Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Books &Seminars.

It is being a busy week.  Tony Cook has been teaching on the 5~fold ministry.  I'd never heard of the man.  My ignorance of the Charismatic movement is phenomenal but this is one teacher it has been an absolute joy to sit under!  His doctrine is as sound & wholesome as a good apple but he is the sweetest, gentlest man & I finally have an answer to a question that has been driving me nuts for the best part of 2 years. 

Today we sat under his ministry for a one day seminar ~ geared for pastors but applicable to any Christian who can handle strong meat. I was desperate for caffeine by the half way mark & having secured my Styrofoam cup found a convenient pillar to hold up & opened my book.  I'd reached the exciting bit where blood & mayhem were creating havoc & I zone out rather well.  It never once occurred to me that these dos are for networking [a term I associate with men in expensive suites & Old School Ties] & that's what everyone else was busily doing while I was in England solving bloody murder!  *sigh* School finds me a little odd.

I can't think what God was doing.  I seem to get all the bits actually relating to people wrong.  I like paper.  It has no opinions.  As the Dean said, doing a double take over the lurid cover, it was a very secular book! I have to keep  self editing!  I do like a good crime thriller but there's no escaping that in the name of gritty realism they are neither for the faint of heart or tender of conscience.  Unless you are made of pretty sturdy stuff this is one writer I'm not recommending though it has turned into a gripping read ~ & it was a gift,just in case you're wondering.

And I have no trouble changing gears to grapple with the pastoral epistles & the dilemma of Timothy, who I'm pretty sure would have loved to have brained Paul for haring of to Philippi & leaving him to deal with the irascible Ephesians & Paul's robust advice to buck up & get on with it. 

So having covered the Apostle, the prophet & the evangelist [losing the plot on this one now] we deal with teachers & preachers tomorrow, just in time to make me feel totally inadequate & inferior ~ & idiotic because inferiority is, apparently, a form of pride. *sigh*  And these people wonder why I hide my head in a book all the time!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Great Southern Land of the Holy Spirit.

 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.

As a nation Australians tend not to get overly excited about being Australian.  Of course we live in the best country in the world better but out of consideration for others feelings we're quiet about it & just toss another snag on the barbie.

We're the same way about religion.  Quiet.  Practically comatose.  For goodness sake we don't want to be thought wowsers!  Ssssh.  It would never do if people knew we actually believed there was a God.

So sometimes it's good to be reminded what a rich Christian heritage we do actually have ~ despite what the secular history books fail to teach.  I get so excited every time I think what Australia's full, proper, first name actually is: Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. The Spaniard,  Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, is responsible for that.  Equally surprising is the fact that to the north of us are a whole swag of Muslim countries who knew we were here, traded with the northern tribes but never invaded because we were, apparently, full of evil spirits. Which is side~tracking somewhat because amongst other things there are a number of prophecies in regards to the part this country is to play in the last great revival.

All of which I knew about.  Then last week Dino was standing under the stars, which everyone in this house rather likes to do because devoid of street lights, city lights, & with only the odd house light or two our stars spin like giant Catherine wheels & a meteor shower is a sight to behold!  And Dino said to God, Show me something about you in the sky.

So God did.

He got Dino to draw a cross.  At the top is the crown of thorns.  On either arm are 5 fingers representing Jesus hands. There are 10 toes at the foot ~ & a mark to show when the soldier's sword pierced Jesus side & His blood gushed out.

If you live Down Under you know what Dino drew....

God has even set His seal in the sky over us.  I thought that was pretty cool.

So next time you're outside at night & looking amongst the stars for the Southern Cross remember God has visibly set His seal over our land too.  One just for us.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


If you are walking with Jesus, in the Spirit, you need not fear going too far. No believer has gone as far as God wants him to go.~ A. A. Allen



With the Indy happening this weekend the place was even more congested than usual.  Not that it made any difference to me.  I concede defeat.  I am not an evangelist, no matter what anointing people seem to think there is on the witness.

I scribbled a couple of verses in the wet sand, realised the tide was coming in not going out, went & sat under a tree on the boardwalk & watched the passing parade...

Which included a barge that had got lost, was inside the shark net, did a 360 & headed back out to sea.  Who knows.

And a street musician.

I'm not usually a quitter.  I usually dig my heels in, stubborn past the point of stupidity ~ & it's not fear because I spent over 1/2 an hour chatting with the lady who took up residence beside me on the bench.  But she was a spirit~filled born again Christian & this is what invariably happens to me!  I hone in on Christians. 

