Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lessons of The Past In Our Walk With the Lord

In YWAM, we are keen on listening to the word of the Lord, right? We count it as a high value, don’t we? In fact, it tops the list of values regarded as something like our “constitution” as a movement in the place of theologies or rules & regulations. But how do we get it then, especially for us corporately?

Loren Cunningham in his books explains to us how (being a founder or apostle, respectively) he quite regularly went to people whom he considered to have spiritual insight and stayed with them. Often, as for example with Joy Dawson (“Walking in the Fear of the Lord”, “Intimacy with God”), he would then open the door for a prophet to speak to YWAM a certain message that often helped bring certain key things into the foundations of the mission. This was his way to put into practice a reality in the Kingdom of God: Apostles have a “first” place, then prophets do their ministry next to release groundbreaking things for God (cf. Eph 4: 11ff). then other gifts spring into action. So, as we are called in YWAM to “do new things in new ways”, we do well to make sure we understand the Lord’s actual word for that time and season as best as we can. Leaders labor quite a bit sometimes to bring good speakers to our conferences. They do well if they always look out also for those who can give us prophetic inspiration as a Mission-movement for that time.

Another source is to corporately pause and listen in order to hear God’s voice in our meetings and conferences. A fitting place to do that is obviously during worship times in big plenaries but also in smaller intercession groups. Now, the Lord does bless us and he gives us actually many words, but what do we do then with this?

Now, as Belinda Chaplin recently asked me to recall a certain impression I received during last year’s Central European gathering in Hungary, at first I drew a blank! I do get prophetic impressions, but often I have a hard time recall it because I don’t write it down or record it in some way. This can happen to all of us: we are too excited to take care of it in that moment. But let’s do this: make sure you find your own personal way of not forgetting what the Lord said – and do it! This, by the way, is also helpful when it comes to test such prophecies, which we should always do according to 1. Cor. 14:29. When you have put the content down somewhere in a diary, journal or mobile phone, you can always go back to it and see in what way it has later become relevant. Or: whether you did the thing you should have done with it.

Now, back to last year’s conference and the words we received then. It is a wonderful aspect of the gift of leading to also discern the spiritual value of a word or impression and then help the body to whom it is geared apply it in a meaningful way. Please, if you are a leader, have this in mind for a situation of prophetic activity: maybe you could serve by either coming behind a certain word and show the people how to apply it – or perhaps sort it out: we are called to discern and test everything and keep what is good. Train yourself in finding the sensitive words that minister in such a way!
The impression I had at the Central European gathering in Hungary last year was like this: in a first image I “saw” a portion of ground all full of weeds and nettles, grown very high. Then the picture changed and it was as if I was now in a barn like some farmhouses have. The ground with the nettles was now inside and free of the weeds and stingy nettles. And I felt the joy of re-discovering things of value that had been deposited and forgotten there. So, the call then was for us to look again what valuables from the Lord we might have stored away in our “barns”, forgotten, put aside. It appears that part of the Word of the Lord presently is what he has spoken or given to us already in the past!

Now, I once heard Darlene Cunningham speak about what to do when we have lost the sense that we hear the Word of the Lord to us. She talked about the story in 2. Kings 6 when Elisha made a lost axe-head flow up in the river at the spot where it was lost. So, in case we have lost the word of the Lord, we’re supposed to go back and check whether we have been obedient to the last word God gave us. Sometimes the Lord is silent because we didn’t want to act according to his last instruction or forgot it.

But what could this word about the past now mean for us as YWAM CE? I would like to point us toward one application (of many, perhaps) I feel it can have.

Some time ago Alina Weidell did a wonderful job for us all: she collected from different ministries active in Romania their “history” – that is, both how that ministry was started and built up as well as what emphasis and lessons the Lord gave them over time! You can obtain this collection from Heidi Kovacs and learn what God did and said to different ones of us in the past. To me this is a great treasure box and inspiration! And sometimes the lesson is as strikingly simple as that: endure the mosquitos in order to be taken seriously by the people you want to reach! A lesson I gathered from David Painting’s description of their beginnings. How about if as a ministry leader you write down “your” part of what happened – or identify a soul who would enjoy being the “Chronicler”?
Interestingly for YWAM Romania there is no central place it all started from and then filtered to the periphery. Yes, there was ministry in and out of Bucharest – but major centers were founded and flourished in the Western part of the country. All at the same time almost and all with unique “flavor” and zeal! As far as I can recall it was Jeff Fountain’s effort and merit (YWAM’s European leader at the time) to travel tirelessly to Romania and other places and work towards bringing all ministries into fellowship and correlation and then some cooperation!

May I suggest that teams get together and get familiar (again) with God’s history of their place, base or ministry? Why not invite your former leaders to share! And get acquainted also with the word of the Lord to others in YWAM of your country or CE, respectively. In YouTube you will also be able to find teachings of our founders and some mothers and fathers in the Lord. I recently listened to Loren speak on the Word of the Lord. I sure didn’t only enjoy the hairdos of the Seventies… Nothing is as enriching as listening to the lessons and the stories of those that went with the word of the Lord before us!


© Birgit Hämmerle, March 2017 

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