The courage to let go of what is revered…

“Lord, teach me to be generous
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.”

This prayer, often honoured and quoted in my younger years as a Christian, in the hands of the enemy has done more to distort my thinking about God, my thinking about myself, more to mock me and damage my physical and spiritual well-being than any other revered saying.

Is there a revered influence whose voice you need to stop listening to? It may serve others well enough but it is not the voice of your Shepherd for you. Listen to Him. He knows you by name. Your spirit by the Holy Spirit can learn to discern His voice and recognise the imitators who come as a thief to steal, kill and destroy you, even though the decoy sounds enticingly close to the real thing.

God bless

Kenny

Prophets and Prophecy in the Church. The real deal?

On Facebook today someone asked me what I mean when I talked about some prophets being the “real deal.”  The phrase was used in the context of commenting on conflicting prophecies in the Charismatic world on Brexit! This is how I responded. I did so instantly without thinking too much. Sometimes I find if I refine my thinking too much it loses some “life” even if it becomes a bit more polished and “clever.” I have posted my comment on that reality. The definition of the “real deal” in answer to a question put to me then follows  in italics.

“What to do when prophets disagree over Brexit…. as they are doing in the charismatic world- even prophets I admire and suspect are the real deal, not always right of course, but real? Well, I guess I trust most the ones that seem to tally most with the heart of God, the priorities of God revealed in Christ. Some make no mention of that…just ardent proclamation on the political level backed up by pretty inaccurate versions of history. Others are quite beautiful, full of compassion and grace, allied to a desire for righteousness and justice, without claiming the Scriptural high ground. After all, you can make a case for or against Brexit from Scripture very easily indeed, as you can with a lot of issues, so it can’t be settled that way. Leaving aside isolated texts that folk quote to back up their case, to whom does the heart of God go out towards? I look for prophecies that reflect that. They help me to pray with hope and faith. Such prophets sound as though they have nothing to prove and no axe to grind but speak with a quiet authority.”

“The ‘real deal?’ Someone who knows how to be in the counsel of the Lord, to hear His voice. They are marked in my experience, with humility, Scriptural faithfulness, Christ-like character and with a level of accuracy and insightful knowledge that shows this is coming from the Lord who knows all things, even things unwitnessed or unseen on a human level. They will always obey the rule of Scripture for New Testament prophecy, which is that even if there are things difficult to say and to hear, the fruit is seen in that people are strengthened, comforted and encouraged in the will and the ways of God.”

This may be of interest to you…and it may not be!

God bless

Kenny

 

That wave…

I had a dream last night about how often we settle for forgiveness rather than freedom, the comfort of grace rather than the true grace of God leading us to the joy of the Conqueror.

Have you settled for a circle of forgiveness and defeat? Remember that in Christ you have been given the authority and the power to live as a child of God. Don’t stop with forgiveness, though forgiveness alone  would be reason to praise God for all eternity. Pursue freedom.  In Christ you really can get past the wave that so continually seems to have washed you back to the shore in despair and seems to have mocked your desire to get beyond it to swim in the freedom of God. Don’t listen to the mockery one day longer. Ge hold of this truth: your sinful nature has been crucified with Christ.  Declare that truth over familiar temptation anytime it seems to mock you with a sense of its invincibility and of  inevitability of sin.

 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior,[b] Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds (Titus 2. 11 – 14, NRSV).”

Let the grace of God in Jesus be your personal trainer!

God bless you with hope.

Kenny

Ordered steps…

Sometimes Christians like myself make looking for guidance from God a feverish sort of enterprise. It can become a bit of a fraught and anxious affair. Well, this thought was in my mind today in my waking moments. “Put your life into His hands, walk in obedience to His commands, and trust that the ordering of your steps is happening.” As Children of God, we are being guided even when we don’t necessarily have an awareness of it happening.

I like the following words from a poem in one of the books I turn to from time to time as a daily devotional aid, “Celtic Day Prayer, Book 2 (Page 889).”

“..you have put your life into My keeping,
and because you are
depending on Me for guidance and direction,
I shall give it.

Move on steadily,
and know that the waters that carry you
are the waters of My love and My kindness
and I will keep you on the right course.” (Frances J Roberts)

I hope these thoughts bless you today with an awareness of the peace of Christ.

Kenny

Variations on a theme…

Here are 3 short posts I put on Facebook today. In my mind they are variations on a theme, but that may be clearer to me than to you when you read them. They were sparked off by reading a dismissal of the compatibility of Psychiatry and Christianity. Sadly, one often reads of those who claim to believe in the bible and to honour it making claims that deny what the bible actually states and teaches. The thoughts I read seemed to me to be a very disturbing and potentially extremely unhelpful and dangerous should they become planted in people’s minds. The following thoughts seemed to flow in rapid succession to one another..

Thought 1: “One meets incredible thoughts on Facebook at times. Read a comment today that Christianity and Psychiatry can’t coexist. Ah well, it would seem in some folks’ eyes no Psychiatrist can be a Christian and no Christian can be a Psychiatrist. The bible is so inconvenient for such opinions. It contains such a lot of excellent insight and help for the renewal and wellbeing of our minds.”

Thought 2: “It is no dishonour at all to the uniqueness of Christ, no denial of Jesus as the only Name in which salvation can be found, to speak of God’s common grace toward all: the blessings He gives to all mankind for their good, whether a person is a Christian or not. So, for example, I am grateful for medicine, education, harvest, friendship, love, to name just a few of a thousand common grace blessings from God. I am so glad they do not just belong to Christians. I would find that intolerable. I cannot imagine anyone with the love of God in their hearts for the world in its lostness and need could ever find that anything but intolerable. Even other religions according to the bible can be seen as a feeling after God, indeed that is specifically taught in the New Testament. It is Apostolic truth. There is no need to attack everything in order to defend Christ. So often I have felt the anointing of God’s Spirit, His Presence come into the midst, as people who are not believers in Christ have spoken of their profound gratefulness to a God who they make no pretence to truly know as yet. Gratefulness is a good start.”

Thought 3: “God in the New Testament honours the preaching of His Word by interrupting it. Do we want that? Are we praying for that? Satan interrupts the Word as well. We need to learn who is interrupting and what to do when it happens, otherwise we may well reject God’s Spirit from the life of the Church because we think it is the devil at work, or welcome the devil because we think his activity is God at work. Remember when the devil interrupts in the New Testament he is usually declaring the truth of who Christ is. Biblical Orthodoxy, though it is a good thing to pursue, is not a fail-safe guide as to what is happening.”

God bless

Kenny

Send the Fire!

