Friday, November 06, 2020

Sitting With Apollos

A while ago I bought “The Divine Mentor” by Wayne Cordiero. I had completed a course on effective communication with the church, with a view to joining their team of preachers. It was all done through a series of DVDs. I liked the man. I liked his humour and his style. He peppered his teaching with anecdotes. In his book he talks about walking with mentors, not the alive-in-the-flesh ones, but the bible characters that are there in scripture. He spends a morning drinking coffee with Mary, or he sits beside a seashore with Peter and he learns from them. He imagines the conversation based on the Bible knowledge he knows about them.

He also introduces his students to SOAP as a way of having a quiet time, Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. The scripture is the one line that jumps out. He keeps a journal and looks back over the entries for sermon ideas. I don’t currently have any Bible notes as the Christian Bookshop hasn’t re=opened since lockdown. It was due to close anyway, but I guess they brought the closure date forward. I have been soaping ever since.

It’s the Book of Acts I’m reading through. It’s not the first time I’ve read it, but in some ways it feels like the first time. I became a part of our outreach team last year. I wouldn’t have said then that I am a natural evangelist or that I like doing it. I was aware of that song about bringing in the sheaves that we used to sing way back. I pictured myself coming before the throne empty handed. I couldn’t attribute one new soul born into the kingdom that I had led to the Lord. In football terms I could list a few “assists” but I had none of my own goals. The Turning, an outreach week in Inverness changed that, but I still wasn’t easy with being out there.

This morning, to coin Wayne’s phrase, I sat with Apollos in Act 18.

“He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy.” Acts 18:25a

Let’s move into observation. I like It gives me access to different translations and versions of the Bible.

“He was powerful in the Scriptures, had accepted Jesus, and had been taught about the Lord. He was spiritually passionate for Jesus and a convincing teacher.” The Passion Translation.

Using Bible Hub, I wrote down the variations of the enthusiastic spirit – burning enthusiasm, great fervour, with great excitement, and fervent in spirit among them. I checked out the Greek word used – “Zeon” which means to boil or to bubble over. I think Paul mist have recognised something of himself in Apollo. Paul had that same fervour when it came to persecuting the church. Now it was directed toward building it. 

Someone taught Apollos. He didn’t just stumble on the truth. The teacher is not named. He just taught Apollos all that he knew and let him lose to teach others. Apollos didn’t play around with possibilities. He stuck to the truth he knew. His teacher had done a good job. I was a teacher. I would like to think I did a good job. My friends say I did, but they were never in my classroom. Through his teaching he lit a fire in Apollos. I like to think that this teacher was not a dry stick of a teacher, but that he exemplified that enthusiasm that Apollos had. He passed on more than the truth of the word, but a passion for it.

For Apollos the word wasn’t head knowledge. It wasn’t kept at arms-length. He wasn’t luke-warm. I see him as grabbing at the word and stuffing it into his heart. I see him examining it, poking around in it, picking at it, unravelling it and understanding it. 

In my teaching days, with the age of the pupils I taught, most of them would die first than put up a hand to answer a question. Maybe it was the subject, Religious Education. It wasn’t cool to show enthusiasm. There were some bright lights who blazed brightly, mostly people of faith. The rest begrudged that it was a compulsory subject. My teaching days are not over though. I might be retired from the classroom, but I still teach.

Application – I must teach as Apollo was taught and I must learn as Apollo learned. Apollo was described as a man who boiled and bubbled over. I want to be like that.

How do I get there?

·         For a start I need a change of thinking. I need to cast off some of the cobwebs and the spiders that have made them.

·         An “it will do” attitude will not get me there. I need to change the way I see reading the word. It is not an optional extra. It’s not a ticky-box exercise, a pat on the back for myself if I read it. I have to be like Apollos grabbing that word, stuffing it into my heart, examining it, poking it, picking it over and so on. It is my life source. I cannot afford to be casual.

·         Perhaps I need to be around other “boiling and bubbling over” people, allowing them to blow on my fire and see it roar.

