Oct | 14 | Fri | The City of GLASGOW | “Holy Jumping Jacks Batman”


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I awoke at 3:30am and then again at 5:30 and 6:30. It was not a good night. Noisy and a bit cold. I typed until 7:30 but the internet connection was very iffy and it kept dropping out. I breakfasted at 7:45 on transport café style full Scottish. Nothing fancy, but hot and well cooked by a lovely Scottish lady and served by Polish wenches. This was a rough and ready inn, which by the way would make a great name for a new chain of very low budget inns. http://www.roughandreadyinns.com

Around the corner from the flee pit as I was making calls from was a Starbucks. So, after making some calls from here, I checked out at 10:30, put another £2 on a parking card and went to plug in, log on and drink me a tall Chai Latte. Lovely.

Anyhoo, I had already called the Mayor and she was out. I left a message and she didny call back.

I had called IVP to see if they were interested in turning this into a book, video, film (3d of course). No one got back to me.

I had called a hip Church in Inverness to see if I could speak there on Sunday. No one got back to me.
But in a bright Starbucks I called Glasgow University and got through to the Chaplains secretary. A lovely lady called Joan contacted both the Free Church of Scotland Chaplain and the Roman Catholic Chaplain who both said I could get speak in their lunch time services. Well done Joan, who now occupies the number one spot on my Christmas card list.
Praise God.

Meanwhile, I also called my friend Paul Young for a contact in Glasgow he might have. “Yeah ring Brian Rob. He will help you out.”

I ring Brian and he says he will do all he can to help. He is going to try and get me into a Youth group tonight to see if I can share from Nahum.

I tried to track down the Roman Catholic chaplain, leaving messages on his cell phone and with his PA. He was obviously a busy bunny as he never got back to me.

I called the Free Church of Scotland chaplain who said he would meet me at 12:45 in the University Interfaith Chapel and I could speak for 7 minutes on Nahum and interview folks after.

I wondered how the apostle Paul coped without face book and a cell phone, you know, social networking and connectivity. Of course, he had both and used them well, it just took longer. Social networking sites would indeed have been the Market place and the Synagogue, places of washing like rivers and the like, places of worship and prayer. Calling would simply have been going, speaking and asking. “Excuse me, I am looking for a man of Macedonia.” Holding up his hand he would say. “He’s about this big, black beard, desperate look on his face and is always asking lots of spiritual questions.”
“Nah not seen him mate. But there’s a rich old bird who meets with a bunch of other women at a quiet spot on the river. She’s a do gooder you know and always on about the afterlife and God and all that. You know a bit of a fanatic. You could try her maybe she knows the bloke.”
“OK, Thanks I will. So you say her names Lydia then?……”

You see, I wonder if Paul did the same thing, but it just took a lot longer.

So anyways, Joan had arranged with the gate staff for me to drive in and park in the University square. When I arrived two jovial guards from the Rab C Nesbit (he reminds me in some ways of my Dad) show let me in.
“Who are you?”
“Rev. Victor Robert Farrell”
“And where are you going?”
“I am speaking at the Chapel”
Raucous laughter, “No! You don’t say. I would never have guessed.” They let me in, still laughing.
I really like Glasgow people you know. Weegies laugh loud and are lovely, they are helpful, approachable and human.

So anyways, I meet the Minister and we chat. Slowly about a dozen folks stream into the chapel and me and him sit opposite them to speak. He opens in prayer and its over to me. These lovely folk listen intently and then we close with an Acapulco ringing of the 23rd Psalm.

I interview them all together and then an older gentleman and his wife ask me if I would like to join them for some soup and bread for lunch. It would be my delight.

They only live 2 minutes away and as we walk through the international students I see Ian tells ask his wife to stop and give a wee note to an international student and we lose her for a wee while as she engages in conversation. Who could ignore a lovely old Scots lady, with the most delightful Hebridean accent, full of the Holy Spirit and inviting you to come to an international Bible study at her house that night.

That’s right, Ian and his wife are retired missionaries from India and we all know, missionaries never really retire. After twenty years in India together, they ministered in Australia and then as International students Chaplain here at the university.

They had already eaten but laid a place just for me and fed me soup and ham and cheese whilst we sat in the kitchen and talked. They carried heaven in them and it was a delight to be there. I remember that Ian had proposed to his wife from afar. He was in India and she in Glasgow. “You are going to need an engagement ring” he had written “So go out and buy one worthy of me.” So she did. She went out alone and bought an engagement ring worthy of him and slipped it on her own fingers.” The receipt for the ring and his money to pay for it passed in the mail. They were a perfect match. As were they. We prayed together and I left. These two had been walking with God a long time. They knew Him, they smelt of Him, I was around holy people.

I wondered if God wanted me to speak in the open air. I was open to it. I went back to Starbucks and prayed and mused. The phone rang and it was Brian who could not get me into the Youth group but recommended a ring a guy call ‘Yeric’ who rang a drop in centre for drug addicts called ‘Jumping Jacks’ in the Maryhill area of Glasgow. There was a meeting tonight at 8:00pm and if I gave my testimony then I could also share from Micah. Excellent.

