For me, one of my greatest pleasures is to just sit with people, and just ‘socially’ chat about what God is doing. I’ve always wanted – and hopefully succeeded! – to always be ‘accessible’ to people, there’s not much that I can stand LESS than the church/conference/preacher/speaker ‘hierarchy’ syndrome, the sort of competitive environment that means you have speakers who are not accessible to ‘punters’ at conferences, etc.
I remember, a few years ago now, being at the Detling Bible Week in Kent, when Tony Campolo (most of you know he’s one of my great heroes!) was a speaker. If anyone had a ‘right’ to be ‘exclusive’ because of status, position, qualification, gifting, importance – Tony does. In recent past, he’s been a personal spiritual advisor to the President of the USA: he’s a senior lecturer/professor in Philosophy at Eastern University, Pennsylvania: he’s got a list of doctorates longer than most people’s CVs: he’s in demand the world over, even as he approaches his 80th birthday: he’s established countless ministries in some of the world’s most desperate and desolate places, like Haiti: he’s so passionate, a motivator extraordinaire, and hilariously funny…. at Detling, and when I’ve seen him and met up with him elsewhere, did he have an entourage around him? No. Did he quickly disappear to the equivalent of the green room? No. He walked around the campsite, and the dining tent, introducing himself to people, ‘I’m Tony, can I sit here please?’ ‘I’m Tony, who are you?’
Tony’s the man whose very personality and approachableness drew me out of the depths of shyness and insecurity, a few months after God had given me a passion to see people healed, through Ian Andrews’ ministry, and not knowing – until I got to know Tony – what the heck I was going to do with it. His extrovert nature, his faith, his passion, his fire, rubbed off on me, and though, at the time, it felt like God was dragging me by the collar kicking and screaming out of shyness, I’m forever grateful to an amazing, anointed man of God, who tok the trouble to get to know me, and who, many years later, still remembered not only me, but my name….. Since then, whenever I’ve met other ‘approachable’ men and women of God, I’ve literally – sometimes – gone up to them and rubbed shoulders with them, as I want what they’ve got. If I’m able to go to the States when – and hopefully it’s not for decades yet – Tony’s funeral takes place, I want to be there if I can.
Now, I’m not even beginning to put myself in Tony’s league, or those others, like John Arnott, Bill Johnson, Rolland & Heidi Baker: but I LOVE it when people want to hear what God is doing, and I can almost ‘feel’ them drawing out of me, and into their own spirits, something that THEY’D love to do. Tonight was one of those nights…. when I was here 8 months ago, I met a ‘gang of 4’ – Lachlan, Kylie, and Cameron Inglis, and Sally Barrett. God did something then that accelerated tonight, when they invited me to their home for a meal – their dad and two other friends were there, too. It was just so good to eat, drink wine (and cognac!), eat an enormous meal, and then down Sally’s special homemade cupcakes… and talk, and talk, and ta…..
There’s a meeting at their house tomorrow night, when they’re expecting quite a crowd, and Robert & I are going, and I have no doubt God will heal people tomorrow. Faith grows, stories build faith (Jesus proved that, so I don’t feel at all insecure I’m not ‘up in lights’ as a fantastic preacher, teacher, professor… I just want people to catch what can only be caught, not taught….
And this morning, had a lovely time with a super bloke, Mitch, who I know will see his healing in the coming few days… he’s going to be a radical bloke as his healing occurs. Robert had previously prayed for an injury he had, and that seems pretty good, so now the next phase…. 🙂
I love Australia…. 🙂