Busy, buy, busy we have been. I have had a full-on week in the UK in Wales and the South-West; while away our area had the strongest storm in 140 years and co-incidentally (or otherwise?) Gayle hosted a very strategic time on ‘the feminisation of politics’. I am convinced that feminisation is absolutely key and there is a connection there to the shifts that are needed at this time, and somehow that will enable a push back against the demonisation of the ‘other’ and open up a receptivity in lands to the enormous enforced people-movements that are currently taking place. I am exploring the death of Jesus being to the distorted image of maleness and the perversion of what it meant to be chosen, and to the allegiance to nationalism, hence dying as a Jewish male.
Frutifulness is very difficult to measure. If an evangelist goes to an unevangelised area and there are a phenomenal number of personal responses to Christ then that might register easily on our ‘fruitfulness’ meter. Maybe church growth is a measure? However, where there is church growth there is also often church shrinking – other expressions go down in number. And how does one measure in a situation where there is little outword personal response to the Gospel? Beyond ‘fruitfulness’ of course faithfulness is the criterion by which we will be measured.
I have been reflecting that perhaps there are four elements that need to come together to produce something of a shift. Taking these in order:
God: being in the place and situation that God has appointed is #1 on the list. The complication with assessing this is that God, being God, shows up where we are… even if we are not where s/he would really like us to be. The presence of God does not signify an approval from heaven as s/he will maximise every situation for blessing. One of the prime examples of this is the anointing of the king when the very choice of kingship was a vote against God! However, let’s assume that the more responsive we are to being in the place or situation that God would desire for us the greater the shift likely around us.
Land: with something over 1200 biblical references this is not a second-rate theme. Where land has been cultivated in a certain way for centuries we can find a real resistance manifesting to those who come in the opposite spirit. Using the metaphor of ‘marrying the land’ in such situations there will be a process. First those coming in a different spirit will find extreme resistance and a whole season where the land seems to bring junk into their situation and home. If those people can hold through eventually – and how long is eventually? – there will be a shift, with the righteous position beginning to flow into the land.
People: those who live in the land have incredible authority. If they welcome those coming in the name of the Lord they open up their immediate situation to the miraculous. (‘Eat what they eat, heal the sick…’; ‘if they welcome you, they welcome me…’) Should they not receive those coming then there is a judgement they bring on that area – Jesus using the comparison with Sodom’s destruction. (Those stories indicating the power of hospitality and the presence of the angelic where there is hospitality.)
If we had a lining up of all three above there remains a fourth element. The personal response to the provocation to grow in maturity.
Through divine help we have been located in Oliva for just over 5 years. We have been blessed that dreams took us here; that over and over we have recognised how good the land has been to us. It was while we were here that we both simultaneously (at a moment of time while we were driving to Zaragoza) that we recognised the land could not evict us. That was an important shift and one we were grateful for. Maybe had we stayed where we were geographically prior to Oliva we might never have reached that stage, or it might have come a lot later, and perhaps if we had moved directly to Madrid (we planned to do so in 2011 and again in 2014 but had our two ‘diversions’) we might have discovered that we could not have continued. We have found such a welcome here, people have pulled us in, befriended us… so there is more to come.
God, land and people. Nicely lined up. It is early days for us in Madrid. Certainly we have had an enormous battle to get into the city, the vision that our entry would be up a sewer pipe has proved to be so accurate. We have had so many challenges to our prayers and prophetic declarations. Proclaiming that Madrid will align to ‘true north’ while watching as on many fronts it has aligned to any direction but.
We have no doubt God has led us, we will have to work hard and consistently for the land to respond, and we pray that there will be those with authority, those of the city who will receive us. Yes, we will need to be focused but some of that is beyond our say so. There is one element that remains… personal maturity! Now that is a challenge. Better stop writing and keep my head down.
PS. In July I wrote about not believing one’s own advertising / publicity and so wrote that I have a new resume to send out..
Martin Scott has had it pretty easy in life so has not learnt so much. He often thinks he knows better and so can be somewhat stubborn. Maybe it is reasonable attribute not to be overly-impressed by the opinions of others, maybe he is just a reticent learner. Many times quick to try and give an answer, can be guilty of pontificating beyond his understanding. (Photo can accompany the above publicity when the invite comes.)
While recently in Plymouth I read this out so that people might know me better. It was responded to by someone as ‘I think you have embellished that somewhat!’ OUCH!!