I’ve just put it down, finished and devoured all the way through. Now, i’m going to be honest with you. I can’t remember the last time I read a book from cover to cover. Seriously. I’m a ‘dipper’ of books, someone who loves to scan for the juicy quotes and rush through. Not so with Birthing The Miraculous. There are three very good reasons for this:
Firstly: The book was given to me as a gift from my good friend and trustee of The Light Project, Alan McWilliam. Alan is chair of CLAN, the new wine Scotland movement. He has also had the joy of being part of Heidi Baker’s harvest school in Mozambique. Alan said, ‘this book is one of those books that will change you…’ He seemed hopeful that I would encounter something more of God and grow as a Christian, so I guessed that I did need to read it then!
Secondly: My sister and her family are serving with Iris Global in Pemba Mozambique and they see first hand the stories and tales you read about in this book. This stuff isn’t spin or wishful thinking. The miracles really happen- in front of their very eyes!
Thirdly: I had the immense privilege of talking with and eating with the author Heidi after an event in Scotland. Heidi lives and breaths Jesus… I got that through our short conversation. Really got that. My life did change through our short chat, she asked me about my ministry and with the most shining Jesus like eyes I have ever seen I felt challenged for more of God and that others would also have what I have too. So, the recommendation of my friend, my sisters experience and my own encounter made me keen to read this book. So what did I find as I grabbed time to read here, there and everywhere over the past few days? (Even on a beach…)
Taking the story of Mary and the birth of the saviour, Heidi challenges us to also birth that which God has uniquely called us to do. This is worked out, I found, in the theme of abiding in Jesus that runs throughout the book. Any fruitfulness and success in the ministry of Iris is equated to time spent in prayer and worship of Jesus. Heidi writes:
‘Fruit always follows intimacy, and God is calling us to exponential fruitfulness. He is calling us to be people who are absolutely enthralled by the beauty of Jesus.’ (Page 17)
Now, I am an activist. I love to pioneer and set stuff up. So this theme is always a tension for me, to spend time in prayer and dwelling with God when there is so much to do! Heidi writes that more is accomplished by spending time in God’s presence than by doing anything else. She goes on to teach that, ‘His river flows through us as a consequence of the intimate love found in the secret place…’ Page 42.
Phew, what a challenge for those of us who like to do, hey?! Yet I need to get my head around this… You see I have recently made plans for a much more disciplined family friendly sabbath rest and a desire for more time in prayer- Heidi writes about this in her own life as someone who travels the world speaking and teaching as well as sharing good news in the villages and remote parts of Northern Mozambique. She writes about the need for sabbath rest for her and the Lords discipline in her for when she hasn’t had rest. This story is illustrated through a terrible time when Heidi was so ill she was dying, but took the opportunity of being in a hospital bed for prayer and worship and receiving more and more from God! Challenging or what…
Another theme that runs through is faith for God to give you and I an entire nation. To be people who see an entire land changed by the transforming power of the good news of Jesus. This encourages me no end… over the years the nations have been something I long for, that the ministry I am part of may play it’s part in seeing many won for Jesus. On page 28 Heidi writes:
‘His method for changing your nation is you. You are the salt. You are the light. You are the person he wants to use.’
I was overwhelmed to read the stories of how many churches had been planted through her and her husband Roland’s ministry in Mozambique, over 10,000 in the last 30 years!
‘When we went from three to thousands of Churches in a few short years, it was because God immersed us in His Spirit in a way we had never known before…’ (Page 42)
This faith stretching teaching of the nations is illustrated by some of the case studies and stories in the back pages. These stories are challenging and make me feel uncomfortable… Like me on my first reading you may find them too far fetched or over the top. Like the one of a young lady called to reach pimps and warlords with the beautiful presence of God.
Yet these are stories of people who have given everything for Jesus… They are stories of those who have abandoned all and seen something in Heidi that they too want to imitate. These stories should stir us and make us ask, ‘how am I living out being a Christian?’ One example stands out for me, the story of Lyle Philips and how he, with a team, have miraculously rescued and housed 1600 children who were slaves and child prostitutes. This is a vision for a nation that excites me and makes me want more!
Another theme is the challenge to do what God has called you to do. Roland and Heidi baker simply epitomise this truth. However, Heidi is careful to write that it’s not a case of simply copying what she has done.
‘The shoes He made for you will not fit anyone else. Fill them.’ (Page 100)
This book is a passionate plea to go and do that which God has called us to! Heidi shows through this book that this response to God is one of cost, yet one of adventure. At one stage in Heidi’s ministry she was prayed for and told that ‘blind eyes would see.’ For 12 months she prayed for every blind person she encountered and non where healed (plenty were saved Heidi writes but non where healed!)
After persevering Heidi prayed with a lady and the story found on page 29 blew me away and I shall finish my review with a synopsis of it: Heidi retells a story of how God knows our names and how he desires us to hear him calling them. Heidi met a very old lady in rags sitting in the dirt against a mud hut. She was blind and her eyes where pure white. She felt The Lord asking her to stop for her so she did, and asked what her name was. Heidi was told that because she was blind she had no name. Heidi hugged her and called her ‘Utaliya’ which means ‘you exist, you are.’ She called the lady by that name and got her neighbour in the village to do the same. As she prayed for her, her eyes turned from white to brown and she could see!
Read this book- be challenged and not only step out to do more, but also step in to abide more with your Heavenly Father who calls you to change this world for the glory of Jesus.