·         I need to be talking about what I have learned with others, teaching them the truths I have been taught, and the enthusiastic spirit to do it well.

Prayer- Father God, I have sat with Apollos this morning and listened to him shar his story. Help me to teach as Apollo was taught, learn as Apollo learned and share your word as enthusiastically as Apollo did. Stir whatever needs to be stirred. You created me to boil and to bubble over, not to simmer. Amen

Monday, October 12, 2020


seeds so small, tumble, fall
on brown and fertile soil
with the sun when winter’s done
shoots of green uncoil

oats and wheat sunshine greet
growing ever higher
maize and corn meet the dawn
kissed in gold attire

scythe in swing groundward bring
chaff and seed high tossed
saving grain before the rain
nothing precious lost

seed to mill, soft flour spill
stir the oven’s heat
yeast to dough to slowly grow
bake the bread and eat

remember grace and lift a face
to God who give us all
the sun, the soil, the strength to toil
His name on which to call



Thursday, October 08, 2020

Diamonds Conference

The Destiny’s Diamonds ladies conference usually involves people travelling down to Glasgow to meet in a conference hall and listen to speakers. I wanted to go last year but the toilet-stops required to get me there was too much to factor in. This year with Covid-19 restrictions they moved it all online to Youtube. The main speaker was a lady called Anne Calver. She focussed on the account of Saul’s conversion. It was just days ago I read the story; but I was looking more at Ananias side of things rather than Saul’s.

Anne was a woman after my heart with her four alliterated points.


             Turn around



She talked about Sleeping Beauty, the curse that caused the sleep, the thorns growing up around the castle, the time passing by and the prince slashing he way though. He finds the princess and wakes her with a kiss. Love awakened Sleeping Beauty. 

Jesus woke up Saul – not with a kiss. His love wakes us up. He transforms us and sets us off on a path to wake up and transform others.

In passing she mentioned a song, Reckless Love. The words, the melody and the truth sung are a powerful combination.

She talked about butterflies and caterpillars not in the context of one transforming into another but in the way that what the butterfly sees is entirely different from what the caterpillar sees. They might see the same things but not in the same way. God intends to turn around our vision.

Lockdown, she says, has turned around the way we see church, the way we see the lost and the way we see outreach

Lockdown has also been this time to turn around the way we walk with Jesus. We have the time to read and meditate on his word. We don’t need to dash into His presence, gulp down a couple of verses and then rush out into the world. We can be more intentional, taking time to look deeper and learn better.

Ananias was tasked with anointing Saul. I was Zoom-anointed into a leadership role last night. God was shifting both Saul and Ananias into unfamiliar places. We need to be swift to come on board when God stirs us. His spirit moves and we need to respond with a “Yes” and step out. I have been given the Box, our ladies discipleship meeting to oversee. God trusts me to do the job and equips me for it.

The enemy would like to tell us that we have missed our chance. Then was a good time to move out, now is not. He always brings a word of ending, does the enemy.

There was a question on Pointless yesterday about tectonic plates. The world has a molten centre and a hard crust. The crust is broken up in places and the broken bits, the tectonic plates, shift about to cause mountain and valleys. Spiritual tectonic plates are shifting. The rise and fall of leaders are in our hands as we posture ourselves for prayer.

We are not called to look upon things, whether is Covid-19 or lockdown rules and allow them to sow seeds of fear. Find a scripture, she says that speaks to wherever that fear comes from. Take authority. Speak your word, His word given to you, into the situation. Break any agreement you have with fear.

