Roaring trade reported as Spirit moves in Chester

CHESTER’S NEWEST CHRISTIAN BOOKSHOP, Spirit, have reported a roaring trade in their early trading period, with descriptions of half the stock sold on opening day and the Holy Spirit apparently knocking people over and sending books flying off the shelves for direct delivery to a customer who needed them.

GloryFires Newsletter 27/06/2010

GloryFires Newsletter 27/06/2010

From the GloryFires newsletter, 27th June 2010:

We had no plans to open a shop, it just happened so quickly!! We were planning to sell MorningStar products online and then when we heard that the last Christian bookshop in the city was closing, we noticed a shop with offices up for rent on Northgate Street, and before we knew it we’d agreed to take it!

As well as Christian books, Bibles and music, we also sell furniture, interior décor, gifts, jewellery and coffee. Sales are going well and Jesus is showing up in power, just as He does in our Blacon café. The first day we opened we sold half the stock. The shop is called Spirit (after the Holy Spirit), but as it doesn’t look like a typical Christian bookshop, we attract a lot of people who don’t know Jesus. (Visit our website www.spirit.gloryfires.org)

Salvation and glory on opening day

The day we opened, a woman who owns a shop nearby came in. We got talking and she said she was depressed. Her sister died and she hadn’t got over it. We offered to pray for her and told her that we could tell the depression to go in the name of Jesus, but it may come back if she isn’t following Jesus and filled with His Spirit. So she gave her life to Jesus!! Justin Abraham and some friends happened to be in the shop, so who better to pray for her to be filled with the joy of the Lord?!! So they were praying with her and they were all having a great time!

Tom got whacked in the Holy Spirit and was rolling round on the floor. Justin went and prayed for him. This was all happening in the middle of the shop and it was packed with customers! Two well dressed ladies came in and were trying to look at the interior décor gifts on the shelves. I said, “Don’t mind the man on the floor, he’s full of the Holy Spirit, just step over him!” They said OK, stepped over him and acted as though it was an everyday occurrence! It was so funny.

The lady who got saved that day came in a couple of weeks later and brought her daughter and her daughter’s fiancé. We began to prophesy over them and tell them about Jesus. The shop was full of customers, and as we stood in the middle of the shop they gave their lives to Jesus, and then we broke off some demonic stuff and cast out some demons!! They’d been going to a spiritualist church so they renounced all that first.

Later on their mother came back, this time with her son, aged 24. He didn’t know anything about Jesus, but he’d been getting in trouble and she wanted some prayer for him. Standing in the middle of the shop, we prayed, “Lord, show him that you’re real.” About 2 seconds later, 10 books flew off the shelf and landed at his feet! He was shocked! All the books were identical; ‘You may all prophesy’ by Steve Thompson!! Thinking this was probably a word of knowledge we asked him, “Do you know things sometimes before they happen?” He said yes, and he was a bit scared and didn’t know what it meant. We told him that God had given him a gift of prophecy but it was important that he follow Jesus, otherwise the enemy would use the gift for his purposes. So right there and then he gave his life to Jesus. Since then he has changed and is not getting into trouble. His mother is so pleased!!

As the old hymn writer said, “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.” Has anyone else had signs of revival or whatever this is breaking out in their shop? I especially love the idea of the Holy Spirit selecting and delivering books direct to a customer, although I’m not sure what the Health & Safety Inspectorate would make of it…

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8 thoughts on “Roaring trade reported as Spirit moves in Chester

  1. There are obviously some really exciting things going on here, and I don’t wish to be a killjoy or to despise the evident work of God. However there are some pastoral issues in this account that make me shudder.

    Telling depression to go in the name of Jesus, particularly if it is obviously linked to a bereavement, as in this case, is a dubious idea at best. To suggest that it might come back unless a commitment is made to Jesus smacks to me of manipulation. It is certainly possible that in the process of making a commitment to Jesus and encountering the Holy Spirit this lady has been able to address the issues around her bereavement and move on, but it is also perfectly possible that she has simply temporarily lost her symptoms in the midst of an emotional high. If this is the case they are likely to return later, possibly in a disguised form, as my guess is that depression coming back won’t go down too well in this congregation.

    As for the young man who was told that he needed to commit his life to Jesus otherwise his gift would be used by the ‘enemy’, well, er …. you would, wouldn’t you. I mean, he was scared already!

    I hope the congregation here has some wise pastors who are able to help people live in the real world, and know that not every problem is going to be dealt with instantly and permanently by the Holy Spirit. I appreciate that here we are reading a ‘front-line’ story and maybe behind the scenes there are some more sane and substantial things going on. I do certainly hope so.

    • Let me start, in the spirit of full disclosure, by being upfront. I grew up in the Pentecostal denomination, and spent three years working with a overtly charismatic ‘Apostolic’ missionary organisation.

