A seat for you!

Facebook is my main way of pastoring nowadays. Conferences are occasional. Anyway, that is really how I use Facebook: as a pastoral tool. God long ago challenged me to be open and vulnerable otherwise He could not do through me what He wanted to in order to bless others. He also made it clear I was never to hide the charismatic side of things for the same reason, so here is a bit of both!

Last night, a night after returning from a wonderfully blessed conference on Lewis, I had a dream. In it I was told it was time for a full examination. I was told to strip and put on a black robe and wait for whoever was going to do the examination. I took the robe but refused to strip and put it on, despite the surroundings being very clinical and professional. Many had put the robe on and seemed now to be living in that place permanently.

If you serve God in any way and want to serve him better always remember the devil will try and accuse you in a nitpicking way, especially in the aftermath of being blessed to be a blessing. It is easy for him to gain a hearing with us as none of us is a finished work of salvation yet, we are all works of grace in process.

Jesus refused to let the words of those who did not love Him or care for Him have any entrance into His thinking about Himself. In the dream I saw that many had never managed to shake off the dark covering of an accusing examiner.

Remember, when the Holy Spirit is doing the examining there is always hope for He highlights Jesus above all and in Him there is NO condemnation! Hallelujah! I got out of the examination centre and got on a bus (which in my dream language represents church). As we drove off, flags flying, singing about being joyful in Jesus, we left that scene of condemnation and accusation far behind. It was like being on a bus celebrating a victory, a vanquishing! Come on the bus with us, those of you wearing the black robes of the Accuser of God’s children and servants! The fare has been paid. There is still a seat for you! Run out that stronghold of condemnation! Jump on the bus with rejoicing!

God bless

Kenny

Hard to imagine, but God did it…

(This is a long rambling post. Nothing new there!! Warning you of that so you can skip it if you are not in the mood for long rambling posts. It is about children and young people and revival, but is really just me chatting about these things. You have been warned! If you do read it may it bless you and even encourage you in your prayers.) 

I recall reading reports from the newspapers of the day of a Revival in Orkney in 1861. It affected both of the islands I was minister of for fives years, Eday and Stronsay in the year 1860’s. On Eday there was a prayer meeting composed entirely of children. On Stronsay there were such scenes that I could scarcely believe when I read about them. I think none of us can possibly imagine what Revival would look like if it should come to our churches and communities. On Stronsay back in the 1860’s move of God, a young girl who saw Jesus asked an older man who was in tears because he could not and did not know how to come to Jesus, “Oh Sir, can’t you see Him? Let me help you to Jesus.” Imagine such a thing being reported in a Newspaper today! Orkney farmers are wonderful, and I loved my time there, but I think even the current Christian farmers on Stronsay would agree it is almost beyond the power of imagination to think of young Stronsay farm labourers running around the Church building shouting out praise to the Lord, unable to contain the joy of their salvation, the joy of the Holy Spirit within them. By culture, they are sincere, but quiet about things to do with faith, but that is what their forebearers did when the Spirit of God fell.

I remember reading about all of this and thinking how unimaginable it was, difficult to believe it could happen in Orcadian Culture. At that point there was a knock at the manse door. It was old JIim Stockan of oatcake fame. He had come out to the island for the day and dropped in to see me – a truly lovely believer as was his wife, May. I treasure the memories I have of them and indeed of their son, James and his wife Carrie. They were all incredibly kind to me and my family both then and since my years living there. I told Jim what I had been reading, saying I found it hard to believe it had actually happened. He said, “Oh my, it happened alright!” I wish you could hear that sentence in his accent! He then told me that his mother had been a bairn sitting on his granny’s knee in a meeting in the days of the Revival, when his granny slid off her seat to the floor under the power of the Spirit when God came down, and his mother somehow managed to stay sitting on her lap! Even toddlers can recall what it is like when the Holy Spirit comes in Revival power and pass on the story of the mighty acts of God.

