Monday, 29 September 2008

Healed in a Pub Garden

Milton Keynes Treasure Hunt Ctd...

One of the guys on my team had the clue fenced area. He didn't know if one existed in this complex because he is from Bedford, but the guy on our team from MK told us that there was a fenced off area around the pub just past the shops. So, off we went to the pub where we found the lovely little fenced off garden my friend had seen.

I love it when God makes it easy - there was only one lady sat in the pub garden with her 18 month old son (we later found out that her husband was inside the pub where he stayed for the entire time we were speaking to her - about 15mins in total). We decided she must be the treasure and so we went to chat to her.

So we explained what we were doing - that God had led us to her and could we check to see if any of our other clues made sense. She was a lovely lady and was so open to stuff. We went through the names first with no joy and then we went through the ailments. I got to left elbow to which she replied, 'I don't have trouble with my left elbow, but I do have tennis elbow in my right.' (That was good enough for me - we only see in part!) She went onto explain that she has to take pain killers most days and even then when she presses on her elbow in a certain place she feels discomfort. So we prayed for her, a very simple prayer and then we asked her if she could feel anything going on. She started to press her elbow to try and find the usual pain, but to her amazement it wasn't there anymore. God had healed her elbow (on the streets!!)

We found out as we continued to chat to her that this lady has done 2 alpha courses and sometimes goes to church. She also knows the wife of one of the NF church leaders in MK. God was so keen to communicate His love for this woman. Our prayer is that her life will now be different because of it.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Chicken and Pet Shop!

Who'd have thought that the clues chicken and pet shop would lead to an encounter with a woman who really needed God to break into her life? God has got such an incredible sense of humour.

When my friend read out her clues, she laughed out loud when she got to chicken! What a random clue (just as well the map has an unusual column!) Where could she go to find this? I suggested going to stand by chickens in the supermarket, but as it happens God was going to reveal the treasure in a pet shop. Here's what happened...

My friend and her team went into the pet shop and immediately came across a rack full of squeaky plastic chickens (the kind I guess dogs play with - our Border Collie could have done with one of these!) They went to the rack, laughing about the fact that they had indeed found their chicken clue. Just then they heard a familiar squeaking noise from the next aisle. As they went to investigate, they found a lady at another rack of plastic chickens (these things are obviously very popular!) holding one in her hand and sqeezing it! BINGO!

The amazing thing is that this lady really needed prayer. Her Mum is sick and she is having problems with her job because she is having to stay at home to take care of her. My friend and her team were able to pray for this lady in the pet shop by the plastic chickens! Who'd have thought?!? There really is no clue too random!

BEWARE DOG!

Maybe treasure hunting needs to come with a health warning?!? I've been in Milton Keynes for most of today. I'd been asked to go along to New Life Church - Milton Keynes West - to preach on the topic of healing and then do some treasure hunt training with some of the church peeps in the afternoon. A team of 5 of us went from the King's Arms; we split into teams of 3 (2 MK peeps and 1 from King's Arms in each), asked God for clues and then made our way to a local shopping complex to find treasure.

We had some incredible encounters (more blogs to follow on this) but one that particularly stands out involved a less then friendly Border Collie. One of the teams had the clue Border Collie. They found the dog and it turned out that the owners actually fulfilled more of their clues. As they stopped to chat to them, my friend who was leading the team decided she would say hello to the dog (as you would). Unfortunately the dog didn't like this and it suddenly, without warning, jumped up and bit her on the face!! It actually drew blood! I guess this brings a whole new perspective on the fact that sometimes clues jump out at you! Fortunately most of them don't bite!

You'll be pleased to know that my friend is fine and we've had a good old laugh about it since. The main lesson we've learnt? Keep your face away from any dogs that you come across on your treasure hunt! I'm glad you can learn from our mistakes!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

She is a Princess!

God knew that this precious girl needed encouragement. It was about 9.15pm and she was waiting on her own for someone to pick her up (we later found out she'd been waiting for an hour and in the end she had to walk!)

We'd crossed the bridge and were waiting near the blue lights, when we saw that this girl had followed us. She was wearing all black and all of us felt someone should go and chat with her. I am so glad we did. It turned out that she'd recently recieved bad news. Her Aunty had died of cancer. When we told her that God had sent us to her to let her know that He cares for her, she seemed very grateful. We chat for a bit about what she thought about God and mentioned the Alpha Course our church is about to run. She seemed very interested and so we exchanged e-mail addresses (we're praying that she will attend the course!)

