Those who have followed my blog, or who are who are simply friends and fellow ministers, have noticed that there hasn’t been a whole lot going on with me as far as outreach ministry goes. Getting married has brought major changes and I needed time to sort it all out and to wait and see what God would have me do. My focus in ministry has changed; this is a good thing. I believe I’m going where I am called to go. As a result, I was, and still am, somewhat unsure of my future in festival ministry, which will be more of a sideline rather than my primary focus
One of the major (read “expensive”) outreaches I’ve done with a few others in the past is Burning Nest in the U.K., which a Burning Man affiliated festival known as a “regional Burn”. We’ve had a major, positive impact on this festival; we’ve gotten great feedback from those who attend, who tell us about the freedom they’ve gained from nightmares, dark forces, major personal and spiritual struggles, etc. Just a couple weeks ago, one of the many friends I’ve made there told me how much peace she gained from visiting us in our ministry tent and looks forward to visiting us there again. Several attendees invited me to spend time with them after the festival last year, which I did. I have felt it is important to continue to return to this festival. Besides, I really feel like a part of that community and I feel close on a personal level to so many of those I’ve met there. So I decided to return this year, along with Mr. Jeff, who went with me last year and who himself became such an important part of the festival, touching many lives. I haven’t said much about it, though, probably because I’ve been a little discouraged about doing festival ministry because I’ve received very little support or interest in it from a missions standpoint. I’ve been more than pleased with the results the ministry has had on people’s lives. It has just felt like I’ve been doing it mostly alone, with just a tiny handful of people, like Mark and Anthea Searle in Cheltenham, who see the value in it and without whom I couldn’t have done it at all,
But a couple days ago, I got some encouraging news: Papy Fisher, leader of Desanka, a group that also does festival missions, has told me he will be joining us and that he has extended an invitation to Desanka members to go as well. I’ve worked with many amazing people over the years in festival missions, and these Desanka folks are outstanding. Talk about the “A” team! These folks are it!
So now I’m VERY excited about going and the possibility of having several Desanka members coming as well. Unbeknownst to me, they’ve been discussing it for some time. With Desanka involved, it makes it much more likely that this outreach will continue indefinitely. Yesterday, during a Desanka meeting about Burning Nest (among other things), the members were forming plans for fundraising. I like the way they think! They commit to something, THEN they figure out how they’re going to do it! It’s really the only way to do the impossible.
I have tended to avoid fundraising for my own expenses, because I just hate to ask. Of course, this severely limits how much I can do, which has contributed to my discouragement. But, now, I can ask for Desanka! My air travel expenses and festival admission is paid for, but I still need to come up with around $400-$500 for myself. Desanka’s expenses are NOT paid for as yet. Each member will need to raise about $1600. Maybe you’re in a position to fund one member (that would be awesome!). Of course, even the smallest offering is very encouraging, because it tells us that we have friends who believe in us and in our mission.If you’d like to be a part of making a HUGE impact in the lives of British festival goers (just as in the US, the festivals goers are the ones changing the culture in the UK. Check out some of my other blog posts), go here. This is an excellent, high-level missions investment. Your gifts are tax deductible. Include a note with my name, or type “Burning Nest”.
Feel free to help spread the word about this important mission by “sharing” this blog, and as always, I there’s anything can do for you – interpret a dream, or if you’d like some prophetic ministry, please let me know 🙂
My festival name, also known as my “Burner” name, is Vagabond Stillwater. I’ve moved 9 times in the last eight years. I’m about to move again, this time maybe more permanently.
My life, which never seems to be anchored anywhere, is changing again.”Again” doesn’t really properly describe what’s happening, as my life has been in a state of flux, maybe for its entirety, certainly for the last eight years.
Anyway, I’m moving to Alabama to live with my amazing wife, Yolanda! Yolanda works with children at risk as a mental health therapist. The situations she deals with are heartbreaking, and I feel that heartbreak every day as she tells me about her day. She is very good at what she does and has the strength and grace to deal with it all.
The poverty in Alabama is crushing. It goes deeper than economy. I have seen devastating poverty in Mexico, but there was not the poverty of hope or joy; the people there had both hope and joy. That is not the case in Alabama, which is sad and frustrating, because it is the “Bible Belt”. Where, then, is the hope and the joy? Anyway, I feel I must do something. But I have no idea what.
