(October 24, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…
Funny title again this month too… just to get you thinking!
A few weeks ago an email article arrived from a stranger – obviously a minister pf the good news of Jesus Christ – expressing his delight to be in good health once again and able to post encouraging blogs. Evidently he’d been ‘out of ministry circulation’ for a couple of years and was now knowing a release within and sensing fresh purpose in God.
Something very important too… he felt that he really knew that he had something important to say, to share in his new blog writings that would bless people.
(Robert shares from here…). Must say that the other Sunday in ministering at a great church I had similar feelings! After not having ministered in a church for a couple of years I felt, I knew in my heart, that I had something important to share that was timely in God and would challenge, bless and encourage.
And that’s what happened… as confirmed not only in my heart by the Holy Spirit but several times by the inviting pastor and his wife. And by those receiving not just from me but from the Holy Spirit!
Oh, what a feeling!
That jovial line may be the catchcry of a certain motor company but it describes what I sensed in my spirit that Sunday – and in a church where English wasn’t the common denominator!
Background: For several reasons… selling our home, moving away from established friendships and church contacts back to the big smoke (Melbourne), renting while building, certain ill health issues hitting me unexpectedly and consequently having to resign from chairmanship of a large (and great) church interstate, discovering yet another phase of that ‘seniors’ stage of life’ (terrible term!), and other matters… it’s been some two years since Maureen and I had ministered together in church circles.
Oh we had continued to minister in other meaningful ways… posting this monthly onliner (soon to be translated into Telugu), counselling and encouraging folk by using our home base as well as email, phone, Skype, Facebook – and especially as we moved around in the marketplace and found opportunities to flow in the prophetic and words of knowledge to bless and enthuse folk, many not just strangers to us but to Jesus and kingdom realities. But… not as ministers in our normal Sunday itinerant ministry capacity.
Resting up and enjoying our new life in a new locale (Doreen, outside of the big smoke) we continued to trust the Lord that he everything in hand and new ministry ventures would come along, especially when we settled into our new home.
And it did – but most unexpectedly! Out-of-the-blue the pastor of a middle-eastern church that we hadn’t ministered to for some six years phoned to book a Sunday ministry engagement in October. And, he advised, preaching and ministry would be interpreted by a wonderful lady this time, not him. (And she did… such an outstanding job, bless her!).
What genuine warmth of love for Jesus was felt in the worship, adequately led by some dedicated young people. So easy to join in with them, to dance along and sing in Pentecostal tongues as they sang in their native language, to hear with joy a whispered translation that told they were asking that the Holy Spirit would have control of the service and would do whatever he wanted.
And later that young girl singer’s prayer in English calling for the Spirit to fill spiritual hungry hearts his way, not theirs, was an encouraging highlight… especially as I had just heard God whisper in my heart not to preach what I’d planned but to rely on flowing with the Spirit. I did… he did, that is the Holy Spirit moved in ways that blessed so many.
Praise God, what joy was mine to pray with needy Christians, especially certain Spirit-hungry youth, to anoint them and see them immediately move in the Spirit!
My neck and shoulder muscles suddenly stiffened towards the end of altar-call ministering and I was experiencing such pain that I couldn’t move – so through my interpreter I told a young man to lay hands on my neck and to pray believing, asking the Spirit to remove the pain so I could continue ministering. Surprised at being so asked he only hesitated for a moment, then prayed in his native language. Guess what? That excruciating discomfit left me and I continuing ministering – and the young man was greatly encouraged!
That old Back in the Saddle lyric!
During the whole service I was really ‘lost in the Spirit’! That is to say I was so aware that the blessed Holy Spirit was in charge, directing me in all I said and did. I give God all the praise and glory for all that transpired.
Now the Holy Spirit has his funny side! As I shared with Maureen later (and now with you) an old song kept going through my mind as I drove home feeling so blessed…
Back in the 40s (Gee… that’s decades ago!) one of singing cowboy star Gene Autry’s ballads was Back in the Saddle Again. That took me back … many today wouldn’t even know that cowboy hero… but it was exactly how I felt, not having Sunday-ministered for so long. I felt confident that I was safely back, not in some saddle, but in ministry again.
But here’s the thing… one line of a verse of that cowboy ballad goes on to say ‘I go my way…’ There was no way that I went my way during that great service I had just experienced! No, I had been sold out to Jesus and under the Spirit’s direction – I went his way – and church attenders were blessed!
I had known that I had something important from God to share and I allowed him to run my ministry his way. Consequently the good results were to his glory, not mine!
Point of all this…
What we both want to get home is this… we’re wondering about other ministers who, like that blogger mentioned at the beginning of this article, have been feeling ‘out of the ministry saddle’ for some time – for whatever reason – and aware that you have something positive in God to offer the saints.
That you? Whether a church leader, itinerant preacher, Sunday school teacher, worship contributor, an anonymous Joe Doe, a simple doer of good deeds, a whatever? But for some known or unknown reason you’ve been hindered – and yet you know deep within that your race in life isn’t finished, that you have something to give, to offer your church, the kingdom of God at large, and unsaved people.
We encourage you to trust God and to go for it! That is, believe that the Spirit will have you too back in the saddle again, that somehow some door(s) of ministry will open and God will use you to bless others!
It’s all a matter of determinately pressing on!
Remember the apostle Paul’s determination of Philippians 3:12-14NLT: ‘I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on … I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.’
Verse 15 adds this challenge: ‘Let all who are spiritually mature agree…’
Of course there are other matters that Paul is bringing out in verses 12 to 21, all of which are often subheaded in Bible translations under Straining toward the Goal… but our thought is this: When the determined Paul wrote of pressing on, pressing forward, he used the word dioko, meaning to pursue.
May such determination be ours, however we may be feeling, whatever is against us, and may we achieve much for Jesus Christ, his church and the kingdom of God!
As Dr George Forbes writes this month Making a Difference , ‘We can make a world of difference’! You should try!