Happy and Humbled by the book launch

How to Hear God - revisited and revised

I am very excited .. and happy …. and humbled.

If you know me personally I have had many independent prophetic words about being a writer. Some of you will know this is true since I published a little independent book in 2011, but I felt from the Lord it was the season to really devote myself again to this instruction.

It’s been several years since the original edition of How to hear God, my first book first left the pages of my computer and started to be sold on Amazon.

At first I was just happy that I had managed to get a book out there. I was delighted I would be able to say I had written a book. I wasn’t that worried if it sold. That was not the point. The point was I had managed to do it and I had obeyed what I felt the Lord said to me.

I had no understanding of marketing or launching the book at all.

In the first week my pastor bought a copy.

By week three I had sold three copies and I wondered who the other purchasers were? I was really amazed when it started selling at all.

Finally (suddenly? unexpectedly?) the book started to sell and I started to get emails from all over the world thanking me of the content. These emails inspired me and at times comforted me through some hard times, when I was being judged for my motives and criticised. I would like to thank everyone that wrote to me, from all corners of our Lord’s planet.

Now – as part of a series of books to be published in 2016 and 2017 my first book has been re-launched. Doing a ‘proper book launch’ was completely new to me but I decided I wanted to learn, and over the last few months I have learnt how to market and launch a book using the best internet resources and techniques used. I was truly a ‘newbie learning the basics’. As well as learning LOADS, the Lord  also assembled a great team to help me …

Without doubt, my coach and personal writing mentor, Mimi is simply awesome! I simply could not have done it without you. I also want to than Lyndsay and Colleen for thoughtful editing and review work and Joanna and Jenni for publicity and Facebook help.

So here I am today

  • No 1 seller in all the categories I wanted on Amazon…. I know …. its simply ridiculous!
  • learnt a whole bunch of new skills
  • made a whole bunch of new friends

I am so thankful to the Lord for his love and guidance and I am humbled by the thought that this is all in his plan for me.

Finally, thanks to all my friends and family and internet followers for getting hold of the book and tweeting it and passing it on etc…

In the words of Mimi – ’That’s Awesome!”

 

 

Ian lives and works in Sheffield, with his wife, Merle, his sons and a dog, and helps lead  ‘A Heart for Woodseats’, a new church plant near his home. He is a christian author and blogs at ianbanner.com. His most recent book can be found at 

USA : https://amzn.com/B005OTK8BS
UK : http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005OTK8BS

Now I know why Africans don’t have watches :)

