Can you imagine having to buy a book about the Holy Spirit in a paper bag because it was considered so risky? Those were the days that Michael and June lived through as they encountered the Holy Spirit personally and led others during the charismatic movement.
Read about the Life and Ministry of Michael Barling as transcribed by his daughter Samantha Smith in her new book "Passing on the Baton"
Read the Forward
The day is Sunday January 25th 2018, it is our Dad’s 80th Birthday.
We are gathered together as an extended family to celebrate this very special day and to enjoy a delicious lunch at Ghyll Manor, Horsham.
What do you buy a man of 80 who doesn’t want any more clutter in the house and already has enough socks and handkerchiefs!? We had decided that we wanted to capture Dad’s history, his life journey and write it down for his grandchildren and great grandchildren to come. Also, for his many friends and colleagues that his life has touched through the years. We wanted to give him the opportunity to write his story.
I think Dad had the same idea, as his speech that he gave on this birthday was very poignant and aimed at the grandchildren.
Let me share it with you:
‘Becoming 80 is a huge milestone in anyone’s life and only the Lord knows how many birthdays I have left. But becoming 80 gives me the opportunity to look back and reflect on the major parts of one’s life. June and I still have decisions to make but most of the big ones are in the past. For you, the grandchildren, most of your big decisions are in the future. Who you will marry, your choice of career, where you will live and standards that you will set your life by. Your parents contribute, but in time to come the decisions and choices will be yours to make.
When I was 18 years old, I went to a Christian camp and for the first time was challenged about what part God played in my life and the decisions I made. The answer was not very much at all. The choice was there, and I decided to commit my life to Him. This decision 62 years ago has been my guiding light ever since. I am well aware that my track record of following that light has been very imperfect. But it has been a rock and I thank God for showing me the best way. An old man of 80 gives you a challenge to walk with God, it is a good road.’
As you go on and read Dad’s story you will see there were highs and lows and twists and turns in his life, like all our lives. However, our dad stood at 80 years old declaring, in humility that he has seen the goodness of God in his life.
The time he walked through with Mum in the early 70’s, the charismatic movement, was a pivotal point in our Christian history and as a family we not only wanted to value the part Dad played in this but honour the man of God he has been and is today.
To recognise the loving and committed husband he has been to June. To acknowledge the fantastic Dad, he has been not just to us three children but the role of Father and Pastor he has been to many of you. It has been such an encouragement to Dad to add in some of your personal stories to this writing.
As I have listened to his story over many weeks and documented it with him, I have been overwhelmed every time hearing the testimony of God’s kindness, goodness, and healing throughout his life. Looking back and seeing God’s hand threading through the years, bringing him people, provision, revelation and setting him up for such an incredibly fruitful ministry.
We pray you are encouraged by his story and you in turn see more of the goodness of God in your life.