And that's the other thing.  I am not an initiator.  It's not that I dislike people & despite my anti~social tendencies I have been very well trained & always put my book down when someone wants to chat with me.  Nope.

Seriously.  It's scary what goes on in my world.  I always lug a book around.  Yes, I'm a reader but I also travel a lot.  I wait around a lot.  Invariably I fill the empty minutes with printed words.  I do it at school too.  Ten minute breaks are not generally long enough to have a proper conversation.  I can't remember the last time I started a conversation.  But I've always got people coming coming up to chat with me ~ & I get seriously dumped on, which is scariest of all.  What on earth sort of vibes do I give out that invites other people's deep dark secrets?!  I'm not complaining.  I just think it's weird.

It's weird because I understand the anointing.  I preach under the anointing ~ or believe me I'd never get up & say a word in church!  I know what it is to operate in the power & authority of the Holy Spirit.  So where is it when we evangelize?

I know it can't be manafactured.  I know it can't be manipulated.  I know it can't be mimicked.  Theoretically every Christian is anointed to share the gospel.  Theoretically.  I also know there is nothing harder than operating without the anointing ~ & nothing more damaging  to the Gospel.  I'm over it.

I think I have 2 more of these to do next year.  It's school & I have to go out but I'm done.  I give up.  This is one subject that's totally defeated me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

When the Spirit Moves.

A sinner can no more repent and believe without the Holy Spirit's aid than he can create a world. ~ Charles Spurgeon

I owe a debt of gratitude to the Society of Friends [Quakers] though we part ways theologically on a number of issues because they taught me how to listen for God.  I had become caught, as I suspect far too many Christians are, on the thorny dilemma of prayer ~ for why pray at all when all is foreordained & God knows everything?  Perchance I could move past that a second dilemma was wont to shipwreck my efforts because the need is so great that prayer became overwhelming.  Sadly one cannot pray for everything & everyone.  We are finite, limited human beings ~ & so I was wont not to pray at all. I came from a church background that talked at God.  I had never learned the gentle art of listening  to God ~ let alone having an actual conversation!

Quakerism opened me to other possibilities.  I flirted with silence for years, too immature spiritually to understand this too is a discipline & requires practise & some degree of maturity to be succesful.  However it was so attractive to my mind I persisted & eventually grew up enough to make some inroads in my understanding of prayer.  Enough at any rate to begin to understand what people saw in it, why they loved it better than anything else & to seek to go deeper in my own prayer life.

I learned to love silence.  I learned how to be quiet before the Lord.  I learned to hear from Him.  And then He sent me to Rhema.  To say I was not impressed would be a massive understatement.  I make no bones about how difficult I have found the charismatic style of praise & worship.  It is just not *me*.  That it is biblical was no consolation.

Dearest, who was tired to death of hearing me sing the praises of silent worship, entered into the joyful singing with enthusiasim while I was still plugging my fingers into my ears in order to cope.  However much I didn't want to I had to admit the Holy Spirit was in this style of worship too.  I could sense when the anointing arrived & the Holy Spirit began to minister but I was being dragged kicking & screaming ~ metamorphically.  I was the proverbial toddler having a massive tantrum.  Of all the places to land me this would never have been my first choice.

As others have found before me, once you've encountered God up close & personal other considerations fade into insignificiance.  What matters is getting it together with God not the method by which that takes place so if God wanted me to worship like this ~ then so be it!

Now charismatic churches are like chalk & cheese.  Some are waaaay over the top & out of order.  Some are anal retentive.  One of the pluses at Rhema is that they make room for moves of the Spirit while keeping order.  As part of the praise & worship they make space for individual prayer.  Yes, some people pray in tongues, & some sing in tongues but plenty don't.  They just pray in their ordinary every day way but there is strength in corporeate worship & so they do pray out loud.  Perhaps surprisingly this has never disturbed me as much as the music.

We attend church on Friday nights, partly because it saves us having to travel on yet another day with all the attendant costs, partly because I'm working in the office until the service starts but mostly because Friday nights are what they call a * Believer's Service*.  It sounds impressive.  What it actually means is this is the service they dish up meat & strong wine so come prepared to be stretched, to be challenged, to participate!  I have no problem with any of that & as I said, what drew us, what kept us coming back, was the teaching.

