Yes its Spring at last!


The nicest time of the year..

As I write this the first crocus has bloomed and the daffodils are several inches out of the ground so I can say that we have survived another Irish winter!  As with many others in Europe it has proved to be one of the coldest on record.  


Servant Academy

I was due to teach at the Servant Academy in Ballymena for the three days January 6th - 8th.  However on the 5th of January I became unwell but decided that I would press in and do the three days.  When Green Pastures -the amazing church that runs the Academy - heard that I was unwell but still wanted to carry on with the programme they put me up in the local 4 star hotel on the evening of the 5th so that I would only have a half mile journey the following morning rather than an hour and a quarter.  I met with the senior Pastor Jeff Wright in the hotel that evening and as usual we had a very useful couple of hours discussing Kingdom matters. However during the night I became even more ill and had to cancel the teaching on the 6th (I think from memory this was the first time I have ever cancelled a teaching) and drive home and go to bed.  First however I contacted two senior CRi team members Anne Galway and Mollie Regan and they stepped in and filled my teaching day on the 7th and by the evening of the seventh I was feeling better. (It turned out, yet again, that a tablet the hospital had asked me to go on following my annual check up two weeks earlier was to blame, and as soon as I came off that tablet I was almost immediately better.  This is the third such occasion this has happened in three years. I never (Praise God) have trouble with my heart or kidneys but always with tablets that I am asked to take)  So on the 8th I finally got to teach at the Servant Academy.  I arrived with many notes on many subjects but felt led to lay them all aside and speak all day from my heart on Kingdom obedience. Bill Wilson had been over from the USA a week earlier to teach the church and apparently my day's heart to heart teaching tied in with Bill's no nonsense teaching and the Academy leader sent me a text the following day to say 'Report of yesterday was excellent. Class felt you added to what God had said through Bill Wilson, praise God'   A rough three days but real Kingdom fruit.  


Lifeline Recovery weekend number one

January 22nd - 24th was another weekend with the 'lads' from the Lifeline Recovery ministry in Southern Ireland, held as usual at the Rostrevor Christian Renewal Centre on the border between North and South.  This was the first of the usual two weekend course for new arrivals and the subject was the Father heart of God. I have been doing this particular teaching for more than a decade now, but just before the Friday evening session started I felt God speak into my heart and ask me to drop the usual format and go as the Spirit would lead.  Somewhat nervously I announced this, not entirely sure where it would go, but surprise surprise (!) the group leaders who had heard the teaching many times in recent years said that it was as if they had never heard it before and that it was the best yet.  This was a real blessing and there were first time commitments.  I have taught the Father heart of God again (see later) and reverted back to the normal format, so this was a delightful one off version.  




This was the best of times and the worst of times!

Linda and I flew out on January 28th, staying one day at Singapore on the way to Sydney. We had a few days to get over jet lag before the first course which would last six days.  

Quiver - a six day course for 18 - 35 year olds.


There were forty young people between the ages of 18 and 35 attending this six day course entitled 'Integrity'.  And what a wonderful group of young people they were.  In a decade and a half of teaching I believe that this was one of the most promising group of young people I have had the privilege to teach.  They were truly hungry to walk before God with integrity.  I was sorry when the six days were up. It was not all teaching however, there were daily creativity workshops which were greatly appreciated.  Linda and I especially enjoyed making leather key rings for ourselves and the family.

I took a photography workshop for seven people at a time.  In one hour we had just enough time to get into basics and then the chance to shoot portraits using the softness of window light. This was my favourite pic taken by one of the students.

Two girls came on the course searching, and they both found Jesus.

Moving on with God - a weekend course

This is normally a popular course but this time numbers were lower than expected. The course is designed to help people who feel they have plateaued in their walk with God and want to 'move on with God'  A course with meat rather than milk!

The pain, oh the pain!

Maybe it happened playing 'American rules frisbee' with the Quiver young'uns (where I had two mid air clashes with bigger and just as determined lads!) but whatever the cause, the result was a very painful right knee.  I took some painkillers and continued teaching throughout the Moving on with God course, but things gradually worsened.  At night I could not sleep on a bed so I had to sleep in a recliner chair with a cushion propped under my right knee.  Moving even slightly was excruciating, and teaching the second course really drained me!  When the course was over I asked to be taken to the hospital at Campbelltown.  Their first thoughts were a DVT (clot) from flying or a Baker's Cyst behind my knee which had burst. (What's a Baker's cyst?)   I was taken to a medical centre where an echo sound scan showed that it was neither, but that there definitely was a lot of fluid around my swollen knee.  I had no time for further tests here as we had to fly to Brisbane the following day to stay with our daughter for 10 days.  She had taken a week off work to spend time with her mum and dad, but unfortunately my pain was so bad that most of the time was helping me up and down stairs or into cars to get me to doctors and hospital.  On our first day I was driven to a local Doctor who was 100% certain that I had gout in my knee. This made sense to me as I do suffer from gout in my feet once or twice a year. (So did Spurgeon and Luther so I'm in good company) He gave me very strong tablets to deal with this 'knee gout' and sent me to a medical lab nearby to have a blood test done to confirm that it was gout. (everything had to be paid for since we were visitors)  Unfortunately the tablets had a terrible effect on me and two days later I was driven back to the Doctor more ill than I can remember for many years.  Head throbbing, eyes burning, stomach churning and no food for 24 hours, plus of course the knee pain. The Doctor was shocked when he saw the state I was in, and immediately gave me an injection to counter the side effects of the tablets.  He then checked the blood test results and was embarrassed to see that he was wrong, I did not have gout in my knee!  I was sent back to the medical lab for a fuller blood test and here I was so ill that I wretched and wretched painfully on an empty stomach. It was very distressing for my wife and daughter to see.  Finally I brought up some bile (sorry) and that began to settle my stomach for the first time in 24 hours. 

