Friday, 17 September 2010

A Royal Feast

Well I made the pool team. Had a good evening meeting the rest of the team and getting to know them. We will be playing on Sunday evenings in and around Newton Abbot in the various pubs that are hosting. The team consists of Colin, Tom, Hayley, Chris, JB, Con, Chip, Jamie, Nick, Sean and Dan. Tom and Hayley are a couple in the team but will only be playing sporadically as Hayley is pregnant. They were a nice couple and excited and scared about the prospect of being parents. It's good to be a part of their culture and spend time with them. They reminded me of me a few years ago. I could really relate to their conversations and their outlook to various things. It made me so aware of how important it is to build honest open relationships with people and to be ourselves.

David and Janet Coffey came round for dinner the other night. They are a really nice couple and were really supportive and encouraging about our adventure here in Devon. They have arranged a prayer support group for us who will meet every month to pray for us and encourage us. We will met at David and Jan's house for lunch and prayer. It's good to have their wisdom.

One of the local PCSO's came round for a coffee and we spoke about the area and what kind of issues there are. She told me about some of the drug problems and ways in which I might be able to help. I've got quite a heart to do some volunteer work for the local needle exchange centre so I think I'm going to submit an application form. She also told me about other schemes the local police run to help the area and said that she would be in touch about other schemes they are running that I can help them out with. She really liked the concept of church that I shared with her, so hopefully I will have a good relationship with the local police.

When I was walking and praying today I was reflecting on how consumer based and result based out culture is and how that is often reflection within our churches. This time I spend everyday praying for the community has been a struggle sometimes because I feel like I should be 'showing' more 'results' for the work we have been called to do here. When people ask 'how's it going?' in regard to the church plant and I tell them that my main calling right now is to listen and pray, I feel like people find it a bit strange. I'm sure I'm being paranoid though.

The thing is, I really felt God speak to me today about how vital this time of prayer is. He reminded me of the dream I had (read here) and how important it is to build this church well. We're called to build how the Master Builder tells us and the materials we use may seem useless to others, but to God they are building something strong. We're building this church with prayer because Jesus, the Master Builder, has called us to. And in such a result based, consumer, 'I want it now' culture this can be a real challenge. Yet if the foundations are laid well, then what is built will last. I am called to be someone who shows a Gospel of grace, so how can I do that, as Eugene Peterson has said, if I am working all the time. I am called to be like Jesus and go to the mountaintop and pray. It is in these times of prayer listening to the Spirit of God that I can discern God's will for this community. It feels a little bit like being in the wilderness, but I know that is a good thing as I'm being prepared to be the Minister God calls me to be in this community.

When you cook a good meal you have to prepare well. The ingredients need to prepared. Sometimes you grow your own veg, which takes time. You have to wash and chop, season and boil, bake and wait. If you don't prepare well then the meal itself will be a real letdown. But prepare well then the meal will be well worth the wait.


Karl considering 21st Century Mission said...

Don't be paranoid Joe - that prayer/listening/preparation time is vital. Stick with it!

Remember the mustard seed and the yeast ... they didn't instantly become a full-grown tree or leaven the bread. It was a process. It took time.

God bless you.

Joseph said...

Now more then ever I hear the Lord saying this to me each and every day
If my people that are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then I would hear from heaven forgive their sins and heal their land. Go to the mountain and pray saints!!!

Joe Haward said...

Thank you for that Karl. Really encouraging. Those images are really powerful for me right now. Hope you're ok. In my prayers mate.

Cheers Joseph. Good to have you on here. Lets all keep praying! Good name by the way! ;0)