Felt the fire of God upon my body through the night. Wondered if I had been healed. Not the case, I think, but you know what? It showed me God can heal me any time He chooses, if He can touch me like that. You know something else? Compared with the wonder of His very own presence, healing seems a much lesser treasure to be desired. His Name shall called “Wonderful!” He is Life. His glory is not imagination but is unimaginable. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom. We could not survive it. Thank God we will be changed to bear His presence and love forever. Thank God for tastes of eternity, moments that speak to us of an eternity to come. Praise the Name of the God who appears and who hides Himself, who captures out heart and lures us deeper in. What would it be like if His presence and Fire came down on a congregation? Revival! What if that presence spilled over into the community? Awakening. This God can turn a community back to Him in a single day. I believe it! Whatever you are called to be and be doing for God, God bless you in it, but don’t stop believing for Revival, for another Awakening. The “normal” work must go on, and for that we will give account. We cannot sit back and do nothing as those who have been given the Good News, but oh for days as in times of refreshing in the past in Scotland, when all that people can say in communities across the length and breadth of this land is, “God has come!”

I love this hymn penned by General William Booth.

Verse 1
O God of burning cleansing flame
Send the fire
Your blood-bought gift today we claim
Send the fire today
Look down and see this waiting host
And send the promised Holy Ghost
We need another Pentecost
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

Verse 2
God of Elijah hear our cry
Send the fire
And make us fit to live or die
Send the fire today
To burn up every trace of sin
To bring the light and glory in
The revolution now begin
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

Verse 3
It’s fire we want for fire we plead
Send the fire
The fire will meet our every need
Send the fire today
For strength to always do what’s right
For grace to conquer in the fight
For power to walk the world in white
Send the fire today
Send the fire today
Verse 4

To make our weak hearts strong and brave
Send the fire
To live a dying world to save
Send the fire today
Oh see us on Your altar lay
We give our lives to You today
So crown the offering now we pray
Send the fire today
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

God bless

Kenny

Love suffereth long

It has taken me nearly fifty years to understand some of what I understand about Christ and for some things about me to change by the power of God’s grace and truth. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit has been very patient with me. Oh how patient. No doubt He has been extremely patient with you too. We need to remember that when we get frustrated with one another and don’t understand why someone or other is not getting something or other or walking in victory over something or other as quickly as we think should be the case. Why the confusion? Think often of how patient and long suffering God’s love has been with you and with me, how often we went round and round and round the roundabouts, and are still going round a few no doubt.

“Thy patience, Lord. Please help me to treasure Thy patience in me for me. Help me to want  to make room for Thy Patience in me through me for others.”

God bless

Kenny

 

Be yourself and use what you have got!

I once shared in a conference in America with R.T. Kendall and John Paul Jackson and David Ravenhill (son of Leonard). I am not name dropping, honest! The point is, I felt afraid. I respected these men so much and felt on the human level I was out of my league. I blurted out these feelings to JPJ in the lift in the hotel one morning. I told him about my inadequacies, the shortcomings and failings and sins. I said I wanted him to know all these things about me, and how unfit I was to be sharing in the conference he had organised. He laughed and smiled with great love and said, “Kenny, years ago, God told me that he builds his flock with the spotted and the speckled, and I was to build with the spotted and the speckled too.” It was a reference to the story of Jacob. My heart was set at peace instantly, and I was set free to be me at the conference without any more worries.

That came to mind today for one or two reasons. I felt I wanted to share it. We are all spotted and speckled. Don’t turn down an opportunity God opens to you by counting yourself out. One of my heroes, JPJ, has passed into glory leaving much blessing and enduring influence. You and I are still alive. My favourite Proverb? “Better a live dog than a dead lion.” If you are alive this day, don’t let awe of lions stop you from rejoicing in the gift of a bark! Use it!

God bless

Kenny

Never left School?

“Although you are in your 60’s or 70’s your school tie is still a noose round your neck.”

I think the Lord wanted me to post that “word.” I can see many diverse ways to interpret that, but prophecy is not meant to be a matter of the messenger’s own personal understanding or interpretation, so I simply pass on what I think I saw and heard from the Lord and leave it with you. It is all He gave, and I don’t want to begin in the Spirit and end up continuing in the flesh, to take a verse of Scripture out of context!

If it is for you, if the tie fits as it were, I pray in advance and with simple child like faith that you will find yourself reading this. May you receive it as the Lord’s care and compassion for you, and an indicator it is not too late to receive His help and freeing touch. Ask Him if there is anything you should do with this word. There may be, there may not be. Even the reading of it and receiving it as it stands, may release freedom from what binds you from your school years.

By the way, I should add one more detail. The very definite sense I had was that this was a Secondary School tie, rather than a Primary School tie. Thought I should just mention that.

God bless

Kenny

Disregarded words from God?

A community of grace is compatible with the exercise of proper discipline. Over the years I have seen the words I quote here from 1st. Timothy Chapter 5 disregarded when it comes to confronting sin, especially sin in the eldership/ leadership of he church. I have lived long enough to see some of these individuals who should have been corrected in truth and grace experience humiliation, suffer tremendous and tragic sorrow beyond the norm in a way that makes me fear God, so much so that I could not share the details or even speak them out. I often wonder if they would have been spared such suffering if they had been properly called to account by fellow leaders who truly loved them, rather than being allowed to continue in sin. Of course, if confronted, they may well not have listened.

Anyway, take a look at the words from Paul to Timothy, quoted below. As I read them tonight I thought of the incidents I mentioned above whichI know about from personal experience, but I could not help but think also of the too often repeated scene in the current charismatic world which is the part of the church I have been involved with most of my life: influential leaders appearing in public on a stage to stand with fellow influential leaders who have had powerful ministries of signs and wonders who fell into sin, affirming them and their ministry without any confession or evidence of genuine repentance, beyond an explanation of how the sin happened. Their endorsement is met by cheering crowds persuaded wrongly they are applauding grace and mercy. Whatever this pantomime is, it is not the true grace of God as defined in the bible and in Christ. It is rather a mockery of the God who has told us that what we sow we reap, and what is more, it causes confusion and the possibility of loss of a future loss of trust among the people of God when truth eventually comes filtering though into the light. It happens in the Catholic church, the Reformed churches as well as in the Charismatic churches. Sometimes it makes the secular news, sometimes it does not. No church is immune… and yes, there but for the grace of God, go I. No individual is immune from the possibility of betraying the trust placed in them as leaders.

“Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.”

God bless you with the true grace of God and the true fear of the Lord.

