I've begun reading Francis Chan's book "Forgotten God" recently. After spending a weekend with other pastors, talking about the need for God's Church to be experiencing the Holy Spirit....I ended up at Barnes and Noble with some friends. The subtitle is "Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit". It seemed a perfect fit for these days.
I've not read far, but the first couple chapters have been great. Really just "setting the stage" for spending time in the Scriptures that discuss the Holy Spirit, approaching them without specific expectations informed by whatever influences we bring to the table....or whatever limitations we've put on our experience of God's Spirit so far.
The traditional/obvious illustration is to look at 3rd world countries, where the Spirit of God is moving in some pretty incredible ways. Where the Church observes and experiences growth and happenings in ways like we in the States hunger for. Our ability/desire to provide for ourselves both today and tomorrow, and almost worshiping that as an Idol in some cases.....has led us to an experience of God that really depends little on what the Spirit is able to provide.
Like many these days, we have been praying for and keeping posted on the efforts in Haiti. We hear stories of the broken-ness. The lack of structure. The suffering. The confusion. The need for so much. My sentiment to hearing so much of this used to be, "Wow. Glad I'm not there. Thanks God for all that I have here."
But, and not being able to explain of justify this, other than thinking it's probably a good thing...my response as been, "I want to be there." Selfishly. Not as a desire to bring healing, or Love, or comfort, or food, or money, etc. But because the conditions there sound like a place the Spirit of God would be welcome and depended on in a way that allows/brings about/encourages something BIG and FROM GOD to occur.
Which led me to another thought - I want to desire being present in the "Haiti's" of the lives around me. Thinking about it, I've heard the same thing said by several authors in several other books. But as it struck me this past week, I realized that's a large part of ministry (and love in general). The calling to be present in the broken and messy moments of others. But it's usually seen as an "I'm bringing something to them...the presence of God...comfort...relationship....etc." But to actually realize that they offer something to me, by allowing me to be present in space where the Spirit is being depended on to DO SOMETHING....
May life offer us each more moments like that....and when we find ourselves broken, empty, experiencing loss and suffering, where we feel like we have nothing left....may we invite/welcome others to join us in those moments...moments where God MUST MOVE. :)
Church For The Unwelcomed
3 days ago