So my ministry is changing. I won’t be focusing on festivals in this season, though I still believe festival ministry is vitally important. But I’m being drawn to the poorest among us. I think I always suspected that that is where I would end up – among the very poor.
I’m leaving Sunday, March 5, for North Carolina, to work and make some money. I’ll probably be in NC for 2-3 weeks, after which I’ll go on down to AL. I do not know what will happen, ministry wise, at that point. I could use your prayers. I’m ecstatic, of course, about finally living with my wife, but I have no idea what ministry will look like at that point.
In addition, I hope to overcome my laziness about writing and begin to post blogs more regularly. I have a lot of things in my heart to share and address, but I really am lazy about writing.
Thanks for reading! Feedback is always very much appreciated.
Today, a Facebook friend shared about a friend of hers who is involved in some questionable spiritual practices. My friend is rightfully concerned about this person and said that she was praying for her. Someone commented on my friend’s post, urging her to “delete” this person, adding that “the enemy comes thru her to you”.
I know this attitude is rampant in the Body of Christ. It drives me crazy. Can you see Jesus, or Paul, or Peter, running and hiding from someone practicing divination? In fact, Paul had to bring deliverance to a demon possessed girl who was doing psychic readings, and Peter was confronted with Simon the sorcerer, who he rebuked, not for his sorcery (Simon had become a disciple) but for trying to buy the power of God. Of course they weren’t afraid of them, or anybody! Where did this fear that is rampant in the Body come from? I have my theories…
As for my friend’s concern, my own perspective is slightly different. Salem MA has been a second home to me for 10 years and I lived there for almost two. I have friends who are witches. I go to New Age and other festivals where I encounter people involved in questionable spiritual practices all the time. I haven’t become jaundiced to it. Of course it’s dangerous. Life is dangerous. I can’t speak to my friend’s state of mind on this, but in the Body of Christ there is a strong and irrational tendency to expect non-Christians to behave like Christians, or at least how we are supposed to behave. This is counterproductive to trying to present the kingdom to the world around us. I am not a moral referee (I don’t think my friend sees herself that way either). My responsibility is to be Jesus to people, and as I search and search the gospels, I consistently see Jesus leaving people to their choices. He never pushes. He insists on nothing. He presents moral specifics when asked, or when the people sit at his feet in anticipation. I try to do the same.
But this fear believers have! This fear that darkness will overwhelm their light! It’s not how it works. We have only one enemy and that enemy has been defeated. We are sent to serve, embrace, and love people. Well, except for witches and satanists and psychics. Um, no, them too.
My fiancee called me at six 0’clock this morning to ask me if I had heard that Donald Trump had been elected president.
Yolanda, I have come to learn, is quite prophetic. She often sees into situations with prophetic clarity and often knows things that are going to happen. She’s aware of this ability but she’s (thankfully) completely lacking in any of the silly “christianese” assumptions about it. She’s generally quiet and introspective about what she knows ahead of time.
She’s known Trump would be the next president. But unlike so many Christian prophets who think they know how this works, but, in my opinion, don’t, she hasn’t been declaring Trump to be God’s man to save America. Yeah, she’s a keeper.
Is it really God who sets up the world’s kings and leaders? Yep. It sure is. Does that mean it’s His will? Nope. It’s our will, collectively speaking, not necessarily His.
Though Yolanda knew who the next president would be (I myself was sure he would lose), she is not happy about it, and neither am I. She would not be happier if Clinton had won, and neither would I. How in the world did we end with up with two such reprehensible choices? I think it’s the wrath of God.
The wrath of God is defined and described in Romans 1, particularly in verse 28: “…even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind…”. Ezekiel 22:31 says, “…their own way have I bought upon their heads…”. In other words. God gives to the rebellious and disobedient exactly what they want. So as far as what comes from God’s hand, this wrath is gentle, though we humans may do very ugly things with it. It also doesn’t really violate our will. I’ve noticed that God rarely does that.
Now, I’m not saying that this wrath is directed at people who don’t know God, and I’m not saying it isn’t. My focus is on those claiming to be following God. I think it’s a grievous error to claim to know God, but not know His mind, and when that happens, it is the prophetic voices who must bear the most responsibility.