Kenny

Paul Cain: The Fear of the Lord…

What follows this introductory paragraph is honest and sobering. It is written by Dr. R.T. Kendall about Paul Cain who died recently. I for one was very confused when Paul Cain spoke at Kensington Temple last year and seemed to say then and round about that time period that he had lived a celibate life. When I prayed after listening, I felt it inevitable that he would not live long, and would probably pass away within months, as his comments would indeed cause confusion and could harm the integrity of genuine works of God of a charismatic type. I was blessed incredibly by Paul Cain’s ministry in the 1990’s. It was astounding. I think whatever he was responsible for in terms of his immorality, a world wide charismatic church community that was perhaps more in love with his ministry than caring to love him, was partly to blame. He was valued by most more for his gifting than himself even as a child, which can in turn cause a spiritual blindness to the obvious. It is a common sin of the church that hungers after experience, no questions asked. I believe God has taken his child home, where he will be loved for himself not abused for his ministry. That is my sincere hope, though I cannot prove it to be fact. However, it would be foolish not to learn lessons from Paul’s life and fall and his restoration, whether that was true or not; supremely the danger when someone operates a ministry with no accountability which seemed to be largely the case for many years. I have known other well known ministries which failed because of the same mistake, some deliberately cutting accountability ties that were once in place, just before their fall happened. Isolation and lack of accountability are hugely dangerous, especially for unusually sensitive and fragile people, with enduring damage from childhood years. Anyway, what follows is written by R.T. Kendall. You can find it on his blog page but for some reason I could not post the link here. I asked R.T.’s permission to share it. There is also a very sobering if somewhat rambling video comment by Rick Joyner if you care to search for it, which seems to be based on very recent experience. I for one remain supremely grateful for Paul’s ministry. I saw his vulnerability. I regret the way he was used, especially in his earliest years. I thank God I do not have to judge where the dividing line is between personal responsibility and that for which others may share a part blame. What I have seen in prayer over the years for Paul has left me astounded at the compassion of God. It has also awakened the fear of the Lord. Anyway, this is where my words stop and R.T’s words begin.
“Paul Cain was the most unusual prophetic person I ever met. His gift was extraordinary. I was honored to meet him and to know him. John Wimber wanted us to meet. Paul said that when he heard my name he was anxious to meet me more than anybody he ever knew. He even said I would be the brother he never had.

We got off to a good start. It began with lunch with Paul, Lyndon Bowring and me (see photo above). Paul gave me a prophetic word that was so relevant that I knew I should affirm him. I immediately invited him to speak at Westminster Chapel. He was well received from the beginning. In those early days he and his assistant Reed Grafke had become like family. We laughed and laughed a lot together. We spent hours and hours together in London and in Florida where they would visit our family on our fishing holidays. We spent days bonefishing over two summers in the Florida Keys. He was present when I first spoke at the Toronto Airport Fellowship – the night I was literally unable to string two sentences together intelligibly in front of two thousand people; that is, until I changed my text to Hebrews 13:13. I have written about this embarrassing experience elsewhere.

He later asked to become a member of the Chapel, saying that he wanted this “more than anything I have wanted in my life”. We broke the rules and made him a member. If I could turn the clock back, I would not have allowed this. After he was made a member he stopped returning my phone calls. His attitude toward me changed. I could not understand what was going on. This gave me as much pain as the pleasure he previously gave me by his prophecies.

Hearing Paul Cain stories was like reading accounts from both Elijah and Elisha. The extraordinary words of knowledge and prophetic utterances – often in puns – that he gave to people defy a natural explanation. No doubt other people who knew him will recount the amazing stories. It is only a matter of time that a book about him will come out.

There is no way to verify the story that his mother had cancer throughout her body when she was pregnant with Paul – that she was visited by an angel and was miraculously healed by the time Paul was born. What is undoubted is that from an early age Paul was given a supernatural gift of healing and words of knowledge. In the early 1950s he was a “boy wonder” – a healing evangelist that paralleled the early era of Oral Roberts. He said that the “healing anointing” that was present in several people in those days lifted but his prophetic gift continued on. He also became a recluse after that for many years.

I refer to him in the opening statement of my book The Anointing – that I had been influenced largely by him and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, strange as that may seem. But it is true. A conversation with him in a restaurant in Victoria Street, London, began the Word and Spirit ministry that I have sought to carry on. I said to him, “Paul, you need my theology; I need your power”. He said, “You have a deal”. Our first Word and Spirit Conference was held at Wembley Conference Centre in October 1992. But what many people remember was not anything Paul said but my address about Ishmael and Isaac. It was largely rejected, but Colin Dye, pastor of Kensington Temple, accepted it.

Paul was however a blessing to Westminster Chapel. He gave us timely words that were greatly needed. Nearly all he prophesied came true; almost all his words of knowledge were astonishingly accurate. You can read more about this in The Anointing and In Pursuit of His Glory – an autobiographical account of my twenty-five years in Westminster Chapel which includes a whole chapter on Paul Cain.

“Thank God for the least thing”, he would say when you were praying for someone’s healing. By that he meant we should not be ashamed to pray for a common cold as well as cancer when many cynics are critical. “The more God uses me the less I am able to enjoy it”, he used to say. I know what he means by that, having just finished preaching in Korea during a fifteen hour jet lag with little sleep. Arthur Blessitt used to say the same thing: “the tireder I am the more God uses me”. I could write a lot about Paul’s ministry to the Chapel, to my family and friends. One thing I will share is, when Rodney Howard-Browne preached for me Paul said I would lose some people (twenty members resigned in twenty-one days as it turned out), “but they will be replaced by pure gold”. He was right.

Paul Cain was not an intellectual but he was very intelligent. Dr. Lloyd-Jones used to make a distinction between being intellectual and being intelligent. “A cockney taxi driver will often be intelligent whereas an Oxford professor will be intellectual but often not be intelligent” (e.g. lacking in common sense). Paul was conscious of having little or no education. He was sensitive to any criticism, would worry more about one person in the audience against him than a thousand that were for him.

I wrote a book Is God for the Homosexual?It was widely accepted by the gay community in London for my sympathy toward one’s sexual proclivity but not for the fact I said the Bible teaches total abstinence from sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage. In researching this book I learned a lot. One thing was that a person often becomes gay by the absence of a father and the smother-love of the mother. Paul Cain’s background was precisely that. And yet I had no idea he was gay. Knowing how he related to his father should have made me see the obvious, but I simply did not see any evidence of it.

