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Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Category

Waiting

What if there really is a value in waiting?

I have a significant event in my life that requires me to wait.  There is absolutely nothing I can do to change the outcome or make it happen any sooner that it will.  I can move no mountain that will affect it in anyway.  I can turn no stone that will make it any easier.  I simply have to wait.

Inside I want the Holy Spirit to move.  I want my Father to makes things the way “I” want them.  I want him to fashion the world in my image.  And I laugh at myself for trying, for wanting what I really would not want.

Waiting asks me to trust.  It asks me to set aside what I think I need for what my Father wants to give me, which has the potential to be infinitely better than I can imagine, and usually is…when I wait.

And if I’m honest, this waiting process feels like dying.  If feels like I’m killing the desire of my heart.  It is requiring me to love in a way that is uncomfortable, to be what I say I am.  I say I stand for love and in this specific instance only waiting will reveal that I do love.  Only when I let go of the outcome will I become love.

And what is surprising to me is that the more I wait, the more I give up what I want, the more I become what I say I want to be.

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I’m reading what I think will be one of the more important books written in the next ten years. My opinion. It’s Walking With God by John Eldredge. For those who haven or haven’t read John before, this is almost a complete departure from his previous works in masculinity and a return to his earlier works. Much broader in terms of spiritual formation. I’ll post a review when I’m done.

But in the Summer section he highlights an intriguing dialog on two traditional camps.

“The first is the the holiness or “righteous” crowd. They are the folks holding up the standard, preaching a message of moral purity. The results have been…mixed. Some morality, and a great deal of guilt and shame.”

This is the group I grew up on. Suck it up, dig in your heals and just do what is right. It was deeply shameful and full of a tremendous amount of hypocrisy. When someone falls (my pastor was caught in an affair) restoration is virtually impossible.

The other camp is the grace camp.

“Their message is that we can’t hope to satisfy a holy God, but we are forgiven. We are under grace. And praise the living God, we are under grace. But what about holiness? What about deep personal change?”

These two camps appear to mimic the fight or flight responses we see throughout humanity. One posits an unreasonable burden that we cannot possible accomplish on our own. The other simple abandons any responsibility for the self.

But as John points out, neither is wholistic. He points to a third way found in whole restoration that embraces grace but seeks wholeness. This is for me true spirituality, a grace that seeks restoration found in surrendering to His Spirit.

Which camp did you grow up in?

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Alan Roxburgh has an interesting article on “What Is Missional Church?” I appreciate his thoughts on the subject because it brings up so many more questions than it answers, which is a good thing. Questions drive us to so many good conversations that hopefully lead us to exploring what God is already doing in the world. And hopefully we can partner with him.

But as I read his article, it got me focused on one question. Why does God call us into mission? What’s the point? At the basis of this conversation is the assumption that God is restoring His creation. I’ve outlined here that God is primarily restoring four relationships in the world by bringing people out of oppression and into His kingdom of love and trust.

Jesus released us to mission in his final words when He said,

Matthew 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

And much of the confusion then becomes what do we do when we go. We’re in, we’re pumped and we’re ready to go. Then the question becomes what do we do at that point. Sarah Jane Walker followed Alan in asking this question. I would offer that at that moment, the moment we begin to participate is when we learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit who is already in mission. So listening becomes central. And when we meet the Holy Spirit in the places she’s already working, the purpose is to reveal the Imago Dei, or love.

And I would suggest that God calls us into mission so we can reveal love. It is always love that draws us into the arms of the Father, into relationship. I appreciated Alan’s intro on this. It was love that truly drew him in. Love is so profoundly unhuman, so unlike us, that we realize the presence of something divine. We recognize what we were looking for all a long.

And when we give love we’re revealing Jesus all over again. We’re revealing the Imago Dei, showing the world what God really is like. We’re bringing the sweet aroma that captures the soul.

And when we give love we’re also receiving love because love is the fullest expression of who we were designed to be. We get to see God at work. We become Jesus in the moment. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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