Monday 06 July 2009

Bible Book:

"Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel." (v.18-19)

Genesis 28:10-22 Monday 6 July 2009


I will never forget Bethel. It was the first appointment Iserved in as a Methodist minister. But this Bethel Methodist Churchwas in the Canal Zone of the Republic of Panama. And unlike Jacob'sBethel, it was a complete disaster. I did not dream of a ladder upto heaven, but of a plane back to England.

The only thing that this place appeared to have in common with theplace that Jacob rested at was that the pillows, metaphoricallyspeaking, seemed like rocks. Hard rocks. And they did not appear toget any easier.

But as my wife will tell you, and I will confirm, whilst there wemet with two angels called Revd Bill Lomas and Mrs Livy Lomas, orBilly and Livy as we came to know them. They were an older andwiser missionary couple who had ministered in many placesthroughout the world, and knew exactly how to respond to naïve anddepressed missionaries. Through their offers of cakes and trips outand above all, love, they showed us the possibilities of the placewhere we were staying.

Neither my wife or I were running away from trouble, as Jacob wasafter cheating Esau of his father's blessing (Genesis 27). Itwas just the start of our missionary journey in the same way thatit was the start of Jacob's missionary journey - a road ofexperiences and encounters, where we build up one experience on topof another and come to know God.

To Ponder

Can you remember a time when you felt totallyabandoned and isolated? Who brought you out of that moment? ThankGod for them.

What are the essential elements of a church? Afine building, a community of people or a vision that opens up thepossibility of others being raised to God? Is there anything elseyou consider essential?

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