I trust that you had a wonderful Resurrection Celebration. This past 40 Day journey during Lent has been filled with excitement, encouragement and challenge. It is the last week that has been a time of real testing and trial. I anticipated that at the end, I would have a clear sense of direction, a renewed sense of God’s presence and a clear word from God. Well, I guess in this case, one out of three isn’t bad.
Let me explain.
I knew as we began the 40 Days, we would see God move as we committed ourselves to live into the sufferings of Christ. We have witnessed miracles of healings, relationship restorations, financial blessings and the list goes on. At the same time, some are testifying of experiencing dreams and receiving words of knowledge and other manifestations of the Spirit. I believe these manifestations of the Spirit are signs pointing to a greater work God wishes to accomplish through the body.
I am also reminded how at the end of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, the scripture informs us that “then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. “ (Matt 4:11) I know personally, this last week has been extremely trying. I found myself asking all sorts of questions. Did I miss God, was there something God had asked me to do that I failed to do? Perhaps I had presumed that God wanted to return signs, wonders and miracles to the church (and to make matters worse, was calling me to partner with in doing so)?
I seemed to have slipped into some type of spiritual/emotional roller-coaster ride during this past week that I simply had no answer for. Mistrust and distrust seemed to characterize my conversations with some of my closet brothers and sisters (that is on my part). None of this made any sense to me and still is somewhat a fog. As I sit here writing out my thoughts, my wife came in and showed me a video from CNN where they featured another local church a few blocks away from RP/HG. Then it hit me. The price that must be paid to be and do what God is calling for requires me to count the cost, because there will be a price to pay.
The one thing I have gained during this 40 Days is a clear word that shapes the essence of my minstry at this time. God is restoring the "power and presence" back to the church, and it isn't going to be a bed of roses. There will be misunderstandings, bad choices and wrong decisions because we are all still “works in progress”. But in spite of our imperfections, God is sending renewal. Some of what I have been experiencing I will call spiritual agitation. One thing I used to hear during my spiritual formation classes in seminary, is “the thing that aggravates and agitates the most may be one of the things God is preparing you to address. If that is true, signs, wonders and miracles in abundance are right around the corner. I am amazed at the lack of expectation of such within so many churches.
You see, as I read the Jesus story, along with church history “power and presence” were two dominant themes. Because of God’s presence, God’s power was experienced. What seems to be missing in the message being shared by churches across this nation, is not the historical truth of Jesus’s birth, life, death or resurrection. What is missing is our willingness to allow the Spirit of Christ, to glorify Jesus in our midst which in turn brings glory to the Father. It isn’t just what Jesus has done for us individually but also what the Father did through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is restoring all things.
So what is the word? God is on the move. Buckle up!!!