The war is not over!

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I am somewhat behind in the sharing of the warfare which I suggested in an earlier blog. My apologies, it is probably less edgy with the time in between, but this is not meant to be ‘edgy’, rather, a sharing of events which when looked at as a whole help, at least for me, to express or explain why we have such a difficult time making the transition from religious believers to committed disciples of One who was, is and is to be. I suggest it is the same for most of us, the challenge of worshiping our traditions, theologies and our doctrines; after all they explain the unexplainable and bring into focus that which cannot be seen. However I also suggest our God is none of these and all of these and more. Such is the sadness of religion; such is the majesty of Faith.

The beginning was and remains an attempt to share the arena of conflict within which this ‘battle’ took place. The second offering was to try and set some history of events which were directly related, in my opinion, to the actual events of overcoming darkness through God’s planned events which, I can assure you, were totally hid from my eyes and even experience, except as allowed for the time at hand. I can say that as the time to our departure grew near I did have a certain sense that in the events of the visit there were opportunities for new relationships of faith with in the already established church and called servants who had been a part of the landscape for some time. Admittedly I had no idea how this would take place; so even when Pastor Don Boger was added at a late time with a variety of unanswered questions as to any reality of his inclusion with this group, late passport, late seating and other distractions, which centered around an established relationship he had with a Pastor in Nairobi and his own certainty to meet his friend he had never met. The reality of what was being put in place was not evident to any of us.

It is a usual practice for the visiting group to participate in the worship of the church on the Sunday following our arrival. It was not however a regular situation for Pastor Kiefa to single out one individual, one whom he had not met except for a one hour conversation, to hold the pulpit for the entire service. I have complete confidence that Pastor Moseti Kiefa Ontiri is a man of God’s own calling and is sensitive in his own Spirit to the hand of greater authority in matters of Faith; that is he hears the Lords voice and is determined to follow. I was then more eager than surprised to see what the worship would hold as we prepared for our time together in the church.

It was evident as we began to pray the evening before Sunday worship that there was something about, there was a heightened sense of the Spirit, an awareness of a Purpose and a need for the Pastors to be set apart in prayer for this, even more than most times as we gather the night before worship. So Sunday morning, as is the regular practice, we are off to the church and the 2 to 3 hours we will spend in teaching, prayer, celebration, Word and worship. There are two times of bringing the word, one as a teaching and one as preaching the Word. Pastor Don had been asked to do both, this was very unusual. I can only say the teaching was anointed and the teacher, Pastor Don Boger carried a high visibility of that anointing. The word of teaching was powerful and at the end of the 45 minute session 30 people or more gathered to come forward and have prayer extended for their further dedication of Faith. This was quite extraordinary. After worship in song and prayer the Word was preached and another 45 min or so and another 30 to 40 people came forward to rededicate themselves to a life of faith. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was a very special day and one of great blessing. But the war had just begun.

Later that night we had calmed down and were sitting discussing the events planned for the next day, we reviewed some of the issues which had led to the events of the coming Monday; the many years during which the relationship with the local clinic had struggled, the issues of threats and lies being spread throughout the area with the church in the center. The times of great difficulty as the past clashed with a new vision and the issues of greed; economy, and jealousy; congregational impact, raised up in very real and tangible ways the difficulties facing cultural and traditional change. We prayed.

As the group centered more and more in prayer there seemed to be direction and the issues were brought up and petitions were raised for the concerns, the people involved and for the presence of the Holy Spirit of God to be directing the events. Prayer went up for the presence of the Heavenly warriors and for the safety and hedging of those involved. The gathering of the Pastors was lifted up, favor for the Pastors with us and the laying on of hands for Pastor Kiefa. It was in any respect a powerful time of calling upon the heavenly for the day ahead.

First evidence of the day was an invitation for Pastor Kiefa, Eaar Oden and myself (Bud Potter) to visit the clinic, the Pastor and his wife. These two were very gracious to us and welcomed us and for over an hour and a half conversation took place to clear up misunderstandings and to share perspectives as the talks continues there came a real peace and a definite acceptance and finally an agreement that each in the way God had called was indeed serving the Lord with the gifts and purpose of God alone. We left in such high spirits and with such thankfulness for what we had experienced and the witness given to us during this time of healing of these two ministries.

The day was not over yet, because of the length of our stay at the clinic we were an hour late for the Pastors conference. While here in America that would be the end of any gathering, in Africa it is part of the normal, they call it Africa time. Things happen in their own good time. As we arrived more came and shortly there were over 30 Pastors many of them very young, some seasoned and some recognized as local leaders. Introductions took place and a frank introduction of some of the difficulties which faced the church from within was spoken to as way of clearing the slate for the issue of the day. Then with about a 5 minute warning, Pastor Don Boger was asked to bring a word to the group and the word was unity.

What followed was the most, if I can use the word, electrifying sermon on the unity of the church and the purpose of the Body of the Risen Christ I could imagine. For an hour, more, less, time was not a real factor Pastor Don, went through Old Testament, New Testament, Gospel, Prophets, from every part of scripture the Word was preached on the unity of the church. It was anointed, it was purposed and it was powerful. The aftermath was equally wondrous. As each Pastor wishing to speak stood and expressed his sense for the day and the message given there was confirmation, confession, requests for help, open declaration of desire for this kind of unity and expressions of dedication, new dedication, for the church to be of one mind, lifting and upholding each brother called to the purpose of bringing the word. The differences of theology and doctrine were laid aside and the singular purpose of follow2ing the headship of Jesus of Nazareth as Lord was raised time and time again.

I was stunned by all this and then to top it off, one of the leaders, and you could tell he was a leader, stood and talked for some time, he related what they all knew and the need for the changes spoken to and then he added what was to me a most amazing anecdote. He reminded the gathered Pastors that this word had been brought to them in 2005; he said ‘do you remember my brothers, in 2005, at a gathering in Kisii town, we were brought this exact same word and we have not been obedient to that call’. He confirmed the Word Don had spoken as coming from the Lord a second time.

Pastor Don, who had his own agenda for going, who almost missed the trip altogether and who was not in the least given time to do research and preparations, let alone hours or days, brought a word of Unity to the churches in the area that they had earlier been given and had not followed; and they recognized their error and there was a repentance of agreement among them.

I should not be surprised, or intrigued, or at all amazed. From the early days of Go and Do Likewise we have continually been exposed to the simple fact that we do not know what our God is purposed to do with us today or through us today or tomorrow. We have not only no idea but no right to place upon His path or purpose our own agenda or plan. It is for Him and Him alone to guide the events of His people.

 I tell you truthfully, the best seat on the bike for us is the one in the back.