Carolyn Moore confesses that she covets. But it’s not what you’d expect. It has to do with the one word she’s thought, prayed, written and spoken about over the past 3 years—encounter. In today’s article, Carolyn Moore shares her heart for encountering God in the new year and in every day life.
“The Bible tells a story of a people who lost their connection with God. They were like a country that used to have electricity running through its wires. The Law that was supposed to build their character, teach them holiness and define boundaries in their relationship with God, became nothing more than one more oppression in an oppressive society. Rather than a goal of being perfect in love, they’d become sticklers for perfection. That pursuit made them angry and bitter people. They were starving, spiritually. Imprisoned by a system of obedience that stole their smiles.
Live like that long enough and either your heart grows hard or you start longing for life beyond the borders. Paul didn’t exactly long for that life, but when he encountered it on a road between cities he found it irresistible. Jesus himself walked Paul across the border into freedom, where Paul discovered those things like love, joy and peace that make life worth living.”
“Let this sink in. Hear what Paul is really saying. He is not talking about organizational structure or a membership covenant. He isn’t talking about a civic organization or a well-run non-profit. He is talking about a cosmic reality: those who become part of the Body of Christ…become part of the Body of Christ!”
“What to do, then, when there is nothing to be done? I stood there, helpless in the face of such poverty, and wondered: as a follower of Jesus, what is my responsibility to this woman who seems to have been forgotten by the world? Do I demand justice? Throw her over my shoulder and haul her out of there? Or helplessly move on?”
This is the power of resurrection. Isaiah says, “see, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
This is the heart of God for his people. Jesus wants to make a river run through the wasteland of your life, because when the Spirit flows people get raised and get filled and get healed and get sober and their wastelands get soaked. A new thing!
We’ve seen a spiritual resurrection in Paul and a “fresh start” resurrection in Aeneas and now we’re about to see the full power of God come to rest over death…In Acts 9:37-38 we read, “about that time Tabitha became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. When the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, ‘Please come at once!’…
I understand these people better than I want to admit. I know what it means to become so focused on the work and the politics and the systems and the next big book that’s going to tell us how to really do it right, that I can forget what Jesus is capable of and why he’s filled me with the Holy Spirit and what he’s called me to do. Somehow (I’m sure this is not the correct theological language), it seems like the Spirit leaks out. Or maybe I push him out. I know it has happened when I find myself telling God how big my storm is, rather than telling my storm how big my God is.
He is saying that those who get it will be the ones who realize we’re nothing by ourselves that what we want most from life won’t happen if we think we have to do it ourselves. It will happen when we let the One Who Is Enough serve us as Lord, and Messiah, and Friend.
Wait. Watch. Work. This is how it happens. One conversation at a time, one meal at a time, one prayer at a time, one bag of food at a time, one nail at a time, one kind word at a time in the name of Jesus. That’s how the Kingdom comes.
We have a hope, and it is not rooted in our circumstances; it is rooted in the plan —in the very identity—of God. For those of us who struggle, who live under gathering clouds, it is not a promise that God will answer all our questions. It is promise that He will not change on us. God’s character is eternal, his promises are safe, his nature is to love and his plans for us are good. “What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours.”
When is it time …? The fourth chapter of Matthew inspires that question. This is the place in the story of Jesus where he decides the time is right to step into his public ministry. The Kingdom of Heaven has now come near, in earnest. A new movement is about to make itself known. And here, we learn how Jesus began the movement that changed the world.