But this isn't the end of the story. As we were walking away from her back over the bridge, one of the guys on the team said he'd felt God speak to him about her as we were chatting. He'd felt like God had said she was in need of encouragement and that her boyfriend wasn't treating her very well. After a bit of persuasion, my friend made his way back over the bridge with his wife to share with this girl what he thought God had said.

As my friend shared with this girl, she confessed that her boyfriend did in fact beat her; she was really in need of encouragement! My friends were able to tell her about how God sees her. That she's worth so much more than that and doesn't deserve to be treated in this way. The girl was blown away commenting on 'how nice' we all were. God is so amazing!

Although we couldn't believe that someone could treat this precious girl in such a bad way, we were also hugely grateful that God had led us to her. His primary agenda during this treasure hunt was to communicate to this Princess that she is in fact royalty - that she's highly valued and loved by the King, and He used us to tell her. What a privilege!

I Couldn't Believe it!

We went treasure hunting as a small group last night. It was the first time for a couple of peeps but they were totally up for it. So we prepared our treasure map headings and then spent about 5 minutes listening to God for clues.

When we went round sharing what God had said at the end of the 5 minutes, one of the guys shared that he had the clue blue wire. He wasn't quite sure where to put it - maybe we would meet an electrician on our hunt?? We all agreed it should go under the unusual heading; then off we went.

So we made our way to the bridge at the end of the High Street over the river (because 4 of us had clues leading us there) We took a left down towards the Swan Hotel car park and waited for a bit to see if anyone would turn up. After a few minutes of waiting with no people around we decided to head back towards the bridge now on the other side of the road. As we did we suddenly noticed a big fat blue wire sticking out the top of one of the walls! How random!

What it was doing there was a mystery - it was just there and God had spoken to my friend about it! We subsequently spoke to 2 guys who walked past the wire during the time we were out. Neither of them could speak English, so we didn't find any treasure there. What we did find, however, is that no clue is too random for God to reveal and my friend learnt that he can clearly hear God's voice. Brilliant!

Monday, 22 September 2008

How People React?

I was hanging out with some good friends last night after church (while eating a very 'healthy' KFC for my dinner!!) and we were chatting about all the different reactions we've recieved from people as we've been looking for treasure. I thought it would be helpful to share some of them here so that those of you starting out on treasure hunting won't get discouraged when it happens to you....

Two of my friends remembered a time they approached a lady on crutches - obviously in pain - and when they asked if they could pray for her she told them in no uncertain terms where they could go! We've had people who are Christians refusing prayer stating that their own church is praying for them and they'd rather not get anyone else involved?! We've had people who back away the instant we mention that we're Christians and even yersterday when my friend approached someone who was on her map, the person actually ran away - now that's a first! (It turns out that the person ran away becasue they didn't speak English)

As we're looking to make Jesus famous on the streets of Bedford we're encountering a whole variety of different reactions; some really good and some more challenging. Being rejected isn't easy, but it's inevitable and the best way to respond when it happens is to go again. As you do you will find people who are totally up for chatting and letting you pray for them and, in my experience, that makes it all worth while. Happy Treasure Hunting!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Treasure Hunt Part 2: Does the name Maggie mean anything to you?

So, after we'd left the lady with the red coat and the black boots we spent about half an hour looking for more clues to no avail. We decided to sit for a bit to see if our clues would come to us. As we were looking around I noticed a couple of girls over near Costa and I felt drawn to them. Nothing on our treasure maps under 'appearance' would lead us to them but for some reason I just felt like we should go and see if any of our other clues made sense - so we went.

We explained to the girls what we were doing and asked if we could check to see if any of our clues made sense to them. They were ok with this, if a little wierded out! So we started by going through the names we had and when I got to Maggie the girl standing up put her hand over her mouth and stood there in complete shock. As I'm a particularly astute person I realised that this name might mean something to her!! It turned out that this girl's sister (same Dad, different Mum) had lost her Mum suddenly about 2 weeks ago. She was blown away that God would give her name to me and then lead us to speak to them.

