As you would be aware I haven’t written anything for a while so I thought I would take this opportunity as one year ends and another begins to communicate something of an update. This last year has been a crazy one for Donna and I, it’s been a year of awakening, transitioning, allowing ourselves to be led by desire into greater reality and has been a time to let go of what has served us well in a previous season of our lives as we tentatively move forward into what is next for us as a family. I think it was Rick Joyner who years ago said; “There is one thing worse than premature death and that is elongated life!” That quote has sorta registered with me massively over 2015 as I have seen the possibilities of continuing running with something which will always have massive potential, whilst all along realising that in the deep of my being and if I’m to be honest with myself then I know that I’ve changed and so must move on.
For ten years I had ‘mostly’ enjoyed heading up and being involved in what some would consider ‘full time ministry,’ (a weird term, certainly not one that I now consider encapsulates anything of reality. At the end of the day there are many who live lives of absolute commitment to their belief patterns whilst holding down full time jobs, running successful businesses or just being involved full on in life!) When I took the step in 2005 to leave my employment and to give myself full time to something which was strangely manifesting in the deep of my being I in no way thought that ‘going back’ to secular employment was an option. Everything seemed so intense, so final and looking back I now realise just how inflexible religion had made me. I now realise the glory of journey, the wonder of flowing with the ebbs and flows of life, I now realise that ultimately ‘I create’ the world that I live in and I’m the one left with the decisions regarding my future.
Over a ten year period we have experienced some crazy, crazy stuff! When I hosted our first ‘Sloshfest’ back in 2007 at a time when very few actually appreciated the wine, drunkenness and measure of party which we were continually seeing manifest in our lives, little did I know the magnitude of the waves we would see ripple out into the world or the impact the freedom many were beginning to realise would actually have in peoples lives. I also had no idea how much influence we would see mushrooming out via the media vehicle. I’m still reeling when I consider the mass of opportunity which was afforded to us FOR FREE over several years via TV, radio, magazines and newspapers! What makes it all the more strange is when I think back and consider just how few people had faith back then that anything good could come from giving ourselves to the idea of allowing life to flow through the media mountain. Nowadays every man and his dog has faith for new ventures into crazy situations, I’m so happy!
Over ten years I travelled the world extensively. I’m blown away at how many nations I have visited and how many times I have re-visited many of those nations! I once worked out that from 2010-2012 that I was away from my family for HALF of those 2 years! In a day when many strive for open doors and opportunities, a day where guys work hard to have just a small influence in their region or city, it seems that overnight I had a crazy global platform offered me via some weird grace which manifested. It was a crazy time as invites came in from strangers all over the world, it was even crazier as I showed up fully incapacitated on reality and watched as wave after wave of Divine presence immobilised the people. I can honestly say that it was ‘All Gods fault!’
As I said earlier for the ‘most part’ I thoroughly enjoyed my 10 years in what some would call ‘full time ministry,’ yet one of the things which I desperately hated was being away from my home, family and ordinary every day life. Usually I would find myself becoming upset and distressed a few days before I was due to go on a crazy 3 week tour somewhere, often to the point of physical sickness as I knew yet again that I was leaving my home life behind to head out onto the road. I guess that in many ways it was this feeling of disconnection from ordinary life which ultimately got my attention more and more and brought me to a point where I realised that whatever ‘ministry’ was that it had to be fully rooted in, connected to and flowing out of ordinary every day life. I also realised that the most powerful times of my life, seasons where I have seen a very definite overflow of Divine reality and experience, have happened when I have allowed myself to be fully engaged in normal, natural and every day happenings. Some of you will remember the chapter in my book where I talk about the community I was part of which naturally grew and flourished and the glory that we experienced over an 18 month period together. For me this was reality, a reality not disconnected from ordinary life but one which very much manifested right in the midst of mundane ever day life!
At our last Sloshfest in November of 2013 I attempted to communicate how I felt regarding ministry and the disconnect from ordinary life. I shared how I felt that so much of church life was a ‘substitute’ almost a ‘surrogate’ of true reality, an unrealistic life, disconnected from anything which has the power to sustain. I knew at that event that even though I could have kept the wagon of conference life rolling and could have lived from the fruit of that decision for a long time but that ultimately I would have been just ‘elongating life.’ At the end of the day things for me needed to change if my outer reality was to match with my inner desires, desires to see an organic flow fully rooted in Life!