Over time I've sort of got used to the amps being turned up louder than I find comfortable, the hand waving & the people dancing in the aisles.  I've got to know some of the songs so I shut my eyes & shut out the church & enter into prayer.  Silence has taught me something.  I turn unerringingly towards the Spirit like a compass needle heading straight for magnetic North! 

On Friday God had a surprise for me.  As the praise & worship ended & the church entered into prayer I sense the anointing poured out over the church so strongly I couldn't believe we were still all standing upright!  Wow, I thought.  That's pretty cool.  Patsy got up to lead the church out of prayer & begin to preach but she'd barely begun when the most amazing thing happened.  Spontaneously the entire church lapsed into silence & flowed deep into prayer.  I know plenty of preachers who would have got up & preached anyway.  Patsy did not.  She followed the Holy Spirit's prompting & let Him minister to His church.  For an hour & a half the church worshipped in the sort of amazing silence I have only ever before experienced in a Quaker Meeting.  And no~one wanted it to end.  People were reluctant to walk out & go home.  Messages began popping up letting people know Children's Church was over & people really needed to come collect their kids.  Dearest was blown away.

God is God.  How He moves, when He moves ~ that's His choice.  The thing is none of us get to stay on the mountain top.  I mean I get Peter.  He was all for staying in the glory & letting the world go to pot.  Meanwhile there was a child in need whom the other disciples were unable to minister to & work to be done.  I get it but I do like the mountain tops.  The view is something else!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Food for Thought.

Be ye fishers of men….You catch them, He’ll clean them!

Think conservative churches.  The Amish are about as conservative as you can get. So would it surprise you to know that they became a byword for disorder & fanaticism because of *aberrations* amonst their congregations?  Read: they were charismatic in practice & belief.

The Huguenots, who so inflamed the Catholic church in France they were persecuted almost to the point of extinction, were noted for the prophetic anointing amongst their children & a strong bent towards manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

The Quakers I've talked about before.  Visions, prophecies, raising the dead, tongues & such uncompromising consciences that at one point 15,000 Quakers languished in English prisons!  And they had a really bad habit of calling out the judges who sentenced them!

Under both Wesley & Whitefield's preaching people fell down under the power of the Holy Spirit.
When God moves signs & wonders follow.  Where there is stagnation, there is no Life.

Pause for thought.

Why has the Christian Church become so afraid of the power of God ¬ even gone so far as to deny it?  Every Rivival in history has been accompanied by signs & wonders.  When religion gets in & formalises everything the signs & wonders cease & all that is left is religion.

God loves to reveal Himself to His people.  He likes to get up close & personal. So why do we grieve the Holy Spirit by pushing Him away because how He reveals Himself does not fit in neatly with our doctrine?

I knew about the Quakers & Methodists but the thought of Anabaptists whirling about under the influence of the Holy Spirit gives me something of a massive giggle.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Best Hamburger in Sydney.

My Dearest once lived at the end of Tom Ugly's Bridge & just round the corner from the little fibro house he lived in was the cubby hole that produced the best burgers in Sydney ~ & it literally was a cubby hole.  Squeezed between proper sized shops on either side the Burger Place was long & narrow, just a counter width wide with a grill for the buns & burgers.

There was nothing fancy about these burgers & you got no choices.  They were a plain bun, lightly toasted, with the usual lettuce, tomato, beetroot,onion but everything was crisply fresh .  They arrived fast with heaps of filling ~ & they were cheap!

How things have changed.  First we got Macca's & now we get gourmet.  I dunno.  I take the meat out anyway but I like my burgers simple ~ the way they used to be.  Back in the day.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday's Concert.

Despite the rough waters of the bay & a stiff breeze to go with it, Brisbane was stiffling Saturday afternoon.

Star had an early call for St Stephen's.  The acoustics here are absolutely glorious but no~one. I think, likes the huge cross hanging over the altar & in front of the organ pipes.  Star loathes it.  I obect to it being both theologically incorrect [for Christ is risen] & biologically improbable.  Others worry about it coming adrift & plunging on to the choir.

The requirm swelled about me till I was floating in a sea of pure sound where each part was clear & distinct yet part of a whole.  Enough to make you cry if you were so inclined.

After rehearsal we had a lot of time to fill so walked down to the mall so Star could eat.  I was taken by the similarities with this fresco & Jo's Friday's artist.

