While you’re chewing on the last post (and I personally want to chew on what God has for us regarding life in the Spirit for quite some time, so I am sure that this won’t be the last time we broach this subject), I have a random question for you:
Would you vote for a Mormon?
This may be the question that will be on all of our lips in the days to come. In the area of morality and character, would Mitt Romney be “close enough” to what Christians hope for in a leader to throw their weight behind his candicacy? He must be asking himself that very question on a daily basis. Thus, I will be watching with fascination at the language he chooses to communicate his ideas. These are interesting times.
February 15th, 2007
Tomorrow I will be continuing on with the Beatitudes and the glory of mourning, today I am processing out loud with you all. For the first hour and a half yesterday in my end-times class at FSM, we spent time in worship, prayer, and ministry. It was a real moment of encounter for me - I felt the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit on me in a way that I have rarely experienced. Much happened during that time, and I was encouraged by the many that were touched in the area of healing towards the end of that time.
I am not sure where we are at right now. I don’t have the experience in these kinds of “windows of grace” to rightly interpret the information set before me. Are we experiencing the natural “ebb” of a wave that is slowly receding from the shore? Is it the normative window of opportunity to learn and grow a bit in the area of contending for the fullness of the Spirit in our lives? Or have we indeed turned some kind of invisible “corner” in our pursuit for breakthrough that finds us in a new and steadily increasing march to the unknown? Is there something coming from the Lord that is closer than we think?
These are, for the moment, unanswerable questions. What was clear to me in our little encounter with God yesterday were a few things:
1. We continually had the “option” in the ebbs and flow of the waiting, engaging our hearts with the Holy Spirit, and asking in prayer to bring things to a close and move on with the meeting. I found, however, that in waiting that extra moment and asking for more, we received more. My normal default in those settings is to bring things to an end at the first sign that things are “slowing down”. Yet it felt like there was a real fire we could fan by engaging and asking in prayer - or “aggresively waiting” to see what the Lord had for us. Healing was the last of many “waves” of what was happening in the room. It was something that seemed so different than the subjects that initiated the ministry time, and markedly different even than the prophetic impressions I was getting throughout the time. Yet I felt like the setting was right to just “go for it” and boldly ask. We have not because we ask not.
2. Many were in the room that felt like they missed God because they missed out on the conference. It is normal when the Spirit moves in a community in a dynamic way for those who were not able to take part to feel overlooked, left out, or that they missed the will of God somewhere. I loved that God went out of His way to prove that, for the tenderhearted, sincere, and obedient believer it is impossible to miss God.
This is the glory of hiddenness, and the blessing for those who are “excluded”, as Luke’s version of the Beatitudes reads. For the overlooked, this is our opportunity to exercise a muscle that will be greatly needed in the days to come. We must be a people that pray and do not lose heart. We must become a people that can ask, wait, and then reach again - with great boldness and courage. In the place of hiddenness, in the place of beinf excluded when it seems like God is “highlighting” everyone else, it is imperitive that we not lose hope.
Perseverance, character, and hope in Romans 5 are inner qualities that God wants to give to this people, the IHOP family. Those who long to be a part of a community like this one, but know that they are called elsewhere continually deal with this pain. And yet, this pain is a glorious blessing from the Lord to cultivate perseverance and character in our inward parts that we might be able to truly believe that He is faithful and true (Rev. 19:11), that He His works are great and marvelous, His ways just and true (Rev. 15:3).
Do we have a living hope? Are we anchored in the constancy and consistency of His character and trustworthy leadership? True hope flows out of our character, our commitment to hold fast to what is right and true apart from the delay in His answer. The delay does not dictate reality nor does it define the man Jesus. He is faithful. Do we really believe that, when others rush past us, seemingly chosen for encounter and promotion? Do we really believe that, as the room is filled with testimonies of power from everyone but us?
That is the essence of the opportunity that is available to us from the Lord. We have made life about the answers from God; but I believe that life defined and dignified involves the reach of the heart towards God. Answers will come and bolster us, encounter will come when we least expect it. We must be a people that reach for Him regardless of what we receive today because we beleive that we will receive the greater thing in the age to come.
I will not stop reaching, asking, hoping, and believing. If I do not touch God today, I will try again tomorrow. If I am not healed today, I will ask again. The writer of Hebrews exhorted us to boldy approach the throne of grace to find help in our time of need. The key ingredient, the necessary component on our end is boldness. The key ingredient on the Lord’s end is grace. We can receive more grace if we exercise boldness and confidence in our daily life in prayer. In walking with the Holy Spirit, I want to learn this.
We are, then, learning together. As leaders we need to learn to wait and press in those critical moments in which we could have more from God if we asked for more. As followers we need to learn to truly lean in hope on Him who gives liberally to those who ask, as James promised in James 1. We need to learn again to be a people who pray and do not lose heart along the way.
Rather than the disappointment of yesterday, we can learn to live for the possibilities of tomorrow in Christ. It’s the most thrilling and satisfying way to live in the end.
February 15th, 2007