Wednesday, June 17

Following the work God would do.........

I don't know if this is going to be a 'smooth' flowing blog post today.....God has me in such a disrupted state that I just let it go......The harvest, He keeps whispering, is ready and the workers few, will you join Me where I call?"

"Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls”" (Jeremiah 6:16, ESV)

Dare I hope that the day has come where I see the positive movement of God within the context of my story, no longer at the behest of the writer but through the hand of the Ghost writer that has been writing the whole breathe and width of the human story since its inception at the breath of God into the formed lump of clay?

If so, the vision is unlike the shape and color of that moment in October where I heard the LORD speak to me as Gene Apell stood upon the stage at the mega-church of Bill Hybels and spoke of his ministry; neighborhood communities. Being so newly minted into the new creature that God enables upon rebirth, I find it funny sometimes how convinced, convicted and even 'rejectful' of that moment in time, a scant eight months since the experience that would forever change my life's direction and would bring me into full view of the enemy's ill will, that I was.

It surely hasn't translated into assurance, edification and mentoring in the whole-wide body of Christ, even five years plus later....except in those 'pockets' of believers that have stepped into the messiness of life and seen the mark of God's annointing, that band of brothers, and sisters, who move into the messiness of life with more than just words of life but a positive movement that speaks louder than words could ever convey.

A faint glimpse that powerful October call seems to be now; the width and depth of the need within the body of Christ, not just worldwide but especially within the 'hallowed halls' of the westernized church that is slowly dying in the postmoderistic, universalist and agenda-ridden environment of the American experience has never seemed to be more in need of those faithfully called to ministry and yet so rejectful of those so called. "A prophet is not welcomed in his own town" has rang true throughout my experience here at home in the land of my birth.

The barely understood journey from the beloved boy that God created who was killed in his infancey to the godly man; still forming, still growing and still wounded as he faces that death and finds God's restorative, resurrecting power even in the midst of his past....testifies to the mighty works the Lord is doing within its confines and the broader scope of its use for the Kingdom.

It seems to be the mode operandi that God has used in my life; a simple question, a scriptural reference, or even a study that, once considered, becomes a moment of choice that becomes a journey of learning, seeking and realization that becomes a clear vision of God's working in and around me in my life...wherever it is and how ever it has been lived......that becomes a desire to declare its clarity in the lives around me and then another question, simply put, that brings me full-circle into the process.

Sometimes the process is seemingly effortless, those simple truths that cascade through the moments like a simply gives in to its powerful truth. More often though, the process is very difficult, exceedingly painful and in its entrity not all that much fun....but it is like a stream, still of the same element, but slower as it whittles the hardened rock to its eventual collaspe.

And, in the darkness of human despair, depression, loss, struggle and tribulation when the dark fluidity of the night seems to press upon me with the liquid heaviness of blood, I find the strength born of fear, faith and an undeniable hope that causes me to reach out to those things I fear the most for substainable substance in the midst of it all. Other men, relationship and community.

It is still a source of amazement to me at the power of God in the controlling and issuance of His word from the mouth of another brother or sister that, even in its actual context, speaks different words to each of those He has touched to be compelled by its utterance. Recently, my current home church completed the process of securing funding and the ownership (with mortgage) of a parcel of land where the Lead Pastor has envisioned a dream for God's work in the Holly Area. The pastor called upon the congregation to be a participator in God's work, not a spectator.

"One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, "Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side." But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah in the pomegranate cave at Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men, including Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the LORD in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. Within the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba. Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few." And his armor-bearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul." Then Jonathan said, "Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us." So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, "Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves." And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, "Come up to us, and we will show you a thing." And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Come up after me, for the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel." Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow's length in an acre of land." (1 Samuel 14:1-14 ESV)

An exercise of the heart, like Jonathan's boldness in the face of an larger foe, doesn't start with worldly and human motives, but speaks of a boldness of the faith within; we know the brokenness of the world, the depravity of it and its soothing way of destruction, yet we live in a state of peace...worship...and blessing because our Lord is real. We mourn for the world, speak into the darkness because of this awareness and proclaim through the worship of our lives the Good News of the Lord. We don't ignore the enemy at our gates, nor do we wait underneath the relative comfort of our church walls and offer burnt sacrifices to cover our inaction.

