I was thrilled to find this morning a clip from an interview with the amazing Kate Simmonds. She probably was the person I missed not going to Brighton this year! Why am I such a fan? Because she unfailingly has led me into the Presence of God every time I have been in a meeting where she is leading. Whether it was in the conference hall at Brighton or at Stoneleigh or at Church of Christ the King - everytime. And I think she does it because she is a worshipper first and foremost. You can see it is pretty irrelevant to her about being on a stage - her heart is simply to lead people into God's Presence and when you look at her and see she is already in God's Presence, then it creates a thirst to follow quickly behind and not miss out!
I've been unfortunately in some meetings where some (mostly male) worship leaders dominate the proceedings and make it all about them. They don't like being interupted even if God shows up and one in particular would look irritated if someone came to the microphone wanting to bring a prophecy or a tongue! Kate couldn't be further from that. I will never forget her leading at "Together on a Mission" 2007 when Rob Rufus was causing all sorts of chaos! Correction - God through Rob Rufus was causing all sorts of chaos! She loved it. You could see she didn't know what was happening but her God was present and that was all that matters.
My heart's desire is to get to go to Sydney one day soon and visit the church there where Peter Brookes is leading (another hero of mine!) and split my time somehow between Kate Simmonds, Darlene Zschech and Hillsongs and of course the wonderful Fini and Isi de Gersigny! What a blessed city! So here's the video clip;
This particular quote really stuck with me;
"How I would love to be remembered is ... as someone who loved God, loved people and help people know that they were loved".
Ryan Rufus's latest awesome book; "Sanctification by Grace" was so important in that respect because I believe the same passion grips his heart as Kate's. He wants to help people know that they are loved. And I think that is something that has become increasingly a burden to me. I've been in too many churches now for my liking where the leadership are too often focused on telling you that God is angry with you, that God is judging and watching you. How many like me remember the kind of poems our well-meaning parents would repeat to us? They often had a line like;
"And when we're good it pleases Jesus".
The unspoken implication being; "If you are bad then it makes Jesus angry and He'll 'get' you". Surely the cruelest thing that a church leader can ever do is to use threats such as; "We are casting you out to Satan". How far is that from the prodigal son account? The father who was watching anxiously for his son's return and came running down the road eagerly on his approach. I wonder how many church leaders would come running down the road if prodigals returned to church. My conviction is that many prodigals won't ever darken some church doors again because they are too scared about what will happen if they do. Even I - who have been in Christian and church life for 30 years - wouldn't go to some churches ever again.
No - I love this vision that is expressed by both Kate Simmonds and Ryan Rufus. To help people know that they are loved. What a thing to be remembered for!