I wonder in how many heads, reading that title, is now the song by the Tremeloes, in the 60’s? And if it is there, I bet you can remember a lot of the words! And if it wasn’t in your head, it probably is now! Unlike 99% of today’s songs, where you can’t really even hear the words in the first place, words from 60s and 70s songs seem to ‘stick’, don’t they? Now you’re thinking, ‘He’s getting old!’ – bashing today’s music. Actually, I love a lot of today’s music: don’t like the videos admittedly, so tend to choose to hear new stuff on Radio 1 and 2.
The silence of bloglessness has been because, it really seems now, that God has planned for me to have a few weeks break, after a very busy autumn right up to Christmas. I have always ‘struggled’ with taking time of, because, living, as I do, on the generosity of God’s people for support, I’ve always felt that I need to keep ‘doing’ to justify that support. Truth is, I’ve just celebrated my 36th ‘anniversary’ of (and I hate this expression!!) ‘living by faith’: what came to me is that, in many cases, people involved in ministry generally get a sabbatical every 7 years, often up to 6 months duration, and – sometimes – with another couple of months in the middle of that 7 years.
On that basis, as I’ve never taken a sabbatical, I’m ‘owed’ (!!) 4½ years off! I’m not sure people who support me would continue to, if I suddenly disappeared for 54 months! Realising that, I didn’t feel quite so guilty having these weeks, it’s given me time to pray, read, think, listen (most important), and do something I’ve needed to do for a while: empty the container of ‘stuff’ I had shipped back from the USA when that ‘interesting’ (sorry?) saga ended. The container’s been in storage for 18 months, so last week, a friend and I loaded our cars with as much as we could fit in, and now my little house looks like a junk-yard! It’s a funny feeling, though, seeing things that I haven’t seen for 6 years: I have to say some of it comes out of the boxes and goes straight onto Amazon to sell it!
Part of the realisation of the ‘time-off’ story came because of the rather (extreme??!) financially ‘dry’ time it’s been for the past few months. There are signs that it’s changing, but nothing significant yet. I’d value your prayers, please? It has been increasingly obvious, too, that something God (and I’m sure it WAS him) began, in ‘testing’ me in that area again, has been hi-jacked by the enemy just to make things more ‘interesting’ (isn’t that a marvellous word??!). Things like: the largest-ever electricity bill for the period 17/9 – 18/12/14 – I was away from home for the whole of that period, in Romania, apart from 3 days in November, when I came back to get more things needed in Romania. My mobile phone bill – normally ‘substantial’ compared to many (about £50-60 a month) because I’m away a lot, came in at £334. I’m contesting that with the Ombudsman!! There have been other things, too, like that – and all at a time when I know God was asking me to trust him more, and do what I hate doing – fund-raising for myself. I have no problem in doing that for others – people like Ana Beiba (who, by the way, I heard this week, is very ill – please pray for her), but when it come to my needs, I really hate it.
The tie hasn’t been wasted, though! There have been quite a few people I’ve been asked to pray for. I’ve mentioned here before Roy: a lovely man who had no time for God – until he saw the utter transformation in his daughter in hours, after I’d the joy of praying for her. Roy had lung and respiratory problems for many, many years, more recently (September if I recall) diagnosed with cancer. Roy looks better now than at any time in the 6 months that I’ve known him! – and he’s really on God’s side now. He was told, a good time back, that his lungs were 50% wrecked, and would never improve. He is 81, but God still wants to heal him, and he was checked over at the hospital recently, including a good lung examination: he wondered why the doctor didn’t comment on the ‘state’ of his lungs, so he asked, ‘How are my lungs?’. It seems they’re both perfect, in full working order. And as for the cancer taking him ‘out’, he is looking the picture of health!
Last Sunday, at West Church here in Bangor, my home church when I’m in town, a lady came up to me whom I recognised, but couldn’t for the life of me put a name to the face (do you have that problem??!! – she’s Liz, by the way!) – fortunately, she couldn’t remember mine either, but it seems that she’d had a terrible foot infection with surgery scheduled to remove a toe (or toes, I’m not too sure). She went to hospital for the surgery, only to be told that there WAS no infection, and she’s the proud owner of 10 toes….what is lovely is that she’s looked for me to thank me for praying, and tell me the testimony – for 9 years!! No return of any infection in those years, so I think it’s safe to assume she’s healed!
On the 18th February, I head over to England, ostensibly to preach in Plymouth, but with another very significant ‘meeting’ before that now – to pray for a young man, Tim, early 30s, who has very aggressive motor neurone disease. It’s incurable, foul, destructive, and has only one (human) outcome… I’ve been privileged to see God heal two people of it in the last few years, including a 70-something year old man, Andy, so I’m in faith for Tim (and so is he!), but I’d value your prayers for the 19th, when we get together. And in Plymouth, I’m spending more time there than normal, as my wonderful friend Jules, the Pastor (friends for not far short of 30 years) asked if I’d spend time, over a weekend, praying for him, rather than ‘just’ the ‘end of meeting’ prayer, as he’s got Multiple Sclerosis, and has had it for 20+ years. Please pray for Jules, too, because this thing has GOT to let go and get out of him.
So, no more musing, Bennison…waffling (hopefully good waffle!). I’m attaching, if I can (!) the new Stewardship support form for my account with them. If you feel able to help me, I’d be so appreciative. You know, many people say ‘I can only afford a little a month, so it’s not worth it’ – PLEASE believe it IS worth it! I often say that, if 200 people (from a mailing list of nearly 2000, and a Facebook ‘friends’ list of 2800+) could give me the cost of a cup of coffee at Costa or Starbucks a month, it would TOTALLY revolutionise my life. Many years ago (late 70’s), Clive Calver, when he was National Director of Youth for Christ, asked for £1 a month standing orders to be set up: his catch-phrase was ‘You won’t notice it going out, but we’ll notice it coming in’ – and it turned a dying organising into a huge, effective ministry. Maybe you wouldn’t notice the cost of a coffee a month, or might be willing to forgo one, to help me? Right now, I so need a financial ‘injection’….
I’m praying desperately for the money to go to Colombia at the end of March (26th) for 3 weeks, with, as always, a team. If you feel God prompt you to help, I need around £1800 for the ticket, accommodation, and ‘living’: any amount, gift aided on the Stewardship form, will be valuable. If you don’t pay tax, I can send you bank account details, or use paypal.
Thank you, God bless you loads.