This is a new chapter. The landscape of our local fellowship is shifting from church as usual into what God desires for us.
I find myself also thinking on how my own life’s landscape may change. I’ve begun to wonder if I have put myself in a box in any way, and what advancing God’s Kingdom is truly meant to be for my own life.
When it comes to our God-given purposes, things may not look like what we think they will. When I was a new Christian, I first thought this would be through worship leading in a church setting.
Then it was as a worship leader and intercessory missionary in the house of prayer, which I still long to see in fullness… but at times I wonder if I have put myself in a box per say? I want to stop comparing myself to others. I want God alone to define me, along with every why and every what.
Nonetheless, the expression of the church is changing. We are not a building, but people who are the temple of the Holy Spirit. A new wineskin is being given those who truly want to follow the Lord’s leadership. It is for we who will let go of our own ways, wants and agendas.
The Lord gave me a dream back in February sharing that “church as usual” is over. We’ve grown too comfortable in a form that wasn’t even His intent. Sadly, Acts 2 community has almost been made into only a story of our history.
The time has come to get back to the heart of it all, and FHOP is going all in with hearts and ears wide open to whatever God wants. Our wineskin was about to burst and now we are receiving the new skin for the coming new wine. 1 Peter 5:10 has long been my prayer for us, for God to make us what we ought to be:
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10 AMPC)
First and foremost, we must let the Lord lead. He warned us that we must have no preconceived notions. Our ministry is changing shape as we follow the Father’s leadership, though we do not know what things will look like.
This has caused me to realize that I too desire a shift–in the inner and outer workings of my own life. I realized that I have had my own notions of what my life would be like, and I wonder which of these is what God wants and if any are not.
You see, I seem to be one who is blessed with the five or ten talents, as the parable goes. And honestly sometimes I’d love to have only one. One thing only to steward well and focus my life purposefully on doing for God’s Kingdom. I’d like to live a slower life than all this doing sometimes allows.
Why, one might say? Because at times it is overwhelming to feel you must steward so much. Because it feels like I do not have enough time or energy to properly steward so many things. Because sometimes I feel like I go back and forth between them, and it feels more wide than deep. And most of the time I simply want to spend time at my Lord’s feet, just being with Him instead of doing lots for Him.
So I returned home from the start of this new day for our spiritual family. And I am so free and joyful about it. I have God’s peace and I know we are headed in the right direction. Yet this turning into the next phase God has for our group has had another effect: It provoked my heart into asking questions and seeking Him concerning my own life personally.
• What does He want my life to look like, both in the small things and the seemingly big… especially in the liturgy of daily life?
• Have I put myself into any boxes or wineskins I’m not meant for? Do I have any preconceived notions concerning what God wants for my life?
• With these various gifts, songs written, and desires in my heart, what does He want me to do? What steps does He want me to take?
I have always felt called to be faithful in staying in the small places when others tend to leave for larger ministries and bigger cities. I’ve always felt these little towns deserve the same prophetic release of God’s heart as any others, and someone has to plow the ground.
Someone out there has got to say, “Lord, here I am! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). As a favorite hymn goes, “Here I am, Lord… I have heard You calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if You lead me. I have heard Your people in my heart.” (Here I Am, Lord by Dan Schutte)
I trust that our Abba will make a way, even though this valley is far more narrow than those other wide open places, and even though the opportunities are far less and harder to see into fruition.
For now I know this season is first to be quiet before the Lord in listening and rest. It is to keep waiting and abiding in the Lord.
Loving Him and others is primary. No matter what the landscape before me holds, I know the Lord alone can satisfy my heart’s greatest need for love, intimacy, and significance through the journey.