      However, I am now part of a much more… for want of a better word… restrained ‘Independent Evangelical’ church, having always been a little dubious of some of the more… shall we say… extreme manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

      I guess if you were to classify me, in terms of people we recognise, i am far more Mark Driscoll, than Benny Hinn.

      Like John, I am, perhaps conditioned, to be nervous when I read about these sort of things, especially outside the framework of an organised church setting, with the checks and balances in place to ensure these things do not go awry.

      That said, I also think it is dangerous to dismiss a work out of hand (which I know is not what you were trying to do) on the basis of a single report could also damage a potentially brilliant work of God.

      When traveling with LifeFORCE (the aforementioned missionary organization) I quickly learned that just because something doesn’t match up to my own perception and understanding of God, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t genuine, honest or significant.

      Clearly, Spirit is a bookshop with a Charismatic doctrinal and spiritual bias (that is no bad thing, many excellent bookshops are for a particular denomination or Church group) and so obviously reports news which backs up it’s position. Just because it doesn’t match your (or my) own convictions, is not of real significance. God is much bigger than my own perception of him, and can (and will) not be confined to my limited view of him.

      In spite of some very real concerns about methods, I celebrate with Spirit, both for their excellent opening trade, and the salvation of the people who they serve.

      At The Hub, we try not to be limited to any particular denomination. You will find TD Jakes next to JI Packer next to John Bunyan and John Calvin (obviously not literally, that would be a rubbish category system!). We have Catholic books as well as Protestant authors of every denomination, and even a little Orthodox in there too, and as such, we see the holy spirit work in people of all denominations in very different ways.

      Whether by “miraculous” leadings to a particular book which perfectly matches their needs and leads them to Christ, or a much more gentle promptings over months, and even years of contact.

      We have customers who are convinced that everything they do is a holy spirit moment, and regularly prophesy and speak in tongues, both in the store and elsewhere, who shop with those who are sure that spiritual gifts were for one time which has now passes.

      I consider all of them brothers and sisters in Christ, and am sure God is equally at work in, and leading each and every one of them.

      But that’s just my two cents.

  2. I’m sorry but I was under the impression that Living Oasis had taken over the former Wesley Owen shop in Chester and is, of course, a Christian bookshop, or perhaps I dreamt I saw a photo in the “Bookseller” of Frank Field signing copies of his latest book at the said shop. Last Christian bookshop in Chester closed?

    • Living Oasis has opened a branch in Chester, but like almost all Living Oasis branches, not before Wesley Owen closed.

      Indeed, Chester was not a done deal until March, by which time, I assume Spirit were already well on their way to opening also.

      Technically they are correct, in that Chester did witness the closure of their last Christian bookshop towards the end of January, when Wesley Owen closed it’s doors.

      Like Spirit, Living Oasis is a new Christian Bookshop in Chester, just one which happens to be in the same location, with many of the same staff as the previous one.

      I see Spirit and Living Oasis as being very complementary stores, rather than competing. I do not know a lot about the ethos of Living Oasis, but it seems to me that they cater to slightly different sectors of the Christian market.

      • Don’t know about serving different sectors but I can certainly imagine that’s true.

        I also think what Luke says is true – this shop was in part a reaction to the closure of the Wesley Owen and was well in the planning before Living Oasis stepped in formally I believe – certainly the FB page that Gareth from Eden put up before LO supports this hypothesis and statement.

        All that aside though I have got to say has anyone checked out Spirits website?
        because the pictures on there show a cracking shop with a really different and unique look to it, loving the chabby chic furniture and gifts, and should I ever get to Chester then it is definitely a christian retailer I would love to check out just to see how it all fits together because it certainly seems unique.

        • I guess what i man by “different sectors” of the market is that Spirit clearly has a goal and vision to serve the “charismatic” community, I believe being born out of Rick Joyner’s Morning Star Ministry.

          Living Oasis seems to be more Conservative and Evangelical in it’s outlook, and while they possibly do stock books by the bigger American Evangelists, it does not seem to be their sole, or even main, stock criteria.

          Until recently, Walsall had a second bookshop, at the Grace International Centre, which specialised in “Charismatic” and “Spirit filled” books by big american authors, and a third catholic bookshop, which meant that we did not need to dedicate as much of our limited space to these sort of books, we did not see them as competition, but complementary, and, as they wrapped up, increased our stock of these things.

          I guess, as Living Oasis seems to desire to de-emphasise books and gifts in favour of Coffee and Community, In Chester at least, it can be one less thing that will need to take up increasingly limited space, knowing that a complementary ministry already exists in the town.

          And I agree, Spirit looks like a brilliant place to spend some time. Really different layout very different, and perhaps better, than the ever popular “Christian Waterstones” concept that we, and most other ex-Wesley Owen shops have.

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