We’ve had a Major Howard Webber visiting our corps from THQ this weekend. Howard is an ‘evangelism mission partner’ and works with various corps in the Territory. His visit had been arranged since the beginning of the year and he duly came.
On a personal level, my interaction with him has shown me such a natural evangelist and its been a privilege to have observed him in the last few days. He led a day’s seminar for us around the theme of the early church and a burden for the lost which were challenging for us and I don’t think those of us who were there quite rose to his challenge…perhaps out of fear or…whatever. Anyway, he finished off his teaching this morning in the context of our meeting and he gave what wasn’t intended so much to be a sermon, but just the conclusion to his weekend’s thoughts, which was fine (by me anyway.)
He spoke from the passage in Jeremiah where God says ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’ He went on to say that, of course, in spite of God’s promise, God wasn’t able to honour it due to Israel’s disobedience and missing what he had for them. The application was that perhaps we as God’s people at Wick were in danger of missing what God has for us (just perhaps).
On a personal level, I’m very much grieved that it hasn’t been possible (for lots of reasons that can’t be aired here) for us to stay in Wick and develop a work amongst the unchurched, which was what we were sent to do. And this morning I felt 100% that we as a group of God’s people had missed an opportunity in it not being possible for us to continue. I say that with all humility and confidence of the call of God upon our lives. Perhaps God in his grace will make it possible for our corps to respond again to the challenge of the great potential we have to reach much more of our community for Jesus.
As for me, there is no doubt in my mind. The Army as a whole (not being Wick specific) have missed countless opportunities to for-go themselves for the sake of the lost and haven’t done it for the reasons of self-preservation.
Howard picked the lovely song with the chorus ‘Into thy hands Lord, take me and mould me, e’en as the potter mould the clay’ or however it goes. As the music starts, Holy Spirit invites me to kneel and I took it as a command and knelt to sing. Very soon the Glory of the Lord fell upon me and Holy Spirit filled me with a burden so great that I’d never felt many times before. Such a heavy ache and I lay on the floor of the platform and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed almost uncontrollably…in fact there was no almost about it.
All I could see were the beautiful faces of the 250 children in our JAM Club, their parents, our schools and teachers, the families of those I’ve buried, another glimpse of the vision God gave us for this appointment, and then God just said
‘I’m sorry, but although I wanted to give it, I cannot’
and I wept all the more.
I am sharing this with you because my prayer for you as you read is that you would allow God to break your heart for the plight of the lost around you…that he would do it in such a way that you’d consider everything loss for the sake of knowing Christ and helping others to know him.
I share it because the word of the Lord, whether we like it or not, in these days to The Army is that you’ve lost you first love. We are, increasingly, no longer a salvation people in many quarters. And God looks at us with such an ache in his heart much greater than the one he gave me this morning and it breaks for the lost and for the slowness of his children to respond to his grace.
Finally, I share it because I simply want to testify to the power of God. Whilst I much rather prefer when he bestows blessing and annointing, I want to publically thank him for what he did in me this morning. As he broke my heart I thanked him. As I sobbed and waited at least 15 minutes without any comfort from Him, I thanked him for a reminder of the reality of what it feels like again for those who have no Holy Spirit in them to comfort them and I thank him for a little revelation of what his heart is for the lost. Even sitting here more than twelve hours later my heart still throbs and my eyes continue to fill up with just pain.
God pronounced his ‘Amen’ in my heart for my part in the mission at Wick this morning with grief and tears. Its the sure and certain word that I’d been waiting for in knowing for sure that God is in our move. I just pray that God in his mercy will yet save a generation of the lost in this town. Will you say an amen with me in your heart?