Tag Archive: ministry

“Are you doing what Jesus did and taught?”

that line came up in the bible devotions this morning at the CCDA conference and it’s not like it’s anything new or particularly revolutionary, but it is a line i think must keep on being said and cried out and shouted and written down and sung about until more and more people take a moment to really hear it and digest it and pour their present life through the filter of it and go, ‘Hm. Wait. Maybe not. I should do something about that.’

or something.

the line is NOT ‘Are you going to church?’

it is NOT ‘Are you involved in some form of ministry?’

it is also NOT ‘Do you read your Bible and can you quote verses from memory and know all the words to the latest hit worship song?’

and there are probably a bunch of other things it is NOT.


a good place to start is to head back to the gospels [matthew, mark, luke, john] in the second part of the bible and read once more the story of Jesus and pay careful attention to WHAT JESUS TAUGHT as well as take time to focus on HOW JESUS LIVED and then to stop, have a quick hammer time, and think to yourself, ‘Am I Really Living out What He Said and What He Did?’

like for real?

well, are you?

so recently my wife – the beautiful Val (because clearly) – was on a camp where we had been asked to speak (actually first time the invitation came to us as a couple) and someone was chatting to her and said something along the lines of ‘so are you the tagalong?’ – hm, strangely that person still lives today, but ja Val was not super amped

and looking back at that camp, if you had attended it, you probably would have thought that i was the speaker and tbVal was accompanying me because she did not do much up front

but the majority of her input – although she did get a lot involved in the camp as a whole and was a legendary participant in the Amazing snail-and-scrambled-egg-eating Race that they put on (where i got to hang out as base and appear as ‘phil’ every now and then to welcome the teams home – gruelling gruelling work) – happened after lights out

one of our favourite times as a couple is lying in bed before we go to sleep at night and chatting about life, the universe, fantasy cricket picks and everything – and on that camp in particular it was chatting about the talks i was going to give the next morning where her input was invaluable. she really had probably the hugest input she has had in any talks i’ve given on that camp and yet from the outside it looked like it was all me, but it really was completely more of an us, and it was so great

and maybe ‘tagalong’ is the history of pastor and missionaries wives in many cases where all they have been seen as good for is making tea and holding women’s meetings to knit squares and bake christian muffins or something but that is certainly not how it works for us. one of the key elements of tbVal being the one for me was that she had (and continues to have) a brain – she really thinks about stuff and she questions (which is often uncomfortable but usually so good) and she sees things from different angles that i do and often calls stuff that is hidden in my blind spots

so i refuse to have her as a porcelain doll on the mantelpiece for all to see and ooh and aah and ‘how sweet’ – we are in this journey of life and ministry together and she is my tag team partner and so even though, for now, i am the one upfront (and watch this space cos that is going to change) a lot of the time, she is completely a huge part of what is happening

but feel free to call her a ‘tagalong’ to her face, especially if i’m standing nearby… see how that works out for you!

and maybe some of you husbands out there – especially in the official ministry type vocation – need to take a good long hard look at how you and others view your wife and her role in ministry and see if it’s accurate and fair or perhaps needs some intentional reworking…

what grew and what needs to

so this morning at church we had John Scott from Scotland (yes, i know) at Stellenbosch Vineyard morning service doing a good solid preach about dreams (having them while awake as opposed to analysing the ones that happen while you sleep) and then doing some ministry time (praying for sick etc) afterwards

now i arrived at church early and got chatting to him which was really cool and i shared some of my struggling-faith-with-healing-related-things thing and told how a week ago i basically watched as my wife, TBV, cried herself to sleep cos of extreme headaches that i had prayed a LOT of LOTS of times for with seemingly no positive results… and how i believe God can heal but not so sure i always believe He will, or maybe ‘ever’ as opposed to ‘always’

and the crazy thing is it’s not an outright lack of faith thing cos i have faith for money – i have seen on a bunch of occasions God’s provision in the area of money and finances and so i think i can trust God for a million bucks (saw Him provide more for uThando leNkosi safe house a few years back) but struggle in the area of healing – and i am super overly tired of hearing other peoples healing stories which are always a friend of a friend’s friend… their cousin… or something…

so he spoke to me a bit and it was very encouraging but as we ended he said cool you’re gonna come up today and pray for someone’s leg to grow… and i was like wo how about i start with a headache and we work towards leg-growing (Val has headaches way more often than she has uneven leg measurements to my knowledge) although that bit was only in my head and he wasn’t prophetic enuff in that moment to discern that (or was he?)

so he preached a good preach and called people up who have been struggling with back or neck pain for more than 10 years (apparently on this trip he has seen a LOT of healing happen in more than 15/20 years conditions so has been specifically asking for those) and a bunch of people (5 or 6) came to the front to be prayed for and he looked up and caught my eye and said ‘come here’ (but in Scottish so more like cam hieare) and i whispered ‘oh crap’ (it’s okay, Charis wasn’t there) as i made my way to the front.

He made the first dude sit down and took both his legs and showed me how the one was slightly longer than the other – was marginal let’s be honest, less than a cm – so he’s like ‘do you see?’ and i’m like ‘um not really, i mean yes yes cool’ and he started praying and speaking to it and suddenly there was a kind of shake in the leg and it did move down a little bit, and then it happened again and the two legs were equal and the dude was saying that healing had occurred.

So pretty cool, but also the kind of thing i know i’m going to be able to explain away cos he had his hand under the guys legs and i’m trying to watch if he is pulling or adjusting or anything (not that this guy is like that at all – totally trustworthy, totally non-manipulative but still i look) and then he makes hold the next one and pray and then i think he walked away – and i prayed, and there was nothing… and then there was something – a jolt and the leg moved and seemed to jump down – and i think it happened again and then they were straight (also not huge difference at the beginning but some) and the person claimed healing…

The next person i prayed for my friend K-A came and prayed/watched and we saw nothing in terms of leg movement but the person claimed some healing and we prayed again a few times and he said his neck was totally healed which he’d been struggling with for years and his hip stuff was a lot better – so some definite healing and we got him to do some stretch stuff he couldn’t do beforehand and so somewhat satisfying.

And then the next guy we prayed a long time for and nothing happened. And John came back and prayed with us for him and nothing. Well nothing observable and he said the same pain was there (although did move his arms higher than he had at the beginning but seemed to suggest nothing had happened) although the one word i got while we were praying was ‘stress’ and when i shared it with him he related to it so we prayed into that but didn’t really see anything.

And then the guy some other people were praying for with as huge gap in leg length nothing much happened for and so people healed with leg growth, people healed with no discernible change and people not healed at all.

One thing John said before he left was that we must focus on what happened and not what didn’t happen cos it’s easy to look at the stuff that didn’t happen and go ‘well what the heck?’ which is what i tend to do… but for some of the people there, there really does seem to be a change from how they arrived to how they left and if the pain they have carried for years and years has gone then maybe, just maybe, it’s worth dealing with the frustration of seeing a lot of people not healed for the ones that will be.

“I do believe Lord, help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9.24

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