Monday, May 22, 2006

The Night I was Hoping Wouldn't Happen ...

Those who are fans of Kate Simmonds and follow her movements will know that last night was her final appearance leading worshipping and performing a gig at Church of Christ the King, Brighton. I think I knew it was going to be a memorable night (what else would get me to drive that 250 mile route to Brighton yet AGAIN?) but quite how memorable I wasn't prepared for.

The auditorium was completely packed out with notable faces showing up in a beautiful display of true Christian family - such as Mrs Virgo, Lou and Nathan Fellingham and John Hosier. She began by leading worship. Now we only sang 4 songs: "Give thanks to the Lord", "We come in Your Name (You have been lifted)", "Light of the World" and "In Christ Alone" - but I was astounded at how there was no warm up time allowed. The Presence of the Spirit of God was upon the meeting while the band were playing the first few notes! It was just ... Alive!

She then moved into what elder Steve Horne called "her gig". It wasn't a "gig" though. It was an extension of a time of the most powerful worship that I have ever experienced. Her songs ranged from the lively and passionate, to gospel, to intimate worship and through all of them what most captivated me was Kate's face. Her eyes were usually shut and her face was aglow and lifted to the heavens. This amazing woman is a worshipper! She sang two particular songs that reduced me to tears. She introduced one song by giving a short testimony sharing how she was wandering the Brighton seafront crying out to God to rescue her "if He was out there" and then she went on to meet a couple who went to CCK and brought her along. The rest is history. But the song was one of wonder and amazement that God would reach down and save her. It reminded me of how easily we forget our "first love" in the fires of controversy. Perhaps a life-saving practice would be to remember our pre-conversion state before God reached down and drew us (or in my case - dragged) to Himself.

The second song came just after David Fellingham had given a very powerful presentation of the gospel under the title; "Songs that Changed the World". He excellently compared songs from the world from Elvis Presley and the Beatles that offer no hope to songs in the Bible that offer every hope. He ended by quoting the awesome hymn, "Amazing Grace". This hymn is particularly special because it was the hymn that my beloved Grandpa chose for his Memorial Service when he died. Kate went on to sing it and I was completely floored by the truths in those lines. "Twas grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home". "Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!". And then the final verse ... a reflection on the wonderful and glorious hope we have to come; "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun! We've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun!". Wow ...

The night wasn't really about Kate Simmonds - by her own design. The look on her face when we sung the lines of one of my favourite songs said, what the night was REALLY about:

"Holy is the Lamb worthy of glory - worthy of honour.
High and lifted up - and seated in majesty - Your throne will last forever!
Holy is the Lamb worthy of glory - worthy of honour.
High and lifted up - and seated in majesty - Your throne will last forevermore!".

The UK's loss is Australia's gain ... Roll on Brighton Leaders Conference ...


livinglifenow said...

Damn straight Danny boy !! It was an absolutely amazing night. Kate truly surpassed herself, and more importantly, the Spirit of God was there and very much alive !!
Kate Rocked !!!!!!!

Sheila said...

Ding-dang it, I wish I'd have been there! Which brings me to my next doggone question: Dan, was this event recorded - message and music? If so, I want to get my hands on it.

Baxter's Boy said...

Language Scotty language ;)

I'm not sure lovely Sheila! I fear not - but I wish, so wish it was. She has brought out a recent CD of a gig at Brighton which is absolutely amazing! Would you like it? If so let me know and I will post it out to you.

I'll keep my ears open about that night though - you never know ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that very comprehensive report on what sounds like an incredible night. I must say this - I am incredibly impacted by your willingness and indeed nochalance at travelling a long journey 'just' to go to church! Now I know and think I understand the motivation behind why you would do this. You are committed to God's Church! And you are moreover desperate and hungry for God's Spirit and are prepared to travel to find Him!!

Your actions have made me think deeply ...

About the cost of finding Him. Now I know that the Spirit is poured out on all flesh, but I think it was Professor W Grudem who devoted some time to arguing for the "active and manifest" Presence of the Spirit. Yes He is poured out, but no He is not equally present everywhere. I think you argued this elsewhere on this site.

And I sense that the desperate need in the UK is such that you cannot find in "every place" a church where the Spirit is this welcome and this present as the church in Brighton!

It reminds me of the incredible prophecy that you put at the beginning of your manuscript on the "Priestly Clothing". Ern Baxter of course saw the globe and over it were those huts. And God promised Baxter that as he travelled he would not ask for people by this name or that but he would ask: "WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE OF THE ANOINTING?".

This must be our question to, if we can be so bold as to steal Bro Baxter's vision. Where are the people of the anointing? If they aren't in your city - then travel to it!

Forgive an old man's rambling.

DR S A J Burgess

Sheila said...

Dr. Burgess, your ramblings instruct and bless me....that is not to be forgiven, but rather I thank you, and want to say I'm privileged to "know" you through your ramblings.

Keep on rambling, "old" man, who is so young at heart!!

Luke Wood said...

Sounds like it was a great night Dan, a piece of history!

On Sunday I am travelling to London to be at ChristChurch (a church I seem to champion more than any other at the moment!?!) where Kate is leading worship. I can't wait, as the worship there is so amazing anyway, I can't wait to see what extra dimension Kate will bring. Plus, Rhys Scott will be preaching on worship, then with an extended time of singing at the end too. Bring it on!

Baxter's Boy said...

Yes I noticed your attachment to ChristChurch!! It's interesting how God really draws our hearts to particular church families isn't it. An absolutely lovely woman at CCK sat next to me and during the offering and obligatory "chat to a stranger" bit, she said, "Is this your church?" - and I almost found myself saying, "Yes!".

But then I considered how actually if Newfrontiers is working as it should then that should indeed be our feeling whichever Newfrontiers church we go to. Because we are all part of a larger family.

And that's one of the things that excites me most about going abroad. To find "us ... there!".

Well can't wait to hear how the night goes! I'm so tempted to come along, as ChristChurch is on my list of churches to go to!! ;)