Monday, February 08, 2016

CP 268 Wallaby series... Into the rockpool we go

CP 268 Wallaby series... Into the rockpool we go!
Hi people, this week I’m itching to tell you about Belinda. She is a friend of one of my daughters and boy, O boy, has she been on a journey. In the last two weeks I’ve walked a little of the way with her.

Before I get into it let me give you a bit of background. Over the last dozen years I’ve come to resent having to take a lot of the baptisms that came with my call. Not all baptisms. Many were a joy to be involved with but so often I felt compromised, a participant in a charade, as I confronted the nauseating reality that neither parents nor god-parents had a faith in Christ and, regardless of what I tried to say, were giving lip-service right answers just to get it over with. Not long before I retired I told some of my fellow pastors that one freedom I was looking forward to was not having to take any more baptisms! I often thought of a comment by a visiting seminary professor from Norway who maintained that the Scandinavian countries were full of baptised pagans! Which brings me to Belinda.

Belinda grew up in one of those Scandinavian countries. Her family was, and still is, without faith. She completed confirmation, at age 13 or so, apparently by turning up at church on ten Sundays, in her pyjamas, so the Pastor could put his signature in her book to indicate that she had fulfilled ‘the requirements’. It was all meaningless except for the presents. Her upbringing was devoid of any sense of the God of the gospel of Christ.

Belinda has recently become a Christian, and how it came about is both remarkable and encouraging. Her story, actually her testimony, gave me joy, much joy. The 'wow' sort of joy. How did this come about? 

Belinda's favourite music for all her life has been metal, as in heavy metal. There was one band with which she had a special relationship, a band called KORN. As I understand it they’re into real head-banging stuff. Their lyrics were about alienation, grief and lostness. Their music, especially their music, was her music. Deep inside, where Linda was Linda, their style of music resonated in a way that nothing else did. When they played she was alive. KORN was her band.

Belinda came to Australia Pastor via South Africa and England. Along the way she acquired a husband and a daughter. The marriage lasted 10 years and during her 10 married years, to all intents and purposes, KORN disappeared from her life. When the break-up happened she went ‘wild’, became a party girl and constantly over-indulged with alcohol.

One day, massively hungover and on her way by train to a KORN concert in Sydney, she said to a friend, ‘Something’s got to change!’ She told me that at that moment she knew she was in trouble and on the precipice of becoming an alcoholic.

Well, she attended the concert. When she got home she thought she might google KORN. There she read that Brian Welch, lead guitarist for KORN, had become a Christian, and had in fact left the band for 8 years. She wondered what that could be about and went on to find and read his testimony. As she read it she had, in her own words, an epiphany experience. She was flooded with the conviction that what she was reading in his testimony about Jesus Christ was the truth, and that what he had found in Jesus Christ was what she needed for herself. She became a Jesus Christ person at that moment. Her life has never been the same.

She knows that Jesus the Christ found her. She was looking for something but he found her. She bubbles with grace like a lively stream. The dependence on alcohol finished that night. She hasn’t had a drop since. She began to worship and read a Bible. She asked her Lord to help her drop the smoking. She no longer smokes. There is an irrepressible joy about her and she delights to share her story of freedom.

How did I come to be in this story? Simple. Belinda wanted to be baptised. Knew she needed to be baptised. Needed it to be full immersion. Needed to have that awareness of being washed clean. The only problem was that the church in which she worshipped insisted on baptising in front of the whole congregation and she couldn’t cope with that. She was sharing that with my daughter one day who promptly said, ‘My dad might do it.’ I was ‘around’ because one of my doctors couldn’t fit me in before February 9.

I met Belinda less than 2 weeks ago. Her story of her encounter with Jesus moved me as much as anything has moved me in years. What pure joy to have a pastoral conversation about Jesus the Christ, grace, faith and baptism, and all within months of my declaration that I no longer wished to conduct baptisms!

So on Saturday February 6, 2016, at 2.00pm, there was worship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the Woonona Beach rockpool. ‘I baptise you in the name of Jesus… Father pour out your Holy Spirit…’

Three things:

First, how appropriate that she was baptised in a rockpool!

Second, an elderly gentleman swimming in the pool observed proceedings, and as he passed by he said, ‘You’ve been baptised! That’s good. You’ve become a Christian. Congratulations!’

Third, a second member of KORN has also become a Christian. That’s Fieldy, their drummer. I saw a DVD some time ago where Fieldy and Brian Welch walked up and down the line of people waiting to go into their concert, offering to speak to anyone about the Lord Jesus Christ. I think that DVD is called Holy Ghost and it’s available through Koorong.

Be blessed friends. I was. Our Father is good, our Lord is supreme, and his Spirit fills us…


Anonymous Ruth Olsen said...

So encouraging. Thanks for sharing, Fred. It's wonderful that the Lord is bigger and sees further than our "never's". More abundant blessings in the journey. RuthO.

1:50 PM  

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