That night however the pain was so bad that once again I slept in a recliner chair with Linda asleep on the settee beside me ready to help me get to the bathroom during the night.  It was wearing on us both, plus the family. 

Next day I asked to be taken to another hospital, and praise God this was the beginning of the end.  This was a small local hospital out in the countryside.

The Doctor there gave me a steroid injection in the left leg (I am used to injections but this was a cracker!!) wrapped my knee in an elastic bandage, fitted me up with a pair of crutches and gave me strong painkillers.

Within an hour of the injection the pain began to subside for the first time in a week and a half and life began to flood back into me.  I smiled again ->

Next day I was so much better that I returned the crutches and although my knee was fragile for a few days the pain never came back, and the second half of our stay was wonderful.

One highlight was being taken by our daughter and son in law to 'The Spit' near Surfer's Paradise, leaving home at 4am to be there for dawn sunrise.  There was no magnificent sunrise that morning, and what seemed initially to be a disappointment turned out otherwise, as some of the dawn photos I got were amongst my recent favorites. Example below..       [more pics?]


Ellel Pierrepont.  The NETS school

We flew home directly with no overnight stops, arriving in London on March 2nd, where Linda journeyed home alone to Belfast.

I was collected at the airport and several hours later was teaching 'The dark night of the soul' and 'Hearing God' to term 4 NETS students at Ellel Pierrepont near Frensham in Surrey.  I thought I was handling the jet lag like a professional, but at lunchtime I put my head down for a 5 minute nap and was woken by worried staff at 4pm having missed the first session after lunch.  Everyone was very understanding!! The next two days were spent teaching 'The Father heart of God' to the NETS 2 students (the six month course) This is the largest NETS school since it began. So large that for the first time ever the teaching venue has had to be changed from the Great Hall in the main house to the Sports Hall in the grounds. 

For the first time there was a Chinese speaking group on NETS, all wearing headphones while an interpreter translated.  Friday was spent teaching 'Kingdom business' to NETS 4 (one year course) students again. This is my eleventh year teaching on the NETS school.

It is always a privilege to teach at the weekly communion service which is held every Friday, where more than 100 students and staff attend.  I taught on 'understanding blood covenants', which then led into the bread and wine reminding us of the New Blood Covenant and the divine exchange wrought for us by Jesus.

Finally I flew home on Saturday March 6th.  The CRi team and Linda were taking a prayer ministry workshop all day in Bangor as a follow on for the students from our winter school, so I did not get to see her again till later that day. A busy life!

Oh no, not more pain!

Yes, more pain.  During my last day at Pierrepont my left foot began to be sore, which at first I thought was a shoe that was too tight. But no, it was gout this time.  Within a day of getting home I was unable to walk with any ease, and sleeping on a bed was too painful, so a couple of nights were spent on a settee in a sleeping bag, where it was easier to lie.  However within a few days that pain had also gone, and finally both legs were back in good working order.

Lifeline Recovery one day visit

The day after my gout went away I drove down to the Lifeline Recovery Centre in Drogheda with team member Simon, to spend the day teaching and ministering to the lads, and to spend some quality catchup time with Phillip Richardson who runs the centre. No words can tell how privileged we feel to be able to work with these lads. I continually say this, but some of the most committed Christians I have met have emerged over these recent years from lads who have come to the centre to be set free from addictions.

Freedom series at Green Pastures

March 12-13th was the first of three teaching weekends in the Freedom series at Ballymena's Green Pastures church.  On the Saturday evening I had to go to visit a family member in hospital so for the first time ever on a father heart of God course, I asked team member Simon Rowland to do the final ministry session. He willingly obliged and did a wonderful job.

March 26 - 27th was the second weekend and the subjects taught and ministered into were Understanding our make up of spirit, soul and body, The Lordship of Jesus, Forgiveness, Understanding generational influences, Soul ties, Spoken words and inner vows and Rejection.  Team members Anne Galway and Simon Rowland taught two of the subjects.

April 16-17th will be the third weekend of the series. Subjects to be taught will include Understanding the spiritual realms, Freedom from fear, Dealing with anger, Abortion, and The Divine exchange in the New Covenant



Lifeline Recovery weekend number two

While Linda and I were away in Australia the CRi team held another weekend for the Lifeline lads from Drogheda.  This is the follow up weekend after the Father heart of God.  It is on this second weekend that we teach and minister into such issues as rejection, fear, ungodly connections, mind sets etc.  Plus, as always, The Lordship of Jesus.  Those who came unsaved gave their lives to Jesus.

There was much freedom through ministry. Indeed the team all felt that it was possibly the most memorable weekend Cri have ever had with Lifeline.  God did great things. One of the Lifeline men sent me this photo from the weekend.

April 29th we head off to Germany for two weeks. Then six days after returning we head off to Sweden for two weeks. 

I am currently finishing off the copy for a book to be published later this year.  More details later.

To God be the glory,

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