Bigger Prayers of Hope

Video

This is another version of my message on Hope from John 11, the resurrection of Lazarus. We apply the teaching to get our hope restored, and at the end I give a word to Loren & Darlene and John Dawson, a challenge to pray bigger prayers. In Kona Hawaii, March 2007.

Advertisements

How Did YWAM Love Feasts Begin?

In 1971 at YWAM Lausanne, there were a couple of serious accidents on Sunday afternoons. When Loren and Darlene Cunningham sought the Lord as to the reason, they understood Him to be saying He would restore His protection when there was a new commitment to His holiness, especially concerning Sabbath observance.

There were a few other key influences during the same period.

One was a visit from two sisters of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Darmstadt, who were surprised at the unruliness of mealtimes. They suggested that meals should be times of peace, quietness, and relationship.

Another teaching from the sisters that deeply marked us was their emphasis on never letting the sun go down on one’s anger. Before going to bed, each one of them would check with the Holy Spirit to see if forgiveness should be asked of anyone else in their community. And they would write notes making things right, and slip them under the person’s bedroom door.

This teaching fit perfectly with a teaching of Joy Dawson’s message on “The Sin of Achan” (Joshua 7), that the sin of one person can prevent the Lord’s blessing on the community. We were so hungry to meet with the Lord at each Love Feast, that everyone would take time to seek Him on Friday afternoon to ask if there was any unconfessed sin in their lives, especially anything hindering relationships. And on a nice day, you would see people sitting two-by-two on the front lawn, asking forgiveness of one another and praying together.

And the Lord honoured these small steps of obedience, and met with us powerfully as we made time and space for the Holy Spirit at the Love Feast.

Reona Peterson-Joly had been teaching Orthodox Jewish children. She shared how these families observed the Sabbath: the house was cleaned from top to bottom to purge it of leaven; there was no work on the Sabbath day; the Sabbath began the night before with the best meal of the week, and most of all, there was a total focus on the Lord.

Another key influence at that time was Joe and Judi Portale’s return to the base from Czechoslovakia. There they participated in a 250 – year old Moravian tradition: the ‘love feast’, which consisted of passing around bread and telling each person what they meant to them, and how they loved them.

The Cunninghams proceeded to restore the Sabbath by adapting the Jewish traditions to YWAM Lausanne:

No work on Sunday — so the noon meal was usually cold, to reduce the kitchen work.
No sports or hard play — this wasn’t a legalistic rule, but an outworking of the commitment to ‘turn your foot from your own pleasure on the Sabbath’.
The Sabbath was a day of quiet, rest, walks in the forest, and concentration on the Lord.
To prepare for the Sabbath, we had a love feast on Saturday evenings.
The tables were beautifully decorated with candles, centerpieces, and flowers. The best meal of the week was prepared, everybody dressed up, and we set place cards so people wouldn’t always sit next to their same friends all the time.

There was a sense of expectancy and holiness that whole day. Students and staff both prayed for hours during the afternoon for the love feast. People would go and knock on each other’s doors, to confess things to one another and ask forgiveness. Nobody wanted to be an obstacle to the Lord’s meeting with us that evening.

The children also had their own special meal with decorations, but it was earlier so they could be put to bed and the parents could be free to fully participate in the love feast.

Each week a different group would take responsibility for serving everyone else. Sometimes there were special songs and music but it was oriented toward worship, not entertainment. At the end of the meal, the love feast leader gave a meditation on one aspect of the character of God. Then we went straight into a time of worship, still seated around the tables.

The worship was not directed from up front, anybody could lead out in prayer, read a passage of Scripture, start a song, etc. The worship would last at least an hour, or even two. Nobody wanted to leave. We waited upon God together, in His Presence. In other words, it was a vertically, and horizontally, oriented meal.

YWAM Lausanne learned to worship God during the love feasts (because as late as 1974, we didn’t know how to worship yet, we had ‘singing’).

