Breathing Space in May

This month we decided to move the date for Breathing Space a week earlier to allow some of our regulars to be a part of it, given that one of them is about to leave for a two year posting to Dubai with her husband. To facilitate that, I asked one our regulars, Pauline Loughhead, to lead the morning and midday prayers because I needed to be on-air at Sydney’s 1032 until midday. I was one of the "extras" that arrived in the afternoon, along with my 11 year old daughter who wanted time alone with God.

I hope you enjoy Pauline’s impressions of another excellent time in the presence of God …

Breathing space was a different place for me in May, as I had a part in leading Morning Prayer and the Eucharist and saw things from a totally different perspective. How blessed we are to have Kerry who facilitates with such aplomb while we sit and enjoy God’s presence!

We were seven this month (nine during and after lunch), but for most of the day there were two for me .. just me and my heavenly father.

Having come to a new place in the realisation of the indestructibility of my assurance of God’s love for me during the difficult week in the lead up to Breathing Space, I was in a special place and slipped easily into that place where God speaks into my inner being.

Someone asked me, "how do you hear God speaking to you, is it with words, is it audible?"

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Pray for Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman is my favourite Christian singer/songwriter. He is a psalmist in the truest sense of the word .. able to prophesy the hearts of the people in worship and song .. but sadly, this story is a tragedy.

It has been reported today in The Tennessean newspaper, that …

Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest child died Wednesday evening after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family’s Williamson County home.

Maria, one of the Christian singer’s six children, was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother, she said. Police did not give the driver’s name.

The teen was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser down the driveway of the rural home about 5:30 p.m. and several children were playing in the area, McPherson said. He did not see Maria in the driveway before the vehicle struck her, she said.

"It appears to be a terrible accident,” McPherson said.

No charges are expected, she said. The accident was witnessed by two other children; the entire family was home at the time, McPherson said.

Singer/songwriter Chapman, who recently was inducted into Music City Walk of Fame, is one of contemporary Christian music’s most recognizable and most awarded names.

He and his wife, Mary Beth, have long been supporters of international adoption, having brought three girls from China into their family. Maria was the youngest.

The couple is so active in the cause that they formed an organization, Shaohannah’s Hope, to aid families wanting to adopt.

With his latest music tour, which came through Nashville in November, Chapman started a campaign called "Change for Orphans." He asked audience members at each stop to bring spare change to the concert, where it was counted and given to a local family to aid in their adoption process.

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The Lakeland Outpouring

Already people are starting to ask me what I think about what some are calling the Lakeland Outpouring in Florida, USA. It seems that thousands are already making the pilgrimage to "catch the anointing" and bring it home.

That alone makes me wonder about people’s motivation. Will they return to obscurity to simply do the work of the Father they’re now empowered for, or are they going in the hope that they may be the next great superstar ministry to bring revival to their city? That’s a little cynical, I know, but it’s a question that needs to be asked.

I recently even had a well-meaning friend call me saying, "Oh Kerry, this is the BIG ONE!"

Really?

Sometimes discernment can be a funny thing. You don’t know why you know something, you just know you know .. y’know?  Well, in response to those who are already asking, I would like to offer Robert Holmes’ and Brian Medway’s collective response to Lakeland as an answer, which you can also read at Storm Harvest, since it strongly reflects my own thoughts and concerns.

 

The Lakeland Outpouring and Todd Bentley
by Robert Holmes & Brian Medway

We are whole hearted supporters of revival, and certainly the renewed focus on the miracle working aspects of the gospel. We love the documented testimonies being shared by Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton of www.ibethel.org in California. Fervour for God, and a desire to see revival are good and godly things. A renewed interest in ministering with angels, prophetic ministry and sharing the testimony of Christ in these last days is admirable too (Revelation 19:10).

So how about Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Florida phenomena? More than a dozen Christian leaders have written to us in the past week, asking what our take on all this was, and whether we thought this was a genuine move of God. That we cannot tell you – for neither of us has been over to it. For reasons outlined below, we have no intention of going. What is being broadcast (also outlined in more detail below) in Lakeland leaves us rather disturbed.

