Embracing Change

The year 2016 has broken and with it the truism of “life’s little day.” I stand on the calendar closer to 80 than 70.

It feels like I am positioned on a mountain climb, with the radiant sun’s rays gleaming ahead on the summit, and a known vast and variant panorama of the journey so far stretching out in many directions below.

My feet have trodden the many motifs of what I see as I gaze on my well-trodden climb.

It is full of colourful flowers, sweet peaceful green glades, tall sturdy trees, and a myriad of little bushes.

O yes some of the bushes were prickly, some of the trees I could not climb, I gathered many flowers and crushed some petals in my hands.

I did not traverse this journey alone – there were heroes and knaves, friends and foes, angels and devils.

I remember my father’s last sermon in 1996 at age 96 in Toowoomba. It was a strange sermon!

In his dramatic style he told of a flash car speeding down the highway and blasting us out of our pews he yelled ”stop!”

He then began to speak in parable about the effort to cross the road, and the field and walk towards the mountain.

He talked about the climb, the endurance of the journey and the glory of God to be found at the summit.

Perhaps that was the trigger for my thoughts tonight.

As many of you have observed much of my comments, songs, and blogs have a historical flavor.

Some may criticize this and say I am living in the past.

It is my intention to show the road travelled, however more than ever I enjoy the present and look forward with great anticipation to the future.

The little bits of history I leave behind will have great value to some people one day!!

I am positioned to be personally connected to three eras of our movement’s history.

My mother was filled with the holy Spirit in 1923 in South Australia and was the first missionary sent out by the fledgling Pentecostal Church of Australia from Adelaide to India.

Betty’s father was converted in Sydney and through Pastor Duncan had connections to the Sunshine revival in Melbourne.

Betty’s mother was part of the early pioneer days in Qld.

These were the days of street meetings, tarry meetings, divine healing crusades, sacrificial giving to purchase land and erect buildings.

My generation was inspired towards missions and embraced the charismatic renewal with scripture in song and dancing!

The now generation are greatly used by God in worship and songs of worship and praise are drawing young people to God in exceeding numbers.

I have lived through many changes!

Women never wore make up or jewelry or cut their hair.

It was sinful for women to wear “men’s clothing” – no slacks, shorts, or jeans!

Men never wore a hat or cap in church and dressed in suits on Sunday.

Alcohol and smoking were anathema, and a picture theatre was not a place to be when the rapture occurred.

Hymns were sung from the Redemption Hymnal to the music of the organ or piano.

My parents were not happy to see me as an adult go to the theatre or the footy.

Times changed and some found it hard when my generation began to dance on the platform and lead the congregation in joyful dancing in praise & worship.

I actually had my missionary promotion Sunday service cancelled in one Victorian church.

I was called out by a prominent Pastor who threatened to report me, to have my ministry credential cancelled, because he had heard that I had danced on the platform in a church in South Australia.

Times change again and I find myself in the midst of banging drums, smoke machines, darkness and flashing lights!

Let me add that in the midst of all this hundreds of kids are lost in the glory of the Lord as tears of surrender, love, and adoration fill their hearts.

I love it and would not like to be in a church with 10 grey haired souls like me singing “Abide with me.” Not that I don’t love “Abide with me!”

So why do I put up all the old songs on my Facebook and Youtube media pages?

It is because many of my readers have their memories and nostalgia connected to these songs.

Their comments show that they are blessed as they sing the familiar.

Like me, most of my listeners have embraced the change and know that there is nothing wrong with the musicality, or content of the new songs.

It’s hard to embrace change! Many of my colleagues won’t admit they are “old” and try to replicate the old days.

Some go to ridiculous length to prove they are not “old” but old they are and change and acceptance is inevitable.

Like me many of you just take a little walk down memory lane only to come out blessing the young generation as they take the gospel to their world in their way.

If anyone had a hard time changing it was the Apostle Paul – He was a bit of a “know all “ when it come to how God did things.

It was absolutely patriarchal – robes and miters, Sacrifice and ritual; he was top of the class.

He was so sure he knew how God worked things that he was on a mission to kill the new movement – Christians.

What a bunch of “wallies”! Their worship was not in synagogues but small groups in houses often presided over by women.

There were even women prophets! I can just imagine the Pentecostal freedom and fervor!

Paul was incensed!

Jesus had to hit him in the eyes to set him on the road to accepting that God was doing a new thing through Jesus Christ.

For those of us who find change hard remember “It is hard to kick against the pricks.”

I’ll keep the memories flowing.

Walk with me a little while longer but live in the flow of what God is doing in the earth today.

Lord keep our eyes on the “summit” when we will understand it all.



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