Do you feel the mountains tremble?
Our investment in Brooksville FL, Vineyard Christian Church, was very encouraging both to the staff and the key leaders.
Our transitional process has been interesting.
See my post: http://stevebowen.blogspot.com/2016/02/im-noticing-current-common-thread.html
Believe for resources, and for key people would emerge who would travel with us. Most internal travel would cost around $1000 per trip for two. External travel would vary, ball park would be $2500 per trip taking another person. The funding is mainly for travel expenses and for blessing the leaders with meals, putting gas in their cars, leaving a monetary gift etc. We are seeking to be a blessing, not draining people’s energy, time and finances.
I’ve been pressing into personal worship for a few years. Often I’ll head into the Big Room, grab my guitar and worship. Just me, no one looking, no one listening except One. It’s been interesting.
Sometimes I’m afraid to open my eyes, other times new songs bubble up, and sometimes nothing, just the discipline of leaning in. Many times my prayers, crying out, my heart exposed is given in song. Sometimes I just play softly saying nothing.
When my notes and songs seemed to bounce off the floor… same notes, same songs, and my playing is so limited… I’ve continued to venture in, to seek His presence.
One phrase I’ve found myself repeatedly saying, “Jesus we need you as you really are. Jesus, be who you really are to us in this place. Walk among us.” Interesting phrase, Jesus be who you really are to us in this place. Walk among us.
He is salvation.
He rescues and saves.
He is redemption.
He is healing.
He is provision.
He is forgiving.
He is protection.
He is wisdom.
He is comfort.
He is power.
He is mercy.
He is grace.
He is the one who holds all things together.
He is who He is, and so much more.
He is Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
He has eyes of fire, yet there is kindness.
His voice sounds like many waters, yet He often speaks most powerfully in a whisper.
His Spirit is like a flowing river, yet often touches our lives like the early morning dew, or a soft spring rain.
When He walks among us He sees, hears and knows all things.
He is Holy… yet, He invites us into His presence.
One thing I do know, I want Him to be who He really is in my life, in my family and in my church. He is the One who gives us access to the Father’s love, presence and power.
This is amazing love! A love that gave the very best. A love that willingly sacrificed His life for others. We are now sons and daughters.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” Jesus. (John 6:47)
At the moment we believe, we receive everlasting life. The life we now live is an everlasting life that deepens as we experience the love and the knowledge of the Father through the Son, experienced by the agency of the Holy Spirit. (I know run on sentence but couldn’t say it in another way.)
Now we can feel welcome in the very presence of a Holy God.”
This is the good news Jesus brings… we have access.
My friend Stephen Bell states, “The really good news is that the Father… now has access to us!” This truth is most amazing.
His sacrifice for our sins brings peace. It’s settled. The Father, through Jesus can now joyfully draw near to us. Justice has been satisfied. Redemption is realized. Our sin has been removed. We can now boldly come. His resurrection to life, ensured our confident access into the presence of our loving Father and secured His access to us. This is good news!
R. C. Sproul sums it up:
For the Christian the holy war is over; the peace has been established.
Access to the Father is ours. But we still must tremble before our God. He is still holy.”
A few months back, I heard a whisper as I worshiped, “If this was the only thing you did, would it be enough?” I knew the question was a probing question searching deep into my heart. I paused… I want you to be enough. I don’t know. I’m so driven, I strive so much.
Months passed. I continue to go, worship… wait.
I was in B-ham at a leaders meeting. The worship leader began to lead... the words, You are more than enough, popped on the screen. In an instant I was a puddle, I wept, no sobbed, was undone, heart exposed.
At that moment, I knew I wanted to be a worshiper the Father seeks. Jesus makes it possible.
My friend Matthew and his young daughter went to Target to shop. They were walking around the store when Matthew got distracted. Minutes passed and suddenly he sensed something wasn’t right. Turning around, he couldn’t find his daughter. She was missing from his presence; she wasn’t near his side. His heart was pounding and with deep concern he began to look for her. He ramped up his search by notifying the store manager and other store workers to help him find his daughter. Time went by, one minute became two, and two became ten. To Matthew it felt like an eternity. His daughter was indeed lost.
As his sense of loss was turning to hopelessness he noticed movement in a clothes rack. This is when he saw her peeking out from where she was hiding. He dropped to his knees and called her by name. She came running into his arms. She had been lost and away from his presence, but now she had been found. She was back in his arms.
When he asked her why she hadn’t come out of hiding when he called her name, she said she was afraid. She was afraid she would be in trouble. She assumed he’d be angry. Matthew embraced her, told her he loved her, he wasn’t angry, and he was just so grateful he found her.
This is really a great picture of God’s love for humanity. People are away from God’s presence. They are hiding, covering themselves up. They are afraid to come into His presence. The reason they are afraid…they believe a lie. A lie which tells them God is not a loving Father. He is an angry Father. Therefore, if they turn toward an angry God, He will give them what they know they deserve…judgement and punishment.
This is not true! At the core of His being He is love. He offers salvation as a gift to those who turn toward Him.
He is always willing to receive those who come to Him at any time. He is not willing any should perish. He takes no delight in the death of those who do not know Him. He offers His relational connection by grace, the grace is found in His Son Jesus. He sent His only Son to illustrate, explain and reveal the love of the Father’s love toward the people who are away from His presence, lost. He is the God of the last chance.
My father in law was a bartender. When my wife was quite young, he left his wife and five children for his wife’s best friend. Pattie’s mom wept for three days and then began the long process of recovery.
Time went on and his new wife met Jesus and her life changed. More years went by and then suddenly my father in law was diagnosed with cancer and given weeks to live. His wife threw caution to the wind and began to speak to him about eternal issues, specifically about where he was going to spend eternity. Her urgent appeal made sense to him and he asked her what he needed to do. She told him to get on his knees, to ask God for forgiveness and invite Jesus into his life. He listened intently and responded by moving himself from the bed to the floor. When he got on his knees he prayed for forgiveness and asked Jesus to come into his life. He was a new man when he got back up. A week later he was baptized. A couple of weeks later he passed away into a new eternity.
This is the love of the Father. Pattie’s dad wasn’t condemned for the terrible things he had done. When he turned toward the Father he was forgiven and was welcomed into the arms of His savior.
Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery,
“Where are your accusers?” John 8 NLT
There were none; He freely forgave her told her to go and sin no more and restored her hope.
On the cross, He breathed His last, saying,
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)
In the parable of the prodigal son the father was continually looking, waiting, and longing for the return of his lost son. When his son finally came to his senses he began his journey home, while he was still a long way off, the father saw him approaching and ran toward his son. He embraced him, welcomed him home, threw a party restoring him to all which was his and more.
This is a picture of the heart of the Father. He is continually looking for the people who are away from His presence. He longs for them to come home, to come back into His presence, to stop hiding in fear, and to be restored to all He has for them. The love of God removes all fear.
The people we meet desperately need to know and experience the Father’s love. They need to hear they can come to the Father through Jesus and be welcomed.