Entry 21 / Norway and England

Thanks for helping me!

Acts 16:8-10 

So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia (Europe) and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

 

Paul later wrote, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”

Well, here it is, the blow-by-blow summary of my recent ministry trip (April 12-26, 2010) . I hope you enjoy following along with me and meeting my friends and being a part of this ministry. As you all know, I never charge anyone for anything that I do. This means that I rely on the help of people who have been benefitted from my ministry. Your continued help keeps the bills paid and me in the air.

I arrived home on Monday evening and leave again for ten days this coming Saturday. I will be serving in Sussex, NB and Halifax, NS, Canada. Please continue to pray and partner.

In 1979 I was promised the following and independently confirmed three times in two days,    “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8

The Lord also asked me if I would be willing to serve Him under three conditions and I agreed…

   1.   No Results (He meant nothing to glory over)

   2.   No Remuneration (He meant no steady income guarantee)

   3.  No Reputation (Remain unknown by doing small things)

He has kept His word (no results, remuneration or reputation) and I have tried to keep mine.

A word about life and death…

I used to be fearful of flying. I remember the first time I ever got on a plane. My knuckles turned white with every shudder and I broke out in a sweat every time I heard a sound that seemed unusual. I suppose that I now board a plane twenty or more times a year. It all seems rather mundane to me now – still I am aware that anything can happen.

Sometimes parents of the missionary students I have taught want to know, “Is where my son (or daughter ) going safe?” This can sometimes be an annoying question for me as I wonder if the same question would come up if we were at war against a foreign enemy. I have seen Christian parents proud that their children are serving in the military but reluctant to give them to the service of Jesus. In my view, this should not be so. It surprises me that people who have dedicated their children to Christ as infants are willing to send them off to a battle against flesh and blood and not willing to surrender them to war against the enemy of men’s souls. That, I suppose is for them to grapple with.

The standard patronizing  Christian answer goes something like this, “Being in the will of the Lord is the safest place your child can be.” This is supposed to assure family members but of course this is a lie and everyone knows it. A person can get themselves killed in the service of Christ. The historical record of the church is full of martyrs from Stephen to several hundred last week in Nigeria. But, in the end, I like the question of the hymn writer Thomas Shepherd….

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
and all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for everyone,
and there’s a cross for me.

How happy are the saints above,
who once went sorrowing here!
But now they taste unmingled love,
and joy without a tear.

The consecrated cross I’ll bear
till death shall set me free;
and then go home my crown to wear,
for there’s a crown for me.

“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.”   

Jim Elliott  

Entry 20 / Norway and London

Meet John Watson, Pastor of Eltham Green Community Church

I have known  John and Janna Watson for about four years. At my first meeting John was simply one of the congregational leaders being considered to take the pastoral leadership of the church. He is now the Pastor and I see his touch on much of the fresh ministry taking place within the community. There are many new avenues to the unchurched. They regularly see visitors coming for the children’s programs, morning coffee club, Wednesday “Theology Cafe” and other need based events designed specifically as a means of intersecting different societal groups. 

Entry 19 / Norway and London

Sunday Morning

The sanctuary was filled with people of all ages and a range of ethnicities. When it came time to preach I spoke on “The Spirit of Caleb.” When I presented the invitation many came to the front for prayer. 

You can hear this sermon at    http://www.egcc.co.uk/?p=933  

 Young Adults

The night before I spoke to a group of twenty young adults. 

Church in a Tea Cup

Then, on Sunday afternoon following the service I was the guest speaker at a service they call, “Church in a Tea Cup” 

This is an outreach service to the unchurched. People sit at tables, have tea, sandwiches and desserts and after they visit, I bring a short relevant message. Here, I wanted to explain the difference between justice, mercy and grace with a good response. 

Sunday Evening Service and Maria finds Jesus.

 I had invited people to bring  their non-Christian friends and return in the evening. I did see present a few new faces but most seemed to know the songs and the gospel as I spoke it.  

There was one earnest face in the crowd. Earlier, as I stood at the door waiting, a lady approached and said, “Is this where the meeting  is being held?” Detecting that she was a newcomer I squeezed in beside where she was seated. I asked her ethnicity thinking that perhaps she might be a Filipino. Thankfully she didn’t seem insulted that I missed her by about ten thousand miles. She was from Ecuador and now living and working in England. As we continued to talk she bombarded me with many questions. It was obvious from the start that she had been worked on by the Jehovah’s Witnesses but I found her interesting in that she approached her inquiry from belief in Jesus and disbelief in the JW interpretation of Jesus. It was obvious to me that the Lord was drawing her to Himself. She had, on her own, arrived at right Biblical positions and without the help of man. I told her that she had come on the right night as this was exactly the subject of my message, “Like Jumping to Capri.” I was going to demonstrate from scripture and logic how Christ alone is the only answer and hope of salvation. She seemed completely satisfied with the conclusions drawn and came to me at the end of the service to receive Christ. She left much happier than she came.