A close ministry associate hosted Todd Bentley in Melbourne, Australia, and can testify to the positive influence he had during events a few years ago. Indeed heaven touched earth. Another ministry associate in Nigeria testified to the genuine miracles and healings which took place there under his ministry. A friend in Carolina testified to Todd’s recent honour toward older prophetic men such as Paul Cain and Bob Jones. This is all good.

By no means do we wish to encourage heresy hunting, or criticism of other sincere brethren. What do we gain by spending time and energy criticizing others? What do we gain spending time and energy publishing material denouncing others, let us seek Christ. Our reason for writing is to sound a warning, to refocus our attention on things that are true and things which really matter…

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An Unexpected Life Lesson …

Technology speaks as a mirror reflecting a powerful Kingdom principle. Let me explain …
 
I do a fair bit of work in broadcasting. Earlier today, I was standing in the Master Control Room at Sydney’s 1032, one of the Christian radio stations I work for, and was chatting with the station’s chief technician. We were marvelling at how things in that room had changed since the days when both of us worked for 2WS, the previous radio station to own the studio complex.
 
Equipment racks that once filled the room with analogue broadcasting gear have now been reduced to a quarter of those originally needed because of newer digital technology. Huge cable ducts that were built into the concrete slab floor of the room are now empty channels, as all of the audio cabling has been transferred to a handful of CAT6 networking cables.
 
I said to Jack, "Hasn’t this room changed?!"  He then took me to a rack unit and showed me some new servers being installed. In comparison with some of the older ones yet to be replaced, these new ones are tiny! And Jack said, ".. but they’re filled with terabytes."
 
I replied that it "… was amazing how everything was becoming smaller but more powerful." And then, when going our separate ways, I joked with Jack saying, "It’s just like old age .. you get smaller, but you get more powerful!"
 
We laughed … but then God spoke to me. "It’s the same in the Kingdom", He said, "The smaller you get, the more powerful you become".
 
What a truth!  And what a lifetime challenge!  Because everything about my fallen humanity wants to become bigger, to have more and to become higher in profile. But the "smaller" I get, the more of Jesus I reflect, and ultimately, the more powerful I become in the Kingdom as a result.
 
Oh, that we would learn this lesson!

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How Long, O Lord .. How Long?

I have been watching the events surrounding the elections in Zimbabwe with great concern for some time. The following is from the News Corporation website tonight: 

Post-election violence in Zimbabwe could reach genocidal proportions without intervention from the international community, the country’s church leaders have warned.

"We warn the world that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hot spots in Africa and elsewhere,” leaders of all denominations said in a joint statement.

     

"To the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union and the United Nations to work towards arresting the deteriorating political and security situation in Zimbabwe.”

A recount of ballots is under way in Zimbabwe in the wake of the March 29 elections, amid allegations that longtime leader Robert Mugabe, 84, is trying to steal the outcome and cling to power.

There are two basic things that concern me about this situation besides the obvious destruction of a nation:

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APRIL Breathing Space this Saturday

This is just a quick reminder that our April quiet day, now known as Breathing Space, is coming up this Saturday, 26th April, 2008.

Our registration facility is presently offline for a few days, so if you’re planning on joining us, please let me know as soon as possible by clicking HERE.

This month’s Breathing Space will have a theme around Pentecost, in preparation for Pentecost Sunday on 11th May, 2008. We’re looking forward to a special time in the presence of God and in community.

We hope you can join us.

Kerry

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The Margins of a Spiritual Wilderness

Along the margins of the mountain ranges of North America, where unmanageable fortifications and regal satellites of rock surrender to low plains, lies a series of lesser ridges. They are known as the ‘outer range’, and winding through these barren lowlands is what the Native Indians call ‘The Trail’ – the pilgrimage to go beyond the here and now, and on toward the colonies of heaven. To many indigenous cultures ‘the trail’ is widely regarded as the most precious gift we have, and during the autumn of 1994 I remember sitting in the bar of a small town due south of the Adirondack Mountains with an old Indian. That night he told me the story of the ‘coal holders’.

