A Visiting Storyteller For July
What follows is funny and profound. You will laugh and you will learn not to take yourself too seriously. Enjoy!
By Jamie Buckingham
Well, it finally happened. I was on the platform during the early service that Sunday morning. Although I was not scheduled to preach, I was directing the service. Jimmy Smith, our soloist, was singing from the piano. It was powerful, moving. “I will pour water on him that is thirsty . . .”
As he finished I turned to the guest preacher who was seated beside me. “I’m going to minister to the people before you preach,” I whispered.
He nodded. I picked up the wireless microphone and walked to the pulpit just as the music finished.
“Please bow your heads and close your eyes,” I said. Jimmy caught the mood of the moment and continued to play softly. I talked for a few seconds about the water of the Holy Spirit which softens the parched earth of our lives. I asked the people to let Him come into their lives. Jimmy sang another stanza. Some of the people slipped to their knees. I closed by asking them to receive the seed of the Word which the preacher was about to sow into their lives.
After the service the guest preacher commented, “That was great. I wish you could repeat it just the same way at the second service.”
I swelled a little. It was a good word. Fresh. Spontaneous. I nodded. If a thing is good for one group, why not for all?
In the second service, before a much larger crowd, Jimmy sang the same song. But something was different. The people were not responding as the first group had. But my course was set. Once again I picked up the microphone and stepped to the pulpit. With solemn drama I called the people to prayer.
My own eyes were closed. My head bowed. I waited piously, through the dramatic pause. Instead of the expected silence, however, I heard laughter. It started on the side where my wife and grown children were sitting. It rippled across the congregation, like dry leaves before the wind, growing louder and louder.
I stood there, puffed up and dumb, wondering what was happening. Was something going on that was funny and I couldn’t see it because my eyes were closed?
I opened my eyes and immediately squeezed them shut. The people were laughing so hard they were crying. Then, in that horrifying way a person knows, I knew. They were laughing at me. Surely it wasn’t my zipper?
Only then did I recall what I had just said, “PLEASE BOW YOUR EYES AND CLOSE YOUR HEADS.”
Short & Sweet
Eyes that look are common; but eyes that see are rare.
The Kingdom of God is organized through gifts of friendship.
In the Western world, we Christians spend more on credit card interest than on giving to missions. Don Stephens
Angels are still being created . . .
Difficult husbands have a hand in their emergence
It takes two to make peace, but only one to make an attack.
Movie made by YWAMERS coming out this month
David L. Cunningham, son of YWAM founders Loren and Darlene, and a team of YWAMERS have a new movie coming out this summer called ‘Running for Grace’ that stars Jim Caviezel (‘The Passion’, ‘Person of Interest’) and Academy Nominated Matt Dillon (‘Outsiders’, ‘Crash’).
Set in 1920’s Hawai’i, ‘Running for Grace’ is about a young orphan named “Jo” who is half Japanese and half white. In the age of segregation he is rejected by both communities and eventually taken under the wing of the new plantation doctor played by Matt Dillon. Jo becomes the “medicine runner” for the Japanese coffee pickers and eventually wins over the small community of immigrant workers. However, Jo’s forbidden love with the plantation owner’s daughter “Grace” brings the whole community to a boiling point. This is a film for the entire family with themes of identity, adoption and romance.
‘Running for Grace’ comes out in Hawai’i theaters on July 20 with limited theatrical release in the US mainland starting August 17—Details in August eTouch.
Hawaii: Kona, Hilo, Honolulu, Maui (July 20)
It is key that we get behind this movie as that will determine the length of time it is available. Please consider pre-buying tickets through your local cinema or if you are interested in being a sponsor and hosting a group please click here to contact David.
The movie will also become available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and Premium on Demand from August 17, so you can watch it at home with the whole family. Please spread the word about this film and keep an eye out for King’s Mansion in the movie and be sure to stay for the credits as you are sure to find many YWAMers you know.
Our Life Group
Have you ever heard of a ‘Life Group?’ Perhaps you’re already in one.
Peter and I are part of one, and the leading ‘facilitator,’ together with a team, have based the gatherings on Acts 2. I go to other groups (mostly with women friends), that also bring ‘life.’ Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. “In Him was life and that life was the light of men.” [John 1:4]
Jesus declared in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life”, and He also said, “The thief comes to rob, kill and destroy but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. He by the Spirit gives life more abundantly.” [John 10:10]
There’s so much depression, anxiety and suicide in the world, but when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and modelling Jesus, we bring life that makes people hungry for what we have.
