Tuesday, September 18, 2007
In The Possibility of Intimacy, I talked about the importance of developing intimacy with God and how we could get to know him. I talked about the idea that knowing him prepares us for great exploits. Why? Because God desires to be intimate and know us, and he is looking to draw people to him.
We have it in us to touch the world if only we will enlarge our vision and start seeing ourselves as God sees us! God is much bigger than our perspectives and comfort zones!
Jesus took a ragged bunch of guys and changed the world. We can touch the world! All through Acts we see God setting up divine appointments and moving in a powerful and real way. Why? Because he longs for intimacy with us and wants to draw people to him.
Quite a few years ago, I had been reading about God using everyday people and thought how cool it would be if he used me. I was still at teacher's college and was going back and forth a bit on weekends between home and Palmerston North (an hour of travelling). At this time, I was particularly tired and I knew when I stepped off the bus it was going to be full on ... straight off to music practice and then worship leading for church - I had 4 hours ahead of me. I decided that I would tune in to my walkman (yes ... it was that long ago!) and tune out the world for a bit. I climbed on the bus and sat next to a young girl. Our eyes met and I smiled, then closed my eyes and tuned out. She was about 16. As I lay with eyes closed I had a strong urge to talk to this girl. I decided that 60 minutes of sleep was more preferable and ignored the urge! After a few minutes some thoughts started coming to my brain ... thoughts like ... "she goes home and cries herself to sleep ... her parents are separated ... she is sad and rejected ...". Along with the thoughts came a stronger urge to talk to her. Along with the urge, came another internal voice - "No! You can't ask those things. You are just making them up!". After 20 minutes, I was acutely uncomfortable and almost squirmy so I thought perhaps I had better have a chat. I switched off my walkman and we began to talk. I started just asking questions ... very cautiously ... trying to figure out if I was "hearing" correctly! Things were checking out ... eg parents ... feeling rejected by peers etc ... After a few comments, she mentioned attending a Christian group at school and it was kind of like ..."Sarah ... here it is on a platter for you ... are you going to take the opportunity or not?!". Here is how the conversation kind of went ... (M = me and R is her)
M - "Oh are you a Christian?"
R - "No ... I just go to the group."
M (big breath and thinking just jump in) ... "Well, I am and it just kind of means that God is my friend and we talk like you and I are now. I have an apology to make to you ..."
R - *big eyes*
M - "When I got on this bus I really had the sense that I should talk with you, but I was tired and i didn't want to ..."
R - "Thats okay ..."
M - "... but you know what Roberta? He sees you ... he knows you ... and he thinks that you are a winner. When you go home and cry yourself to sleep into your pillow at night, thinking that nobody sees and nobody knows ... HE knows, and, he cares. You matter to him."
R - *nodding slightly with HUGE eyes* ...
Basically we said a few more things and i did not feel to push it any further. I was acutely aware of God's presence and just felt to let things lie. As a side note, when I got off the bus - I was not tired - i was flying high! I was so excited that God cared enough about Roberta to persevere with me in my unbelief and rationalising. That's what it is all about. Teamwork. God loves you, me and the world around us and he will use whatever he can to connect. If he can use a rock and a donkey ... he can use you and I!
1 Cor 2:2-5
Paul came with a demonstration of the spirits power - not with wise and persuasive words. Imagine Elijah's scene with the priests of Baal at a new age conference!
1 Kings 18:36 - 39
* Elijah wanted the miracle so people would turn back to God...look at his heart
* The result...the people screaming the lord God he is God...he is GOD!
By the way, James 5:17 tells us that Elijah was a man - just like US!
* Aeneas healed and the people turned to God
Davids mightiness came from his relationship with God.
To move in the spirit we need to have faith...
F - Filled with the spirit - a constant feature of Acts - an ongoing process
A - Assume/Expect God - Acts 12 - People astonished when Peter freed
- Divine Appointments - all through Acts (eg Roberta)
I - Instant Obedience - Acts 8:26 - 42 Philip and the Eunach ... no questions
T - Trust God not circumstances - China and Faith diagram
Both of my mission trips to China (from NZ) have been a test of faith. God had clearly said go and I was not financially in the place to do it - I had to pray and trust. The above diagram illustrates this really well. Often we are like the first person. Our eyes are filled with the circumstances and we allow those to shape our view of God. When we do this, we get a really small view of him and miss out on knowing him! If we allow God to fill our vision, the circumstances are put in their place and do not overwhelm us. Where are your eyes?
H - Habit of Enlarging - Is 54 - Commanded to enlarge and stretch, not settle. All through scripture we see that God is a God of increase!
We make a choice to walk in the higher ways of God. We pay a greater price to press on to a higher level...Moses turned down things of the world to follow his higher calling ... Paul considered his own life nothing.
1 Kings 8 speaks of the need for a fully committed heart... The apostle Paul tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Back to Elijah and the priests...what if we were the sacrifice on the alter and the fire of God consumed us? The result is still people declaring "the Lord is God"!
It is really important that we always keep God as the focus - not the deeds. We need to be like Moses who knew Gods ways, rather than the people of Israel who knew his deeds. I want to be like Enoch who walked with God.
S of Songs 5:7-8 3:1-4 The passion for the lover. She got up and went looking for him. She was beaten and continued to search. I love it when she says, "When I found him, I would not let go".
Draw a continuim with no passion at one end and on fire! at the other. Indicate where you are at.
Gods heart is to be intimate with you. Where are you at in your intimacy with God? What drives you to know him - are you consumed with a passion to get to know him at all costs - time? Resources? Comfort? How determined are you to be intimate with him? Are you living dangerously in the hands of God? Enlarging? If you want to make a committment to intimacy with God - draw away with him and open yourself to him. The results will be more than you could ever dream. The challenge of possibility lies in the challenge of intimacy!