As we were taught to pray, the desire of the children of God should be nothing more than to do the will of the Father on earth, by whatever means necessary without the compromising of the tenents and commandments that already exist. It is that desire that is so dominant in the bedrock of our foundations that we don't think twice about what He speaks, but have brought it into the light of His purpose and are given a peace about its truthfulness. A Participator, as my pastor would say, rather than a spectator.

"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10

This desire doesn't seem to make sense to others, yet many have left the comfort of support, security and familiarity at great personal cost to follow the Lord's will in their story. When we fail at the duties because of our own foolishness, disbelief or fearfulness, we hurt.....not because of our fear the Father but because we love Him so much. We rush headlong into the world where our Father is working around us, as John Eldridge points out, "out of desire" as Jesus did, "for the joy set before Him." The depth of His desire to be where His Father was, serving alongside His Father and bringing His Father that joy that comes from His child, indeed all of His children, was evident as He was scourged, beaten and crucified. The fierciness of His passion, His sorrow and His love touch our lives and draw us into the world He left us in to "perform things greater than these."

The life of a follower of Christ, a believer, is nothing more than a 'holy longing' that is never fulfilled but that grows stronger and stronger as we walk towards that final hilltop and view our Father's house arrayed before us....for that is where the saints who have gone before and those who will gaze into the skies and see the mighty Savior's return all are going.....the familiar treaded, harden pathways are permanently etched into the fabric of this world and yet it is only those who have learned to 'groan inwardly as' they 'wait eagerly' under increasing desire. A question, spoken by a dear friend of years, was a simple one; laughed off as 'yeah, right'.....for its sheer laughidity and utter improbability. Then another, when it was laughingly repeated, looked intent as words were spoken, "Maybe you will be...." Again, a shake of the head by the sheer folly of the very idea.......and the issue drops into the back drawer, forgotten for a time.

"O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me." (Psalm 139:1)

There is no denying God those things we wish to hide from the consuming fire of the passion He ignites in our faith, properly directed, in His purpose for us. A 'purpose' that isn't some block on the big board of God's construction projects where He grumbles, conjoles and entices us to finish our specific 'contracted' part of the building but something that was uniquely designed by Him for us to use to show our thankfulness and love for a father making known what he would like for Father's day and then helping his children make it. God has searched us, literally penetrated deep into our being and knows us intimately...our tendencies under the old nature, our fears and our ability to do the job at hand. He can even see the formation of words before they gain shape enough for our utterances....we are totally transparent to Him and only the blood of Christ saves us from that condemnation that is the result of sin. There is no hiding.

God loves us in spite of what we have become, and where we will fail and yet, He lives in the knowledge, the understanding, of what we can be through the gift of eternal life, the transformation that takes place and the journey that continues until we come to a place before the throne and find ourselves what He's always known we will be.

And if that is all true, then who are we when in the fire of the consuming passion to judge when we are 'sent forth' rather than 'dropping what [we] are doing and following Him?' We should follow the examples set forth by the saints of old….from the apostles through the early church fathers to the saints that have been fading from the American landscape as the church grows more distant from the origins of its birth…..and the Head Priest that gave her to us to care for….

Like George Mueller, quoted in "Experiencing God",

"I never remember…..a period…..that I ever sincerely and patiently sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been always directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the Word of the living God, I made great mistakes."

Only by sincerely seeking God's direction, waiting on Him to supply the Word to go forth with and looking to the Spirit to teach through the written Words of God, we are only running after our own agenda, our own wishes of glory and greatness that haunt the flesh of this corrupt body……forgoing forthrightness, uprightness and patience to follow the counsel of men who are themselves broken and corrupted.

So, as this question blooms into a choice to join God in the work He is doing, I seek to bring myself into a place where my will is absent, leaving this choice to follow not subject to feeling or whim and seek the Will, Word and Motivation of the Spirit of God, the Holy Counselor, through prayer, study and reflection.

And the possibilities are enormous, frightening to the flesh and peaceful to the spirit.

No comments: