My staying away from church was meant to be time away from the church so that the new pastor of the English congregation could establish his leadership and bond with the people in peace. For me this has become a blessing partly because this separation was not painful or stressful. Not painful because I was unseen in church but present in spirit through the online services. I also did not have to plan in which church to hide myself. It has become a sabbatical of sorts for me. I could not travel out of the country. I stayed home most of the time, which suited me fine, as I am a homebody. Interestingly, while the ground was “fallow” during the past year, something was stirring deep within my soul – at least three stirrings I can discern thus far.
One was the stirring to write. Straight after my official retirement, it was prophesied over me that I should write. God has given me the enablement, inspiration and desire to write. I have organized ideas for two booklets, and I have more or less collated material for one and now have to learn how convert my material into an e-book. I have begun work on my second book idea but I can see it will take some time as I am working at a leisurely pace without any deadline pressures. Pray for me please.
Another stirring has to do with an amazing shift in interest and desire from teaching God’s Word to preaching/proclaiming the Good News. During forty years of pastoral ministry my main focus was explaining and teaching scriptures to God’s people, making truths understood in clear, simple words and without jargon. I always shunned from evangelistic preaching. It was not my gift. Or so I thought. Now I found myself preaching with an evangelistic zeal and intention I never had before. Even though I knew that I was preaching to the saved and converted, I would include evangelistic content and appeals. God is stirring my heart to pray for an anointing for preaching the Gospel and for the salvation of souls. I saw this develop in my past few sermons. They all had an evangelistic thrust and passion. I believe God is up to something exciting because that is how I feel about this shift. I feel motivated to retool myself and I am praying for an anointing to do this work. Pray for me.
The third stirring is a desire to be formed and trained for spiritual direction. Since it was in silent retreats and through the ministry of spiritual direction that I was saved after experiencing two burnouts, I feel indebted and enthusiastic about making this ministry available to more people. I have tried on two occasions to attend such formation courses but both timings were not right. Then during the recent months an opportunity arose with an ecumenical group of experienced spiritual directors feeling led of the Lord to run a course in Singapore. I nearly did not sign up, but for an anonymous donor who generously offered to pay for half of the fees of the course. I saw this as the Lord’s intervention and invitation to me. Starting in the new year, I begin my twenty one months formation course in spiritual direction. Pray for me please.