Just in case you don’t know where Norn Iron is, it’s one of the ways Northern Irish people refer to their – my – country….this morning I was speaking at Cafe Church, one of the ministries of West Church, Bangor. It’s my home church, and it’s been a very long time since I spoke there, so I was sort of doubly nervous (I’m ALWAYS nervous before I speak – I think the day I stop being nervous is either the day I stop preaching, or the day I’m in a box on my way to the Crematorium…).
Andy, who leads Cafe Church, had asked me to speak (as you’ll know if you’ve read recent blogs) about what happened in Cali last November. I wanted to include a few miracle and healing stories too, and tried to pack everything into 20 minutes….you know, I never ‘pre-plan’ what stories to use, and you may think this sounds ‘trite’ – it isn’t – but I pray that God will bring to mind stories that will be relative to the people I’m speaking to.
This morning, – they were. Lots of people there, the place was pretty choc-a-bloc, and I did my bit, and then Andy had asked if I’d be willing to ‘host’ a question and answer time once the official ending time of the meting was over. I guess we both thought a good number would leave: in truth, hardly anybody did! I LOVE those sessions, as, of course, you never know what you’re going to get thrown at you! It was great – and an opportunity to throw in one or two more stories, too.
Then a flood of people were up for prayer for all sorts of healing – a good number of them for me to pray for things I’d told stories about God healing, doing a miracle for, in other places. It’s great how God ties that together. One of the first was a young man who apparently had sat right at the back, a young man with some very strong addiction issues, and he’d said to people he’d only come up for prayer if he felt a ‘connection’ with me….well, he must have run to the front, as he was second up, only to a lady who’d been sitting virtually next to me. God really invaded his life: he was shaking from head to foot, in tears, had tried a number of times to take his own life, his face and eyes absolutely full of fear. Beautifully, his face, his eyes, and his body language changed, and the shaking stopped, as the peace and love of God overwhelmed him and began a process – I believe, and so do others – of very real transformation.
A lovely lady, Heather, who had been sitting in the second row, leaned forward and said that, when I’d preached there a couple of years or more ago, I’d prayed by proxy for two of her friends: a lady, Eileen, who had terrible water-retention problems in her legs, incredibly swollen and painful. Heather told me that Eileen phoned her first thing Monday morning, to say that all the water had disappeared, and she was healed…. thank you Lord! A friend of hers, Paddy (what else in Ireland, do I hear I hear you shout??!!) was dying with severe prostate cancer. Within a couple of weeks, he’d been to the hospital, was scanned and PSA tested. The hospital couldn’t believe it. His PSA was normal, his cancer gone.
A lovely young lady, another whose eyes were fearful, but still shone, has breast cancer, with it having spread to her liver. I told her a couple of stories of healed breast cancers, and you could see hope and faith rising in her. The lovely thing is, too, is that she’s due another scan next Monday, so not too long to wait to find out that the tumours have gone. I’m a bit sad it’ll be a few weeks before I can try and find her, as that’s the day I fly to Mexico!
I’d told a story of God dissolving steel in a guy’s leg last year: lo and behold, I got a lovely man, Paul, a fireman, who’d shattered his left ankle, and had a steel plate and screws and bolts in it. He’s a fireman, had been off 8 months with his ankle, and his job was under threat. I had a in my mind a very real picture of the steel disappearing as I prayed…. I hope I see him soon to find out what happened.
There were some people this morning who said pain had gone, others that it has ‘gone down’, some people will only know of their healing in time – one of the downsides of being the pray-er!
Normally, Cafe Church finishes at 12.45. I finally left the room at 2.45, but what a lovely way to spend two hours!
Tomorrow, if it’s not blowing a gale and throwing it down with rain (that’s the forecast for her and much of the UK, yet again – roll on Mexico!!) Alan and I are going to launch an onslaught on my container of stuff from the USA, not to empty but to at least sort it into manageable order, and a priority of what to try and squeeze into my little house first! I’m not sure that on the priority list, I’ll include my 6 foot extendable to 12 foot ladder, and the American electrical appliances, which I asked the guys there NOT to send back, as 110 volts ain’t much use here!