This clue opened up a whole host of really significant conversations with this girl, her friend sitting on the bench, another friend of hers who came along a bit later and this friends son. The third girl to come along actually had some problems with her hands so we got to pray for her for healing. We talked about Alpha and they asked us where we go to church. We got to give them information about the King's Arms and encourage them to check out our website. It was an incredible time of speaking truth about Jesus and His heart towards these women.

The key thing that was confirmed to me through this encounter was the importance of words of knowledge (clues) to open people up. When we first approached the girls to explain what we were doing they seemed happy enough to chat but the expression on their faces told us that they thought we were both a little bit bizarre. As soon as we mentioned Maggie everything changed - suddenly it had all become personal and their hearts opened up. When we left them after chatting for about 20 minutes we hugged them goodbye like close friends. God is so good!

Treasure Hunt Part 1: Red Coat and Black Boots!

I went on a treasure hunt yesterday with a good friend of mine. It was her first time so we were both very excited. I'm going to write about our encounters in 2 seperate blogs:

As we were on our way to our first location we saw a woman walking with her daughter, wearing a red coat and black boots (2 clues on my map) She was over the other side of a building site area that you weren't allowed to walk though, so we clocked that she'd gone into Woolworths and made our way round the restricted area to find her.

She hadn't gone very far. Her and her daughter were looking at DVD's, we saw her as soon as we walked into the store. So we went up to her and explained what we were doing; that she was on our map and could we check to see if any of our other clues made any sense. She started to explain to us that her black boots weren't actually boots, but shoes that looked like boots, but this didn't put her off and she was happy for us to go though our clues anyway!

So we started by telling her the names we had written down, about 5 in all. She told us that she knew people with each of the names we mentioned - result! Then we asked if she had anything wrong with her knuckles or hands. At that point she lifted her left hand (which was out of sight up till now) to reveal a large plastic cast supporting her wrist. It turned out that she suffers a lot with arthritis and that she'd had to have an operation on her wrist that fused the joint together. She had limited use of her hand and had no movement in her wrist.

We asked if we could pray for her - she agreed saying that she had quite a few friends also praying for her who went to churches in Luton. So there and then in the DVD aisle of Woolworths we prayed that God would heal this lady's wrist with her daughter looking on. When we had finished praying we asked if she could test if anything had happened, so she took her cast off and started clenching her fingers. She said the pain had dulled, but there was still no movement in her wrist.

She asked us what church we went to and so we were able to give her one of our cards. She told us she was a Catholic but she wasn't attending a church in Bedford. We're hoping and praying that she comes to visit us sometime; that she will meet with God and that God will heal her wrist over time. She went on to buy her DVD and me and my friend went on to look for more clues.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

God woke her up!

I was walking through town this evening catching up with a friend of mine. There weren't many people around, but as we started down the main shopping street we saw a lady who was flat out on the floor with two man crouched around her. As we approached them we saw that the lady was not very well so we went over to the guys to see if there was anything we could do to help.

It turned out that the guys were contacts of the King's Arms Project. One of them explained to me that the lady had just had an epileptic fit. He was crouching over her to make sure she was still breathing. She looked like she was in a very deep sleep and the guy was obviously a little distressed. I asked if we could pray for her and he said yes, so I took her hand in mine and prayed that God would come and wake this girl up.

After about 30 seconds of praying that God would come and break in, the girl opened her eyes and was very suddenly wide awake! Although a little disorientated as to where she was and what had happened she was very much alive and seemingly well. The immediate response of the guy was to offer me his hand to thank us for stopping to pray. Not your regular evening in town activity, but then God isn't a 'regular' God is He!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Words of Knowledge (clues) seem to be Key

I offered to pray for a guy in town today who was on crutches. I wasn't on a treasure hunt, I didn't have a treasure map with any clues that led me to him, I just saw him coming out of the Post Office and felt brave enough to speak to him (thank you God). As it turns out he wasn't interested in being prayed for - he went on his way and I wandered off to continue my shopping.

I've been wondering recently what it must be like to have random people coming up to you in the street offering to pray for healing. How would I respond if I wasn't a Christian? Or even now as one? I think the concept that God wants to heal is way off people's radar. That's why the treasure map is such a good way in. If someone can see clues that describle them written down on a piece of paper by someone they've never met before they're loads more likely to stop and take notice.