This was almost certainly why he avoided me in those years he would not return my calls. When I finally caught up with him years later – with my friend Jack Taylor – I said to him, “Paul, you are supposed to be accountable to me. But I have no idea who you are accountable to. I would lovingly warn you, if you do not listen, you are going to be yesterday’s man”. He wept. He seemed grateful. But I knew the next day he was staying aloof from me. Two years later Jack Taylor said to me, “Have you heard the news about Paul?” “No, what do you mean?” Jack then told me of his moral failure. It was the worst news I think I ever received in my lifetime.

The gifts of God are without repentance, that is, irrevocable (Rom.11:29). Paul’s gift pretty much continued on in his old age, although the last time I heard him he mostly reminisced and had minimal fresh prophetic words.

I am not Paul’s judge. God will bring to light what is absolutely true (1 Cor.4:5). But if I am totally honest, it seems to me that Paul was an example of one who blew away his inheritance. He will be saved but by fire (1 Cor.3:15).

I loved him, liked him, admired him, do not regret knowing him. I kept praying for him daily. Louise and I prayed for years that he would finish well and achieve more at the end of his life – like Samson – than in the whole of his life. Our prayers were not answered. He went to heaven under a dark, dark cloud.”

Me again now! Nothing in me wanted to post this. However, fear of the Lord prevailed. I am retired but remain a pastor. The flock needs warned and guarded. We need to remember that all our idols have feet of clay. We need a commitment to integrity. We need to make sure that hunger for signs and wonders do not make us so open minded that our brains fall out, which is something that Paul Cain himself once warned against.  We may be grateful for those who have had a Father like role in our spiritual lives and yet at the same time remember that to call a man “Father” or even Papa against the clear instruction of Jesus may well lead to a blind trust and ultimately to disillusionment and even loss of faith.

God bless

Kenny

Lent?

OK then, this is a bit early, but it is in my thoughts, which is what Facebook asked me. I cannot find any biblical backing for the season called Lent in terms of a sort of 40 day time of spiritual preparation for Easter. I think the first reference to such a 40 day season is found in the 4th. Century which of course may imply it existed before then: I may be wrong about that: correction willingly and humbly accepted. I will not contest it you if you tell me other, as I am simply saying what I believe to be the case historically. So for me it is one of these things than can claim no biblical authority, along with other matters such as special robes for the clergy etc. As such, such things are not part of my articles of faith and practice as it were, nor are they reason for entering into argument with those for whom they matter a lot. I can take such things or leave them without fight! However that does not mean that times of spiritual searching and preparation are not helpful and advisable. I know we can and should prepare ourselves all the time, but nonetheless, everyday preparation can be injected with fresh life by a special focussed season devoted to that purpose.

Spring sort of fits in with us psychologically as a time of reaching out with and for new life. Lent comes from a word for Spring.I am not sure where Lent descended into matters such as giving up chocolate, though no doubt such things help with personal discipline. However, let me suggest that if you want to follow a slightly deeper pursuit than the mastery of chocolate consumption, but are not the type of person with whom a formal Lenten course sits well, you could think of this: Jesus 40 days in the wilderness seemed to centre on this battle; an infiltration by evil to misinterpret, misapply and lie about what Christ’s belovedness meant, in order to to contest it or to distort its implications for His relationship with the Father and doing the Father’s will in the Father’s way. Jesus won through and returned from the wilderness in the obvious and manifest power of the Spirit.

Why not say over yourself each day of Lent when it comes, what God says over you in Christ? “You are my Son, my Daughter, whom I love. You bring me great joy.” Having said that each day in the Name of the Father to yourself, listen for where something within you, or from without contests that, argues with it, accepts it or rejoices in it. What do you think is going on within you and why? What are the implications of your belovedness for how you face your circumstances, for your relating to others, for prayer, for faith, for service? What strongholds within your relationship with yourself and with God raise themselves up against the truth of your belovedness? What reacts by calling your belovedness a lie? How did that get there?

So there is my suggestion for you if you are like me and find a formal embracing of Lent does not sit easy with you for biblical reasons. Take it or leave it, free of charge!

God bless

Kenny

“To an unknown God…”

Read this today. It helped me to see where my best thoughts are birthed for myself, thoughts for others, for life, for a sermon, for poems (seldom to be shared).

Where is the simplest place you know? For me it is in being called, “Beloved.” In that place, Life calls from eternity into time, and from within time cries out towards eternity. It is the place where reality is faced with the faith to mourn and hope.

Personally, and I mean that, I rarely find truth in typical Christian books that is not obvious, though I am grateful for them and need them, especially when truth is expressed in new ways or illustrated from honest personal experience. I find poets speak true truth of a more primal level, even when they are not Christian believers. Paul saw that and did not share present day evangelical or charismatic uneasy qualms about that fact. Nor should he share our qualms. The fact it is so, is part of the truth that Christ lightens every person born into the world. We should always be thankful for that true light wherever we see its glimmer.

By the way, poets also often show “lostness” with clarity as well. I read a couple of poems today by Norman MacCaig. He is one of my two favourite poets but was defiantly, proudly, sardonically and angrily godless as far as I can read him from his work. I have never read a poet that can speak more beautifully about facing the sorrow of bereavement, but at the same time the bleak beauty shows a man who has no answer or hope to share. Tangent ended! Here are the lines that touched me today:

“May things stay the way they are
in the simplest place you know….
….
May nothing be disturbed
in the simplest place you know
for it is here in the foetal hush
that blueprints dissolve
and poems begin,
and faith spreads like the hum of crickets,
faith in a time
when maps shall fade,
nostalgia cease
and the vigil end.”

(Arundathi Subramaniam “Prayer.”)

God bless

Kenny

Just in case you get the wrong impression of me…

It is the danger of a being a blogger who means to be encouraging that the impression is given of being a “know it all.” Actually, I have always felt I am but a child in the things of God, but a child who wants to learn. Most of my sermons come fresh off the page that I am learning myself.

Just in case you think I never have any battles … here is a poem I wrote once. It may help you now or in a future moment. We all have battles. They may differ for each one of us, or may differ within  us at various times, but the answer is the same; the Love of God: the God who is with us, for us, who takes delight in us, and who does not turn against us when we struggle, even when we have brought our struggles upon ourselves through deliberate wilfulness or unintended carelessness.

Why to night?

Tonight, I sweat in your presence,
Overdosed on worry
Injected with anxiety
Seeing weird and distorted portends,
Confusion my only clarity
Non-happening, most obvious reality…

Tonight, regimes changed so quickly,
A day of restfulness
Marinading in joyfulness
A soundtrack of songs of simplicity,
But dark now the score
Threatening, the waterfall’s roar…

“What happened?” asks Light,
“What turned today to night?”

Tonight, arrows pierced my helmet,
My unguarded eyes
Struck, by imagination’s lies!
A voice spoke with sharpened torment
“Failure” …“Useless”…
Words  from an out of date Thesaurus.

