Word & Spirit

A Persistent Boy and the Faithfulness of God

I found myself emotional while I preached Sunday recounting a gentle reminder from the Lord of continued pursuit of him and I thought I would share it here to encourage you as well.

This last week I have been reading Terry Virgo’s No Well-Worn Paths which tells the story of New Frontiers International and the early days of charismatic renewal in the UK that merged with grace-centered doctrine in the church. As I have been reading of the some of the moves of God, the filling of the Spirit and healings, prophetic words, and boldness in his people, I have been wondering, why not now?

God is the same as he was decades ago. Of course he could pour out his Spirit for his glory and the good of the church (and he has in a number of ways). But hearing the stories I found myself wrestling with God desiring the same gifting and power spiritually as told in the book.

I took my lament into the desert as our family scheduled a day away to rest and reboot. Then Saturday on an early morning hike with my seven-year-old son Ewen, God showed me his kindness.

The night before we had been hiking on the same trail but dinner was approaching and my oldest who was hiking with us wanted to turn back, so halfway through the trail we cut the hike short and returned to camp. Saturday morning though, Ewen could not be stopped. He wanted to press on and arrive at the Palm Oasis promised on the map.

It was such a joy to make the journey with him, talking about life, the groaning of creation for redemption, and how fun it is to grow up together. As we progressed on the trail we turned a corner into a valley surrounded by hills/mountains and beautiful rock formations.

Ewen was ecstatic. “This is so beautiful! If we had turned back we would have never seen this!”

His statement struck me. “If we had turned back we would have never seen this.” As I paused to think about it I knew this was the Lord urging me to keep going. Here I was crying out for the Spirit to move in the church, in my own life, and he was saying, keep coming, don’t stop.

If a small church pastor needs to hear anything often it is this! So with a thankful heart I got back to hiking. We reached the Oasis and had a wonderful time, father and son. Ewen is already planning our next hiking trip.

And I settle back into the routine of discipleship, study, and prayer aching for a move of God, knowing he will, knowing we will keep pursuing him, we will keep going.

Word & Spirit

God at Work

Last week David Platt hosted a simulcast to promote the launch of his new book and communicate the urgent need for gospel-spreading ministry to happen in our day.

I haven’t watched the whole video yet, but there was one key story with a brother in a restricted country a buddy shared with me. It is so stirring and leaves me praying “do it again Lord!”

The story begins at 1:02:53 of the video if the link doesn’t play from there.

Grace

Corruption Points to Importance

Last weekend I attended the Valued Conference dedicated to the topic of sexual abuse and the church’s response to it in this cultural moment. There was much at the conference that was stirring and vital for leaders and the church as a whole.

They have posted video of the whole conference online and I commend it to you.

What struck me significantly during one talk leads me to reflect a bit more today. I can’t remember for certain who said it, but a speaker mentioned that the devil was at work spoiling or corrupting those areas in which there is the most revealed of the goodness of God, really things meant to glorify Jesus and his gospel.

Things so important, they are painting a picture of the glory of God, that Satan attempts to ruin them.

This was first in the context of sex. A beautiful and wonderful thing rightly expressed and experienced (from a biblical worldview in the context of a one man one woman marriage). The act of fully giving oneself over to the other. Sacrifice. Wholeness. Pleasure.

A God who gives himself fully over for us. Not seeking his own privilege but serving those he created.

Of course then Satan wants to corrupt this gift. He does it by attacking expression, direction, identity and other areas extending from it. He perverts and extorts the gift to sully it, to leave us at a loss, violated, hurt, torn covenants by the dozen. All so that we would miss the glory beyond the gift, what it is meant to point to.

But sex is not the exclusive territory under attack.

Authority, the benevolent and good-seeking kind. That serves, that wields power for those without it, that looks to help others rise. Satan taints it with domination, harshness, abuse and misuse.

The Miraculous. The spiritual work of the Holy Spirit in our world that gives a glimpse into the renewed world, restored life. But Satan inspires swindlers peddling snake oil, tempting even those that believe in the miraculous to look the other way rather than genuinely see the giver of tremendous gifts.

Even Fatherhood, meant to express God’s fatherly care for all of creation and especially humanity. That we could be loved this much. So Satan schemes to corrupt our view of fatherhood with destroyed images of harm over care, absence over involvement.

The list could go on couldn’t it? So much of life meant to point to the giver of life and it is attacked and corrupted to tarnish glory.

But God will not be robbed of glory. The gospel, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are proof of that. That every story is being redeemed, restored back eventually to what we were created for.

As I go then through life I am determining to recognize the corruption for what it is attempting to cover. The importance of God’s love for us. The beauty of his creation and the experience of his grace even in a world groaning for our true home.

Will you join me in working for redemption? Finding those areas of attempted corruption and in prayer and pursuit of justice turning them over to the Lord, for renewal, for his glory.

Let’s see the important things for what they are, glimpses of glory.