Following God’s Presence

Today in the jail, after two hours of powerful ministry between the men one to another, they stopped and said they decided earlier this week to do something for me. They then stood around me, laid hands on me, and prayed the most wonderful, tender prayers of blessing I’ve ever heard.

I cried as I realized what they were doing, because they’ve learned – maybe with some of them for the first time in their lives – to give rather than always take or receive.

After months of mentoring them on “being” the church (see my blog, The Church in D Pod), they heeded God’s gentle call to new pastures. As a result, they now “get” it and wonderful life is flowing between them and from them – even to me!

How many pastors – who so closely guard the microphone and the prerogatives of their front podium as they try to direct even God himself during their closely scripted and controlled Sunday services – have ever experienced the joy of being just one of many?

Do they realize they have no monopoly on the many spiritual gifts God wants us to give as acts of worship, to Him and in fellowship one with another?

If not, then they are missing the blessing of letting life and ministry flow under the prompting of the Holy Spirit – not simply from them, but to and around them.

Those men in the jail took a chance on God’s prompting by embracing “church” according to New Testament principles.

They were willing to leave the old and the comfortable behind.

In the process, they’ve learned to be participants, rather than spectators; to use their gifts, rather than being entertained by the gifted; to minister to each other, rather than always expecting to be ministered to; and most of all, to give rather than always receive. They now know what it means to meet together to develop and use their gifts by ministering one to another.

As I walked out of that jail, I thought about how the last several months of “being” the church with my incarcerated brothers – who are willing to take a chance on God’s lead – has restored my soul and invoked God’s presence more than the last several decades of “going” to church.

Oh Church, I plead with you. Start hearing and sensing what God wants to do among us as He leads this new spiritual generation to new pastures. Life, and the sweet presence of God, await us as He simply bids us “come”.

Yes, the “new pastures” are different, and yes it means some of us old fogies leaving our comfort zones behind (including the old ways and the old circumstances where God use to met us, which too often have become little more than nostalgic, hollow shells of God’s former presence).

It means being vulnerable, and yes it means embracing change as we trust God and follow Him to those new pastures.

But I’m here to tell you that His new pastures have rich, green grass and still, cool waters.

God awaits us there, and so does the sweetness of his presence.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul . . .

~ Jim

Subscribe

 

14 responses

  1. Awesome story Jim! It is so wonderful to see fruit in the lives of others that we have laid down our lives for. “No greater joy…….”

    Like

  2. It is such a wonderful gift that God has given us; being in His presence always is the reality of our lives as believers since He indwells us. I’ve been in Christ for 9 years and I’ve been acutely aware of His presence every minute of every day since then (even while sleeping). It is His presence that defines us and I wouldn’t, no couldn’t, live without Him being with me, guiding me, correcting me, and giving me rest. He is our Shepherd who know us, each one of us by name. Nothing could be sweeter.

    Like

  3. The power of God is at work in his people,His spirit dwells in us and has called us to minister to one another.I believe we have to always follow God’s voice,for He knows better.It is good to pray for ministers of God,its important brethren,lets thank God for their spirit,for they receive of God to give us.Glory be to His Holy name and works.Amen

    Like

  4. Apologize for my bad english, I deliberate on its a nice piece of your writing. Sumptuously I organize faced alot of difficulties in this condition but your article resolution definately eschew me in future. Hold responsible You

    Like

  5. Great story Jim, great life. Powerful testimony to God moving in folks lives. Thank you Lord for Jim and for those he touches at the jail. Thanks for the life that is breaking out among the brothers. A real thing of beauty Lord, amen.

    Like

  6. Brother Jim:

    The tears of joy flow from my eyes as your anointing and Grace truly brings joy to God! The Holy Spirit is so prevalent in my life that I tear with your passion and anointing. People come into our lives and exit our lives but the impact is forever felt, cherished and held sacred. You are sacred to many including me.

    While we have never met face to face the Holy Spirit has joined us in a brotherhood that brings great joy to Father God!

    I had put a post on another site in recent weeks which also transpired brotherly love from Ghana. I was even asked to consider traveling to minister in Ghana. Oddly enough I am not a minister or priest. The Lord doesn’t call the qualified he qualifies the willing.

    John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

    John 4:4………..Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.

    Jim you are inspirational, encouraging and a true gift to Christianity! You are blessing many lives.

    Thanks be to God!
    With brotherly love, Glen

    Like

  7. Pingback: Participatory Church « Crossroad Junction

  8. Pingback: Celebrating Redemption « Crossroad Junction

  9. Thanks Raymond. For the benefit of everyone else, Raymond is from Ghana and is the brother who prayed the blessing over me that I reference in my blog. He was released — with all charges dropped — a couple of days later (but after I wrote my blog). He has a very sweet spirit and there’s a special, precious initimacy evident between God and him.

    Like

What Are Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,117 other followers