Tonight, in my presence, my  Father sweated,
… to hold my infant hands,
… to wrap me in Love’s swaddling bands.
… He spoke gently as though I was  to Him His only Beloved
… dear as  an infant Christ,
… His utmost delight.

Kenny Borthwick.

 

Know the Victor and know the enemy….

Another dream last night which showed me this:

The devil meticulously plans his tactics, while modern Christians can often be careless and casual with spiritual things, presuming that to be roughly in the ballpark, without too much regard for the application of the clear teaching and details of God’s word on all matters, is good enough for living and moving in the blessing of God.

The dream was in the context of the present plans of the Church of Scotland for renewal of its structures and organisation, but I thought it worthwhile sharing its truth as it has wider application.

For example, one aspect of the dream was about a casual approach to filthy language, which in many sectors of the Christian world is now seen as acceptable.

Never think you will know the power of Christ’s victory over the devil, if you are not prepared to let Him help you live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord and echo those words with your lips and within your heart.

I will leave it up to you and the Holy Spirit to search together for where there may be details needing attended to that you may have dismissed as not mattering too much.

God bless

Kenny

 

Is there a hole in your pocket?

The angel said to Peter, “Quick!”  (Take time to read Acts 12 if you are not sure what this refers to!)

God’s sovereignty and my responsibility are often wrapped together as two sides of the one coin. I may not fully understand the process of how such a coin could ever be minted and long ago accepted that my willingness not to understand or adequately explain the mix may be sneered at and mocked as an intellectual cop-out. No matter: “The LORD protects those of childlike faith…” (Psalm 116). After 47 years of being a Christian and thinking like a Christian,  I am not sure that I have  gained much wisdom to shed more light on the subject or  to make myself sound more mature.

Whatever, I have found this coin to be good currency for purchasing spiritual health and victory in territories that seem like home to my soul, and in strange lands of unusual glories or daunting terrain reached by uncharted seas.

Treasure this coin. Guard it well. Has it slipped through a hole in your pocket? Think at what point you lost it, search for it and rejoice when you find it again.

God bless

Kenny

Is this warning for you?

Had a dream last night in which there was a battle against a spirit of mockery. Watch out today you do not mock Holy things, or scoff at what is beyond your spiritual understanding or experience as yet…there may be life waiting for you in the very place, ministry or truth you have so quickly and confidently dismissed.

God bless.

Kenny

A couple of thoughts…about our surprising and annoying God…

Two thoughts, similar, but from a different starting point, that I shred on “Facebook” today: shared here, for those who for many good reasons I  can think of would not touch “Facebook” with a barge pole!

Thought 1

In unexpected moments the Holy Spirit starts to dance with joy within us hand in hand with our spirit. It can happen in the midst of trial or ease, amidst a crowd or in aloneness, in our waking hours or when we are asleep. We hear the distant but distinct strains of a celebration and realise that part of our being has slipped out trough the window, escaping the brooding captivity of all that saps life away: it has already taken to the floor and its joyful whirling sends forth an invitation that the rest of our being may follow.

Thought 2

It is intensely annoying when the Holy Spirit in your your spirit is rejoicing in something  that your mind , armed with good solid biblical reasoning, is furious at. Been there so many times and have got the T-shirts in every colour under the sun…but would rather face that annoyance and its good fruit than be what I would be without it: a wee gnarled up angry Scottish Presbyterian Charismatic Pentecostal semi-retired older brother.

May my thoughts awaken and bless your own thinking.

Kenny

 

Child and Conqueror!

It is always dangerous to separate what God puts together in His written Word and in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.  It is especially dangerous for those of us called to preach and teach to make that mistake as servants of God in the spoken Word.

In recent years there has thankfully been an emphasis in Renewal circles on the Father heart of God. This was much needed in countries like my own, Scotland, where people have often been brought up in the remnants of a spiritual culture that seemed to major on God as judge, and a harsh judge at that; a God who wears a frown rather than a smile of welcome and mercy.

However though we can never overstate the love of God in its scope or depth,  we can misrepresent its implications. In the bible, in the life of Jesus, the declaration of the Father’s love was followed by choices made for the Father’s will in the wilderness.

When we truly receive the love of God, a desire to do His will is birthed within us along with the power so to choose. In the presentation of the gospel, the Good News that in Jesus we not only find the delight of God resting upon us  but are  also given a new nature that delights in doing God’s will,  is sometimes obscured:  one reality is presented at the expense of the other. So for example,  the hyper-grace movement leaves out the requirement and joy of repentance and obedience, while Holiness movements and churches  have often resulted in a legalism that like all Pharisaism hides the smile of God’s saving love and kind mercy behind a disapproving, judging frown of unapproachability.

The joy of Christ’s Baptism and His obedience in the wilderness go together. This is the true grace of God that comes to us through relationship with Him, through  abiding in Him. It is also the way to true joy. Nothing can interrupt the joy of those who know they are loved  by the Father and who live to do the Father’s will. This was the delight of Christ and He invites us into Him: “Come to me.” In Him we find a love that cannot be interrupted and a joy that nothing can keep from us. What is to stop any of us this day, whoever and whatever is part of our situation, from obeying the Father’s will, and finding therein our delight? Only our choice.

I have been thinking back today over those moments when I have met people who have moved me to tears with the sight of the beauty of Christ in their lives. One such person was the missionary, Dr. Helen Roseveare. I heard her speak at Kilcreggan House when I was 15 or 16. I cannot really remember what she said, but it was the beauty of the Lord Jesus shining from her face, that made me want to find a private spot in the grounds, simply to weep. Truest beauty has that effect. It was overwhelming to me. The way to that beauty somehow became crystal clear without anyone telling me; saying “Yes” to the Father’s will, whatever that meant. It was something to do with not negotiating a contract with Christ under out own terms, but surrendering everything to the will of God without a terms and conditions clause. I have never forgotten that moment.

I hope whoever you are, you are living  in the full joy of Christ.  Perhaps to do so you might need to restore a balance to what it means to be in Christ. You may need to stand with Him under the joyful proclamation at His baptism and hear these words being spoken over you: “You are my Son, my Daughter whom I love. You bring me great delight!” Alternatively, you may need to stand with Him in the lonely  and costly choices of obedience in the desert, allowing Him to help you say His “Yes” to the Father’s will.

I believe this post is offering you the pathway to joy and freedom. For some it will be the joy of standing on the mountain top of spiritual experience  lifting your eyes to the Father in clear uninterrupted skies. For others, it will be the joy of standing in the valley in the midst or in the aftermath of great battle, with your weapons held aloft, bruised and bloodied but with a warrior cry of “Freedom” emerging from the unassailable depths of your being.

