Awake early. Just letting my mind wander back and forward in time to good memories and future hopes. Looking forward to being with Dr. Jack Deere for the Conference in Lewis in June 2020, health permitting and God willing. Why not consider planning to come over to Lewis to hear him? I first heard him preach in Toronto in 1994? 1995? His talk led me to re-evaluate just about everything to do with “Church” and helped me into a more fruitful ministry in the Holy Spirit than had been the case up until then. I will be forever grateful for that sermon: biblical clarity, wisdom (not just cleverness), honesty. I was cut to the heart. I knew I could never minister in the same way again, nor stick to the way in which I led a congregation if I was going to be truly obedient to the Bible and open to the Holy Spirit, willing for Him to be Himself in me and through me. Everything I brought to parish ministry from that point on, anything I brought to CLAN Gathering, to conferences and retreats for leaders in the UK and beyond came from what God spoke to my mind and to my heart from the Bible through that one talk. By the way, I listened to it lying down, having been slain in the Spirit just before Jack got up to speak! That talk still influences just about everything in my ministry to this day.
One of my favourite memories of Jack is when he was speaking at CLAN Gathering on one of his visits to us, about meeting a young man back home in America who claimed to have the New Testament gift of prophecy (as distinct from Prophecy in the Old Testament). However it seemed to function in a way that was completely different from the way Paul teaches it is meant to function in the church. It enabled him to see what was wrong with everybody else! Jack’s response to that as he shared the story with us was this: “Always and only seeing what is wrong with people is not a spiritual gift, it is a psychological condition requiring medication!”
…I try and keep that story in mind..
…I also keep this in mind too from that talk in Toronto. Jack has a background in theological teaching. He is a bright guy intellectually. He said “There is a big difference between the anointing of cleverness and the anointing of wisdom.”
…I keep this in mind too. When Jack first spoke at CLAN Gathering, it was one of his earliest ventures into public ministry again after his son’s suicide. Over the years since his ministry and writing has been marked by almost unbearable honesty. That unrelenting honesty about his own struggles in the story of his life opens him up to rejection by the religious who like things nice and neat. However, it is powerfully helpful to those who seek to truly embrace the Gospel Jesus preached. in its glory and in its pain. We carry the mystery of “The Already Here but not yet Kingdom” in our very being until That Day.
I hope many of you manage to come to Lewis in June. Don’t get me wrong. Jack is full of humour and a wonderful communicator. You will “enjoy” hims as a speaker if you come to Lewis in June 2020. But I know that something much deeper will happen for many. Perhaps you will hear something that will change the way you live, the way you minister, the way you lead, the way you want to “do church” for the rest of your life.
(The dates of the Conference are the 5th and 6th of June and then, of course, folk can stay for the Sunday as well. I am glad that the amazing Tommy MacNeil will be speaking this year along with Jack and myself. Can’t wait… I feel like a kid before Christmas as I have written this post!)