You can hear this sermon at  http://www.egcc.co.uk/?p=935

Entry 17 / Noway and London

A nice visit with the Clancy’s and the Bellone’s

Tano and Angela are close friends of the Clancy’s who have recently moved from Scotland where John worked with CHRISTIAN’S AGAINST POVERTY to Essex. Essex is near enough to London to come for a visit in an hours drive. Angela made plans for the together around my visit. John and Rachel were students of mine at Bethany College of Missions more than three children ago (they are on number four). They have produced a tribe of beautiful and well-mannered children (except for Johnnie who wouldn’t make eye contact with what he thought to be a giant). I suggest that Rachel buy some different children’s books.

Those who follow my artwork and painting website (www.tonyhedrickart.com) will remember the portrait I painted of Rachel when she was one Rachel Joja Goff. It was and still remains one of the best portraits I have ever painted. 

                                                                                                      

It was fun to see how much they all (Clancy’s and Bellone’s) have grown into terrific, responsible adults.  Both John and Tano work in similar professions and possess recognized skills as social animators, working with the poor, the marginalized, the recently released from prison and street people. 

Angela and Gloria

The ladies are attentive and good mothers. I am proud to have been a small part of their formative years and it is lovely to see how my time spent with young people turns out in this way. I am encouraged by still being considered a friend.

Entry 16 / Norway and London

Being an early riser has its peril…

My wife has me in the habit of waking up at about six each morning. There can be a problem with this when one is traveling and staying in other peoples’ homes – people who do not happen to be early risers. I have learned to tend to my own business and wait until I hear movement in another part of the dwelling.

Yesterday, I woke up at about six and had to reach my appointment in London by being on the morning train at 8AM. So, by seven I had quietly readied myself and dying for a cup of coffee, I decided to go on out and find a coffee shop. This sounds easy enough until one tries it. After all, I have a key to the front door of the church where I’m staying. I attempted to tip-toe my way down the creaky stairs and finally arrive at the door leading from the stairwell into the hallway. Feeling confident, I close the door behind me and go toward the main door out with my key in hand. I slip it into the lock only to discover that while this key does a good job getting me in, it will not let me out. UHHH-ohhh!! I try everything that comes to mind even seeing how I might pry the lock back. All of this is to no avail. I wish that Sky (my son) was with me as he has been known to break into anything, cars, houses, stores… But he is not here and I break out into a sweat. How will I get out of here? My friend Tano will be waiting on me at the Eltham station. I try calling him. I try texting him. Nothing. Why should I expect him to answer, he is an Italian. So… what are my options. I’ll rouse Mike Haley my host and neighbor on the second floor. I ran back to the door leading up the stairs only to find it locked as tightly as the front. Now what? I don’t know. Time is ticking away and I am trapped like a rabbit in a culvert, running between the two possibilities. Finally, in a panic and out of options, I pounded on the door with no response. Again, I knocked louder and still no answer. I decided to scream bloody murder and I at last hear a shuffle. Groggy headed from sleep, Mike thinks that I am a vagrant that has somehow gotten himself into the church. Then he realizes it is just me and with copious apologies about not given me the “propa” key he lets me out into the street. I am not so good at running anymore but I did my best and managed to arrive at the Eltham station where I found my Italian friend, Tano leisurely sipping a cup of coffee and not in the least concerned regarding my whereabouts.

Entry 15 / Norway and London

LT. Colonel Stephen Johns

For crying out loud! Why do these Brits always call Lieutenant, Leftinant? Try as I might there isn’t a way in the world I can turn a “Lieu” into a “Lef ” but they manage to do it.

Now, here’s a fellow with real class. I expected to see him showing up in military gear so having not seen Stephen in more than a decade, I stood at Trafalgar Square in front of Waterstone’s Bookstore with my little sign exactly at 10 and with military precision here comes this smiling guy across to meet me. I suppose with my white mustache (I’ve always had a mustache except for short periods until my children would beg me to look like myself again) he immediately recognized me and we sat down to visit in the Costa coffee shop on the second floor. When it comes to being recognized, I suppose I might be called a “dead give away.” 

I only went into the city for this one reason. Stephen had once been assigned to the Canadian Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario and during that time served under Pastor Ken Roth in the worship team at Polson Park Free Methodist Church in that same city.

He is now getting close to retirement (Look at this guy. He doesn’t look O.A.P.able- retireable). He looks like a banker. Anyhow, he is thinking about how he might use his future to bless the Kingdom of God. Our conversation centered around the possibilities of how that might look. Whatever he chooses to do, I enjoy the opportunity of intersecting and perhaps being a small part of his decision-making process. I wish more people of experience, maturity, aptitude and obvious spiritual gifting would consider such possibilities. It is amazing to see so many who for thirty years following their professional careers have invested themselves in Christian service and are making an enormous difference.

Since I had already spent almost seven quid for transportation and another 10 for breakfast (a total of $26.00 US ) I walked about the area and took a few shots. Enjoy.

The Sherlock Holmes

Toward Buckingham Palace

The Embankment at Charring Cross