I can’t be completely sure I know what God is thinking, but I know what I’m thinking. I know I’m a prophet, but I also know I’m sometimes wrong. I am angry at those supposed prophetic voices, and those who point to them, who were declaring that God had raised up Donald Trump to “make America great again” and are now celebrating his victory. You think God set him up to be president? Yes, I believe He did. So you think it necessarily follows that he is God’s choice? No, you’re wrong. he is YOUR choice. YOU bear the responsibility for what is to follow. I don’t know what that will look like, and I am not, personally, afraid. But I heard loud and clear what Yolanda said to me this morning:
“Something bad is about to happen”.
With just one outreach left for 2016, another year of doing dream interpretations, spiritual readings, inner healing, and trying to love people as Jesus did – and does – is almost over. I’m already planning for next year. As best I can remember, these are the outreaches I did this past year:
February: Body, Mind, Spirit Expo. A New Age event in Raleigh, NC.
March: Another New Age fair in Raleigh, the name of which I don’t remember.
May: Burning Nest, a Burning Man sanctioned transformational festival, otherwise known as a “regional Burn”, in Port Talbot, Wales.
June: How The Light Gets In, a music and philosophy festival in Hay-on-Wye, England,
followed by the Summer Solstice festival at the Stonehenge Campground and at Stonehenge near Amesbury, England.
July: The Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC
August: Three Days of Light, a transformational festival in Ferguson, NC.
October: Haunted Happenings, a month long Halloween celebration in Salem MA.
Upcoming in November: Health and Wellness Weekend, a three day, mostly New Age fair in Lyons Falls, NY.
I worked with various teams of amazing people at each of these. My plan is to repeat all of them and add at least two more besides: Transformus, a regional Burn near Asheville, NC; and, a possible return to Burning Man after a hiatus from that festival this year. I may also add one or two festivals in the UK as well. I have new ideas for some of these, primarily the transformational ones, that I’m pretty excited about. For several of the festivals I go to, I join with Papy Fisher, and his amazing group of young people that he has discipled. Papy always adds hospitality, usually in the form of food, to the mix of ministry. The increase in effectiveness this adds can’t be overstated: It’s invaluable to forming meaningful relationships with people, and that’s really what ministry is all about.
Festival ministry isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work, it’s kind of expensive and the festival environment isn’t for everyone. You have to be a little tough, and more than a little crazy and wild, and though we tend to be willing to work alongside anyone who wants to be a part, there are those I personally have discouraged from getting into it. There are pitfalls and temptations and we have suffered a few casualties over the years. But we’re always on the lookout for good, tough recruits, or seasoned veterans to join us.
Festivals are changing the world. There is a huge number of festivals all over the world, and yet the Church either ignores them or is completely unaware of them. That’s probably a good thing, since being crazy and wild isn’t exactly encouraged in the church, generally speaking. Maybe you’re crazy and wild enough. If so, let’s talk. Maybe you’d like to start your own festival ministry team. If so, we can train you and your people – or just give advice.
Currently, I’m looking to create a small team of people for Burning Man 2017, which is pretty much recognized as the ultimate transformational festival. With over 70,000 participants in the Nevada desert, it is (I believe) the largest such festival in the world. And while it’s still many months off (“The man burns in 304 days!”), planning needs to start now. Tickets usually go on sale in January. It isn’t cheap. and it’ll test you. But for many festival people, it is their favorite festival. I think it is my favorite. Do you think this is something you could do? Let me know.
How can I help you? Do you have a dream you need interpreted? Do you need healing for trauma or emotional wounds, or do you just feel “stuck”? Are you part of a group that is interested in prophetic evangelism and outreach? I offer personal ministry, in person or via Skype, and personal or group training.
Man, this election! Like a lot of people, I’ve gotten into some intense conversations and Facebook threads about it. My comments have mostly been toward Trump, but not because I think he’s worse than Clinton. These candidates are each SO bad that talking about one being worse than the other seems ridiculous. They’re bad! REALLY bad! On any reasonable scale for rating candidates’ qualification, both of these would be WAY into negative numbers.
