Monday, March 17, 2008
Derek Chapman's 40th Birthday! Happy Birthday bro.... salute to ya!
Today is not only St. Patrick's Day- it is one of my dearest friends -
Mr. Derek Chapman's 40th Birthday.
I want to take this opportunity to share how this amazing man popped up on the World's TV Screen - as a well needed "break to our regularly scheduled programing!"-
God's secret agent Kingdom Clown - who has more antics and secret weapons in his mixed matched socks, pointy shoes, pens, and red fuzzy noses, than Maxwell Smart from "Get Smart"!!! For those of you who may not know such the obscure reference, because you're young, from another country, or both................ just google. But i will say Derek has a much SMARTER and BEA-U-TI-FUL wife than "99" could have ever hoped or aspired to be! Amy you Rock!!!!
I met Derek at "City Stage" in NC - years ago.... Figures we would meet at a Festival titled that!
God loves the dramatic and i think HE took some comical pleasure in setting the stage for this meeting!
I had been listening to a band ... and felt that elbow of Holy Spirit to go pray for these guys after their set ended. As my friends will tell you... i'm not exactly the shy type, and if i get that God nudge, i'd rather be obedient to what i hear, and chance being "off" or "missing it" or "getting it wrong" or other things that are tied into pride or fear, than miss responding to the Heart of my Abba. So i looked at phil- (now hubby) and told him what i was sensing - Phil and i just starting to hang out on a regular basis and i had opened up the door to my home as a refuge/ freedom space to a bunch of amazing, at times frustrating, ragamuffins/ artisans.
I walked up to the group and asked if they would mind if i prayed for them- the head of the band was this older fellow (and i say that now with a grin- he must have been in his mid 50's) and was more that happy to have people pray and wanted to make sure his son (who looked a bit like Jeff Beck with a ciggy hanging out of his mouth as he played) - "got-- 'sum prayer".
During that pause, this very tall, lanky and tender looking character walked up beside me. I turned and said "hi, my name is Cathryn" and he said "Hi my name is Derek, i felt the worship a few blocks down".
Needless to say, he joined right in praying for this group and after that we hung out and got to know each other a bit. He had just returned to NC from California where there was a organic-ee house type church thingy going on -
My prophetic radar was up and we sat down and prayed- there was a bunch of good Holy Spirit "heebie-jeebies" goings on - enough so to make me joyfully jittery at what God was sneaking in sideways to my life and heart; and from the moment we met i sensed that this was one of those divine appointments that would forever change my life.
I invited him back to the house and we hung out on the deck and shared some more... I took out my guitar and play a song that i had just finished writing (Tender Warrior), and the Spirit of God just hovered around us.
It felt like i was sitting with an old friend that was veteran of Battle- and somehow we had known one another in a different Spirit time and space. His ways were comical and serious all at the same time and God was already speaking to my heart about some of the things he had been through. It was kindred hearts, brother/sister like in that moment and i knew deep within my spirit, that i had met a man that was soooo remarkable, bold and yet humble, that God was smiling over him.
He stayed that night, (not too surprising - because there was an open door policy at my house- "if God brought 'em there, they were welcome") - and he slept on what is now known as "the God chair"- which is no more than a over sized chair that has a pull out single bed- Funny thing about it's reputation, is that whoever sleeps on it gets "something they need"- whether it be a dream, God hug, save place to cry- ect...
I think what he needed at that time was a safe place to take off his boots and rest his sword (at least for THAT night). - some of the rest of that would have to be for a much longer post, and i would have to be quite pissed/drunk in the spirit or in the natural........ to even attempt it- (hope your eyes are rolling and your laughing D!)
He was staying at his parents in Winston- Salem for a bit, but then showed up very late one night, while i was sitting on the back deck. (late and early are interchangeable because some would consider 11:45 pm late- but we were often up to wee early hours in the morning- nothing much has changed in that area LOL!)
I had been battling with some things and standing in hard spaces (going thru divorce, people hearing about the house and dropping in- stephen was already living there, and i never quite knew who would be walking in the door, or what was gonna happen- deliverance/healing- plus the church i was going to was already giving the proverbial disapproving raised eyebrow to the entire concept)
Derek was the first person to actually semi-label what it was.... as "organic church"- based upon his experience of what was happening (mostly in California and the UK), and his friendship with the notorious Andrew Jones. (wink) At that point, i had no awareness of what is now known as the Emerging Church- i was just doing what i felt God put on my heart to do, even if it was a bit "outside the box"- or "slightly unorthodox."
That night Derek just simply walked up on the back deck- suitcase in hand and said... "God told me to come guard the Queen". I laughed out loud, because what he didn't know, was that Phil's nickname for me was "the Queen"- and even in that early phase of "the goings on of Jehovah Sneaky"- i was flying by the seat of my pants spiritually and praying hard that i would get what HE wanted me to get and do it well and right.
