knowing that the Saturday would be a much more challenging day but really fired-up for what lay ahead. Once the sessions were finished on the Saturday I really felt as though I had gone through, somewhat appropriately I guess, a full wash cycle including a mangle at the end of it. I felt shattered, drained and yet I felt so alive and transformed – renewed and released in an amazing way.
I need time now to soak in all that took place, to meditate on what God said and did. I need to ensure that I journal it all somewhere and go back to it regularly to remind myself of the promises, the Love and the freedom that was poured out over the weekend. I need to also ensure that I embed all of the truths deep into my heart so that, no matter what troubles or challenges rise up, I never ever forget all that my Loving Father has done.
If you’ve never done Cleansing Stream, then I recommend it wholeheartedly. If you have done it, then you’ll know what I mean and I hope this post reminds you of all He did for you.
The final thing to say really, is a huge thanks to everyone who was involved – from the speakers, the organisers and the host teams to the intercessors, prayer teams, worship team and everyone else who played a part. I also cannot ignore the huge thanks that Mrs H deserves for giving me the time and space to go on this journey and for being so encouraging and understanding.