When I was minister there from 1984 – 1989 there was one quite unusual spell of blessing on Stronsay, though nothing comparable on Eday. I remember the night the Holy Spirit fell on the School during a Christian Endeavour Camp. Many teenagers sought the Lord, it was quite remarkable and not expected on the first night of a camp. I did not get home until about 2 or 2.30 in the morning as I was praying with some of the young people. The first I knew anything was happening after the meeting was over, was when a boy knocked on the door of the school kitchen. His question to me? “What must I do to be saved.” Unusual things happened for two or three weeks, though not in great measure numerically, and with no particular spread, but unusual all the same.

I believe the source of that blessing in the human sense was a prayer meeting made up of a few of the young folk of Stronsay who met in the Church Hall to pray. One of the young folk affected by what God did in answer to their prayers is going to the Conference this weekend. He left one of the meetings to chat up one of the island girls. However, God had other intentions. The power of the Spirit fell upon him. I will never forget his words. He said to me it was as though someone had hit the top of his head off with a great heavy wooden bat. Instead of chat up lines, he found himself pouring out words of witness to Jesus Christ! He is still standing for the Lord and serving him. It will be lovely to see him after all these years.

With those stories involving children and young people in mind, if you have a mind so to do, let me encourage you to continue to pray for the ongoing fruit from the Youth Conference last weekend in Stornoway and for any other gathering of young people the Lord may lay on your heart. Who knows what could happen if even just one or two of these young folk came into a surrender to Jesus and a desire to live and serve Him to the glory of God at a deeper level than they have walked in so far. Who knows how far the impact of such lives could reach, not only into their own generation, but into the generations of their elders and into generations yet unborn, or just toddlers at the moment, that they would grow up to praise and magnify the Lord.

Well done, persevering to the end of this post!

God bless

Kenny

The sound of knives dropping?

Read some hideous comments from one Christian minister against another on Facebook! Full of judgement and ridicule. The measure we use in judging other is the measure God will use to judge our works and service one day.. It is a fearful thought that one day many of our works may be thrown into the fire with the same dismissal we have shown towards our fellow believers and what they do for the Lord. Like Scrooge, we may well hear our own words being replayed to us at that awful moment when we see our life’s work going up in flames no matter any honour or praise we may have been given on earth by appreciative people. Oh we will be saved, but as though fire., our works and ministry unrewarded, unacknowledged., disregarded for eternity to come.

I often hear the Lord saying to me, as I begin to think negatively of another believer saved by the blood of Christ, or critically about their ministry by which they have genuinely sought to honour Him, “Could I just look into your life, your ministry, as you are doing to them, Kenny?” It makes me drop the knives very quickly. In case you think I am pleading innocence and am never guilty of what I saw on Facebook that I refer to above, through the night I found myself weeping at a bad attitude that arose towards a fellow servant of Christ. I so hate when such a horrible thing surfaces in me. I try and be quick to acknowledge it and find mercy, but will I ever reach the place of sanctification by the grace of God that such horrible thoughts will never arise again against a fellow believer and servant of God? I hope so. I still hope so, for with God nothing is impossible. I know that after almost 48 years of salvation, I still need mercy.

Maybe it is part of heart preparation for Lewis, though not just for that. Already people there are weeping before the Lord at prayer meetings in an awareness of God in the midst of their gatherings. People are praying at the meetings that have never prayed before; the work of God’s Spirit. Humble united prayer together with no sidelong swipes or darts being flung at anyone else under a cloak of false piety,; coming together before the God whose mercies are new every morning, whose faithfulness is great, who draws us to Himself with cords of compassion, seems to indeed be the place of God’s commanded blessing. My prayer is that when I go there at the weekend, God willing, I will do nothing to disturb what God is doing even at this moment as He moves among His people. I can genuinely say I would rather not go if there was any risk of that happening, though I would be sad at not being with people I love in a place I love. I have already prayed that if God would be more glorified by my not being there, that is fine by me. I think it is healthy to say on a fairly regular basis, “Use me or set me aside as you see fit, Lord, for your glory.”

God bless

Kenny