Thus began the tighter knitting of our hearts in love and friendship- and in retrospect, there was no way in heaven or hell would i have been able to fly from that trapeze with out his hand of friendship grabbing hold on the other side of that swing. There was no safety net below and no time to practice; it felt more like an improvisational high wire walk with the swinging of the trapeze intersecting at right angles.
At this moment i'm hearing the song "there is a sucker born every minute" from the Broadway musical "Barnum" playing in my head... so i looked it up.....
"There's a sucker born every minute" is a phrase often credited to P.T. Barnum (1810 – 1891), an American showman. It is generally taken to mean that there are (and always will be) a lot of gullible people in the world.
The earliest known appearance of the phrase in print is in Opie Read's 1898 novel A Yankee from the West
Opie Percival Read (b. Dec. 22, 1852, Nashville TN; d. Nov. 2, 1939, Chicago IL) was a prolific American journalist and humorist. His bibliography lists 60 published books.
I don't particularly like the word gullible because of it's implications, so i looked up the synonyms, and here are a few....... believing, fall for, fleeceable, foolish, susceptible, swallow whole, trustful, unskeptical and wide-eyed.
Well i guess in the world's eyes, we are all gullible to believe that God is not only with us and for us, but also orchestrates this improvisational circus we call life. That being so..... believing, falling for, swallow whole, trustful, unskeptical and wide eyed are the words and the choice i'd rather make in believing in His Kingdom, His Plans and His Love for us.
I guess that's all part of it.... and Derek came into my life at a time i needed a clown to show up on the battlefield. He affirmed a place in me that it was ok to trust again, to be playful and enjoy even amidst the danger of human fickled hearts and the "Church" lack of understanding.
That the part of my "Pollyanna" heart could be mixed with cynical battlefield demeanor and that some weapons in this fight for freedom (for ourselves and others)- not only consists of love that would be willing to lay it's life down, but also humor at God's apparently ironic nature.
There were many "adventures" we traveled together in God's cosmic neighborhood, some quite hysterical with gold dust showing up everywhere and Baptisms in the 8 person Jacuzzi, to the all time classic - where Derek was ministering to one who had some serious sexual brokenness issues and asked.... "so HOW many times did you NOT sleep with that guy you took a shower with?".
Then there were "adventures" that tested the very measure of strength and fiber of our triune being. Even in the difficult parts, where all constants became variables, where seemingly blind faith was still present faith, powerful enough to see in darkness; forged love and trust. The fire of circumstance and enemy assaults became a honing of our swords and on the occasion ours would cross (some misdirected transference, strife bullshit or whatever..) - it resulted in iron sharpening iron - and that metal only gets stronger when it's stuck.
I'm not saying that if i could i would change some parts of it, just that we were "gullible enough" to trust God even when someone "left the tigers cage open". I could always count on Derek to pull his sword out, even when he was barely awake and still in his underwear! (metaphorically speaking of course)
Two Proverbs........... that would define our friendship would have to be this..........
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
17A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.
I have been given the privilege of knowing such a man and brother in Sir Derek Chapman!
In both Love and Adversity...............
A man that would gladly lay down his life for those he loves, a man who's hearts desire is to see God's Kingdom show up mightily. A man that still holds the wonder of child likeness, wide-eyed amazement. A man who actually sees God's daughters as Queens. A man who's heart is willing to be broken for what breaks God's heart. A man willing to fight for what or WHO God says is worthy. A man who is a prophetic voice willing to share in balloon and bubble like fashion God's impartations and visions... so that other too can walk into their destiny. A man who i am eternally grateful to my Abba, that i can call friend.
Derek wears a Comical/Posh Classic assortment of hats, glasses, wigs, belts, boots and shoes... and some would call him color blind in his mix-matching (wink)----- HA! if they knew- I can never look at the color ORANGE the same way again!!!
But by far my favorite in his Vesture/Mantle-- are his vests. Every time i see him wearing one of his MANY---- i still see the same thing in the spirit!!! It is laced with medals of honor and the multifaceted jewels of Aaron's Breastplate.
This day however, in the spirit, i saw a new medal...... " THE PURPLE HEART."
In the natural it is awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving---------------- but since i saw it in the spirit----------
i know that it was God's heart speaking of such heroics and self sacrifice, that though he has been wounded, would continue to lay his life down for the sake of the Cross.
I am one of many that would attest to this truth, as i am also one of the many that Derek risked his life for...... (and was wounded for..... either by me or for me!)
Thank you my dear brother and friend.... Thank you for all you are, all that you are allowing God to continue forming in you, Thank you on behalf of the many that will never say thank you----
and i hear the Captain of the Angel Armies - Your ABBA................ say THANK YOU.
It is my honor and privilege to Honor you this day.
Your sister and friend -
Happy Birthday - wish i was there... but you know i am in Spirit!