I’m at an interesting place in my relationship with God at the moment. We’re working through a season as a church family at the moment on laying hold of the fullness of the Christian life that is promised in the scriptures, and particularly on encountering more of God. Actually, technically we’re calling it the “More” series, but I’m really not into the whole “sermon series” shizzle. I prefer to use the language of “seasons”. But I digress…
There is so much of God at hand and we’ve settled for so little. Why do you think so many people are walking away from church? Because they’re bored! And the answer isn’t snappier sermons or making church “more entertaining” – the answer is, let them encounter God. Give them the real thing! Once you’ve got the taste for proper coffee you never want to go back to instant.
On Sunday we focussed on Ephesians 3:14-19:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Can I make a confession? I usually read that bit and skip onwards, thinking, “well, it’s a nice idea, but I’m never going to get anywhere near that – that sort of relationship with God is only for the super-spiritual.” Well, why not me? It does say, “together with all the Lord’s holy people”, doesn’t it? As we went through it on Sunday, though, my response shifted and I had a sudden urge to go get that verse tattooed on my body (I didn’t, obviously – no idea where to put it). That’s my muthalickin’ inheritance!
On Monday night my new and very interesting acquaintance Nigel prayed for me, and got a few downloads from the Lord about my intimacy with him. He had a picture of me as a sunflower (sunflowers turn towards the sun), but there was a cloud blocking the sun. Jesus, with his mighty hand, swept the cloud away. He felt as though the Lord wanted the sort of relationship with me where I just spent hours in his presence and it felt like minutes (my immediate response: where am I going to find time to spend hours with God?), where he spoke to me about anything and everything. That closeness…it’s something I’ve tasted (when you get into the presence of God and can’t move), but not with any sort of regularity. But I’m spurred on to lay hold of everything I can.