I love being with friends who are one in the Spirit. Not being ‘religious,’ but being real; people with whom you feel safe, and you can just sense God’s presence. You laugh together, eat together and cry together. There’s a trust relationship.
This Life Group that has accepted us, meets on a weeknight. There could be 20-30 mostly between the ages of 30-45. They can bring their children who love it because they have fun and eat too (we all bring snacks). We are the only ‘seniors,’ but they love us, and honestly, Peter has been brought back to life through their love and prayers.
In Acts 2, the believers, after they were saved and filled with the Spirit, devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, to fellowship. to the breaking of bread and to prayer. [Verses 42-47] Signs and wonders took place, they gave to anyone in need; nearly every time we meet, friends and neighbors come for prayer. There is prophecy to strengthen, encourage and comfort [1 Cor 14:3]. We all listen to God together and He is the one who actually leads us. There is no competing or comparing. We just walk together and care for one another.
No, we are not starting a ‘church’; we are all ‘the church,’ and most attend local church gatherings on Sundays. More and more are wanting to be included because they are hungry for fellowship and to being ‘family’; worshiping, praying and sharing.
This how I see some of the values of a ‘Life Group’ . . .
- All are equal at the foot of the cross, and that brings true humility.
- Amazing hospitality which makes people feel welcomed and included.
- Praising, laughing and eating together and with the children not a bother.
- No gossip, just sharing what has God been speaking to individuals during the past week; and the area(s) being worked on.
- Special times of prayer for each other as we listen to Him. The prayers of righteous people are powerful and effective. Application of James 5:13-20.
I am on a few WhatsApp groups in the city and one of them is for this Life Group. We keep in touch throughout the week, sharing needs, good news and other messages.
I’m still pondering and processing how these groups can keep growing in a city so that even those who aren’t attending a local church can feel safe and at home. Sitting in a pew for an hour isn’t enough; during these challenging days we need each other. Peter wasn’t able to attend regular church services because of his health, but sitting in a comfortable chair and being honored for who he is as a father/grandfather has brought LIFE. The enemy is trying to isolate people but God has created us for fellowship with Him and each other.
What do you think? Do you have a group you can meet with where you feel safe and have the freedom to share, even your deep things? And to receive prayer. I would love to hear your ideas or thoughts.
Camps in Europe this Summer
July 8-14 – YWAM Restenäs, Sweden
Speaker Carolyn Ros “Becoming deeply rooted in God”
Click here for more information
July 15-21 – Sighisoara, Romania
Speakers Kim & Cindy Hunt “Running your Race with Endurance”
Click here for more information
July 29-Aug 4 – YWAM Champagne, France
Speaker Richard Jones “The Way to the Father”
Click here for more information
Click here for updates on all Camps!
National Pride & Prejudice?
Not in my nation! Oh yes, with all peoples, worldwide, everywhere.
There’s good pride—that feeling of national delight and blessing, that sense of ‘belonging’—that is good and wholesome. It’s just feeling good when your country’s flag is raised; or your city or region is recognized for doing something worthy; or when your family is in unity.
The nation that adopted me at age 17 is Canada. I love it when the Maple Leaf flag is raised and the National Anthem is sung. It gives me that good sense of ‘belonging,’ of being a tiny tile in the vast mosaic of many nations and cultures that is Canada.
Lest you think I’m talking about Utopia, I’m not. Far from it. We have all the challenges inherent in all nations, and maybe more. We never seem to get the perfect government—one that passes and upholds all the laws that I favor, and all those who agree with me.
We Canucks have skeletons that have lain hidden for centuries in our national closet, and when that closet door is opened, the stink is overpowering. The Indigenous Peoples were the first to be abused, followed by Chinese, Japanese, Negroes escaping slavery, Jews and others—the list is long. (We even still have great animosities between the French and the English—the first European settlers.)
Some efforts by the government have been made from time to time to apologize to these different people groups, but the real need is for our hearts to be changed; for personal repentance for our pride and prejudice towards those who are ‘different’, those whose don’t fit into ‘our mold.’
So really, it all comes down to us as individuals in every nation. How do you or I treat others? Do we shut some people totally out of our lives because they’re different? The next-door neighbor, the restaurant waiter, the taxi driver, the immoral, the unsaved.
Jesus mixed with anyone and everyone. “With God, it makes no difference who you are or where you’re from” [Act 10:35 paraphrased]. Let’s make a difference by our attitudes toward ‘the different’.
Till next time,
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