From Lausanne the love feast spread to other YWAM bases, then in 1974 the Cunninghams took it to Hawaii, and it went around the YWAM world. Later, as Jannie Rogers has said, “The god of the weekend stole it away.” He’s pretty powerful …. and it’s true, it was a tremendous amount of work. The hospitality crew would spend most of Friday to prepare the tables, and they prayed about the seating, even which singles to seat together (really!). Just folding the napkins took ten people a full hour. As base leader, I took the whole of Friday afternoon to prepare the meditation for the love feast.

In more recent times in YWAM, ‘love feast’ has come to mean any meal that’s a bit different from the normal ones. Such as the ‘love feast’ we attended at one base which consisted of a buffet, then everyone sharing their most embarrassing experience. No worship, no mention of the Lord; and the Holy Spirit didn’t even visit that one.

Fun nights are great. Most bases could use more of these kinds of evenings, they’re tremendously important in community-building. But let’s not call them ‘love feasts’, OK? Throughout the history of the Church, that term has meant a community meal which is lived in true fellowship and in the presence of the holiness of God.

Loren and Darlene did a great job of adapting the Biblical and Jewish Traditions to the YWAM culture of the early 1970’s. Now we need someone to re-adapt them for postmodern youth. What could a love feast look like for Millennials? It should be different from what we had going for those years in Lausanne, but it would of course include the emphasis on beauty, fellowship, solemn joy, and the holy Presence of God.

When you receive the vision from Higher Up, please invite me once. I’d like to see what it looks like.

Love Feast Beginnings: Thomas A. Bloomer, 1998;
Printed February 23, 2005
2019 UofN Reference Guide. Copyright © 2005 by YWAM/UofN;
Revised 2015, 2017 - Page 128

Excellence Crucified

Back a few years ago, there was a television commercial by a well-known stockbrokerage firm whose catchphrase was, ”When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.” I could say that about quite a few people I know, but there’s one person in particular, a wise and somewhat hidden prophet, who when he talks, my ears perk up; and I listen. Carefully.

His name is Tom Bloomer, and he is International Provost of YWAM’s University of the Nations (UofN)—in fact God told him the new name for what had been called Pacific & Asia Christian University (PACU). I was there when he first shared it in 1988 at a YWAM Gathering in Manila, Philippines. This regional university was about to go worldwide.

Two of Tom’s gifts are wisdom and the ability to ‘see ahead and understand the implications of decisions we make’ (sort of like the men of Issachar, ‘who understood the times in which they lived, and knew what they should do.’ [1 Chron 12:32] Tom, when he speaks, shares carefully and only at the right time and the right place, always accompanied by a beautifully dry sense of humor.

Teaching the Word is the primary thrust of Tom’s ministry; the challenge before him is to discover what it means to love God not just with our heart, soul and strength, but with our minds as well. Tom’s hobbies include aerobic history, extreme gardening, and prophetic fifth-dimensional composting. That’s a bit of Tom for you. Here he is, speaking for himself . . .

“I want to share a principle that marks our university. I don’t think it is written down anywhere or recorded—it came from a revelation that I received when I went to get my Masters degree back in the 80s at a Christian university in America. In all their printed promotional materials (this was before we had websites), they spoke a lot about excellence and it was the same in other university catalogs. This was at the time when we were forming the UofN, so I was looking around to see what other Christian universities were doing—and not doing.

“In trying to figure out what they were saying about education, it seemed to me to be all about Excellence! Excellence! Excellence! ‘We train our students to be excellent; we want to be an excellent institution.’ This started to really irritate me and I couldn’t figure out why, because of course excellence is a wonderful value.

“And then I looked a little bit deeper. We want to be excellent because Jesus is excellent—everything he did on earth was excellent; everything he does now is excellent. And that is why we want to be excellent. I couldn’t argue with that. But it still irritated me. And I have to check these irritations because sometimes they are pretty fleshy. Other times they are like the holy irritation that the Apostle Paul felt when he saw Athens so full of idols.