This is the first update only from Ian since this update is about the trip I just finished on my own without Merle.
This was quite a week for me – I learnt a lot and made some very special friends that I think I will have forever.
The background to this visit is that last year I was invited to do a 3 day pastors conference in the centre of Kampala. This was for the network run by John Bunjio. We held it at the church in the centre of town and was hosted by the leader of that church,  Micheal Kimuli.
Between these 2 guys, they look after and are networked to most of the independent charismatic churches in Uganda. At the end of that conference we spent time laying hands on every attendee and prophesied over them. At the end of the queue was Michael and as I layed hands on him, I felt the lord clearly say, “Put yourself at this mans disposal”. So I said these words to Micheal.
A few days later he rang and over a meal – he invited me to come to his National Prayer Conference, which is held just as the school holidays break up at the end of the year just before Christmas. It runs for 6 days and typically has two to three thousand attending.
The invite was to come to several years of the conferences starting last year (2014). If you know me well you will know that last year I had a dream about 2 weeks before the conference where the Lord told me to NOT go to the 2014 conference. If you know me well you will know why it was important that I was in the UK for that week last year.
So finally I went this year (2015) with expectations high for what God would do.
To say I was not disappointed would be an understatement. I had the privilege of the leading the very first session of the conference, the ‘Launch Session’ and I knew we were going to have an amazing time, when at the end of the slot I called forward what I expected to be a few people for prayer under the title of how “God prepares people out of the limelight”. EVERYONE  came forward for prayer (well there might have been 10 people who didn’t – I guess to be accurate I should say nearly everyone came forward). There was an amazing heart for all the the Lord wanted to do.
By the time the second day finished, we were spending hours in prayer and worship and finishing at least 2 hours late – but the Lords presence was amazing/wonderful/unbelievable. I posted a FB update saying if this was Tuesday what would Saturday be like? It was then that I understood why africans don’t worry about the time!
The Lords Presence and Prayer just grew and grew every session – every day.
As well as taking 4 of the preaching slots (which was a high privilege for the first year I was there) I also was invited to give a final prophetic vision for what God wanted to do in Uganda in 2016 – which will be a very significant year. I felt so honoured and trusted by my  Lord.
We then anointed everyone with oil and a prophetic word about breakthrough in prayer and fasting for 2016 and called everyone to 2 weeks of Prayer and Fasting to start 2016. There is a huge day of prayer on the 15th Jan to mark the end of the prayer fortnight across Uganda-the church are taking over football stadiums. I must say being able to pray for all the attendees along with the other international guest breakers and Apostles  was a moment that makes me cry just thinking about it.
I met and fell in love with some more wonderful people, on top of all those that I already knew, including Micheal and his wonderful wife Sarah, their family, Barbera (who was my PA for the week – with a job to make sure I was at the right place at the right time! Not always successfully thanks to some confusion on my part!), Jean-Luc (from Canada) and Frank (from Rwanda). Just as the week finished I also met an amazing woman from CTF Canada called Perry.
On top of that, the hundreds and hundreds of people we got to pray for.
I know I will meet nearly all of these again for next years Prayer conference in 2016, which will be bigger and better.
I received an amazing amount of Love and Encouragement from all that were there, but the best comment I received was from Micheal’s wife who told me that I was different from many other UK teachers they knew, because I can ‘pray like an african for hours’. I must say this made me smile a lot. Just being told I was an Arican made my heart sing.
Please pray for us – I received many  invites to travel next year to lots of different countries for conferences and lots of confirming words about that.
Many the Lord give Merle and I wisdom and breakthrough.
Finally – I have re-written the post 4 times now to try and make sure everything points to the one and only Lord Jesus – please forgive me if I have not done a good enough job at pointing to him. He deserves the highest Praise.
Thank You
Ian

Uganda 2015 – Why “Flowers in Every Wilderness”?

merle and ian-final

I have been asked why we chose “Flowers in Every Wilderness” as the title for our Uganda adventure. There are actually 2 answers to that. (At least!)

The first is that the phrase comes from the end of a prophetic word given to us at Woodseats Baptist Church by a very prophetic lady called Isabel Allum. The full text of that prophecy to Merle and me is as follows:

Father, I thank you for this couple, Lord, and I thank you for the uniqueness of their journey. There is the word “uniqueness” in your lives.

God is saying he is bringing a new set of wings on your back for the two of you, for a greater identity of who you are.

There have been many that have been influenced by a spirit of rejection against you, for there has been an outside spirit of rejection standing against you and influencing other people in how they respond to you.

Many people have been unkind at different times in your journey, but I hear the Lord saying he is coming to remove the lions and tigers and the bears, for there have been many of those that have come unexpectedly. The Lord is coming now to remove them completely.

I hear the Lord saying you are going to eat the honeycomb from the lion’s mouth. You are going to enter into that place, for you are going to say, “It is well with myself – look what the Lord has done.” You have something to show for it, but they are just scars of war, but you will have spoils as well, and you will say this is what you have.

Brother, I saw you writing. The Lord is saying he created a writing gift and anointing within you. Greater inspiration is going to come out of that – greater insight is coming for you.

The Lord is going to visit with you as well, for I heard the Lord say we will spend time seeking him, and there is going to be quite a reality of the atmosphere you are in that is going to cause fellowship with the Trinity coming for you in a greater way.

I heard the Lord saying that at times there has been loneliness in your heart. The Lord is saying he is coming to deal with that now, once and for all. Loneliness is going to disappear from your heart, but sometimes the enemy comes and sprinkles some of that within you. But the Lord says encouragement is coming.