May the unfettered joy of Christ, the Son and the Victor be yours this day and always.

God bless you, Child of God and More than a Conqueror

Kenny

The glory of dawn!

Do we really believe the gospel, the gospel of the already here and still coming Kingdom of Heaven? I am a Charismatic and because of what I see in the bible, always will be I believe, but I fear for the Charismatic Movement in its popular manifestation in the Western World. Current popular charismatic teaching in its almost exclusive focus on “Kingdom now” causes very real distress of mind and soul to many of God’s faithful saints, but marches on in seeming unconcern about the damage inflicted upon vulnerable and fragile people living with the mystery of suffering of one sort or another. It shares only success stories giving only the very briefest of nods towards those for whom their ministry process has not “worked” but quickly passing on. Already convinced listeners seem to happily allow this sleight of hand, but it brings the charismatic dimension into discredit with those looking on and may contribute to the demise of genuine interest and pursuit.

Exaggeration of results does not help either, whereby we speak out our best two or three stories as though they are a continual pattern. All of us can be guilty of that, charismatic or non charismatic! I have seen one of the most well known healing ministries active today in many nations say on their web site that at a meeting they were involved in in the UK, healing was happening all over the gathering. I was there. No healing happened that night. I have been at other meetings in which that same ministry was involved in which healings did most certainly happen, even to me. The fact of the erroneous report was drawn to the attention of the Ministry involved. They were asked to alter their web page. They refused to do so. It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup. Success can be difficult to handle. All our idols have feet of clay. Thankfully, God is merciful.

If we do believe in “Now” and “Still to come,” then we will help one another to understand that non healing now as much as healing, tears now as much as joy, suffering now as much as release are all affirming signs as much as obvious miracle, that our hope is true and our faith in the Gospel is the real deal. “How long?” will often be the cry of hearts that truly believe, as will be awe and wonder at the action of God in more obvious intervening power. Sickness, tears and suffering are all sure and certain signs that Christ will come again to bring us along with all things into the fullness of His victory. We believe that, believing also that miracle may break in at any moment as we wait.

An appeal to some who read this from myself, your brother who is one with you in your desire to see more of “Kingdom Now.” If you are going to command a miracle in the Name of Jesus, make sure God is going to back you up and check you are not being presumptive. The proof of whether you were right or wrong in your declaration, moving in presumption or faith is if the thing you declare happens or does not. If it does not happen, don’t be quick to blame the person you made the declaration over, in fact be very reluctant to ever go down that avenue at all. Do some heart searching and some re-examining of the teaching you have imbibed…. and humble yourself before the God who loves you and does indeed want you to learn from Him, how to become a faithful channel of the mystery of the already here and still coming Kingdom of heaven. Let’s learn to carry that mystery together, in both our tears and our joy. Both are part of our triumphal march in Christ. Let’s celebrate and let’s mourn as those who know God is with us and the brightness of The Day has dawned upon us.

God bless

Kenny

The Forgotten Four…

I am thinking today of Rev. Scott Burton, beginning his ministry in Britghtons Church of Scotland in Falkirk, and thinking too of his lovely wife, Gill, and their beautiful daughter, Hope. He is being preached in by the wonderful Rev. Ollie Clegg who was one of the ministry team at Holy Trinity in Wester Hailes, and is now Associate minister of  St. Mungo’s Episcopal Church in Balerno, with responsibilities too in St. Mungo’s in Livingston.  Ollie was a huge encouragement to Scott as he pursued his call to ministry. It made me think of how there may be many beginning a new season in ministry today who are unknown to me, but may be known to you. Jesus has promised to build His church. He can be trusted. Why not take a moment to pray for those beginning their ministries or a new chapter in their ministries today, Pray too for spouses, family and loved ones caught up in that call!

For some reason as I thought of Scott, the ramblings in the following paragraph started to bubble up to the surface. I found myself musing about ministry in a more general sort of way, and from there  my mind seemed to leap to all sorts of areas of Christian life and service. It all resulted in this:

Allowing loads of space for cultural differences, personality differences, differences in taste etc, if it doesn’t look and sound like Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, don’t give it sway in your life… by “it” I mean the ministry of any Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher, etc. etc. Come to think of it, when it boils down to it, He is the model for all things; prayer, leadership, mission, faith, confrontation, servanthood, obedience, church/church planting/church discipline, spiritual warfare, healing, helping folk with a terribly wounded story, deliverance and anything and everything else for that matter. Jesus of Nazareth is what God and His purpose is and looks like in a human being. For every book you read, course you go on, take a longer look still at Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Have you put a favourite speaker above Jesus? A favourite writer or book above the gospels? If so, why not open them today and start reading any of the 4 or all of them? Begin at the beginning or open them up wherever you feel led to start. Don’t feel ashamed if you find the words you are reading unfamiliar or unknown to you. Just thank God for bringing you on to the right path and ask Him to forgive your folly. He will. ‘Jesus, be the centre!’ Let’s tell others to read the stories of  “The Forgotten Four.” “

God bless

Kenny

The Lord of earthly and heavenly hosts…

I know some of you do not “do” Facebook. This is a story I posted there earlier this evening as part of a thread on angelic activity.. It maybe does not make sense in a vacuum and unrelated to the Facebook activity, but I somehow hope it blesses you and encourages your faith. Whatever else they may be, angels are a sign of the gospel that the Kingdom of Heaven is near to us.

In the early years of CLAN Gathering in Scotland when numbers were still climbing towards from a few hundred to several thousand coming from hundreds of churches, a few angels appeared on photographs. I never kept them or publicised them, as I thought they would be sensationalised and used in the wrong way. I remember meeting an older lady who simply came up to me and said, “Pray for Israel.” She then walked on with difficulty of movement. In one of the photographs she was standing there with her back to the camera – at least I am pretty sure it was her in that she was wearing the same clothes and shoes – worshipping …with wings on her back. By that I don’t mean a vague glow that could maybe could be interpreted as wings at a push and with a lot of imagination. I mean wings, truly glorious wings

The appearance of heavenly host seemed to be associated with joy. I have no idea why such realities appeared on photographs, nor why other types of spiritual manifestation appeared in the tent and in other conferences I was at a few weeks later, in the sky. If their wings had been visible to the naked eye I guess they may not have got past the stewards into the tent! Anyway, there it is. It is amazing what can happen when you create a venue with no other purpose than welcoming the presence of God and wanting to see His people encouraged in the joy of knowing Jesus. I heard this week of another ministry that started through the Spirit’s inspiration working in someone’s heart at CLAN in St. Andrews that is now international in its scope and bringing life to people and glory to God in Scotland and beyond. Wonderful.