At that time I also realised that I was going through something of a theological shift, a shift which not only saw me question some of what I once believed but also question some of the foundational stones in the system which I was definitely part of. Seeing the ‘Dependency Culture’ rooted into the hearts of church goers, the illusion and false sense of ‘need’ which manifested within that system and which allowed that system to continue growing became super evident to me. I began to feel that every time I hosted an event I was actually facilitating that illusion, that I was giving guys the sense that yet again they ‘needed’ something apart from themselves. I came to a place where I sensed that maybe the only way that I could help anyone was by removing myself from the issue even if that meant that I looked for secular employment. I know that this is a massive subject, I also realise that what I’m sharing is a personal perspective and is obviously subjective, I also realise that ‘SOME’ may be called to sort of gather and teach people stuff, I guess that I just saw that this wasn’t an option for me at this point in my journey.
I guess that this change in ‘desire,’ coupled with an ever increasing revelation that humanity needed to become ‘Pioneers of Life’ pushed me to a place where I wanted my ‘whole’ being to be fully rooted in the every day, seemingly mundane, yet beautifully majestic life. I pulled back from taking preaching engagements (and still do even though invites come in regularly,) and found a job where every day I can live a seemingly ordinary life, packed with opportunities to meet, engage with and be a blessing to mankind. Through just living life and appreciating the ‘Now’ both Donna and I have found ourselves suddenly feeling more abundantly fruitful and satisfied than ever before. My new found love for bodybuilding and Donna’s pleasure in showing our dogs has allowed us both to connect in new places and to enjoy new and meaningful friendships.
Now my life seems so much simpler, more connected and organic than ever before. I will continue to blog as time permits, we still have our ongoing commitment to the poor and the well being and financial support of our kids home in the Philippines. I will still meet up and connect as much as I can to encourage others on THEIR journey. Encouraging others has always been a massive focus for me, yes many times I have failed and many times I have failed to meet certain expectations of me, yet many don’t understand or appreciate the countless hours I have spent driving to random service stations just to connect with one person for a coffee, always with a desire to see them strengthened and encouraged. Neither do some realise that it was never about gatherings and events for me but always about relationship, family and just being with others who were also on an ever evolving journey. In the coming years I also intend to continue to communicate my heart via social media and through writing new books in the future. I’m excited about this, the thought that I can live a full life, a life fully connected and beautifully organic! Donna and I are super thankful for those who have continued to support us financially in this time, thankful for those who are still appreciating who we are and where we are taking things and who still see value in us and our journey even though at this time we are not hosting gatherings for them to attend lol!
After 5 years of thought and promptings by loved ones and friends this July I actually published my first book ‘Tales from the Couch – Memoirs of a Drunk Monk!’ It was a long time coming but in the fullness of time we got there! I really wanted to use this book to draw a line under the past, and to wrap up what has been an amazing journey up to this point. The reviews of this book which is nothing more than ramblings of my spiritual life and journey have been awesome and so far we have sold almost 1,000 copies! This year was also a weird one in that I lost my brother Dean who had battled with addiction and alcoholism for many years and a week later I saw my sweet friend Ed Holden also transition and leave us. Those few weeks were pretty intense but through it all I now feel that I have a greater grasp of life, death and eternity than ever before. I now realise that our passing from this world is nothing more than a ‘transition’ into whatever is next, the lessons that we have learned and the illumination that we have received we carry with us, ‘as us,’ then our journey continues and the light shines on. In the same respect the lessons which we have failed to learn and the illumination we have failed to walk in will be offered to us again at another point and in another place. One man lives even though he is about to physically pass away, another man passes away without ever learning what it is to actually live. Maybe one day I will share my thoughts in greater detail on another writing.
Going into 2016 I have no solid plans, no prophetic insights, nothing that I can hold up and say ‘This is what I’m gunning for and this is what 2016 will look like.’ I guess my journey has brought me to a place of new found appreciation of ‘Now!’ If anything in 2016 and beyond I just want to be aware, continually aware, I don’t want to miss a moment longing for a future glory or feel the exasperation of mulling over past seasons of my life. I want to feel connected, to feel at home and at rest in the moment, I don’t want to spend another moment longing for something ‘other’ or something ‘else.’ I hope that this short update has helped at least a little in filling in some of the blanks regarding my journey and transition over the past year. To be honest I have been so busy engaging in life and focusing on embracing the moment that I have had little time to sit down and communicate some of my thoughts. There’s much I could say and so much more that I could write, but for NOW that is all, other than wishing all of you a bliss filled, ecstatic, free and very real 2016!
Big Big Hugs, Dave and Donna xx