 Scripture says, “Even though sorrow comes in the night,  a shout of joy comes in the morning.” I heard the Lord say you are very close to that morning shout – it is about 3 o’clock in the morning now.

The Lord  is moving you further and further. For I heard the Lord saying there has been delays in your life and journey, but delay does not mean denial, and this is the amazing  thing – God has not changed his mind about you guys.

I hear the Lord saying there is going to be relocation coming for you. God is moving you to another place, and he is coming to plant your tree in another field – the Lord is saying his hand is upon it. He will be the one who is planting you and is re-potting you so you can grow and grow and grow, without restrictions in your life.

There is a restoration of relationships coming in your lives as well – these restorations are going to manifest, but you are also going to see new relationships coming for you.

I saw a spiritual father coming into your lives. I hear the Lord saying just like Timothy had Paul, Elisha had Elijah. God is bringing someone like that into your lives; he is going to bring a lot of healing into your hearts, and he is going to teach you how to become a Paul and an Elijah to Timothies and Elishas who will come to you seeking the same refuge, for the same support, for the same instruction.

Your journeys is the the tool belt that you will create for all your tools. All the tools are from out of your journey, and you will be able to say, “Look at this tool we can use. We can us it here in this situation. Remember that experience we had then. Well, now we can build this.”

And it is time now to see the other side, and God is going to show you how to find the flowers in every wilderness.

We don’t mind anyone seeing this word – it was given in public. As you can see, the final sentence includes the very poetic phrase, “Flowers in Every Wilderness”.

As well as being in that word, the phrase also resonated with Merle and me as the kind of special phrase that God would use to talk to us – in other words, it meant something to us… specially.

The second is that it seems to us that part of what God wants us to do in the future is plant flowers in every wilderness.

The third is that we go to Uganda with a word brewing that Merle’s passion for gardening and growing food will become useful in the long term for our friends and the people we love here in Uganda.

 

Ian and Merle live and work in Sheffield, with their sons (Josh and Matt) and dog (Susy). Ian is a christian author and blogs at ianbanner.com.

To keep in touch with what Ian and Merle are doing click here

A prophetic dream for Sheffield

Last night at Greenhill Methodist Church, Neil Grant told a story of a friend who felt the need to shout “Wake Up” at an angel. It reminded me of a dream I had last year about our city. It was exciting to hear stories of other people who had similar experiences and words about waking up. When I had the dream I did not have any blogs or ways of sharing it – so I thought I would share it now
In the dream I saw the city of Sheffield like a map, from above. The city was in darkness. I could see that all over the city were these little lights. Almost like sparks going off. They would flare up for a few seconds, then die down. Flashes of light. I looked a little closer and saw that these lights were in buildings. Sometimes the lights were as big or bigger than the buildings. Sometimes the buildings were big, like towers, but the sparks were small.
I realised that the buildings were churches in Sheffield and the light represented the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of saints. I could see that some big buildings had little of the real presence of the Spirit, and this made me sad. The Lord said to me, “In some of the churches, my people are more interested in arguing than desiring my presence. In some, they are so proud of how big they are, I can’t get in. It’s not how big they are – it’s how proud they are. I oppose the proud.”
Then he said, “Watch how I am coming,” and I saw what looked like a wave of energy rising up from between the cracks in the ground. It started to rise up. As it did, the small sparks that earlier had been going on, then off, instead of going off, started to grow and spread across the city – almost fuelled by the energy. Instead of going out, these little sparks started to grow and grow. And as they grew, they started to meet each other. Whilst I saw this happen slowly so I could understand, I sensed in the Lord that it happened very quickly. I felt the Lord say, “Transformation happens slowly and then suddenly – I am waking up my church.” I said, “Lord, wake me up inside – bring me back to life.” As I said these words, I felt that I was one of the sparks that was being energised by God.
The Lord took me back up in the air and I could see that the city was no longer dark, but light. The light came from the ground up, and the whole map could not be seen, for the land was overtaken by brightness. The only thing I could see were towers that still were not covered in brightness. Then I felt the Lord say, “This is how it will be when my wave comes; I won’t choose one church over another. I have no favourites – I will come to all.”
As the dream finished I heard myself say again, “Lord, wake me up inside – bring me back to life.”
Have you had similar dreams or words that are the same? For Sheffield or for your own city? If so, please post a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
Ian
Ian lives and works in Sheffield, with his wife, Merle, his sons and a dog, and worships at Meadowhead Christian Fellowship. He is a christian author and blogs at ianbanner.com. To keep in touch with what Ian and Merle are doing click here

