I have just posted the "Kadesh Crisis" transcript. This is probably one of the most heart-wrenching messages that Ern Baxter ever preached. It was his closing message to the Dales Bible Week 1976. It's heart-wrenching because the gathered thousands there didn't really seem to be listening. I know for ourselves back in Dunstable, I was never aware of the concept of "Going into the Land" being mentioned again. I transcribed it on commission by Brother George Kouri - Ern Baxter's spiritual son for use in his theological seminary but as I typed it, I became increasingly persuaded that it is a message that must be heard again and again and mustn't die!
In light of Greg Haslam's prophecy at Brighton, I have been striving to break out of the Newfrontiers stream of thinking and begin to enjoy, read and watch material from other charismatic streams of churches. So with that in mind I brought "Forward!" - a DVD from the GroundLevel stream celebrating 25 years of the Grapevine Bible Week held in Lincoln. I was amazed at the powerful, passionate, Spirit-filled worship led by Chris Bowater and Andy Bromley. As a bonus, they have included the message to the Bible Week by Stuart Bell - the father of the movement and I was profoundly stirred by it. Here are my notes from what he said:
"The Importance of Looking Forward" by Stuart Bell.
1. Looking Back.
- Only to give thanks.
- Only to learn lessons.
Stuart quoted from John Maxwell who had a useful way of how we must learn from the word "MISTAKES".
M - Messages that give us feedback about life.
I - Interuptions that cause us to reflect and think.
S - Signposts that direct us to the right path.
T - Tests that push us towards greater maturity.
A - Awakenings that keep us in the game mentality.
K - Keys to use to unlock the next door of opportunity.
E - Explorations that let us journey where we've never been before.
S - Statements about our development and our progress.
2 - Looking Forward - How to Keep Moving Forward.
i) Don't give up gained ground - we must hold on to charismatic life - "It is under attack these days". We must hold on to worship. We must keep allowing youth to come through. We must hold on to fellowship.
ii) Don't compromise Scriptural standards.
iii) Be willing to change (Matthew 18:13). The only organisms that are not constantly changing are dead.
iv) Honour Relationships.
v) Don't opt for easy options. "We need more people who are plain passionate like Andy Hawthorne. I want to be numbered with them".
vi) Stop friendly fire. "The church has yet to discover the full unity that Jesus prayed for". Gerald Coates said, "We are Christ's representatives so our actions speak louder than His Words".
vii) Prepare the way for the next generation. Stuart Bell focused on this point especially and made some very moving points. He said,
"We will do our best to make space for the young coming through. Forgive us if we have had the kind of approach where we won't let you do anything mature until you are 40. I was planting a church when I was 23 but if a 23 year old came to met and said he wanted to plant a church I would tell them to get stuck into the Word and perhaps in a decade or 5 they would be ready. Forgive me if that has come across.
To the young generation - keep dreaming! Don't get disillusioned with us! Too many have held on to things they hold dear - robbing the next generation of it's creativity and passivity. Our future forward movement will depend on generations walking together".
I was profoundly stirred by this message. My experience throughout my church life has been of pastors verbally whipping the young in their congregation with tales of "when we were young - we were preaching" but in practice the young aren't allowed anywhere near anything of responsbility never mind the pulpit. I am so grateful to God for true fathers - true apostolic fathers - that are emerging throughout the church like Stuart Bell who was humble enough to stand on the Grapevine stage and ask forgiveness from the young for a defensive, protective attitude. Or like Terry Virgo who will invite Mobilise to attend the Leadership Conference in Brighton and who will actively involve them in his messages. Or like Ern Baxter who frequently preached and prophesied to the younger generation that he loved to be with.
May God raise up more fathers like these men with a heart that loves enough to let the young make mistakes but is willing to take that chance so that the passion and fire of the young is allowed to sweep through the church.