Honouring Ps Clive Field

This is my dad, Ps Clive Field, who passed into glory on May 16, aged 88 years.

My father, Pastor Clive Field, passed into glory on May 16, 2019.
Just yesterday the family gathered from far and wide for the funeral, which was a celebration of his life.

Clive was born in poverty and obscurity. Until his salvation in 1959, he despised the church, and tragically, through his own irresponsibility, his 3 year old son drowned while he should have been watching him.

Then, in his mid 20’s, through the ministry of Billy Graham, mum and dad, Clive and Rose, were gloriously born again and their sad lives rescued.

Dad went on to become a preacher, church planter, head of a denomination and spiritual father to many he raised into ministry.

Clive had next to nothing going for him yet was held in God’s hands.

Despite Clive’s rejection of God, God never rejected him.

Despite Clive’s weaknesses, God was ready to be strong in and through him.

Despite Clive losing his son through irresponsibility, God had already given His Son, Jesus, on purpose, so Clive could move in the power of God and enjoy eternity with God.

Clive is testimony to what God can and will do with the most unlikely people, and with people who have already gotten things terribly wrong.

And so it is with mixed emotion, and grateful hearts, that we farewell Clive Field and invite each of you to let Clive’s wonderful God do in and through you, what God did through his unlikely servant, Clive Field.

God’s Mercies

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Oh how sweet the Lord’s mercies. Thoughts of our own greatness are a delight to the human mind, but in reality we are hopelessly dependent on the mercies of God. Our true delight is that He delights in us. Our greatest strength is the Lord’s arm working in and through us. Our greatest hope is that He will move with His power and glory through our inept and faltering efforts.

I once complained to the Lord that I was unhappy with a situation I was in, saying something like, “I deserve better than this.” Immediately I sensed a reply deep within, asking, “So you want what you deserve, do you?”

That sent a shock through me and I immediately disclaimed by complaint. “No, Lord. I don’t want what I deserve. I want Your mercies and Your grace in my life.”

I am delighted with the life God has given me and the various talents I get to enjoy, but I know that the value of my life is not in me finding vent for my thoughts, words or actions, but for me being a channel through which God can express Himself.

My greatest successes in life have not come from my capacities, but from God opening things to me or moving through me, or responding to my prayer for Him to move.

So I have become accustomed to celebrating my ineptitude and disclaiming my own power. I rely on God’s mercies and His grace and am quick to recognise that God can make me a hero even when I do the wrong thing or my knees crumple under me, because the victory and blessing comes from Him, not from my resources.

Apostle Paul celebrated a similar mindset, saying “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2Corinthians 12:10 NLT

Enough?

I struggle with the sheer abundance of devotional material already available. Why in the world should another word be written, and why from me?

I recalled this morning that I have hundreds of sermon summaries from my pastoring years. I don’t refer to them and no-one reads them. So why write even more material?

This week I met yet another chap who writes blog posts. The written word is at flood proportions today.

Yet I also remember that God is a God of abundance, and superfluous abundance. Years ago I saw calendar photos of isolated locations of amazing beauty, some with sunsets and others with miles of sweeping blooms. Yet, apart from the photographer, you could believe no one else even saw those delights. And the photographer wasn’t there all day every day drinking in the same amazing sight. Then I thought of fruit trees growing in forests and on remote mountain slopes and of the huge amount of pristine water that flows in remote places into the sea.

There is an amazing superabundance of things in God’s economy. Every moment of every day there is a continuing sunrise and sunset, producing a non-stop stream of glorious vistas. Yet most of us don’t even see one each day. It’s as if God is creating an abundance to be wasted.

What about the starry sky. How many stars would have been enough? 

How many varieties of bird would have been enough? How many flavours would have been enough? How many sensations for our body to feel or aromas for us to smell would have been enough?

God is not the God of ‘enough’ but the God of superlative abundance.

So, if God wants me to write something to add to the abundance, that’s perfectly consistent with His character and economy.

Maybe along the way I’ll write something that has more value or impact than I expect, but for now I’m working on the discipline of taking time each day to write, as the thoughts come to mind. And I’ll pile this bunch of words onto the seemingly endless mountain of things already written, so I can honour the God of abundance who blesses me abundantly and who wants to give to His creation and to His children yet more than they already have.

So, these words are penned (typed) for the glory of God.

May He be honoured by that which comes out on the page. Amen.

Being a Father in a Child’s World

Humans are self-aware. Some people are more or less aware of themselves than others, but it is safe to say that we are conscious of ourselves all the time.