Maybe what I needed to get to pray for the guy in town was a word of knowldege (a clue), something I couldn't have known about him that God told me on the spot. I want to get better at hearing God on the spot, at recognising His voice over and above all the other stuff going on in my head. My guess is that comes out of greater intimacy with Him - doesn't everything!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

'The Worst Day of my Life!'

A week ago today we were out treasure hunting. A friend of mine had the clue blue top with polka dots on her map. After an hour and a half of searching for treasure, just when we were about to call it a day, a young woman walked past us wearing a blue top with loads of really small white polka dots. My friend ran after her and when we met up about 10 minutes later to feedback she told us what had happened:

My friend had aproached the girl and explained to her and her friend what we were doing. That we were Christians who had asked God for clues about who we should speak to in town, that this girl was on her map and was there anything she could pray for her about? The girls' friend, at this point, started freaking out saying she couldn't believe this was happening, 'today of all days!' It turned out that the girl on the map was having, in her own words, 'the worst day of my life.' My friend was able to tell this girl that God is interested in her life and that because He loves her He knew she needed encouragement today! The girl then asked my friend to pray for her that she could be happy, 'like normal people are.'

Isn't God amazing! He picked this girl out, in the middle of Bedford town centre, because He knew she was having the worst day of her life. We never found out the specifics of why her day was so bad, to be honest these details don't really matter. What does matter is that this girl knows there is a God in heaven who knows her and loves her and will go to great lengths to pick her out of the crowd.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Something to whet your appetite!

I went out with some friends about a month ago for a 'prophetic meal' - where you do a treasure hunt while eating food in a restaurant or pub. As we prayed before heading to the pub I got the clue drives a digger. This isn't your average clue and so I put it under the 'unusual' heading on my map thinking that I might bump into someone who did that for a job and was relaxing in the pub after a hard days work??

So we went to the pub and ordered our food and sat down to scan the area for our clues. This particular pub has windows all the way across the front that look out onto the street. I had sat with my back to these windows. Just before our food arrived the guy sitting opposite me pointed to the windows and said, 'I think that might be your digger driver Wendy.' As I looked behind me I saw that 4 workmen had just arrived to do work on the paving outside the pub and that one of them had literally just driven up in a digger!! You can't get much clearer than that! I wasn't going to meet a guy relaxing in the pub after a hard days work driving a digger; I was going to meet a guy who was actually driving a digger! God has an incredible sense of humour!

So my immediate response after I'd laughed at how funny God is was one of sheer terror. I was going to have to go and chat to these 4 workmen. God had spoken and I needed to respond! And I did respond, after about 5 minutes of plucking up the courage. Nothing else on my map made any sense to them and they didn't want prayer for anything so I just had a quick chat with them and then returned to the pub to eat my dinner.

What did I learn? That I am able to walk through some extreme fear, that even the most random clues can be found and that often God is more interested in obedience rather than results.

New to this - in more ways than one!

I've never had a blog before - didn't even know they existed until a few months ago, I'm not very technically minded. A friend of mine suggested I start one to keep a record of all the street encounters I have as I embark on the adventure of taking Jesus to the streets...

The church I'm part of in Bedford, the King's Arms (http://www.kingsarms.org/) is an amazing place to be. God is doing incredible things among us at our Sunday services. People get healed and set free from stuff that holds them back most weeks, God speaks to us and meets with us. God is on the move and I love being part of what He's doing.

But we don't want to keep God in church! Might sound a bit of a funny statement, but if you think about Jesus when He was around...He was always out on the streets being with the people and showing them that God loved them and wanted to have a relationship with them. People are becoming increasingly disillusioned with 'church' and some would never step foot in one becasue of that. At the King's Arms we are in the early stages of an exciting adventure of taking Jesus to the streets!

It's called treasure hunting - not a totally new thing, but new to us. It's scary but mind-blowing all at the same time. In a nutshell, you pray and ask God for clues about who He wants you to speak to, God then gives you clues and you go out to try and find your treasure. So far we've seen about 17 people healed on the streets as we've walked through fear and been obedient to God's promptings.

The point of this blog? To involve you in our adventure as a church and my personal adventure in seeing Jesus made famous. I hope that you find the encounters we have exciting and inspiring and that you might also feel stirred to join the adventure!