“I was feeling that excellence was becoming an idol. I couldn’t figure it out. I was getting my Masters at an excellent school. And I wanted to perfect my own training as well. So I asked the Lord, ‘What is it about excellence that is irritating me?’

“And the Lord showed me this; ‘Yes, he was excellent, but he took his excellence to the cross and allowed it to be crucified, broken for the world.’ And that is the difference between wanting to be excellent and being excellent like Jesus, because Jesus took his excellence to the place of death; and allowed it to be broken and multiplied like bread to feed to the nations.

“I realized this is really what the life of Howard Malmstadt—my father-in-law—signified. He was emeritus professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, and left it, at the very top—age 55—to start the UofN along with Loren Cunningham. He could have gone to any university in the world and asked for any salary, any budget. But he went to found a new university.

“Howard took his worldwide reputation (he was considered to be the father of modern electronic and computerized instrumentation in chemistry), and let it be broken and buried. The word got out in the scientific community that he had joined a bunch of hippies in Hawaii. But he wanted to use his excellence for the nations.

“And today I think that is what the Lord has done with our UofN; it is a structure where you can become excellent in different fields; but then we can also show you ways to crucify that excellence.

“There was a movement in missions, which I think started in the 80’s (when a lot of other bad things started like disco music), and it kind of went like this: ‘Missions is your career and you should build your résumé.’ Today websites like LinkedIn try to do this for us. Well, I never tried to build my career—I guess I’m not very good at planning. But I ended up with the best job in the world, in the most interesting university in the world.

“I would encourage you that if you find yourself in some forgotten place; if you find yourself in a place that is overlooked by everyone and seems like nobody sees what you are doing, you’re probably right in the middle of the will of the Lord. Burtigny, a tiny village in Switzerland where I live, is to me the center of the world—not a forgotten place. The apostle Paul said it this way: That he was pouring out his life on the altar of sacrifice. It is the same principle.

“When Jesus took human form and came to earth, he did amazing things, yet only a small percentage of them are written down. But he did not stop there . . . “the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” [1 Cor 11:23] Maybe what we are supposed to remember is not just the bread but the fact that his body was broken. And if we follow him on that narrow path we will do the same. And the nations will be blessed.

“I think we have some of the most wonderful and capable people in the world in the UofN. Those who could be building their résumés and be making a lot of money. But that gets to be boring after a while (not that I know for sure, but I can imagine!) I want to encourage you on the path that you have already taken, to continue to follow Jesus in whatever and wherever he leads you. And I hope that he leads you to excellence. And I pray that he leads you to ways and strategies to crucify that excellence and bless the nations!”
Copyright Thomas A. Bloomer, 1990

As Tom said, ” . . . Jesus took his excellence to the cross and he allowed it to be crucified, broken for the world.”

Let’s think about that. Crucify that which my whole purpose in life is heading towards? We’re taught at an early age to aim for excellence, to do the very best that we can (given the ‘tools’ we have).

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame . . . “[Hebrews 12: 1b-2a]

From YWAM E-Touch March, 2016 Edition

The History of Lausanne

Video

The Lord led Loren and Darlene to begin YWAM’s schools in Lausanne in order that we might pick up some pf the mantles that had fallen to the ground here: hospitality, Christian university, nonformal education for sacrificial ministry exemplified in the school of Antoine Court, and teaching the nations. This 1989 video is an introduction to these domains.

One mistake; the original bishop’s residence was the smaller building seen toward the end of the video; the fortress seen at the beginning was built centuries later.

An omission: around the feet of the statue of Justice there are four human heads, representing the Pope, the king, the emperor, and the sultan. The statue was done by a French Huguenot refugee, to emphasize the truth that all people are under the Law and subject to judgement, and that the powerful are not exempt.

Tom Bloomer, Burtigny, July 2019