Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Where is your voice when you need it?

   I lost my voice! Overnight it disappeared. I know I keep misplacing things and often have to retrace my steps to recover lost items. But my voice!
   And it happened about six hours before I was scheduled to preach to my writer colleagues at The Word Writers Getaway.
   Sunday morning, I woke at at 3 am . While trying to clear a tickle in my throat, I noticed my voice was missing. I expected it would come right back.
   As I'm lying in the dark waiting for my voice to return from its unapproved leave, God starts telling me what to say at the service. You get the idea - tear up your notes and start again. In this instance it was new thoughts saying, 'Move over ideas and make room. Let me in.'
   'God, in case you haven't noticed, I've lost my voice.'
   But God seemed unconcerned about my dilemma and continued to give me things He wanted shared.
   5 am. I manage to dress without waking hubby and drive to the beach. Voice is still AWOL. The sun rises behind a bank of cloud and colours my world in golds, pinks and mauves. I sit on a rock ledge with the waves lapping at my feet and worship God silently. I wait for the miracle - for my voice to return with an apology for being absent.
    5.45 am I preach to the seagulls in a whisper. Usually, when preparing to preach I pray, 'Lord please anoint me to preach your message.' Then I open my mouth and listen to see what God has to say.
   That morning, neither I nor the seagulls could hear a thing! But I preached anyway. I am very stubborn when it comes to doing what I believe God has asked me to do.
   6.30 am. I start to walk the beach, the deserted section so no one will think I'm crazy. And I worship God with all that is me. But there is no voice to lift up. So I offer a sacrifice of whisper to my King.  By then I had activated my intercessors by text message and I knew they were fighting on my behalf. It was about 7 am before the worship turned to a crinkle and then a crackle. When I returned for breakfast at 7.30, I could converse a little with those I met.
   My new friend Amanda led worship. It was wonderful. I couldn't sing but I could add a cackle of worship to the gathered voices.
   I stood to speak. First word was silent. I cleared my voice giving me time to yell, 'God! HELP!'
   Then I could squeak. But the microphone amplified the squeak and I delivered the message that God asked me to deliver. My voice spoke for about 45 mins and then it disappeared. But what did that matter? I had done His bidding. I didn't need to talk again. And I didn't for three days.
   On the way home that afternoon, I sat in the car with my husband and watched the ocean. I felt exhausted.
   So I whispered the question. 'Is it worth the fight? Did my croaked words achieve anything? Or was I just a silenced gong and a croaking cymbal?'
   And the Lord whispered, 'My Word shall not return to me void.'
So I'm content. God whispers too!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Communicating with a new generation

My fingers fly across the keys. Backspace...backspace. I try the keys again. This time the few words are intelligible, if not accurate.
But speed is the essence.
As long as she knows what I'm saying in my message, it is enough.
I'm in a new age. I'm pastoring on line. Over the years I've pastored people in groups, over coffee and in long telephone conversations. I've learned that two people can gather together on the phone, even in different states, and there is God, right in the midst. As we have agreed in prayer, holding handsets instead of hands, I've seen miracles, healings and people set free.
But this last week or so I've been chatting on line, listening to the deep pain of wounded hearts. For the first time I have typed prayers, instructing invisible, silent friends to pray them aloud. Or I have challenged their questionable decisions and argued for wisdom as my husband has sat beside me and prayed for victory. And I have seen, or should I say, heard of little victories. I know my love has taken wings and entered homes that my arms can't access, but my messages can.
Why don't I ditch the computer, jump in my car, and pastor properly?  Well, in some cases I don't have addresses or phone numbers. These precious people can accept my love on a screen, but fear the intimacy of contact. Their shame, however false, causes them to fear rejection.
This is their language, whether we agree or not. And there, where two or three of us are gathered together on line, Christ is with us.
And I'm excited to be part of this phenomenon. I'm sure Jesus, too, would have pounded the keyboard to reach the lost and lonely. With one big difference. His typing would be more accurate then mine!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Bucket List - It's there somewhere

   Tonight, as I go to bed, the door labelled 'Sixty-two' is right in my face. Whether I like it or not, the turnstile of life will open that door tomorrow and I'l enter the sixty-third year of my life. So, I pause to assess my life. Am I on goal? What have I achieved? Where am I going?
   Often I hear people ticking off another item on their 'bucket list', but personally I've never written 'the twenty things I want to do before I die'. I agree with bucket lists in principle. Visions and goals are very important. They help keep us focussed and on task.
   As I'm beginning to understand my life here one earth will one day come to and end, I've been considering this matter.
   I've been  on a mission trip in South Korea, revival in Florida, conference on Long Island and stood open-mouthed in Times Square New York. I've driven across the Golden gate bridge in San Francisco and walked the beaches on Hawaii. Yet none of these things were on my list. I've driven the great Ocean Road and watched the fairy penguins on Philip Island, explored Victoria and luxuriated in Port Douglas. I've watched babies being birthed, officiated at a wedding and written a book. I've lived life beyond what I could ask dream or even imagine! All this without my goals written on the wall.
   Why don't I have a bucket list, I wondered? And I realised that my list is written in my heart.
   What do I want to achieve before I die? What is at the top of my list? It hasn't changed since 1995. The closer I walk toward it, the bigger it gets. It burns in me like a fire that, in a way, is never satisfied. Will I ever be able to reach the goal?
   It started simply. I was in a chapel service one day. God asked me to preach His message. We went through the usual process that goes something like this
   Who are you talking to God? Me? Can't be? Are you joking? You're not! You can't be serious! You     know me. I've can't speak well and I have a voice like a foghorn with a cold. Me preach? I don't think so...
   But God always wins arguments. He does with me anyway.
   As I emerge from the chapel, trying to repair my face, a lady waylays me. 'God gave me this! It is for you'.
She handed me a poem that described me preaching. The fire was lit. Every year it burns stronger. Preaching the word of God satisfies me like food.
   Climbing the Eiffel Tower, taking a cruise in Alaska, or flying over the South Pole would be fantastic, but If had to choose between those and preaching God's love, hope and healing to people across my nation and beyond...let me preach any day.  
   Why? Do I want the attention and the platform? No! As I said at the beginning, I'm an old lady! But I love to see lives changed, people healed and released from years of emotional pain. I want everyone to experience the amazing love of God.
   Yes, it's my birthday and I'm excited. There is another sparkling new year in front of me that is full of unimagined adventures to fill my bucket to the brim. Yes, I'm a lucky girl.