Oh for days of nameless people, of no agenda other than welcoming the presence of God and honouring The Lamb slain since the foundation of the world. So much fruit is birthed in such an atmosphere, fruit that lasts and grows even when the seed itself falls into the ground and dies. It is a Kingdom law we can trust in with absolute confidence.

God bless

Kenny

Let the Arrow Fly…

I lost my peace last night. The reason? I started thinking about someone who was needing put right in their thinking about a matter of biblical truth, in my estimation: someone who I thought needed to listen to my “wisdom.” Maybe it is a besetting sin of pastors, the flip-side of our strength and gifting. It may be birthed in our desire to help, but an unguarded strength or gifting can become a weakness, indeed it can become destructive of the very good we intend.

Well, I woke up this morning, and saw the wrong in me for what it was. I have repented and peace is restored. There is maybe a lesson in that about when to “think” about things. Mulling  over a peace destroying thought at night time is not the best idea. Things tend to look different in the morning especially if despite the troubling in our thoughts the night before, we have somehow managed to receive the gift of sleep. This morning, I did not feel any need to put the person right. I saw them for the unique person they are and felt pastoral hope and peace on their behalf. I do not need to make the remarks to them I had thought of saying, in order to “help” them!

However, that experience made me think back  to a remark made to me on Facebook by someone a year or two ago, which was viciously judgemental and was made on the basis of presumptions about me by someone who knows me not one whit. They were out to put me right in the most ungracious terms. Well, as a pastor you have to develop a sensitive spirit  skin allied to the skin of a rhinoceros , so the attack did not land ! However it made me think of the sorts of things that we often say to one another as believers on social media. My own bible readings today were all about the use of  “the tongue.” I put the following  on Facebook. I know many of you do not use Facebook, and you may be wise in that decision! However, here it is:

“One often reads such vicious verbal assaults on believers by believers on Facebook. It rarely comes in my direction but from time to time all of us will be victims or villains in such communications, or more accurately non-communications.

Listen: if I thought the same as you about all manner of things, that would not give you the opportunity to grow in the love of God fo me, nor give to me the opportunity to grow in the love of God for you. Humility would suffer as well, as would the potential to grow in truth and wisdom together.

Tuck that thought away in your spiritual quiver. Use it this day or any day when it might be the appropriate arrow to draw out and fit to your bow. Aim it in the direction of the mutual enemy of us all, draw the string back with all your God given strength and let it fly.”

God bless

Kenny

 

Poltergeist…and the Power of the Ordinary using the Ordinary…

Great testimony to the power of God over spiritual darkness, heard at church last night.

A wonderful lady, who works as a Carer, was sharing that she had really been having a rough time over the last year or so. One thing after another had been hitting her in life. She was no sooner up on her feet after one blow than she was knocked down again. It all affected her spiritually. However she determined at New Year she was going to stand for Jesus, live for Jesus, come what may.

One night recently, after settling one of those she cares for, she was aware of a dark presence in the room. She felt like phoning the pastor, who has a ministry for dealing with such things, for help…but she didn’t. She got out of bed, knelt in prayer, and read bible verses off an App on her phone that corresponded to how she was feeling. The dark presence seemed now to be standing behind her, and she was afraid to look round. As she continued to pray read God’s Word and praise God, she was filled with the Holy Spirit’s power in a very tangible way. She continued to praise God, at which point 2 pillows that were on top of a chest of drawers were suddenly swiped from where they were lying and flew across the room. She kept praising God, and all was well.

The pastor afterwards, referring to the testimony in the course of the sermon ,simply said that the lady had done the right thing; used the ordinary things: she had prayed, read the bible etc. She then said it is always tempting when we are in need to think that we need someone “bigger” or “older” in God than we are to help us out. However, never underestimate the power of the “ordinary” things that God has given to us to use.

Anyway, I came home from church, blessed by a remarkable testimony followed by a remarkably helpful sermon.

Perhaps this is a day for you to discover the power of “Ordinary” things, or to rediscover their power: things like prayer, the words of Scripture simply read and believed, and praise.

I also thought as I was in the church that God put a young man on my heart, who was sitting in the front row, as one who would grow up to have a keen eye for dealing with the demonic because he had encountered that and early victories would lead to future giftedness and service. There are people who God does mean to grow into ministries in such things as I have described, but as I say, never forget the power of what we sometimes leave unused: the power of the ordinary means of grace that God has placed in our hands. Pick up the bible today and read a verse or 2. Pray today in whatever way you are accustomed to pray. Praise God, who is God always, forever, and in every circumstance you may find yourself in this day.

Such “ordinary” things are weapons made mighty through the Holy Ghost, to the pulling down of strongholds, especially these strongholds of wrong thinking which can establish themselves in deep places within us. Remember the truth, told in a homely way, that Satan trembles when he sees even the weakest Christian on their knees! Don’t get spooked by this testimony. Rather, remember what spooks the devil!

Below, you will find a link to a song which was played so so often on Sundays in my childhood, on the type of record player that in in vogue once more only now with Bluetooth facility! It is old fashioned and might be considered to be too simple by many and dismissed as sheer sentimentality, but I am grateful its truth got into me. I am grateful beyond measure for a home where Christ was loved and honoured. I am grateful for my memories of Dad singing along in his out of tune voice, dreaming of being George Beverly Shea, causing the rest of us loving laughter, as we waited for the delicious bacon and eggs and potatoe scones he would have been happily cooking for us all at the time!  I have met and pastored so many who woke on a Sunday to threatening silence, or to voices of discord and strife, voices to be feared from people to be hidden from. There are so many who would have loved such “sentimentality” being played on a record player, crackles and all, on a record player, and to have memories like mine. I should say  with all compassion and sincerity, that I recognise that some of you may not be able to reach the place the song speaks of without first acknowledging great pain and finding the loving help of Christ to bring you to a place where the song makes every day sense as it were. I pray He will. What some of you have been through is unspeakable and you may need help before the “ordinary’ is helpful rather the cause of further pain or even mockery. Perhaps  if your childhood was stolen, you could pray for its renewal in healed shape and from, even within  your adult life. I am remembering a song I first heard when living in Orkney which could be a prayer you might want to pray. It  started with these words: “I want to be a child again, I want to see the world through five year old eyes: To walk with my God wherever He may lead, to put my trust in Him”

Well, my Dad and George Beverly Shea will probably have met in heaven now, I suspect, and are both part of that great choir where nobody hears what anyone’s voice sounds like, for all attention will be on the Lamb in the midst of the throne, listening only for that voice that is like the sound of many waters. May you hear that voice today, flowing  all around you like living water, bubbling with a healing  happiness, and  with the joy of victory.

