Moving On [A Prophetic Vision for GR]

Priming the Pump

in these last days…

“’AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS (Acts 2.17 NASB).’”

 

a Friday morning run on the West-Side…

Yesterday, after a very busy week, I really wanted to have a nice relaxing “pajama Friday” working from my home office.  But, I’ve also recently been making a genuine effort to get back into working out regularly.  Because, (though I didn’t believe it at 30) what everyone says about it being harder and harder to loose weight as you get older is painfully true.  So, I (somewhat conflicted) suited up for a morning jog, turned on the David Crowder Band’s “Essential Collection”, started my Run Keeper app, and hit the sidewalk.

It’s strangely easy to forget how beautiful a morning run can be, with the sun coming up, the music turned up loud, and no one but me and Jesus.  As I was pounding along, I remembered one day in the Summer of 2012 as we were preparing to plant DCC.  Somehow or other, I had gotten it in my heart that God would “give me” anywhere the soul of my foot would tread and that he was looking to “expand my territory”.  (Incidentally, I’m using quotation marks because I need you to understand that some of this terminology is metaphoric and that I don’t actually believe that anything is MINE or belongs to me.  I mean to say merely that God was speaking to me about expanding my personal influence and the vision that I had for the platforms in which he’s placed me.  But, I digress…)  At the time, I was in much better shape than I am now and was used to running 5 miles at a time with ease.  So, I suited up, turned on the music, started my Run Keeper app, and set out to run a circuit which touched the entire Grand River valley from Covell to Union.  I did make it – barely.  And, I think at the end my GPS had clocked about 9+ miles.  But, weary as I was, rubber legs and all, I was resolved that God would expand my personal influence to impact the entire city.

Fast forward to now, He has done just that.  Though, in a far different way than I ever expected and in a greater capacity than I ever could have calculated.  I’m so blessed to be serving the family of DCC alongside such a great leadership team.  And, I’m constantly amazed at the platform that the Lord has given us together to impact the city of Grand Rapids and beyond.  Now, it may sound like I am thinking highly of myself or whatever.  But, criticize, mock and scoff if you’d like.  I’ve just gotten over the pretense of the false humility which tries to downplay the great and amazing things that God wants to do in us and through us.  And I would love to see that wave of freedom grip the body of Christ in GR, as it would unshackle us from the crippling bonds of the religious pride which tries to say that we’re insignificant and unimportant.

God says you’re significant and important.  So much so, that He made you a participator in His nature and a partner in His Kingdom agenda.

 

a prophetic vision for GR…

Anyway, let’s get back to Friday’s run.  As I was coming down Lake Michigan Drive from Covell, my heart was just pouring out worship to the Lord.  I was running down the hill, punching in the air, leaping with my arms up, pointing and shouting along with the lyrics of the song playing in my ears.  (I must have looked like such a fool.  But then, respectability is something I gave up some time ago.)  Then all of a sudden, as the trees cleared and I saw downtown in the fresh sunlight with the haze of the morning clinging to the tops of the buildings, the glory of the Lord overwhelmed me and took my breath away (which can be kind of a problem when you’re 50 pounds overweight and trying to run).  I felt as though the Lord was telling me that the haze represented His glory and in that moment, He confirmed the deep longing of my heart – that He was bringing revival to the city of Grand Rapids.  But more so, that this revival will send ripples which will reach and impact the State and beyond.  I don’t know if I was crying, gasping for breath, both, or what else – but, wow – what a great moment.

 

moving on…

This week, Jamie and I sold our home and bought a new one.  We’re excited to move, excited for more space and a different setting.  We’re excited to start a new chapter in our family’s history and to write new memories on the pages of our life’s story.  But along with all of that, I believe that our move is representative of a shift in our spiritual vision – a shift which broadens the scope of our impact and allows us to think and dream bigger than we ever have before.  The further I get down this journey, the more aware I become of the vital importance of our willingness and participation with the Lord’s agenda.  For us now, it’s important that we’re willing to be moved, uprooted, and replanted, both physically and spiritually.  But more so, it’s vastly important that we’re willing to get over ourselves and our feeble understanding of the amazing impact that the Lord wants to achieve in us and through us.

