So how many Christmas dinners have you enjoyed this year? I can remember one year, as a younger man, when I went from dinner to dinner….. I lost count! But now I’m older, and hopefully wiser, and this year I was invited to speak at 4 Christmas dinners. However, one was postponed until April. Interesting – turkey for main course, and Easter Egg for pudding perhaps?
Wendy and I drove 290 miles to Cardiff, where the local FGB held their Christmas dinner in a beautiful building – Hebron Hall. There was so much food (worth a visit), and great people around the tables (another reason to visit). Many guests were first-timers. Francis Holland led 15 minutes of carol singing, and I shared ‘my story’.
I used to be a disappointed young man, but am now one of the happiest people on earth. And what Jesus has done for me, He can do for you – if you repent and turn to Him. A lady brought by Christian friends raised her hand. I prayed for her, and later with her. Sick people came to the front. Jesus heals today. I know – He once healed me, and it was such a miracle.
We drove home the next day. 290 miles, but worth every inch to share the Good News that Jesus changes – yes, really, really changes – people’s lives.
The following week we drove to Chippenham in Wiltshire. A little over 230 miles. Strange – I had a curious feeling in my left elbow as I drove down, and the word ‘knee’ kept coming to mind.
Our old friend Kay Jay had booked us into a beautiful hotel. So generous. What great people we have in FGB. And Keith Oliver had gathered a large crowd in the elegant, historic town hall. Many had never been before. Great turkey, and Christmas carols – I expect many of those first-timers will come again.
I shared how life had not been too kind to me – the heartbreak of divorce, and plunderers taking away all that I had worked for. But hey – Jesus has made me one of the happiest people on earth! He could do the same for them. I invited disappointed people to come to Jesus. A hand was raised. ‘God bless you’. A man slowly lifted his head and gazed at me. His hand followed. ‘God bless you’. Was that another? ‘God bless you’. I prayed for a life-changing experience of Jesus for those looking to Him, coming to Him, reaching out to Him.
I remembered my elbow. I felt the Lord was promising healing, and two people with poorly elbows came forward. And the word ‘knee’ – of course, two more asked for prayer for healing. And they kept coming.
‘My leg is so hot’, cried one man, as I prayed that the power of the Spirit would come upon him, in Jesus Name! To my right, a lady trembled, shook violently, and painlessly hit the deck as the Spirit brought healing and release. And so it continued.
Wendy and I wandered down to the river bridge the following morning. Enshrouded in mist, it was almost ethereal as swans glided majestically below us, and pigeons took flight. The previous evening had been full of the mighty Spirit of God. He brings the Majesty of Jesus into our lives. Demons cower and take flight. Jesus comes in and changes lives.
The journey to the Norwich Christmas dinner took less than 20 minutes. This was home territory. Apparently there is traditionally a celebrity speaker at our Christmas dinner, but innumerable celebs approached, had declined. So the leadership team invited me. What! – ignore tradition, and follow the Spirit? Religious people would find this irritating, but in Norwich they follow the Spirit.
A full restaurant. What decor, laughter, good humour, and sense of the Presence of God. Well done Tim, Malcolm, Bob, Cliff, Hardy, Lisa, Stuart… and so many others. It was the first dinner videoed in living memory.
I felt such freedom and anointing. So many came forward, and we were praying with people for a long time. The words of knowledge re smoking and gambling went unacknowledged, but I will be surprised if I am not contacted by people during the next month. Already we have had a request to go to someone’s home to pray for a relation with a back injury. That request was prompted by last night’s meeting.
The Lord Mayor was almost the last to leave. He beamed and said, ‘Brilliant’ after the meeting. He spoke with a brother, Jon, for a long time time. Gordon, a past president and Councillor, said the Lord Mayor wants to come again, and will stay in touch.
So, how many Christmas dinners have you had? Enjoy! Celebrate! Praise our Lord and Saviour – and let us all move into the New Year full of anticipation and expectation, and full of the Spirit.