Archive for November, 2009

Life, Fame, and Listening to God: 16 November

November 16, 2009

A dream came true in Dudley. I was speaking about Christian Equitable Companies at a breakfast meeting of Business Net, Christian network for the Black Country, and mentioned A British Crash. ( A lady I had never met told everyone she had read it on holiday and really liked it!

The organiser suggested she write a review to be circulated:

An easy read, very well written. I couldn’t put it down as I was eager to find out what happened. Some of the issues raised did make me think how I would have dealt with the situations that arose. I felt the book was ‘real’ and very much in line with 21st century living. I look forward to the next one.

 Well done Roger God Bless

Eileen Reynolds from Tipton

Four funerals this week. We’re in busy time for funerals before it quietens down before Christmas. People hang on until afterwards. We all have more choice over the timing of our death than we think. In 1988 The Lancet published research showing that there were statistically significant fewer deaths of Jewish people just before Passover and more after Passover.  The same results were found with Chinese people and their Harvest Moon Festival. I am sure the same is true of ‘Christians’ and Christmas.

Bilston people continue to be remarkably responsive. Standing on the flower terrace after one funeral at the crematorium, I was approached by a Western-dressed Asian lady. She asked me to give a blessing to a tall white man. He has cancer and had been very moved by the funeral – the first one he had been to when he didn’t ‘have to be strong for others.’ He asked for Jesus’ hand on him and, as we prayed, felt strangely peaceful. Some sunshine broke through the clouds and rested on him, much to the delight of the Asian lady.

Twice in recent weeks I have prayed with someone on the flower terrace, and never before in 25 years of taking funerals. Is this Bilston receptiveness, my experience, or maybe the many times people have prayed the Holy Spirit upon and into and around and through me? Is it at last beginning to show?

My white poppy on Remembrance Sunday was unique at Bilston’s cenotaph. No adverse comments. One strong British Legion man in our church has been even more friendly since. We had an early, shortened, service which I was told had to finish at 10.30. We managed it on the dot and proceeded to the war memorial, arriving earlier than ever in recorded history. We started early, I read the Beatitudes as slowly and meaningfully as I could. We still had to wait for nearly 10 minutes so our silence would be at 11.00.

Representatives of many groups were present – a great community gathering. As throughout the country, more people come to Remembrance Sunday events now than 10 years ago 

Teaching people to listen to God using Mark Virkler’s Four Keys is a continuing joy. ( ) At a small group in Bilston one woman, who has been learning for a few months, though Jesus was saying ‘wild and free.’ ‘That can’t be you, Jesus,’ she argued, ‘that must be me.’ But the same words kept coming and wouldn’t go away. Maybe thinking of what Mark and I say about going with the flow at the time, however unlikely, and checking it later, she wrote down ‘Wild and free.’ More then came to her:

Wild and free

Is the wind you hear

And see.

Wild and free,

Is the love I give to you.

Wild and free,

Wild and free;

Look for my Spirit

And you will see me.

We thought this was indeed from Jesus!

The following week I led people in a meditation to see Jesus sitting at the well in John 4.– and managed to see Jesus sitting there myself pretty well. I then left them to write or talk with Jesus, while I wrote out a short conversation with Him, and prayed in tongues quietly a bit. I then remembered the song ‘He walked where I walked…’ and, thinking it was quite apt, spoke out the lyrics. Later, the poem woman said that she had been sitting talking with Jesus at the well, and He had then invited her to go for a walk with Him. That began just as I spoke!

I gave the same teaching on a Quiet Day in Staffordshire. 3 youngish women particularly seemed to ‘get’ listening to Jesus. One said at the beginning that she never prays in words, just in quiet feelings, so the idea of writing out a conversation wasn’t comfortable. In the last session she wrote out a flowing two page conversation with Jesus.

Mark Virkler’s How to Hear God’s Voice teaching is great. Catch him at Revival Fires, Dudley, January 14-16 01384 239943


Life, Healing, and Remembrance: 2 November

November 2, 2009

No posting last week either. This is becoming a fortnightly blog – unless you round up a few more readers.

Having written about tall Dutch women, a Bilston woman told me she had just grown taller. We had prayed together a couple of weeks previously following a trauma she had been through. She cried lots and felt Jesus touching her lovingly on her shoulder. After a couple of days she felt hugely lighter. ‘What’s happened to you?’ asked her friends at work. ‘You look like you’ve just won the lottery!’ She explained that she doesn’t usually believe tales of miraculous healing – as she recounted all the areas of her life, all the relationships which had changed for the better since that one time of prayer. She then stood up and pointed to the hem at the bottom of her trousers. ‘When I bought these a couple of months ago they were on the floor. Now they’re a good inch above it.’ Talk about weight lifting off people…

I have started wearing my white poppy alongside a new red one. Robing in Lichfield Cathedral on Sunday I saw fellow Clergy and Readers with red poppies on their preaching scarves. Should I join the public poppying? I mused with a Reader friend and pinned on my pair. Another Reader immediately greeted my red and white combination with delight. I think this was the only white poppy in the Cathedral for the Installation of the new Archdeacon of Walsall and the Reception of the new Bishop of Shrewsbury. One man asked where I was from, probably curious about the read and white. The Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, who stopped to talk with the Canon I was catching up with, clearly noticed the poppies but wisely chose to say nothing.

White poppies are produced by the Peace Pledge Union  The PPU began in 1936 out of the work of Dick Sheppard, famous Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. It was the pacifist Sheppard who, ironically, was responsible for the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall:

‘On Armistice Day in 1923 Dick organised a mass meeting in Trafalgar Square as a National Call to Righteousness, which, although without official sanction, was broadcast. In 1925 he famously wrote to The Times in protest against a Victory Ball in the Albert Hall planned for the evening of Armistice Day: “A fancy dress ball on a vast scale as a tribute to the Great Deliverance which followed on the unspeakable agony of 1914-1918 seems to me not so much irreligious as indecent”. Such a stir was created that the Ball was postponed for a day and Dick was asked in its stead to lead a simple service, In Memory, at the Hall, in the presence of the King, the Prime Minister and other national figures. Later he scribbled on his own copy of the programme, “Of course Pacifism must be written into this”. That is the origin of the Festival of Remembrance now held on the evening before Remembrance Sunday but, with its drills and displays, it regrettably seems to have more of militarism than pacifism written into it.’

White poppies maintain the 1918 cry ‘Never again!’ Red poppies say ‘We will remember them.’ For me the two go very well together. The red poppy on its own says ‘We will remember them – and we are ready to do it all again.’ Again in Iraq. Again in Afghanistan. A majority of Britons want our soldiers out of Afghanistan. Order your white poppies now from the Peace Pledge Union

Roger Harper