“Old person! Old person!” The 4 year old boy shouted and pointed at a grey haired lady as we ventured around the shopping centre in Salford. He was certain that God wanted to bring his love and healing to someone who was, in his point of view, old. Seeing as most people over 40 look positively ancient to someone who still has their baby teeth and remembers what nappies felt like, the conversations that followed his cries were somewhat awkward to begin with. Once we explained what we were doing, looking for people that we believed God was leading us to, most people were grateful to be prayed for and on one occasion a young lady poured out her heart-ache to us and told us all kinds of mess that had been going on in her life. It was humbling to listen to her and then offer a simple prayer.
Meeting people out and about in the community with Christway Baptist Church as part of the North West Baptist Associations Big Hearted Tour was made extra special by having children join us. As the children weren’t old enough to write they drew stick men and pointed with an arrow where they thought God wanted to heal someone, whom we hoped to meet that very afternoon! One of the pictures from the children blew me away. He had drawn a stick man. Of sorts. It really did look a right mess if I’m honest. But what stood out from his scrappy drawing was an arrow pointing to the right hand of the stick man. I asked the boy whether he felt we would meet someone who had a sore hand. “No, there is someone who has the top of their pointy finger chopped off!” he confidently declared. Well, we didn’t meet anyone of that description on Saturday afternoon (Surprise, surprise you may think!) However on Monday morning as I returned the hire car I was greeted by the owner who had his right hand ‘pointy finger’ wrapped up with bandages. He explained that the tip had been chopped off in an accident with a chain-saw. After explaining the story from Saturday he looked bewildered and told his colleagues about the boy and the picture. “Does this mean I am blessed?” he asked.
At the recent Fresh Streams conference I taught on prophetic evangelism but had made a huge ‘school boy error!’ The teaching was in the morning seminar time with the practical going out to meet people in the afternoon… when it was dark. D’oh! Coupled with the icy snowy conditions I didn’t expect the 50 or so people who dared to venture out, to actually meet anyone. Yet one after another people reported having met their treasure either in the small town of Swanick or in the local Tesco’s. I kept a fatherly eye on how teams were getting on in the cold and dark and approached one shivering group. I apologised for how deserted the town was and was just about too launch into a ‘keep on going!’ moral boost team talk when they interrupted me and said “we have met 2 people already who turned out to be our treasure!” They had shared God’s love with them and spoken about how they had felt led to them. Another team hadn’t been so opportune and I encouraged them to stay at the place where they had felt God direct them. They waited outside the church at the green for 20 minutes, in the cold, until a young man matching the description they had written down from their time of prayer walked by. I watched as 10 minutes later they were still talking together. The young man was flabbergasted by the encounter and said, “I hardly ever come into this town, but tonight I just wanted to pick up some fish and chips.” For him, their encounter had been serendipity. He was encouraged and reminded of a God who knows him and loves him. As for the team that had waited in the cold for their Treasure to turn up, they were deeply encouraged!
One of the perks of my job as a Baptist minister who serves as an evangelist is that I am very rarely bored. It’s an adventure following Jesus and meeting people. At the last Baptist assembly I asked the question ‘Are you bored?’ I still ask this question as I meet way too many bored Baptists on my travels… I believe it is time for a greater adventure!
Here’s a poem I have written called ‘Are you Bored?’:
Are you bored? Stuck in the mud of tedium?
Do you yawn at the dawn and sigh when the sky sparkles with lights fantastic?
Are you tired? Stuck in the rut of mediocrity? Or do you see?
The adventure, day by day, hour by hour, wow, even minute by minute.
Sounds intense? Yet it makes sense.
That the One who says, ‘Come, follow me,’ would be,
The One who moves to the new, to you.
To others, that need the spark, who sit in the dark, need the ‘plug in life abundance.’ The absurd dance.
Merriment beyond the glass of plonk, beyond the worshipful soft rock songs, He longs, that you and I belong,
To a team of world changers, to have a safari in our place, to give chase.
The One who says, ‘follow me; I’ve got a great plan.’
‘Catch me if you can!’
This article first appeared on the Baptist Union Web site: www.baptist.org.uk