Today is Sunday and it has been a surreal day. Trust me, it really has. I have spent the majority of the day crown green bowling with members and guests of various Masonic Lodges in the Copperbelt region of Zambia.
Next to the bowling club in a place called Kalulushi, was possibly one of the loudest churches I have ever heard. They were in full swing, shouting, praying, prophesying, speaking in tongues. You name it, they were doing it. As I arrived and got out of my car, one of the guests at the bowling day, commented rather tongue in cheek, “Yes, you can feeeeel the Spirit coming from there”. I thought that I may let him know my profession, but thought I didn’t want to embarrass someone I didn’t know, so left it.
The worship continued and so did the Masonic Bowling Tournament. The thing is, I was left with the feeling that there was a lot of huffing and puffing going on from the Church, but there was certainly no blowing the house down. What do I mean? Well this morning I was on the other side. I was literally in the place of the many people who are outside the Church, and to be honest, I thought what is the point of all that. Now don’t hear me wrong. I think Church can be great, but here in Africa, and elsewhere, there is an awful lot that simply fails to connect to anything or anyone. So, the people carried on playing bowls as the second chorus of Hallelujah! started, and it was awfully loud. Jesus always connected with people, even if they went on and killed him.
I’m more determined than ever to make sure that my life is not like that Church Service this morning. With everything I have I want to make a difference to as many people outside of the reach of God that I can (OK, there’s going to be some geek that tells me that no-one is techincally outside of God’s reach). And I think I really mean that. The funny thing is, God gets everyone involved. I wouldn’t be in this country if it wasn’t for my friends Barry Ilunga, Bill Raven (who by the way is a great guy and sorted all our accommodation), Rammy Singh (sorted cars) etc. etc. you get the picture. When you start going the right way, God adds his resources to yours, and it works, even if those resources are not ‘Church’ resources so to speak.
So basically I don’t want to be just a bunch of noise.
Especially when I consider the rural areas, which by the way is where we will be spending the next 2 weeks. I don’t want everything to be a bunch of noise, or a clanging symbol as the Apostle Paul said. I like the best of us, have our bad moments and 2 weeks ago I was thinking flippin ‘eck what have I done, weeks in the bush etc. etc. However, I think my heart is widening again and I want to be there. We could camp at a friends farm, but the right place is in the villages with the people, however uncomfortable it is. My prayer is that God begins something bigger than I can handle in the next couple of months. Please yes, that’s what I want. Start a fire, that will burn up all the rubbish, and creates something new in the villages. Will you pray with me? The need is so huge.
As I sit here and write this, I think of Joel who cycled a total of 10 hours to see us last week. Vincent who left behind a new born baby to join us. I think of others whom God maybe calling to be part of this, in this area. Pray that more are added.
Together with them, I want to be part of a soothing balm, a raging fire, not just a bunch of noise.