Actually, my focus on Trump doesn’t have much to do with concern about who our next president is going to be. Both candidates are prone to be despots, and I don’t have a preference as to what KIND of despot I come under. I despise any kind. Our wonderful experiment in self-governance has wrecked on the rocks while we were busy not paying attention. Sad as that is, it has not been where my hope lies since becoming a Christian. My focus on Trump comes from my deep concern for the Church, primarily Evangelical Christianity, because that is my tribe.
I’ve been hearing “prophecies” declaring Trump to be God’s choice to save the nation. I’ve heard the bizarre justification for supporting this clown (Hmm. I wonder if the current clown sightings is prophetic?) that God can use Pharaoh or Cyrus, or a donkey (let’s not confuse a donkey with an ass).
First of all, if and when God uses a seriously flawed man or woman to rule over a people, that is not a good thing. It means something evil needs to be exposed, and not in the ruler but in the people who are ruled. It should be a time of mourning, not rejoicing, unless you’re rejoicing over your own exposure and consequent acknowledgment of sin and repentance.
Second, as a prophet myself – a reluctant one, I’d like to add – I don’t have much respect for what passes as prophecy in this country. To reframe an old joke, if you were to lay all our so-called prophets end to end, they would still all point in different directio. Heck, I not even very sure of my own prophetic inclinations. But I’m really sure about something I’ve known since my conversion in 1979; tyranny is coming to this nation. I don’t know that this is the time that this will happen, but it kind of looks inevitable (to those Christians praying for God’s mercy on the United States, pray neither of these turkeys becomes president).
I am also pretty sure about this: If there is a purpose in this infuriating insistence Evangelicals have to support Donald Trump, it’s to expose something very ugly and unChristlike in that camp. I have written a little about this before, as have lots of other folks. Maybe I’ll write more. I don’r know. But frankly, a lot of you folks are a big embarrassment.
Last weekend I once again joined with Kelly Williams, Papy Fisher and a few of his Desanka team in festival ministry, this time at the five year old 3 Days of Light festival, which Kelly had been working on getting into for a couple of years, held this year in the mountains of Ferguson, NC. I have worked with this group at the Wild Goose festival several times, and last year at Haunted Happenings in Salem, MA. It was the first time at this festival for any of us. In addition to doing the usual prophetic ministry out of a tent, Papy was determined to serve the festival in some way similar to what he has done at Wild Goose. So, with Caroline Buchanan’s capable leading, in addition to prophetic ministry, we provided free delicious meals, water, coffee, the occasional roll of duct tape, etc., to anyone and everyone. The impact of having this added aspect of ministry is hard to calculate, but for the sake of illustration, let me say that our presence at this festival was maybe ten times as effective as it would have been with just the ministry tent alone. The ministry tent is where the deepest impact happens. It’s where bondages are broken and people knowingly connect with God. But there was more traffic through the ministry tent because of the free food and drink and the fellowship and relationships that resulted from them.
The importance of that fellowship and the relationships that follow can’t be overstated. This is where festival goers encounter people being Jesus at ground level. They are loved; even more importantly, they are liked. They keep coming back, not only for sustenance but just to sit and visit. Relationships deepen. Contact info is exchanged.
Contact info is exchanged in the ministry tent also, but the dynamic is different. It is that of one person needing help from another person. Sometimes, ministry really does continue afterwards with those who have received ministry in the tent, and a discipleship of sorts ensues. The friendships that develop over food, drink and conversation are different and invaluable. They are, I think like the friendships Jesus formed while on earth, with the mutual affection and easy interchange of people who like each other.
I really can no longer imagine doing outreach ministry without this dynamic.
The encounters we had in the tent were very deep, quite numerous – one after another much of the time – and often very intense. Some were so intense I wasn’t able to talk about them even with others on the team. I still feel unable to tell some of the stories. There was what appeared to be more demonic manifestation than usual, all of which were vanquished as we remained steadfast in prayer and the authority we carry. As usual, many of those who came entered easily into a two way conversation with their Creator, who they either didn’t believe in or weren’t sure existed, and then were delightedly stunned when it was pointed out to them that the conversation had occurred (that’s one of my favorite things). There was one man who, through tears, said he was “stuck” because of a broken heart. My own heart broke for his grief. He left, not without sorrow, but no longer stuck, and free of guilt and shame. I watched his face light up with joy when it was pointed out to him that he had had a two way conversation with God. It’s just so cool that they don’t realize this is happening when it happens!
God is so wonderful.