I just returned from an overnight conference with a team of leaders that we affectionately call, "The Body Life Team". It is a long story which I need to choose to be a bit "boundaried" about – it is an intentional act of love and respect because these leaders are involved in a journey where they want to be able to stretch themselves and grow and discover transformation by the Spirit. In some cases, that means that they will have to explore issues, ideas and praxis that is a bit "controversial" in their denomination and local church settings. SO – the boundaried conversation with you, dear reader.
I was writing the other day about how difficult it is to summarize or explain in literary detail an experience of God. I find it humorous at times to think about how Luke attempted to summarize the story of Pentecost (for example). Have you ever thought about that day and tried to picture it in your imagination and THEN tried to think about how you would write about it in a manner that would give it ANY justice at all? I have…and it brings me to laughter everytime. Winds…tongues of fire…languages…power…how do you even begin to write about and capture in finite human language the infinite expanse of the movement of the Spirit in life?
Well, anyway, I experienced a few of those "movements" over the last couple of days. A few things were said that were powerful in my heart. Many of you know that I've landed on some new "ground" in life. Vicky and I have been called out of our Ur and lead by the pillar of cloud and fire to a new town to do life with new people and to live the Kingdom in a new manner in Monroe, Washington. Along with that move, I have been given the honor and privilege of exercising the giftedness, passions and abilities that the Spirit has so graciously given to me in the context of a local faith community (Peace Lutheran Church). If you think about it as I have many times, it still brings a smile to my face – for I get a chance to allow the Spirit of God to incarnate my God-blessed identity in relationship with others who desire to bring God glory and experience His love, power, and presence as well as participate in what HE IS DOING in our community through the relationships and life we share together. Simply an awesome truth to realize when you give it some thought… At the conference a couple of things were shared (well, many things were shared thus the 10 pages of notes I wrote to myself as a means of remembering some of what God shared with me) that assaulted me with goodness and power. I know that is strong language, but I'm a stubborn guy – and I'm stuck so easily on preconceived notions, thought patterns, and actions that I need to be hit hard at times. I must admit that these two statements might not mean much to you – but they were HUGE for me:
"You can lead anyway you want to lead as long as you are equipping and releasing the people of God in a manner that enhances the life of the Body of Christ."
And then a quote from Paul Ford's book, Knocking Over the Leadership Ladder – actually he quotes Ron Heifetz when he writes, "most leaders die with their mouths open."
Now, I'm not going to parse, expound upon, or attempt to explain why these two truths hit me the way they did…all I will say is that sometimes words can change the trajectory of your life. That's why the bible is not only the written Word but it is also the embodiment of the LIVING WORD…God's Word to power in that it exposes us to the VERY POWER of Jesus who is the truth and the life (something I'm sure you've heard before). But sometimes the faith community also embodies the Living Word…and that's what happened to me. You can think about those quotes or you can choose not to…that's your call. What I can say to you as far as encouragement based on my humble experience is that you need to LISTEN…what is God saying to you and your life and your journey as a Christ follower today? What truths are assaulting you with goodness and power? What transformation is occurring in your life today? Friend, do you read me? Over!