Friday, February 4, 2011

Marinating in the Spirit

This is a first tonight. I’m sitting over at Bud and Cathy’s waiting on a Bison Burger from Ted’s and about to watch a movie with some of my favorite Sozo Team members. Some of them had to leave, it was past their bedtime. I certainly understand that, but I was able to sleep in this morning, so I am wide-awake. We had a Sozo team meeting tonight, and I am really excited about all that God is going to do with our team this year. It’s definitely going to an exciting time.

Today was a good day to sit by the fire. In fact that is exactly what I did most of the day. Like I said, I slept in and then spent the morning doing my homework for BASSM. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon reading by the fire. I don’t know how long it has been since I was able to do that. I had to do my book report on the ecstasy of loving God by John Crowder. It was an excellent book and really brought to mind some of the things that I have dealt with over during the last 15 years of ministry.

I really loved this book. It was very insightful and interesting. When the Renewal started in Toronto in 1994, Julia and I went that July. They were still meeting in the small location and we had to stand outside for a couple of hours before the meeting waiting to get in and get a seat. That’s when I first began to learn what it was really like to hunger after the presence of God. John Crowder’s book makes me even hungrier! I can remember all the controversy about the manifestations. They were coming from all the religious circles. I thought that if only these men would come to experience and not to analyze.

As Revivalist, we have to experience God to such a degree that meaningless arguments about the value of manifestations or about whether God would actually move like that just pour off of us like water of a ducks back. I am surprised by how many friends and fellow believers have to have an explanation for everything that happens in or outside the church. I am glad that God does things that I don’t understand. He wouldn’t be much of a God if I could understand and explain everything He did. I’ve heard it said that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and won’t do anything you don’t want to happen. To that I say nonsense. I have had Holy Spirit have me laughing and crying at the same time. I’ve had this happen in places where I really didn’t want it to happen. God is good, but He is not tame. CS Lewis knew this when He pictured God as Aslan the Lion. You have to have an awe and fear, but you also have to be willing to press into the intimacies and ecstasy of loving Him as well. We can’t do the work without marinating in His love and then releasing the overflow.

The reason leaders get burned out is they don’t spend enough time just loving Him and marinating in His presence. It’s out of the overflow, as we slosh around and He spills out; that real ministry gets accomplished. No, we can’t stop to answer critics or spend all out time explaining the manifestations. Many movements have been shut down because they stopped to try to explain and justify everything that was going on. I personally saw it happen in the Vineyard. When they made a conscious effort to justify and explain all that was going on in Toronto, they turned away from pressing into His love and became apologist for what they could not explain. Then when they could not explain it, they too turned against it.

This was an excellent book with a depth of historical background citing time after time when God moved, but the religious have hid it from the world, buried it deep in the historical vaults. It’s good to see it brought out into the light. I know that I still have to much of a religious spirit in me, and I pray that by marinating in His presence it will someday be totally washed out. We all as leaders have to learn that it is not us or anything we carry that ministers to others. It is the power of the Holy Spirit. The only way to release the minister anything to anyone is through the Holy Spirit.

So, if that is the case then I say, bring it on. If it takes being marinated in the Holy Spirit, which it really does, to minister the Love of God effectively then why would we ever not want all He has for us. We need to experience more. It’s good to have the knowledge, but we need the experience. Just think about this; If everything that was written about in the New Testament was about experience, then why are we so afraid of the experience.

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