Saturday, 13 February 2010

USA Tour: Day Seven

A day of telephone glory, wild bells, heavenly oil and crazy weather.

We went to IHOP (International House of Pancakes!) this morning for breakfast and had a good breakfast but an even better time just talking about the kingdom of God, the reality of the finished work of the cross, the truth of the death of our sinful nature and our being made new in Jesus. It was a great conversation – asking questions of each other and discussing the deep things. There was an elderly black couple sitting at the next table and every now and then I wondered if they were listening to us and when they got up to leave the woman said to us “Thank you so much for your message” and then they just left! Who knows what seeds have been sown in their hearts, they certainly heard the Gospel and saved or not those seeds are going to spring up and make a difference.

After breakfast Dave and I had a wander around a sports shop while Godfrey went to get his USA phone fixed, the number of sports and outdoor activities this shop catered for was breathtaking, full equipment for everything from table-tennis to shooting via baseball, soccer, American Football, cycling and pretty much anything else you can think of. After a while we went into the mall to find Godfrey and he was still tangled up in the worlds slowest retail transaction – you’d think he was trying to achieve a corporate merger with T-Mobile not just buy one of their phones, so much paper-work! Dave was hammered drunk leaving the sports shop, even more so than usual, so we slumped down next to Godfrey on the bench while the red-haired sales assistant plodded through the bureaucratic mire. The other salesman had a bracelet on with religious icons and picture so Dave asked him about them and asked him if he loved our Lord and he said he did. Then Dave asked the red-headed guy if he had Celtic ancestry, Scottish perhaps. He swore and made derogatory comments about the kilt and said he was of Irish stock. The glory was coming on in waves now and both Dave and I were pretty whacked and we just started laughing and the red-headed guy got caught up in the presence of the Holy Spirit too. He started laughing and even shaking a bit in his seat, he clearly had no clue what was going on but Dave took his hand and explained it was the glory of God and the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit and he lost it and was laughing really hard. The other guy’s religious mindset seemed to kick into overdrive at that moment and the shutters went up. He turned away and completely avoided any further eye contact or anything. So sad. Godfrey, Dave and I just laughed and enjoyed the moment and then we got up to go so I asked the young guy if he knew the road the church is on and he said he did so I told him about the meetings and asked him to come along, ‘cos if he enjoyed that little experience of the joy of heaven then he could have a genuine life changing encounter if he wanted it. He said he would come. He wasn’t there tonight but maybe he’ll come tomorrow. I do hope so, he picked up a taste of heavens bliss I hope he gets hungry for the full banquet.

We then met up with John Scotland and went for really tasty lunch at a simple soup and sandwich place. Then we went back to the hotel and sat in the lounge and chatted about the various meetings coming up and all kinds of things. It’s good to have John here now, he has a wise heart. The weather was horrible – it was cold and raining all afternoon. The weather report said it ought to be snowing but it didn’t seem cold enough for that.

In the afternoon I managed to Skype Mags and the kids and have a good chat about things happening here and at home. I miss Mags a lot; I’m not sure I could come away for this long without her very often, if at all. When we come back, and I’m certain we’ll be coming back – I feel a real connection to Woody and his family and church – I’ll be coming with the whole family I think.

Godfrey and I set off to Abundant Life just before six to give us plenty of time to check out the re-arranged set up. We ran through a few songs and musically it was a lot easier with us all together, the band felt tighter and that we were communicating properly. After we’d been there about half an hour people were coming in with sleet on their coats and they were saying the rain was turning into snow! The bad weather must have affected the turn out as there were quite a lot less people there tonight but the atmosphere was very different. There was an ease to the night and a sense of the wild about to be loosed. Godfrey led us into “The Joy Of The Lord” and “Cartwheels of Joy” and before long we were ringing out the Wild Bells (his new song based on the Tennyson poem) and the room was jumping, apart from a few little groups around the room that were flat out on the floor unable to even sit up let alone stand or dance, the heavenly intoxication was so on them. When we finished Dave shared a few things and explained what it was people were sowing into and took up the offering. After that he put down the big hand-held the radio mike on the stage but then needed it again a minute or two later and when he picked it up you could see it was now oily – the light glistened off it and his hands got covered in sweet incense fragranced oil! No one had touched it in between. The presence of God in the room was electric – which was good because as John started to speak the power kept going partially off and on plunging the room into varying degrees of gloom! The PA stayed on though, which was good, and John spoke, amongst other things, about the need to bury the dead (Ezekiel 39) and the story of his expensive suit which is a morticians (undertakers) suit and his anointing is to bury the things that are dead so that the land can be cleansed. It was powerful stuff and you could see a lot of people were getting some serious revelation not just a good talk.

As John wound up Godfrey and I returned to the stage and played Wild Bells with lots of extra bits and some prophetic variations including Godfrey sawing up the dead wood and making a saw noise on his strings…it got really wild. It’s good to be able to cut loose on the drums sometimes and really pound it out – but only when it’s the right moment.

As people were leaving we heard about the snow. The sleet that had been coming down earlier and had started to turn into snow was now deep snow a good few inches thick. That wet slushy snow that usually doesn’t last long, but there was so much of it. Woody said it hadn’t snowed like that in Charleston since the early 70’s! The authorities didn’t seem prepared at all as there was no grit being put on the roads and they were pretty slippy getting back to the hotel. Dave went with John and they followed Godfrey and me. As we came up the slip road onto the main dual carriageway (highway) into town a huge pickup got up so close behind us it was crazy, he was clearly driving like an idiot in the terrible slippery conditions, then he suddenly lost control and started swerving and skidding all over the road. How he managed to not hit us, John who was behind him, or end up in the ditch at the side of the road I just don’t know. Once on the highway Godfrey slowed right down so the pickup could get past as he was clearly a danger to himself and anyone nearby. Thank goodness our car is four wheel drive and thank God he kept us safe from the loonies.

Once back in town every restaurant we tried was closed due to the bad weather so we ended up getting a Chinese take away and eating it in the hotel breakfast room. Today was a good day…where do we go from here?