We are aware enough to avoid doing things that might be inappropriate or embarrassing. We are aware enough to know our responsibility at work, or whether people of interest to us are nearby.

Yet for all that self-awareness, and possibly because of it, we often fail to see ourselves as others see us. This is particularly important in our role as a parent.

I was reminded of this in recent years as a Grandad. I was visiting one of my children and the suggestion was made that some of the grandchildren might like to have a sleep-over at Nanna and Grandad’s house. There was great enthusiasm for the suggestion. I was a little surprised because I don’t think my home is particularly interesting to young children.

What I had to recognise is that my grandchildren see me through their eyes. They see me as a very significant person in their life, as a grandad. I might see myself as an older man, with greying hair, interested in matters that children wouldn’t even understand. I might see myself as of no interest to young children, but to some young children I hold a special place.

I remembered how much I enjoyed visiting my grandparents and exploring around their home and yard. They might have spent most of their time talking with my parents, but they were still very special people in my world.

So a few years ago I recorded a podcast for Real Talk For Real Men, discussing being a Father in a Child’s World. I wanted to point out just how significant men are as daddy in their child’s life, and why being a dad is not as ‘natural’ as we have thought.

I tried to point out our need to view ourselves through the child’s perspective. And also how to guard your kids’ precious emotions by watching how you react to them.

I also discussed why a dad’s interaction with his children will shape the child’s impression of who God is, and what might happen to your children as adults if you are not diligent in how you represent God to your children.

I suggest that all parents, Mums and Dads, listen in to that podcast. It’s available at: https://realtalkrealmen.podbean.com/e/real-talk-4-real-men-episode-31-being-a-father-in-a-childs-world/

Getting Real

My journey with the Lord has been most powerful when God dug past my facade and dealt with the real me on the inside.

It is easy in life and in our faith to play the game, look the part, go along with the routine and go through the motions, while the reality of the thing is missing. 

We can play at our role as parent, giving a child the attention they seek, but not really connecting with the child in the deeper way that’s best for us and them. We can pray, read the Bible and go to church, singing the songs and listening to messages as passive participants, rather than being actively and deeply involved in the process.

I praise God that at times, when I am in that sorry mode, God breaks through, usually by calling me to be real with him and with myself.

God is real and His love, power and salvation are very real. Heaven and hell are real, and so too are the spiritual realities we cannot see, such as angels, calling, curses, blessings, demons and the like. Our blindness to those things does not change them or diminish their effect.

So to truly become alive in the fulness of the life God gives us we need to get real with Him and allow Him to get real with us.

In my early school years I discovered I had a serious problem with embarrassment, yet I was keen to be up front in the spotlight. I tried to overcome embarrassment by a mask of bravado and confidence. Eventually, however, in my late teens, God wonderfully dealt with me. He challenged me that I was fake. I felt convicted about my plastic facade and sensed God warning me He could not deal with fake people. I felt God assure me, deep on the inside, that if I would just be who I really am, without pretence, He would transform me. He promised to make the real me much more impressive than my fake image could hope to be.

It took me time to work through that challenge. I even pushed it aside for a long time. The fruit has been wonderful, giving me freedom on the inside.

What greatly helped me to work through the challenge was the assurance that God truly loved miserable little me, the real me, just the way I am. I was blessed to hear a number of preachers press the point of God’s love until I could really grasp that God truly loved me.

The assurance and confidence that brought me nearly half a century ago has been wonderful to enjoy ever since.

Yet God has had to challenge me since then, about me being real with Him. I can drift back to routine and miss engagement with the reality of my faith and my walk with God. When I decide to truly connect with God again, not just doing the spiritual routines I am accustomed to, I always find a refreshing.

Consider what it might mean for you to be sure that;
God loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3);
the Love of God casts out fear (1John 4:18);
God’s plans for you are good (Jeremiah 29:11);
God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5);
God will crush Satan under your feet (Romans 16:20);
God binds up your broken heart (Psalm 147:3);
when Jesus sets you free you are truly free (John 8:36).

Maybe a starting point, if you find it hard to be real with God, is to pray something like this:

“Lord God, I want to know You and to be constantly blessed in my walk with You, but I find it hard to connect. I am probably filled with all sorts of distractions and issues the enemy has sown in my heart. I call on You to break through for me and to reach me at my deepest level, pouring Your love on me and assuring me that it is safe to abandon everything so I can know you better. You are my saviour and I cannot save myself, to I call on You to be my champion in this challenge and to draw me toward You as You reveal Yourself to me and in me. I ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.”