Sunday, June 21, 2009
Encountering the Father
Mammoth was such a rich part of our journey so far. God's hand was so evidently upon us in bringing us to that place. Mike and Karen who we stayed with are such kingdom people. We loved staying with them and I hope we can return the favour when they hit Ireland one day. Or else we'll just have to go back for a snowboarding holiday. We had some great conversations and it was so encouraging to talk to older wiser people in the faith. We had a great night with Dave and Stevie the pastors of the church, on Thursday night. Their heart for people is so tangible and their wisdom and intimacy with God is wonderful.
We had a great chat about how it seems like so much of the church is chasing after knowing about God and studying Him and defining Him when in fact life is about knowing and encountering Him. Of course studying about him and so on can be extremely beneficial but information will never lead to transformation. That's why so many Christians constantly struggle with their walks. They haven't gotten the fact that Jesus has saved them from their heads into their hearts. They are still repenting for sins they did 10 years ago because they don't really know in their hearts that they have been forgiven. They think that God wants them to be good when in fact Jesus paid the price to make us glorious. God is a relational God who is so much more than a book.
We've been really enjoying using cataphatic prayer lately, engaging with Jesus in our imaginations as Paul encourages us to do in scripture. I struggled with prayer for so long because I felt like I was praying to a wall and an empty space whereas now I sit and picture Jesus and actually talk to Him, and guess what? He talks back. He has been saying the most incredible stuff to myself and Jane lately, one thing that also sticks out is he is a funny man!! Greg Boyd's book Seeing Is Believing and his latest 'Animate' series that he has preached on has really helped me develop a desire to allow Jesus move the things I know about Him from my head to my heart so I can actually experience those things. It's very hard to act like Jesus when we haven't experienced his acts in our lives.
Currently we're in Bethel Church, Redding and we are loving it. We were so excited about going to church to encounter Jesus and we did. It was awesome. In the morning Brian and Jen Johnson led the worship which was fantastic. Bill Johnson preached and it was exceptional. Man that guy knows the heart of God and communicates it so well. He spoke about the difference between walking in the ways of God and walking in the acts of God. Seeing the acts of God is amazing, exciting and a huge testimony, however sometimes these can take away our focus from the ways of God. Actually just focusing on who he is, because of who he is. Life is all about intimacy with our Father in Heaven, from that place of course he will act but that is not why we surrender to Him, we do it because he is God and he deserves everything we have.
The evening worship was led by Chris Quilala and Kristene Meuller and again it was exceptional and Ray Hughes spoke. He was so funny and his message was fantastic. He spoke about revival and how it is so misunderstood. It is not about trying to recreate a movement but is about letting God be God and a group of passionate warriors seeking his face in the quiet place which will lead to a quiet rising of an army that will war in the heavens to see his will done on earth as it is in heaven.
During the service some two different randomers came up to Jane and gave her the same word straight from the heart of God as well as after the service another randomer came up to Jane and gave her the very same word. It was so encouraging for her and awesome to see how God speaks so very very clearly. Incredibly prophetic words were said to me aswell that could only have been from God. It's so cool being in an atmosphere where God speaks so clearly.
We have a couple of days to chill out here before the conference starts on Wednesday. I'm expecting a cracking time with God and to see some more miracles to take back home with us.