This morning I was reading from my One Year Bible. The Old Testament reading was Deuteronomy 31:1-32:7, from which I had noted Chapter 31 verses 6, 7, 8 and 23. I had also noted Chapter 32 verse 15 and felt sad to note that much of England is now in that same state. From the New Testament reading I had noted Luke 12:21 and thought of a couple of friends’ brothers and how they would be shocked to be told they were fools and I had also noted Luke 12:25, that certainly puts worry into perspective and Luke 12:31 (which had been what we were studying at St Saviour’s in Guildford before I left Guildford at Easter 2010). All of the readings for today can be found here.
Later this morning, I was out with other members of New Life Church in Chesterfield Market Place. We had a table outside M&S giving out “Smile Jesus Loves You” balloons and invitations to church tomorrow. “God-incidentally” it is ten years today since I first walked into New Life Church in the Winding Wheel in Chesterfield on a Sunday morning. Funny, I remember it as if it was yesterday. At the time I was living in Lincoln at weekends and Peterborough during the week and was a “prayer warrior” on the Lincoln Watchmen on the Wall. My prayer slot was 5 o’clock on a Sunday morning and Mary Bailey had been given the 4 o’clock on a Sunday morning slot (Mary was originally from Purley in Surrey and “God-incidentally” had the same surname that my (ex) mother-in-law was born with. A “Bailey” in a castle was a courtyard; in the castle Bailey there were guardrooms, stables, kitchens and storerooms). Mary told me on that Sunday morning ten years ago that she had been thinking of things she could be grateful for. We were supposed to be praying for the city of Lincoln for an hour, but Mary’s comment got me thinking about the things I could be grateful for and one of those things was my (ex) husband, John Wilson (the Wilson family motto is “Always on the lookout”, which is great for a watchman on a castle wall, but its other connotation is, of course, being on the lookout for another woman and that is what had happened to him!). Perhaps he should have changed his name to mine (Smith), since our family motto is “Always Faithful”.
Anyway, back to 7 April 2002 … I felt I should pray for John on that Sunday morning; I had become a Christian as a result of his leaving me in 1994, but he was still one of Jesus the Shepherd’s “lost sheep”. I felt it would be easier for me to pray for him if I could visualise him where he was living at the time. His mum had given me his address in the “Newbold” area of Chesterfield, but I had never been there and we didn’t have “Google maps” then. So, I set off on that Sunday morning to see if I could find the address.
I did find it and then wanted to find a church for Sunday worship, as I couldn’t get back to Lincoln in time for the Sunday service there. As I drove back in the direction of Lincoln I spotted the “A” board outside the Winding Wheel which said “New Life” meets here at 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. So, I parked up and walked into the building and through the doors into the auditorium. Imagine my surprise when I saw people laid out on beds giving blood! I thought to myself, this is a very peculiar church, but then I found out that the Blood Transfusion Service come to the Winding Wheel every so often and those people laid out on the beds were not “New Lifers”, but that New Life Church met in the Ballroom a floor above.
I walked into the Ballroom and was given a friendly welcome from a man called Stuart, who invited me to sit with him and his family. I remember that God had been speaking to me in the weeks before this event about His wanting me to “Be Bold”, in the same way that He had given that advice to Joshua through Moses over and over again as he entered the Promised Land.
On that Sunday morning in 2002, I remember that one of the young people stood up and said they felt that God was wanting us to sing “Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord your God is With You”
And that was a real blessing, because I felt God was confirming His word to me in the weeks previous that I was to be Bold and Strong in the days that lay ahead and that He would be with me. During the service Stuart was led by the Holy Spirit to go up to the front and read a scripture from Isaiah 55:9 and this was the very same scripture God had used at the end of 2001 to confirm to me that I was to go to work in Peterborough (see “Out of the Blue”).
So, back to this morning, 7 April 2012. There was another church with a table out on the streets of Chesterfield this morning (a member of the New Frontiers network of churches called “Church in the Peak”), and they were offering free tea and coffee. My friend Gail from New Life suggested I go along to get myself a cup of tea from them. I duly walked along to their table and a South African gentleman gave me a cup of tea. He told me he was originally from Durban, and thus the Lord reminded me of how he had led me to visit the Durban area in 2005 (see my post “Adventure”). This South African gentleman had been in England for about 17 years (about the length of time I have been a Christian) having felt God wanted him to move to Huddersfield in England (the name Huddersfield having been given to him by the Holy Spirit before he knew there was such a place in England) and he then moved to Chesterfield about 10 years ago. I told him how I believed God had spoken to me when I was living in Lincoln about three areas that would be like “beacons” (Lincolnshire, Guildford/Leatherhead and Chesterfield) and how I had thought at the time “that’s interesting, I will watch this unfold from my home in Lincoln” and then God had moved me, first back to Guildford/Leatherhead in 2003 and then to Chesterfield in 2010.
I just love this adventure with God and feel sad for all those who don’t believe he even exists, let alone talks to us. They are missing so much.