– An Invitation to
“From time to time the church should take stock of that which is most central, most important and most vital in our common life together. Though we sing with the tongues of men and of angels, if we are not truly worshipping the living God, we are noisy gongs and clanging cymbals. Though we organize the liturgy most
beautifully, if it does not enable us to worship the living God, we are mere
ballet dancers. Though we repave the floor and reface the stonework, though we
balance our budgets and attract all the tourists, if we are not worshipping God,
we are nothing.”
- N.T Wright, FOR ALL GOD’S WORTH: TRUE WORSHIP
AND THE CALLING OF THE CHURCH
By Kathy Craft
This past year, from November 2010 to present, has possibly been the most difficult period in my life. On November 5, 2010 I was called into my supervisor’s office and told that I was being laid off. Many had already gone down that corridor to unemployment before me, so it was not a complete surprise. But it was a shock no less. I’ve never been laid off before so the emotions were quite new to me. I went through the gambit of emotional rollercoaster rides. One night soon after this occurred I had a dream. In my dream I was in an elevator. It was well lit, warm and secure. I then noticed there were no buttons to push to select a floor or open the door. I also noticed there were doors on all sides, top and bottom. It was then that I heard God tell me that He had me right where He wanted me and that I was to be still and wait. He would open the door and it would be in the direction He wanted. He then showed me the outside of the elevator. It was hung in complete darkness. I awoke and realized that He was telling me to sit still, something very hard for me to do! I wish I could say that over the past 11 months I listened to Him. I struggled, jumped up and down, beat on the walls, and then in complete exhaustion, I sat down on the floor and waited. I’m still waiting.
But one thing became very clear to me. I needed to do some really deep soul searching and deep searching into His Word. I have been reading every day and I’ve asked Him to help me search out deeper truths for me. He has not disappointed me! Almost every day I receive treasures. It’s like they pop up out of the verse and then God speaks them over me. I have come to treasure His Word. I truly believe that He will never ask me to do something that is wrong. In the midst of financial difficulty He gave me Isaiah 43:2-3, “ When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
There are so many instances like this that have occurred over the past 11 months, but I am not able to write them all here. But what this has done in my heart is awaken a deeper and more intimate relationship with my God. Worship is not just about singing, it is about adoring and valuing the very special relationship God wants with me!
A few nights ago, I had a dream. I was in a crowd of people and started walking in the rain along the edge of a railroad track. The path was lower than the railroad track. People were walking ahead of and behind me. Most were in a hurry to get out of the pouring rain. As I walked along, I saw something to my right. It was glittering in the mud. I stopped to investigate. I got down on my knees in the mud and started digging. To my surprise I pulled out gold jewelry of all sorts. I held the jewelry in my hands and watched as the rain washed off the mud. There were bracelets, rings, brooches, all studded with jewels. I handed the jewelry to people passing by and continued to dig out more. Some people didn’t want the muddy mess in their hands, but once the rain began to wash off the mud, they were excited and hurried away with their treasures. I loved surprising people with my treasures. I continued to do this for quite a while. I didn’t want to stop digging for the hidden treasure. Then I noticed to my left what seemed to be a wedding band studded with diamonds. As I reached over and began to pull it out, there was a smaller exact replica of the bigger band. When I placed them in my hand, God spoke to me and said, “Keep these. Don’t give these away. They are for you and Michael.” I then awoke.
I am not totally sure of what all this means, but I do know that God wants me to share the hidden treasures He has been showing me. There is much more hidden treasure in His Word that I want to dig out. And I want to share. Psalm 81: 10b says, “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.” I am on a Treasure Hunt! Want to come along?
By Kathy Craft
I really don't know when it started or what actually caused it. But today I now find myself in a place quite unlike any place I've been before. I've done a lot of soul searching, praying, journaling, reading and pondering these past few weeks and I know what I'm not. I'm not rebellious. I'm not antagonistic; I'm not 'backsliding'. I'm not idealistic. But I do know what I want and I want something real and tangible ………
I'm through with pretending.
I'm through with playing around with 'religion'.
I want more from my Jesus!
I want to 'do the stuff' like John Wimber used to say!
He said we should be 'equipping the saints to do the stuff'! And just what 'stuff' was he talking about? I remember hearing him give his testimony about when he first started believing and was reading the New Testament. He actually believed what he read!
Jesus said that greater things than this will you do……………greater than raising the dead, healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, seeing people set free from their bondages? Wow!
Why do we glibly sit in a pew on Sunday, sing a few songs, listen to the sermons over and over again, say our pleasantries, and walk out the door.
Where is the deep concern for the person sitting next to you? Does it make a difference if there is only one worship song if people are repenting and crying out during worship? Does it make a difference if the sermon never gets taught, but that the young man on the front row was healed
of deep depression and received forgiveness?
We really need to re-think what we're doing………..I don't want to waste anymore time…who's equipping who? Who's 'doing the stuff'? It's not just for the preachers……it's for all of us.
I've been reading Henry Blackaby's book "Experiencing God". He says,
"When God is about to do something through you, He has to get you FROM where you are TO where He is. When you know what God is doing, then you know what you need to do – you need to join Him. The moment you know that God is doing something where you are, your life will be thrown in contrast to God. You cannot stay the way you are and go with God."
WOW! What does that look like to you?
I know I need to change because I know that God is doing something where I am and I want to join Him!
(Artwork: Pondering Past by Deborah Beck; http://hicksplace.com/debbiebeck.htm)