“Hello again to our faithful readers of eTouch . . . Please forgive us for missing the January edition—all our staff have been going through various and sundry health issues, but we trust we will soon be back ‘on stream,’ in this our 31st year of publishing first of all (which had morphed into about 15 years ago).”
As I sat down to gather my thoughts for this eTouch, I realized that what you are about to read from Donna this month, has set me off on a whole new thought process, which is bringing understanding to me—about myself.
For most of my life, I thought of myself as a failure in one area. I simply could not ‘direct’ people as part of a job or ministry, even though I did pretty well in other ways. Upon joining YWAM almost 43 years ago, I quickly saw that I was not cut in the mold of the typical Base leader. But I knew I was in the right place of ministry.
Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” For Loren Cunningham and others, I could see they were ‘naturals.’ But not me. I’ve always loved being part of the YWAM culture, yet at the same time dissatisfied by my inabilities. Simply put, I was not a preacher and I could not ‘direct,’ or lead people.
It is thought that St Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
As Donna describes our birthday celebration weekend and its releasing effect of ‘family love,’ I am having a ‘revolution’ of my own belief system of the full meaning of the word, “Preach.”
More on this in the future . . .
Overheard in a DTS: “Don’t be so humble; you’re not that great!”
Faults are thick when love is thin
To hear God’s voice, turn down the world’s volume
God’s heart is on family. “Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.“Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’”[Mark 3:31-35 The Passion Translation]
Those who are doing our Father’s will become 'one' in the Spirit.
If the family is ‘functional,’ the sons and daughters won’t compete and compare themselves with each other, or try to win one parent’s approval over the other. Especially in the big family of God, because He can see our hearts.
Our physical mothers and fathers don’t always see our hearts—they just see the outward expression. If we’re listening to our Father in heaven, we’ll begin to see each other through his eyes. One day I sensed God say to me "If My sons and daughters love Me, they’ll listen to me; and if they love each other, they’ll listen to each other."
I just went through a real test of faith. In May 2018 a dear friend said, “What are you going to do for your 80th birthday in January? Since it’ll be over a weekend, why don’t you plan a three-day celebration?” I thought this was crazy. Then one night before going to bed, my heart started pounding, and early the next morning Jesus started talking to me about a birthday celebration that He and I will put it on, right here on earth as it will be in heaven. He would help me plan it, and we’re going to invite ‘family who are friends and friends who are family.’
His family is my family—we’re one in the Spirit. Jesus started giving me suggestions, which I followed through on, one step at a time. You may be offended by what I said next, but He thought it was great. I said, "Father, I’d rather that people come to this celebration rather than to my funeral. I want to enjoy them, have fun with them, be joyful and celebrate. I can’t do that if my body is dead."
Then He said, “Let’s make a guest list. Invite many, even though few will come. Be inclusive.” So I did my best with help from someone who is like a daughter and is very gifted in spreadsheets and organizing. I think some of the invitations we sent may have gone into people’s junk boxes, because there was no response from many. (I wonder if God feels that way about His invitation to His wedding feast?)
A month before the January weekend, our daughter Julie said, “Since dad’s 85th birthday is in March, let’s celebrate him too.” Wonderful idea.
The birthday celebration was planned for January 11-13th, 2019. “But Father, since you are helping to put on the party, what about the finances?” To tell you the truth I didn’t even question Him about money, because I knew He would provide. He gave us more than we needed—even before the party!
Just before Christmas, our granddaughter Leilani and husband Uso, called Peter from the hospital and said, “Grandpa, we haven’t told anybody yet, but we’re naming our first son ‘Jordan’ because we want him to be a man of God like you. Tears flowed! Peter hadn’t known if he would live long enough to hold little Jordan. Four generations celebrated along with the those who have gone on before us.
Early in January, Peter was taken to hospital with acute kidney failure and other complications. "God what do I do?” His answer, "Keep planning, even if I bring Peter home to heaven, I want the celebration to continue."
Dear friends started arriving from many nations, joining those who live here. Our daughters from Australia and Hawai’i showed up, and my two sisters came. Apparently there were 19 nations represented, and video messages came from all over the world.
Friday afternoon of the celebration started, and we’re all praying that Peter can get permission to come out of the hospital for a short time. The doctors gave him his ‘pass,’ and he walked in with our daughter Michelle; everyone ran to where he entered and clapped. Peter was overwhelmed and we sat together and wept at the love and faithfulness of God. Our daughter Julie then put the brand new baby Jordan in his arms. There were few dry eyes.
The three days of celebration continued, everyone helping. It’s hard to explain all that happened, but the whole time was completely led by the Holy Spirit. No one felt left out, we were truly ‘one.’ Meals were amazing and abundant.
Before the celebration, I had often met with friends and we would seek the Lord for the weekend’s details; many times we didn’t understand, but God knew, and led us. It was fun to see things unfold. Suddenly, on the Sunday afternoon He said, “I want you to have communion.” Before you knew it, we were worshipping, sharing the bread and the cup, and washing each other’s feet. Healing was happening. God so wants His family healed, and His sons and daughters taking their place and using their gifts. There is such joy and peace in His presence. He loves family and He sure loves a good celebration!
My friends it’s all about being family. Mothers and Fathers take your place with love and truth. Grandparents take your place with wisdom and love. We need each other and we really must be continually listening to our heavenly Father.
His plans are so much greater than ours.
Love and Blessings,
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