I wrote this post back in June of 2017, but today it’s going public…
A lot that has been going on in my mind recently and I’m fairly astounded at what God has been doing, working, moving inside of me. It would be a travesty to allow them to go to waste and not capture them for the faith of the next generation.
Yesterday’s experiences were simply amazing (The Resistance, Power V Authority). I really have no way to properly characterize them. I was totally caught off guard and did not expect to see God work the way that he did and something unique happened that’s never happened before.
It all started weeks ago. I’m learning that proper message preparation happens weeks, if not months, in advance. I believe what we did yesterday began working in my heart back in February or March. We further developed on April 19 at the Bethel concert we attended when one of the leaders made a song transition talking about Power V Authority. It was even further polished at the Sticky Teams Conference when Mark Clark talked about the authority we have when Jesus gave us the Keys to the kingdom in Matthew 16:19. Then finally last week, on Monday I put the finish on it since I was taking the week off to spend time with my brother, Kyle, and build my deck. Having had no further prep time throughout the week until Sunday morning, I was resolved to allow this week to just be what it was, a mid-summer week with minimal attendance and a dismal return. I continued that feeling early Sunday morning with my practice preach on the pavilion.
I gave him my preparation and asked that he would fill in the gaps of my preparation and that he would work uniquely. Boy that was an understatement! He pretty much took my preparation, threw it out the window and did something so unique I never saw it coming. The experiences that happened that day was a grand slam but only because we determined to rely on the Spirit of God and his plan rather than rely on our experience and preparation.
I’m not a hand raiser. Never have been. I’ve always resisted that. I think I look weird when I worship. I sort of move and semi dance, which when thinking about it, is much weirder than just hand raising. I’ve always felt that there was something inside of me trying to escape but my mind would never allow it to happen for fear of someone around me. (That’s a painfully real confession). At some point during the second half of our setlist, I opened my eyes to see that my own hands up. How did that happen? Is that a qualification of intense worship? Is that the answer to the prayer that God would worship himself through me? I’ve no idea but I’ve never experienced anything like it before.
Something is becoming clearer and clearer to me as I get older and more experienced in this. There really is a secret to the power of Christ through the work of the Spirit. It seems so ambiguous and elusive. Sometimes He purposes to work in such visible ways and other times he seems to work in one person and the rest seem like they are there for no reason at all. I don’t get it! Maybe I’m not supposed to.
Something else happened that was strange also. I was scheduled to do the offering transition and possible prayer time. I had previously decided not to do the prayer time because I didn’t really have anything specific to pray about other than what we have been over the past weeks. During our pre-service prayer, Brett, our bassist, leans over and asks me to pray over his brother Ryan, who just discovered he has thyroid cancer and will have it removed in July. During our 1st half setlist, The Spirit prompts me to read Philippians 4:6-7 and the crowd breaks down in unison over this move. There was an audible rumble in prayer during that time as the entire crowd made heaven (and United) noisy!
Are we doing this all wrong? Have we been guilty of trying to force the Spirit to hit a home run for us? Have we been guilty of trying to imitate the move of the Spirit but failing to ask for him to show up and move? I’m not one to believe the Spirit of God needs an invitation, but I do believe we can evict him from our presence by depending on our experience, plans, and preparation rather than consciously determining to resist those things to depend on him alone.