So, to you my friends I say,

Let us continue to rise up and meet the high calling that the Lord has placed on us to be Salt and Light – agents of transformation bringing revival to this city and beyond.  But remember, that revival begins in us first.  We are merely carriers, vessels of the LIFE of Jesus and the glory of God.  He is calling us align our hearts with His.  And as such, the deeper we go in our personal transformation, the greater our Kingdom impact will be in the world around us.

[Everyday Christians] three-dimensional LIFE

Priming the Pump

I’m VERY EXCITED to see the DCC family continue to press into the idea that our mission field is where ever the Lord has placed us.  We don’t need to get on a plane and fly or jump on a boat, rather we need to continue waking up to the reality that we are all living in a “foreign place”.  This world is not our home, we are citizens of a different Kingdom and according to God’s Word, we are already resident there, though we soujourn here.

As I’ve been meditating on this idea and spending time with the Lord it has occurred to me that the church spends a great deal of time, effort, and energy on making great sacrifices.  What I mean is that we are very focused on our worship, our upward expression and conversation with the Lord in His Presence.  This is as it should be and is a very important thing to stay focused on.  Yet, I think that if this is all that the Church is doing, it will become a hollow, empty edifice, a shallow shell, lacking the transformational influence that it ought to have.  Additionally, we spend a great deal of time, effort, and energy on our inward growth as believers (though I’d argue that the Church as a whole is far less focused on this than we should be).   Again, this is of vital importance and should never be neglected.  But, if we stop here, I must ask, what is the end goal?  At best, we will become a transformed people (progressively looking more and more like Jesus) spending time together in our little group, holding great meetings in which we seek the Presence of Lord and offer Him a glorious sacrifice of worship.  Sounds pretty good, right?  Yet, I think that we would be missing one very vital and integral piece of the Christ follower’s life…

“the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” – Luke 19.10 (NASB)

 Micah 6.

 “What does the Lord require of you but (1) to do justice, (2) to love kindness, and (3) to walk humbly with your God?”  – Micah 6.8 (NASB)

Three-Dimensional LIFE. 

If you look closely here, the life that the Lord is calling us into is a Three-Dimensional LIFE

UPWARD

…to walk humbly with your God…

Meaning that you are rightly related to the Lord, living in the light of His presence, receiving His LIFE through worship, prayer, reading His Word, and other devotional disciplines.  The original Hebrew is phrased a bit differently here, and is literally translated, “to humble yourself to walk with your God.”  This means that we are living in a position of humility toward God, with a proper understanding of who He is and who we are in relationship to Him.  It is an individual posture as much as it is a corporate posture of receiving the LIFE of Christ in our midst and having an exchange with Him in His Presence.

INWARD

…to love kindness…

Meaning that you are living in the acceptance of His grace – the  Hebrew word here is chesed which is translated loving kindness in some places, mercy in others, but it is very close in concept to the New Testament term “grace”.  Again, this is a matter of posture in which we are allowing His LIFE to transform us inwardly, whether as individuals or a family.

OUTWARD

…to do justice…

Meaning that we are walking as a living representation of Jesus to those around us.  This starts at the most intimate levels of relationship but continues to hold true in every encounter, with every person, every day.  Again, positionally, remembering that we are made to be conduits of the LIFE of Christ, that “rivers of Living Water should be flowing from our bellies”…remember one thing about rivers…when they flood the landscape, they change it.

Today’s big idea. 

Are you living Three-Dimensionally? How are you allowing the TRANSFORMATIONAL LIFE of Jesus to flow TO YOU, IN YOU, and THROUGH YOU (as a conduit) to effect the world around you?  Are you living as a missionary?  Are you focused on seeking and saving that which is lost?