As the seasons changed, when winter would eventually arrive, the tribe would have to move camp. Each tribe would designate coal carriers, and as the fire burned low, when the time came to move on, someone would have to carry the last hot coal to start the next fire at the new campsite. The old man explained that the community needed this fire to cook with, to sleep near, but most importantly this fire was the place of communication. It was the sacred place of storytelling, of dance and song. In short it was the heart of community. For many a weary pilgrim today it may feel like the fire has gone out completely. For those spiritual refugees who have connected to something they know to be true but no longer know where to go to explore and develop that connection our current spiritual climate may seem very cold.

We stand at the dawn of a dysfunctional transitional time in which Westerners seem able to express their doubts but not yet their sustaining beliefs; their lack of belief in the way things are but not yet their commitment to change. Our world is beginning to groan and toil for something beyond the inadequate patterns it has experienced and knows. Humanity is tired and longing for a life liberated by a spirituality that offers hope and gives rise to a world of justice and peace. Our common task, it seems, is to discover a new way of being human. It is this new way of being which intrigues me. I find it unfortunate that ‘church’ has become a by-word for the hypocritical and the insipid. Is it possible that a place can be found where spiritual refugees are able to be heard, can believe and belong without conforming in some way to an institution which makes us feel fraudulent, masking who we really are?

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Pauline’s Impressions of Breathing Space

NOTE FROM KERRY:  Pauline Loughhead is a member of the pastoral care team at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Chatswood, NSW and is in the midst of intense training for hospital chaplaincy. She has been at almost every quiet day since they first began and has been a real blessing to us all. I’m sure you will enjoy her impressions of Breathing Space.

 

I am trying to get used to using the new ‘handle’ for the quiet days away at Winbourne. These are something that I have written in my diary for the whole year [in indelible ink!]. Other than the birth of a grandchild or death itself, my intention is to be there, and yes, I can in fact relate to the new title, for they are indeed a ‘breathing space’ in my busy schedule.

March’s Breathing Space took a slightly different form, and one that I found helpful. We are evolving as we are ‘getting used to one another’ I do not really know any of the participants in this community (other than a friend who travels with me), yet we are there with the same intent and this itself brings with it a sense of community; common-unity; one-mindedness; a oneness in spirit. The focus for this, and very special to me, is the mid-day Eucharist. As we humble ourselves before God together and regard the symbols of bread and wine; body and blood; broken and shed on our account … in fact to clear our account, pay our debt … I find this service a great leveller. We are all equal in blessing before God as we share in this together.

This month, after our morning prayer and period of personal quiet reflection and listening to God, we shared in the Eucharist together and then had a more monastic style lunch than we have had in the past. Rather than all the chattering and sharing our lives with one another, we sat in silence to eat our simple shared lunch whilst Kerry read to us from a book called ‘The Ladder of Monks’. This was a new experience and one that took a little getting used to. I am a chatterbox and love words in all their forms, but I found this easy to accommodate and far less disturbing to my whole day than the social lunch we have had before.

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Pauline’s Impressions of Breathing Space

I am trying to get used to using the new handle for the quiet days away at Winbourne. These are something that I have written in my diary for the whole year [in indelible ink!] Other than the birth of a grandchild or death itself my intention is to be there and yes, I can in fact relate to the new title, for they are indeed a breathing space in my busy schedule.

March’s Breathing Space took a slightly different form and one that I found helpful. We are evolving as we are ‘getting used to one another’ I do not really know any of the participants in this community (other than a friend who travels with me) yet we are there with the same intent and this itself brings with it a sense of community, common unity, one mindedness, a oneness in spirit. The focus for this and very special to me is the mid day Eucharist. As we humble ourselves before God together and regard the symbols of bread and wine, body and blood, broken and shed on our account, in fact to clear our account, pay our debt, I find this service a great leveller. We are all equal in blessing before God as we share in this together.

This month, after our morning prayer and period of personal quiet reflection and listening to God we shared in the Eucharist together and then had a more monastic style lunch than we have had in the past. Rather than all chattering and sharing our lives with one another, we sat in silence to eat our simple shared lunch whilst Kerry read to us from a book called The Ladder of Monks. This was a new experience and one that took a little getting used to. For all that I am a chatterbox and love words in all their forms, I found this easy to accommodate and far less disturbing to my whole day than the social lunch we have had before.

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