Meanwhile my mate Phil has sent me an email saying Catherine Tate was playing God in a performance called 66 Books. I emailed this to me colleagues and Mark advised me via email from the USA that I should contact the BBC and tell them about the REAL 66 Book show. So I did, but they were dealing with the breaking news of the Defence secretary’s resignation. (Don’t get me started) so, I left messages and sent emails. We shall see.

It was 7:00pm when they close Starbucks, and I was full of Chai Latte and Vanilla Roibos. Well, you can’t just sit there with all your stuff plugged in and not pay for something!

I went back to the car and made my way to the flat of the three students I was staying with, one of which was Terry’s daughter. I unloaded my stuff, we a talked and prayed together and no sooner had I arrived than I was off again to ‘Jumping Jacks.’

I parked the car in a very rough looking area. There were lots of people out on the streets, it was just after 8:00 and most people seemed stoned or drunk or both already. ‘Jumping Jacks’ was closed down pub right next door to another pub which was open and function. Both had their doors open. The pub was full of hard drinkers, and Jumping Jacks was full of the consequences of hard drinking. Drink and drugs are the devils easiest forms of bondage and destruction. I am sick of seeing this cold and filthy sea consume so many valuable people in its waves of piss and vomit. Drugs make shipwreck of every user and everyone associated with them who straps themselves to the mast of a user.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman’s Woe!

I introduced myself to Yeric and told him of some organisations we were partnering ring with. “Oh UCB Stoke. Yes, I used to deal drugs from their forecourt on a night time.” I remember my time in Bardstown Kentucky watching a drug deal go down in another church parking lot, right under the very nose of Jesus. The devil and his drugs get everywhere. That’s right, the shipping source is the pit of hell itself. Yeric comes from a Christian family, is a former drug user and dealer, and is now saved clan and awesome. I met his wife only briefly on that busy night, but they are a definite partnership and dedicated to running this mission. It is utterly amazing. Raw and real! You have no idea. Listen, if you want to help and get involved, let me know and I will hook you up with Yeric and his wife. Amazing people.

Jumping Jacks is full of drug users. Former and present ones and older Christian ladies serving tea and cake. Kids are running around eating chips and biscuits, drinking cola and eating crisp. The whole place needs gutting and redecorating. I mean from top to bottom. But these Christians aren’t waiting for that, the doors are open and every Friday night they have a gospel meeting.

The service begins. Eric’s wife is very ably playing the Keyboard and we start belting out the old hymns. There’s power in the blood, power in the blood. None of the new stuff would go down well here. It would be completely out of place. Irrelevant and show to be so often what it is, grossly self indulgent. These folks needed a strong declarative hope and message that only the old hymns would give. I wondered if only the old hymns seemed to have the capacity to reach through the drunken and drug induced haze and into the wreck of human lives. Yeric stood at the front and belted them out proper. People were singing. It was like stepping back forty years, but it was wonderful and it was working. I needed to think more about this. What was going on here?

I got up to speak and tried to show through my own life story how that “God has his way in both the whirlwind and the storm.” I was uninterrupted, “See me” she says “I feel crap everyday”. Trish and Bernadette then just ignore the meeting and say things like “that’s me” and just want to talk. It’s wonderful. Yeric rightly intervenes and sys “we’ll all talk after.”

I finish my wee message and the remainder of the meeting is handed over to Mt White, a farmer in his late fifties, who seems like and old brethren boy, speaking King James language and preaching the gospel. When he gets moved, he constantly pulls his jacket together by the lapels and slowly lifts his legs up and stamps them back to the ground. People are listening intently. Nothing matters, not the idiosyncrasies, not the old language, nothing. People are listening intently. God is working and people are listening. Yeric stands up at the end and gives and old fashioned alter call. Three people step forward, and Trisha and Bernadette are two of them. Eric’s lovely wife, tired from work and nettling some sickness herself, ably ministers to them all.
After the meeting I pray with several people and somewhere near 10pm I have to leave to get back to the place I am staying tonight.

I am not sure what went on here tonight. I am going to take a few days to unpack it all, but I have some miles to cover to Inverness tomorrow after I have preached in Sterling and I will chew it over with the Lord. There was nothing fancy dancy about tonight. It was raw and real. That’s all and it worked and is working. Yeric, his wife, old farmer white and the rest of the old ladies making cakes are reaching people that most churches want nothing to do with and couldn’t help them anyway. I wondered if with all our respectability and professionalism, we have lost our real love and Biblical authority over sickness want and darkness.

I keep telling folks that you don’t need to abroad to minister to the poverty stricken, the hopeless and the destitute, they are in all of our cities, each and every day.

My phone had gone off several times during the meeting. It seems I have accommodation now arranged for me in Inverness and Aberdeen, maybe even in Dundee. Thank you Jesus.
I got back to the flat and was in bed not long after 11:00pm.

My wife had dropped me an email saying she had tracked down the contact details Catherine Tate, Josie Rourke Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre and Anthony Weigh of the 66 Books show. I emailed it on to Roy to see if he could construct a key of words to get me some access.
Finally, I plugged in my stuff to re-charge and logged on the Wi Fi to upload the day’s videos.

I wondered what tomorrow would bring.

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About vrfarrell

Biblical activist
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