AVAE opened & closed the program but the bulk of it was sung by Exaudi & Qld Festival Chorus doing excerpts from Mozart's Requiem.  Too lovely.  And of course Alo Tolmei [?] from Murray Island who led in prayer in the Murray Island language & filled the cathederal with the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Powerful stuff!

Then we watched the 11.05 pull out of the jetty without us!  *sigh*  I was so tired but some things just can't be helped & we did eventually make it home to the great delight of the cats & with no strange mishaps at the underground parking.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

St John's Cathederal.  Very lovely.  Star was singing with a sadly depleted choir for the lunch time concert on Thursday.

Between school holidays & work commitments most of the performance hardened choristers were missing.  As my mother has hopscotched it to England for 6 weeks we didn't go away these hols so Star found herself holding down the thirds on her own ~ which would have been less of a problem if the newer members had not had so much stage fright.  Perhaps luckily there was a large crowd making a terrific din in the side aisle after an earlier event.

I found myself escorting the representative for the Murray Island choir that Alison has been working with & found he knew the cousins of mine who worked at Bamaga for years & years.  Small world.

Star & I were mighty pleased to be back at the jetty safely.  One way or another Brisbane was worse than usual.  Grey street sent us on a wild detour &, unusually, Star got in rather a flap.  She only just made her call time.  On the plus side I got free parking.  Then, for some strange reason, Brisbane traffic seemed determined to wipe us out yesterday.  No.  It was not Star's driving.  She did very well but she was rather upset with the bus that decided it wanted to be in her lane when she was already using the space it wanted!  Perhaps we were in his blind spot.  Perhaps he just didn't look but it was a closer call than either of us liked.

Aren't the Welcome Swallows delightful.  The nests are messy & they do like to nest under the eves along all the jetties but we get great delight in watching the chicks grow up.  These ones are nearly ready to fly & will soon join the adults that dart in & out of the oyster laden pylons of the jetty.

Monday, October 1, 2012

One day I am going to write a book called something like Experiments in Prayer ~ because that's pretty much how my prayer life goes.  It's just one long experiment.

And every so often God ups the anti.

I went for a long time when I didn't get prayer.  Seriously, I couldn't imagine God wanting to listen to a long dull list of grubby little sins & an equally long dull list of all the things I wanted Him to do for me.  Surely He had better things to do, running the world & all.

I am seriously grateful to the Quaker tradition.  From it I learnt something that changed my life, changed my whole attitude to prayer, revolutionized the way I thought about prayer & what I thought I was doing.  I learnt it was possible to rest in His presence.  Nothing else.  I didn't have to say a word.  I didn't have to feel guilty for all the things I should have done but hadn't, nor yet for all the things I'd done that I wished I hadn't.  I think it's why I love this song so much.  In His presence everything else dwindles to insignificance & from His presence true prayer rises up unbidden: prayers of love & adoration; prayers of supplication & intercession; prayers of gratitude.

When I began preaching prayer was my lifeline.  My prayer has always been What do you want me to say to your people?  I've got pretty het when God's been a little slow by my reckoning on giving me His answer but He's never failed to come through.

And with so many Christians in the house I sort of took it for granted that everyone had a different gift mix: Liddy, evangelist/missionary; Dearest Intercessor/administrator; Dino, evangelist/....?[I don't want to say yet because even Dino doesn't have the fullness of this picture yet!]; Me ~ well, I'm the visionary.  The rest try hard to keep my feet partially on the ground but you know how it is....

I don't like stepping on other people's lines.  I don't like crossing boundaries.  I don't like poaching on another's *territory*.  Consequentially I know very little about lots of things that fall outside my gift mix.  That includes prayer.  I know about resting in His presence.  I know about the Prayer of Tears. I know about getting Words of Knowledge & something of the prophetic but intercession has always been Dearest's bunny.  It is a rare gift for a man.  Nearly all the intercessors I know are women & because of that I think the gift works differently for Dearest than it does for women.  Just my thinks.  I could be wrong.  I often am.  And it's pretty much why I've never wanted this particular gift.  I'd heard the stories.

Anyway [yes, this long rambling post does have a point] last Sunday night I shut down the house, collected my cats & headed up the stairs to bed.  It was pretty late because it had been a biggish day & I was still pretty wired, still sensing the anointing from church, & I was pretty sure I was going to have trouble sleeping so I wanted to be sure my body was screaming for rest ~ which I can assure you it was! ☺

And the Spirit started at me!