Click here

God bless

Kenny

Honour where honour is due…

This is not mock humility, it is not hyperbole, rather it is deeply felt and, I believe, demonstrably true: the day when all things shall be made plain and surprising rewards will be given, will prove it to be so. …

I owe everything to those known and unknown who have loved me and prayed for me, not least among that number being my parents and my wife. If you have ever been blessed by God through me, thank God for the pray-ers of which you yourself may be one! The bible tells us to give honour where honour is due.

For reasons unknown I feel this so deeply this night, that It just had to overflow to you.

If you have someone who prays for you faithfully and from the love of God in their hearts for you, you are truly rich and blessed. Maybe God is asking you to hear His call to be that blessing to another?

God bless

Kenny

“…go together like a horse and carriage…”

“Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe” Psalm 5.7.

True intimacy with God, security in His unfailing love, does not take away deepest awe and reverence.

I worry a bit, not a lot but a bit, about the assumption that casualness should be the tone of a church gathering which is sure of the Father’s love and an inviting and safe space for seekers.

Old fashioned? I probably am in some ways, but I have never felt I can wander in and out for or with coffee in the presence of unfailing divine love.

Nostalgic? Probably. I have come to the stage where I would prefer a good old fashioned call to worship with words of Scripture, rather than the now familiar waffle full of questionable teaching ending with the not very inspiring required formula, “Why don’t we stand…?”

Formal? Mmm, perhaps a bit. It may surprise you, but because in the charismatic world casualness has passed from being a not thought about incidental, into being a requirement to be put on display, I would almost rather see a preacher in clerical robes, suggesting at least a Holy calling affirmed by the church, rather than someone dressed in the latest trend of what gym buffed orthodontically enhanced stars of stage and screen are meant to look like, though of course heart is more important.

Yes, it is, it really is. Heart is more important. No question. I know that…I really do, but still…

I actually think a day will come when casualness in its deliberate , chiselled and expensive designer form in the church in the West, will lose its appeal. It will not satisfy those who are looking for something radically different from the world who will become disappointed to walk into a church to find Christians still in love with what they have left behind.

Ah well, that is what I think…

God bless

Kenny

Old truths ever New

Had such an enjoyable meeting with a fellow Church of Scotland minister today. I was reminded of two truths from two giants of the Faith.

Firstly, I was reminded of what David Watson said: true fellowship begins at the point of weakness, when we kneel at the foot of the cross, on level ground, in the place of healing and grace. Personally, I think that often fellowship is ruined when we try and meet one another in a competition based on our strengths.

Secondly, I was reminded Of something C. S. Lewis said: fellowship begins when all of a sudden one says to another with delighted discovery, “What? You too?” That discovery cuts through the need to know endless details about one another. Plenty time for that whenever, if ever…

God bless

Kenny

Angry at Generosity?

Remembering a solid Christian angrily asking me what use the gift of tongues was to anyone. Well it has its uses for sure, but what a horrible view of God, that He only does what is useful!

I wonder what sort of gifts that person gave to their nearest and dearest? Only ones that would get the response, “Thanks I was needing that,”? Did they never give something to a loved one that caused uproarious laughter when opened? Did they never give a personalised symbol of love forever treasured as priceless by the recipient, a cause of warmth and joy, but confusing, meaningless or ridiculous in the eyes of everyone else? Did they never give to excess to the accompaniment of universal condemnation but with disregarding laughter in their Remembering a solid Christian angrily asking me angrily what use the gift of tongues was to anyone. Well it has its uses for sure, but what a horrible view of God, that He only does what is useful! I wonder what sort of gifts that person gave to their nearest and dearest? Only ones that would get the response, “Thanks I was needing that,”? Did they never give something to a loved one that caused uproarious laughter when opened? Did they never give a personalised symbol of love forever treasured as priceless by the recipient, a cause of warmth and joy, but confusing, meaningless or ridiculous in the eyes of everyone else? Did they never give to excess to the accompaniment of universal condemnation but with disregarding laughter in their own spirit?

Never despise the generosity of God. Why are you uncomfortable if He chooses to be generous to anyone…to you?

God bless

Kenny

That thing we call “Church.”

A couple of bits and pieces that have moved me in recent days; worth sharing I think.

“If this is not a place, where tears are understood,
Then where shall I go to cry?
And if this is not a place, where my spirit can take wings,
Then where shall I go to fly?
(Ken Medema)

“Let light spill out of heaven
through my life,
dispelling mediocrity and silent blame,
Too many people, guilt stricken, wounded,
walk in regret,
feeling bad about failing,
apologise even for breathing.”
(Andy Raine)

Worth thinking about as we think of “church” and our place in its life and mission, don’t you think?

(Both quotes come from “Celtic Daily Prayer, Book Two: Farther Up and Farther In.” You might find that is a helpful book if you are looking for a new approach to your devotional life. I do not take to the Celtic approach to spiritual life naturally myself, but I have found it an immensely enriching discipline to use this book)

God bless

Kenny

Is the answer you are looking for really that complicated?

Feeling stuck or unhappy about where you are spiritually and asking God about it in this New Year? I wonder how we would react if Jesus were to say to us, as He did to a couple of questioners in the gospels, “What do the commandments say?”

Sometimes we make an awfully complicated meal about things. “Oh well, it’s complicated…” Often it isn’t. In fact usually “it” isn’t really that complicated. How can we reach contentment and peace within as children of God if we are ignoring His will about how to do life, how to seize its opportunities and how to cope with its at times seemingly intolerable pains and tragedies?

There is so much ground of human experience covered by God’s commands in the Old Testament: they are His gift of love to a people, Israel, whom He redeemed in grace, but they are for us too living under the New Covenant, as of course are the commandments on the lips of Jesus and the first Apostles. Psalm 19 likens God’s Law to the life-giving light and heat of the sun from which nothing is hidden (Why not take a few moments right now to read it?). Keep it simple. Did you complicate a choice by seeking and following the advice of your peers or even a well meaning Counsellor who told you to go a different way from the commandments of God? Well, take responsibility for your life, forgive anyone for the advice they gave that got you in a mess (maybe they feared your reaction if they told you the truth!), and take a fresh step of obedience.

Have you prayed, “Send Revival, and let it begin in me?” With God’s help, answer your prayer: there is biblical precedent for such an approach to prayer. Personal Revival always looks like a new beginning of obedience somewhere in our lives…

God bless

Kenny