A message to all our friends…. we are leaving Woodseats Baptist Church

way-forwardAt a meeting a few days ago with Ben Hudd (leader of WBC), Merle and I concluded that this is the right time to leave WBC.
There has been a series of prophetic words from many people, including Isobel Alum, who visited WBC earlier in the year, many of the people in the church, and other sources in the UK and beyond, that we should move on for the next level of our training in heart and character. Also, great thanks to whomever placed an anonymous letter in my daybook with some wonderfully accurate words for me, which I found at just the right time.

On top of all these prophetic words are our own words and pictures from listening for ourselves and praying to the Lord over the last few months. The debate has always been about timing.

As Ben gets on with the task of creating the new WBC, we feel the right thing to do is create the space for this and look for the next adventure for Merle and me.We have asked Ben to release us from WBC, and initially Ben wanted to do this at a Sunday morning service but quickly decided the right way would be at the next family weekend in September.

One of my favourite sayings is, “The Christian life consists of two simple things: learning to hear God clearly and developing the courage to do what he tells you” This, I think, is from Bill Hybels. It is advice we are now following.

When we left our previous church (Meadowhead Christian Fellowship), I expected to stay at WBC for many years, but I can see now that God has other plans for Merle and me. We had been at MCF for 13 years, and it was quite a wrench to leave. We have been a year at WBC, and it is less of a wrench – we feel we had only just started settling in before being called to the “departure gate”.
We have had a great year as part of the church and leave behind many great memories, including:

– our trip to Uganda together (Ben and I)
– our trip to Canada
– praying for Ben when he was very ill and unable to breathe, and seeing the breakthrough we needed
– all the wonderful stories of what God has been doing to change people and prepare them for the coming revival.

To our friends at WBC we want to say it has been a privilege and humbling experience for us to share in your journey. We are sure that God is at work at WBC and has astonishing plans for all of you – as well as for other Christians in churches across the city.
Please pray for us and for Ben.

For the Kingdom
Ian and Merle

Prophetic words for Ian and Merle

I have been asked by several over the last few months to publish the words that Merle and I have had. Whilst many are still private and some are only on scraps of paper (but these are very important!), here are the key ones that are in electronic format.

Before you read these, you should know the emotions that these words and others like these create in Merle and me. I think that if you got prophetic words like this, they would provoke similar emotions in you.

They provoke wonder – that God would care so much for us.
They provoke amazement – since they contain words that resonate and match other words we have received from different sources.
They provoke trepidation – that God has so much planned for people who are not ready or up to the job.
They provoke commitment – that it is time to get serious with God and become the person he wants you to be, a person with a heart and character that glorifies him.

