For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19 NLT
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.... And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.
Hebrews 10:22, 25 NLT
This past year we at Encounter Ministry have reflected on biblical encounters with Jesus in the hopes these stories would inspire and encourage each of you to personally draw closer to the Lover of your soul. Our hope was for you to experience His great Love for you in the places you most needed it… fresh and new, in life giving ways. We created and held sacred spaces through weekly blogs, podcasts, special events like our invitation to explore the Lenten season and culminating with our recent Life in the Spirit Day and the pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Today, I would like to offer reflections from my recent Regather Conference in Thailand with my friends and colleagues of the Global Leadership Collective. We gathered from 14 different countries across the globe to a beautiful retreat center in southern Thailand. I don’t feel like I actually saw much of Thailand, however, I feel I am forever changed because of my recent trip there. I see many parallels to how our ministry has been impacted over the last couple years and my local church has also been impacted by those same events. I really believe the message The Spirit of God imparted to us also applies to the local church and am compelled to share it with you all.
Isaiah 43:19 NLT For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
The invitation to come back, regather because the LORD is doing something new. There have been events that have caused us to disperse, scatter, isolate ourselves from one another and the things of God that are intended for us to be a part of personally as well as corporately. The Spirit invites us to be still and know He is God and as we stand at the crossroads to consider the ancient paths, follow them and we will find rest for our weary souls….I don’t know about you but my soul has been very weary these past years as we have navigated the changing landscape of culture and the society in which we find ourselves. There is also the invitation to
Hebrews 10:22,25 NLT Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.... And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.
Something happened to cause us to break connection from one another, impeding our ability to be and do what we were intended to do within community that was beyond our control. The Spirit of God is inviting us back to connect with Him through community in a physical, embodied way. To create welcome spaces physically, spatially, emotionally that are warm, inclusive, and respectful. A place that welcomes and invites us into deeper relationships with Jesus and one another…a place of reconciliation where we can discover a deeper purpose for our lives in Christ. A place where we can learn to listen to Jesus and one another with our eyes, ears, heart… our whole body. A place where there is a mutuality of love. We are also invited to
Remember that Jesus called me, calls us, for His Glory, not our own. He actually pursued us, not the other way around which is so culturally foreign. He chooses each of us based on who He knew we would become. Often, we follow Jesus because of what WE want but as we continue our life with Him, we experience a shift in our motives and become freer to live in harmony to His vision and purposes.
What did he call me from? For some of us, we were on a pretty bleak path and He rescued us from certain death and destruction… where else would we go, this world has nothing for us… As I continue to walk with Him, my life transforms to become a woman who has nothing of real value to lose in this world, a Holy indifference in which I am able to more fully embrace the something He is calling me to… the values I pursue are not the values of the world in which I live but rather a radical discipleship that embraces values of another, everlasting kingdom.
He reminds us He will never leave us as orphans but will be with us to the very end of the age, not that we won’t experience hard things in this life but that He is with us in them all… Could there be anything else that could bring us a sense of peace beyond all understanding?? Because of the ways I have personally encountered Jesus, I am confident that I will be able to stay the course to the end, whatever the end looks like. Not because of my own ability but because His Spirit lives in me and empowers me just as He longs to empower each of you!!
True discipleship can only happen in community, a spiritually safe place to encounter Jesus…we are ALL called to be disciples as well as disciplers of one another as we encounter more of Jesus in our inner most parts.
Recommit to the lifetime journey with Jesus. It is not a one-time event. Yes our salvation is but if we only pursue Jesus for “what we can get” we miss the greatest prize of all, the deeper gift which is to know and be known by Him.
Recommit to being a true disciple, one that will experience suffering, death, and resurrection in our life experiences as we walk in this world. Encountering His love and compassion in those places.
Recommit to my local church, to be an instrument used by God for His intent and purpose, pursuing fellowship with one another even when it is hard and complicated. Living out the hope through the rhythms of confession, repentance, and forgiveness to one another in relationship.
ReEngage is the living out of our recommitment. The action behind the commitment that is ongoing and also offers us many opportunities to restart. Jesus never intends our encounters with Him to become commemorative events but rather events that continue to propel us forward. Yes, there absolutely is merit in sharing our encounters with Jesus with one another, to become the lens in which the world would see His story through us and encourage one another to continue on toward the prize. Spurring each other forward into His work on this earth.
There is a real urgency to this ongoing work God is inviting each of us to. The time for open discipleship is quickly changing and our enemy is becoming very overt to undermine all things that relate to God and His people. We truly are becoming exiles in a foreign land. Take heart my dear brothers and sisters, Jesus invites us to draw close to Him for a fresh new encounter. In doing so we too will be able to live faithfully as other exiles who have gone before us.
Forgive us Jesus for the ways we have pulled back to “safe” places and not fully stepped into what you are calling us to, not just invited, but CALLED us to. Help us Holy Spirit, to live fully and faithfully with all that we are, all that we have, physically, emotionally, provisionally until we draw our last breath here on this earth.