At bedtime.

Ok.  Not happy, Jan, but if you want me to pray then pray I will.  Not that He cared to fill me in about what I was to pray for but the sense of urgency grew & grew.  If you are an experienced intercessor you will have twigged what was going on but I'm not & I didn't.  I fumbled round & fumbled round all the while a growing sense of urgency & desperation blossomed.

The next thing the thrum of a helicopter began ~ a not unusual occurrence as medical helicopters are used regularly to airlift patients to hospital but this was the heavy woomp~woomp~woomp of the big Search & Rescue helicopters & I knew whatever I was praying for was to do with the helicopter. A little while later it came straight overhead, ,just skimming the treetops, both search lights blazing across the sky & began the methodical quartering of the terrain that means they are looking for something ~ or someone..

I continued to pray for maybe another 3/4 of an hour then as suddenly as it began the sense of urgency stopped. I rolled over & went to sleep.

This is what I was praying for.  It has distressed me no end.  And yet how much God cared for this man ~ enough to make sure there were people praying for him as he headed into eternity because I'm sure I wasn't the only one.  God has more sense than that. I need to let it go but the image of drifting across a dark ocean in a still sea while hope dwindles, is finally snuffed out, & letting go to sink beneath the waves is doing my head in. Still.

The Saga of Grandma & the Jam Spoon.

 Forget Diamonds.  A girl's best friend is chocolate!

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was so good  butter wouldn't melt in her mouth ~ not. She was a very happy little girl, much like this one here, only smaller, & she liked sweet things.  She particularly liked jam.  Strawberry was good, but she would take her jam any way she could get it.

Her grandma knew this about the little girl & out of the kindness of her heart when she removed the jam spoon from its dinky little pot she handed it to the little girl to lick clean.  She made sure there was plenty of jam still on the spoon for the little girl & everyone smiled indulgently as the little girl licked & licked until that spoon was cleaner than clean.

When there was no more jam on the spoon the little girl held out the spoon to Grandma ~ & Grandma, as Grandma's do, handed the spoon back to the little girl, thinking they were playing the timeless children's game of I'll give it to you, now you give it to me.  They were not.  What the little girl had in mind was more jam!

When no jam was forthcoming the little girl took that spoon & threw it! Wham!  Right at her Grandma & got her right between the eyes, rather like David taking out Goliath.

The little girl is a big girl now & yes, she still likes licking the jam spoon ~ & the honey stick, the cake bowl, the cookie dough ... & yes, her mummy is saving this story for when the little girl has little girls of her own & they do something wicked, like trying to take out Nan~Nan with a jam spoon!

His Presence

We sometimes sing a version of this. It makes me cry. Every. Single.Time.
I love His presence. Do you?

The Great Kitchen Conspiracy.

I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands. ~ Zora Neale Hurston

It's no secret.  I do not like to cook.  I'm not adverse to eating ~ so long as someone else goes to the time & trouble of throwing the food together.  In fact I so dislike cooking Star has taken to asking if she's going to get fed tonight or is she making for both of us?  Sadly, more often than not, she has been making for both of us. The men are left to fend for themselves. Because they're carnivores.

Technically I am on holidays.  I do not want to spend my holidays in the kitchen.  I'd rather scrub the loo.  I like my kitchens neat & shiny clean & totally unused. However my entire household likes to eat.  If I take too long about dishing up for the cats they start swiping at me as I walk past. If I am sitting Marlow will reach up & dab his claws at my rump.  Just a friendly reminder that his tummy is rumbling & he wants something in it. Pronto.

However last night I pulled myself together to perform my kitchenly duties.  I got as far as peeling the carrots.  I have a lovely big butcher's knife which is just wonderful for dicing carrots & potatoes & anything else that the bread knife won't cope with ~ & which, most fortunately, is almost always pretty blunt.  Yes, there was blood.  Lots & lots of blood.  I danced around the kitchen with my thumb pinched between the fingers of my other hand & a wad of tissue to stem the flow while Star rushed for bandaides & dettol & reminded me that she is a much more sympathetic nurse than I am [which is true! ☺] . 

"It's a conspiracy," she said as she shooed me firmly out of the kitchen. "If you don't want to cook, say so.  There's no need to go to such extremes!"  

I went.  No need to look a gift horse in the mouth!