From Isabel Allum:
Father, I thank you for this couple, Lord, and I thank you for the uniqueness of their journey. There is the word “uniqueness” in your lives. God is saying he is bringing a new set of wings on your back for the two of you for a greater identity of who you are.
There have been many that have been influenced by a spirit of rejection against you, for there has been an outside spirit of rejection standing against you and influencing other people in how they respond to you.
Many people have been unkind at different times in your journey, but I hear the Lord saying he is coming to remove the lions and tigers and the bears, for there have been many of those that have come unexpectedly. The Lord is coming now to remove them completely.
I hear the Lord saying you are going to remove the honeycomb from the lion’s mouth. You are going to enter into that place, for you are going to say, “It is well with myself – look what the Lord has done.” You have something to show for it, but they are just scars of war, but you will have spoils as well, and you will say, “This is what you have.”
Brother, I saw you writing. The Lord is saying he created a writing gift and anointing within you. Greater inspiration is going to come out of that – greater insight is coming for you.
The Lord is going to visit with you as well, for I heard the Lord say we will spend time seeking him, and there is going to be quite a reality of the atmosphere you are in that is going to cause fellowship with the Trinity coming for you in a greater way.
I heard the Lord saying that at times there has been loneliness in your heart. The Lord is saying he is coming to deal with that now, once and for all. Loneliness is going to disappear form your heart, but sometimes the enemy comes and sprinkles some of that within you. But the Lord says encouragement is coming.
Scripture says, “Even though sorrow comes in the night – a shout of Joy comes in the morning.” I heard the Lord say you are very close to that morning shout – it is about 3 o’clock in the morning now.
The Lord  is moving you further and further. For I heard the Lord saying there has been delays in your life and journey, but delay does not mean denial, and this is the amazing  thing – God has not changed his mind about you guys.
I hear the Lord saying there is going to be relocation coming for you, and he is coming to plant your tree in another field – the lord is saying his hand is upon it. He will be the one who is planting you and is re-potting you so you can grow and grow and grow without restrictions in your life.
There is a restoration of relationships coming in your lives as well – these restorations are going to manifest, but you are also going to see new relationships coming for you.
I saw a spiritual father coming into your lives. I hear the Lord saying, just like Timothy had Paul, Elisha had Elijah, God is bringing someone like that into your lives; he is going to bring a lot of healing into your hearts, and he is going to teach you how to become a Paul and an Elijah to Timothies and Elishas who will come to you seeking the same refuge, for the same support, for the same instruction.
Your journey is the the tool belt that you will create for all your tools. All the tools are from out of your journey, and you will be able to say, “Look at this tool we can use; we can use it here in this situation. Remember that experience we had then; well, now we can build this.”
And God is going to show you how to find the flowers in every wilderness.
From Toronto Prayer:
I saw a picture of you both at a shooting range. And you are both shooting, and I hear the announcer shouting, “Bullseye… bullseye,” so the Lord is helping you to do the bullseye thing in 2015. Whatever you point and minister at, it will be bullseye. All bullseye.

What that means, too, is that you are right on. You are right on your destiny, your calling, right on your privileges because you are born-again blood, saved, sanctified sons and daughters of the living God.

The Lord wants you to meditate Isaiah 43, and you have a tremendous prophetic word for 2015. Awesome. You two are so encouraged together, and you will be binding together more in mindset and heartset.

I saw you both mountain climbing, and God is giving you a mountain to take, and he brought me to Psalm 2 v 7–8. You are my son … ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance… I feel like you have been ready, and you have been YES in your spirit. A big Yes to the Lord, and you are willing to go into those hard places, and I feel that God is giving you the ground that your feet are walking on, and he is giving you the mountain. He is giving you the mountain, and the Lord wants you to know he is the one seated on the mountain. So you are able to enter into the Seat of Rest in him because he is actually on that mountain, and he is inviting you to come and be seated in that seat of rest, and he is going to give you that mountain; it is already yours.

He has given you both a willing heart.

What do YOU do?

Its always nice when you do something for the first time….

Today I went to a new place for breakfast with my lovely family.  A friend worked there, so we decided to go and see what it was like. Merle had always wanted to visit anyway.

Our mutual friend
introduced me to the owner, who asked me only one question, which was, “How long have you lived at your house?”. When I said, “Fifteen years”, he just said. “Wow”, then turned and said “Wow”, again to the wall.

I don’t think I have every been asked that question before (apart from on loan forms!) and it made me realise how sheltered a life I lead.

I was being introduced to someone who, of all the questions
to ask me, thought that was the most important. And he was a nice guy.

It made me think, ‘What question would you ask if you met someone for the first time?’ Apparently the Queen says, ‘What do you do?’