When I was a young man, just out of high school, I worked for a water well drilling company. It was hard work and the pay wasn't that great but it was a good experience for me. I learned how to work hard, the value of a dollar and had my first taste of an encouraging but challenging leader. It was also that time of my life that I met Jesus and my wife to be. So, all in all, it was a memorable time of life. While I don't want to delve into wells too much, I was praying the other day and God reminded me about wells. What you're drilling for is porous rock, gravel or sand. The idea of an underground lake is a bit of a misnomer, water runs through soil with 'space' in it. Pour a cup of water on the concrete sidewalk outside your house and the water will sit or run toward a low spot. Pour it on sand or gravel, and it 'disappears'.(it actually just runs into the spaces) Anyway, when we found a potential water source, we had to pump the well and test it to see if it was just a 'pocket' of water or if it was connected to a renewable source. The pump we used was much more aggressive than the regular pump the well owner would eventually use. In fact, we could pump a six inch well to it's maximum capacity! So we would pump to see if the water kept coming and then stop and record how fast the water level 'recovered'. Fast recovery, good well. When the well settled, it was called 'static level'. High static good, low static bad.(Please... stay with me!) God showed me how this related to revival. When the power of God is moving in a church, a service, or for a season, it's like that well being pumped at maximum capacity. People reach heights they've never reached before, gain freedom they've never had before and walk in anointing they've never walked before. But when the 'pump' is shut down they return to their 'static level'. Their normal, if you would. Just as in water wells, normal is dependent on the source. Jesus said in Matthew 13, verse 20, "The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away." Take advantage of the 'outpourings' of God, let Him transform you. But ask yourself, "what is my source?". If Jesus is your source, when revival fades for a season, you will recover just fine! You will be a source of living water, ready to be drawn from all day long; and when revival comes again, God will find you ready to pour out to the maximum again. Where is your static level?
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
In 1Samuel 16, Samuel is lamenting Saul's lack of character and lack of respect for God. Samuel was in a tough position, he was the voice of God for a nation that was 'doing what was right in their own eyes'. He was the one that God used to begin the kingship in Israel, and now the very first king was becoming a disaster. He must have felt responsible. He must have been frustrated that Israel's hope was looking like Israel's demise. At that moment, God speaks, and He is very clear. This is not time to mourn and be depressed, there is work to do! Maybe you have had people in your life that started out with great passion for God, maybe you had something to do with their spiritual formation, but now, they have lost their desire to serve God. Maybe it was even someone like Saul; a hero, someone to look up to. This can be really disheartening. Someone you had great faith in, someone who stood shoulder to shoulder with you in battle has fallen. Samuel felt this way I'm sure, and God had to confront him and tell him, 'Samuel, I need you to be my voice again. You need to walk in your calling in spite of what Saul is doing." You can't let people determine who you are. You are responsible for the call God has given you regardless of what everyone around you is doing. You must obey God, yourself. We can't let someone else's unfaithfulness stop what we are to be in God. It's not an easy task to stay faithful in these circumstances but I believe the enemy scores a double victory when he can 'kill two birds with one stone'. God tells Samuel,"Fill your horn with oil and be on your way!" The best thing we can do for others is be full. We need to "be filled with the Holy Spirit"(Eph 5:18). We need to get our horn filled with oil and be on our way! Don't quit! Keep being God's voice and agent of change!
Thursday, August 2, 2012
It amazes me how much I hear people say that there isn't enough friendship, fellowship or family at church yet they never 'come to the table'. Their spot at the table is conspicuously empty. Being a father of teens, who seem to have a strong need to be on the go all the time, there are times when I look across the table at an empty chair and ask my wife, "Where's 'the boy' today?". By that I mean my eldest son who earned that designation from a friend of ours at a very early age. I want to know. The table just doesn't seem right when someone is missing. We may talk about nothing in particular, we might address some school issue or family conflict, we might hear a funny story from one of the kids and smile at their young perspective. We eat, because we have to, we eat together because we're a family. Eating is just one of those things you do everyday and it can get pretty exciting(Thanksgiving) and it can be pretty dull(frozen pizza before dashing off to worship practice). Yet the table remains an very important part of our lives. And that's where it falls down in church today. While the early church spent most of it's time together(everyday for awhile it seems) eating, praying, listening to the Apostle's teaching, we baulk at the idea of 'too much church'. I hear the complaints of lack of family, lack of relationship and these kinds of things but when the table is set, there are many empty chairs where children are supposed to be. If one of my kids miss a meal to visit a friend or because of a commitment which over the years has evolved from soccer to a job, it's kinda sad but we know they'll be there next meal and maybe even have something to share from their time away. But if they refuse to come to the table or are 'too busy' for days on end, a potential relationship problem begins to emerge. Their place is 'at the table'. Even when they grow old and have a table of their own, we gather on special occasions around the table. We have so many of our families today whose chairs stand empty most of the time. Whose voices aren't heard in the conversation(been to a midweek prayer meeting lately?)and whose absence makes it feel like it just wasn't family time this time. It's just not the same at Christmas when that certain aunt our uncle, big brother, big sister isn't there. There are all sorts of ideas out there right now about church should be this way or that, formal, informal, in a house, in a cathedral, liturgy or no particular plan at all. One thing I know for certain, church is a together thing. The word Jesus used we call 'church' has gathering implied, actually, by definition, a gathering of His people. Come to the table. Join the conversation.