i'm sitting here a bit fazed, because well.. i'm supposed to know what i wanna say by the time i get here. but the thing is, i don't really know what i wanna say, or if anything needs saying at all.
i've just come back from church camp, and it was every bit as good as the ones prior to it. i've learnt many different things, and in different ways too. it wasn't just about being hit full on by the spirit of God, but this time it was more about careful timing, perfect placement, strong steady arms and firm grounding instead of great emotional heights.
from earlier posts, you may have realised that i was not staying with my peers, but rather people from the worship team, some of which i knew, some more like acquaintences. but i'm glad to say, that it didnt matter, God made sure i was never short of company, blessing me with this group of people, having meals together, talking together, joking or laughing and basically, just enjoying God through the friendship of others.
but that was not the real reward for not asking to be changed to a different group. i think since the arragnments were proposed, it was a lesson from God about living things his way instead of what our desires tell us so.
it's alright to have desires, but we have to be careful to live them out in the context of what God desires more of us, becuase his ways should be our ways.
the speaker for camp was a Ps. Dennis Balcombe who was a US missionary to China for more than 30 years of his life. he's what you might call fanatical.. the disciplines he put himself thru, the principles he lived by all to bring delight to God. basically, i think he's might almost be the fire and brimestone guy on the streets telling you to repent. but that is the conviction that God put in his heart, that without knowing Jesus as our saviour, we are undoubtedly going to hell when we pass away. and for him, there's no time to waste. me? maybe my heart's not in that place yet, because this whole camp has showed me how much i hold back, wanting to control my life of fear that when God controls my life it's gonna spiral out of control.
on the last night of camp, Ps. Dennis gave the altar call to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and renew us. i was on acoustic guitar duties, but when a young man asked if i would like to be prayed for, i agreed and left my guitar with him to play. as i stood there, my mentor came and prayed for me, reminding me to go back to the word of God which is a very timely reminder. after that, i waited, but no Ps. Balcombe.. i thought i would give myself a few more moments, but he didn't seem to be walking in my direction.
well.. no big deal i reckon, i already have been baptised with the holy spirit, and there's no denying that the spirit works in my life as well. so, i guess i just decided to going back to what i was doing earlier, and that was playing the guitar.
however, when i walked back to the worship line, another Ps. David asked if i had been prayed for by Ps. Balcombe. i thought this was rather intriguing because i had just returned from the altar call, and even if no one was watching, i would feel rather silly fluttering between two zones so often. but i sensed God was wanting to tell me something, so i agreed and stood at somewhere slightly more prominent hoping he would see me this time.
well, i waited and waited, feeling a bit uneasy.. opening and closing my eyes wondering when it was my turn. perhaps if i was really in the zone, i would have just been lost in experiencing God. but i was fluctuating between worship and 'what am i doing here' thoughts.
finally, Ps. Balcombe laid his hands on me. he didn't say anything, but was just praying for me in tongues, not loud or anything, just how someone would if he was praying for you, and then he moved on.
well, that was rather strange i thought, but i allowed it to soak within me. it wasn't that i didn't understand it, on the contrary, i was glad that he finally came to me, and prayed for me even if it was in no intelligible words. because i was determined to stand my ground and not let God pass me by, just a touch from him was enough to fill my spirit. the short pause really did lift me up, and i was feeling much better about my circumstances. as i was about to leave, my cell leader walks up to me and reads a word into my heart.
"he trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him since he delights in him." Psalms 22:8
wow, the Lord delights in me! and it was just like it said, waiting on the Lord is trusting in him, over circumstances, over our comfort zones, over what we think is the right thing to do, over justification.. regardless of where we stand, whether we're in a good place or a bad place.. we just need to trust in the Lord, and he will deliever us.
another cell member came up to pray with me, and share about how we should always ask the Lord to stay a little bit longer, which i can say is something i need to learn. without knowing it, i know i compartmentalise God in various areas of my life.. he has some control of my life, but not everything. things deep down inside, the stuff i know i have to deal with, i'm learning to let God instead.
overall, the challenge presented to me at camp, was that we get so comfortable with our own lives sometimes, that we have no more desire to see God perform miracles and revivals in our lives. Ps. Balcombe showed us a lot of footage of the revival sweeping through china. most of them were simple folk, with very little going for them in life, but they had such fire in their eyes. they were hungry for the word of God, hungry for miracles, for healings and teachings. one might look at it and think that it was more a simplistic faith rather than a simple faith. i mean, i don't know if they understood the doctrine of calvinism or the differences in denominations or various creationist arguments supporting christianity..
to these folk, it didnt matter.. all that did was that God gave his son to die for their sins, rose again and conqured death, and now he is extending his gift of eternal life into their lives. and they had fire.. something fanatical as opposed to the rest of us civilised folk.
i began to wonder about the more developed places like beijing. would a successful business man or government official want to be seen with these simple folk, in their poverty acting like stark raving lunatics for God? and i began to wonder about myself.. would i be able to 'act' like that in public, or rather would i allow the Holy Spirit to use me in such a way? i mean, am i more concerned in societal rules and keeping up with appearances rather than being concerned about how God thinks, how God wants to do things.
this was my challenge, and i'm in the process of understanding more about it. but the more i think and pray about it, the more i realise what an absolute farce so many things in this world is, and yet.. i also know that there is nothing guilty with being born into the income group God placed you in when you were born.
Paul taught that to the greeks we become greeks, and to become all things to all men so that some might be saved. wherever we are called to serve, we should not need to feel guilty about our circumstance, because it's all God, what he called us to be and do. the only difference is that, where we are, are we actually fulfilling the work of God. are we investing ten talents for another ten or just burying them in the ground?
Tuesday, October 31, 2006