At the end of the meeting there were a couple of prophesies given. I don’t think they were there-and-then words, but words spoken earlier on in the year. One of them was pre-pandemic, warning of its coming and the opportunities there to grasp. The pandemic is not good, but even then God can use it to produce good. The world is looking for leaders and not finding them, certainly not in the political arena. God is commissioning His leaders and calls upon us to become experts in His word. Who knows who we will be called to talk to, or what influence we have? We need to ask for BIG THINGS and to ask for them boldly.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Isaiah 43:1-3

little lamb, precious one,
do not fear
did I not, cherished child,
draw you near?
have I not, summoned you,
made you mine
fuelled by faith, quelling storms,
you will shine
in the flood, know that I,
will be there
every peak, every trough,
I will share
walk with Me, through the flames,
wrapped in fire
face like flint, striding forth,
ever higher
on My Rock, you will stand,
feet secure
worry not, be at rest,
safe and sure
Almighty God, Ageless One,
I am He
He who saves, carries you,
I will be

Friday, September 25, 2020

Prophetic Dreams

In our Wednesday Aglow meeting, we listened to Dutch Sheets talking about prophetic dreams. He said that God speaks to people in all sorts of ways, including through dreams.

I’m not sure whether it was his dream or someone else’s.  In this dream, he and a friend went to Colorado where there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They followed a path to get to the door. It went through an alley and someone told them not to go through the alley because it was full of jackals. They turned to walk around the building in the opposite direction. They had to cross a corn field. They were cutting a new path, a path that led to a harvest. 

The ways we used to do church don’t work any more, he said. It’s like an old wineskin. We need to forge ahead making new paths. We need to be careful to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His leading.We are heading into harvest.

A second dream featured a room, big enough to seat 5,000 people. Dutch and his friend were dressed in hospital scrubs. There was an air of expectancy about the place.  It was a place where births took place, not of babies but of ministries, miracles and signs and wonders. There were angels constantly bringing works to birth. It was a season for laying on of hands and seeing people move into the destiny God had planned for them. It was a “hem of the garment” season where people would touch us, unplanned, and we would impart to them transformation. We would simply shake another person’s hand and they would be changed. The earth, he said, has never before seen what is coming.  God is working to bring about a harvest.

That was those dreams. Stirring, aren’t they?

My dream last night was all about making soup. Joe and I were making soup. It could have been lentil soup. It was orange in colour. Someone tipped the pan over and we had to start again. We made the second batch and drove to an airport. The security guard would not let us through unless he got to taste the soup. It was delicious and he called his mates over and, between them, they finished off the soup. We started on a third batch and decided to make lots of it, enough to feed lots of people. We had offers of help and set people to choppng vegetables.  Piles of chopped vegetables covered every flat surface, the roofs of buildings, windowsills and door lintels. I was worried because I knew that the soup had to have a secret ingredient. There was a boy, a syringe and a blue car involved somewhere.

Prophetic? Maybe. It’s not an obvious meaning. According to one dream interpretation website – “Soup is a symbol of health, fitness and nourishment.”

Making soup in large quantities reminds me of the soup and sandwich Sunday evenings at the Manna House se used to partner in. It was an outreach project led by a local church group to meet the needs of people the Street Pastors met on a Friday or Saturday night. The soup and sandwich deal came with a Bible discussion and a time of prayer. Health, fitness and nourishment isn’t just for the body. It's for the soul too. Sunday nights were placed on hold with Covid-19.

Maybe making soup in such large quantities, enough to feed a lot of people, is a heart’s desire to meet the spiritual needs of people, to help them connect with God. He meets all needs. In Him we are made whole and we flourish. 

Perhaps in the early weeks of the lockdown, although we were not out and about, there was a sense that we were being looked after by neighbours. There was a keen sense of compassion. We applauded the NHS workers for the sacrifices they were making. A whole host of people signed on to help wherever they could. People looked after each other, and, yes, the virus was still the enemy, but there was a bright side to it. That was then, at the start and few a number of weeks. I;m not so sure that the community spirit is still thriving.

Is my soup dream prophetic? Maybe it is. How do I bring spiritual health, fitness and nourishment from a dream into the real world? We are all called to do church differently now, outside church walls. I think I start small. With the church family that God has placed me. I share what I know about spiritual health and fitness. I nourish them with what I learn as I study the word. Nourished, they and I head out into the world to speak wholeness to a broken world. We tell them. We live it.