RESPONDING TO LAST WEEKEND
Well it was quite a weekend wasn’t it? I knew when we invited him that Gerard would be well received as A preacher, but I think I underestimated how God would also speak through him in some of the asides he made and in conversations he had with me and others.
I have been trying to process what God was saying to me and us at the weekend and spent most of Monday morning thinking and praying about it and how to respond. I feel that the Lord gave me five verses for us a community to help us respond to what he said to us. here they are and my thoughts about what their implications might be.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 2:7
We need an openness to God’s Word / Spirit. Jesus spoke through John to the churches in the Roman province of Asia and told them to be open, sensitive and responsive to what God wanted to say to them through the Spirit. I think that was an important part of Gerard was saying to us last weekend. We need to listen to hear what God has to say. How does the Spirit speak today? He speaks through His Word so as we hear God’s Word preached on Sundays and discuss it in our groups, we should be listening for what the Spirit might be saying to us. Sometimes the Spirit speaks directly, and yes sometimes people mishear, make stuff up and just get a bit weird but none of that negates the fact that God speaks through people and we should be open to that. We need to be open to what people think God is saying to them for us and then weigh it and evaluate to see if God confirms it is indeed what He is saying.
Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Psalm 85:6
We need a desire for revival. As God’s people individually and collectively we go through “dry” periods in our spiritual walk with God. To desire revival is to desire for God to stir us up spiritually, for His presence and power to be tangible in our lives and gatherings. I know I need that to happen to me.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3
We need fresh deeper experiences of God’s love. Although we never say it out loud, we can come to believe after we have been believers for a long time that we have sort of “arrived.” That there aren’t any new things for us to know or experience. Yet Paul prays that by the work of the Holy Spirit deep inside of us, we will have new deeper and richer experiences of God’s love and that these would be on going “knowing this love that suprasses knowledge” and as a result we will experience significant spiritually growth, “filled to the measure of the fullness of God” However long those of us connected to Westlake have been disciples we should all desire that through the work of the Spirit we would see and experience deepening dimensions of God’s love. This is antidote to the spiritual staleness that sometimes infects our lives and churches.
10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Cor 2
We need an awareness of spiritual warfare and strong relationships. I had some rudimentary military training as part of what was called the Air Training Corps. The first thing they taught us was that after a victory, prepare for a counter attack. I have never had to experience that in physical warfare but I have experienced it in spiritual warfare. I think every time I have felt there has been a significant break through or success in the ministry of a church I have been leading something has happened to deflect us from what God has done or try and destroy that work. The counter attack usually comes through relationship problems between believers which is why Paul links forgiveness with Satan’s schemes. We need to guard our relationships right now, lets use grace, forgiveness, and patience to defeat any counter attack.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, James 1;5
We (I) need wisdom I admit that I all too often feel inadequate for the task and confused about how to, move Westlake forward. Things seem so complex. Yet I was reminded in James that a lack of wisdom shouldn’t drive me to despair but drive me to my knees to ask God for it. When it comes to the future of Westlake, I have plenty of ideas, many of you have many ideas but we need God’s wisdom and to receive God’s wisdom we have to ask for it. So lets ask!
What about you what do you feel God is saying to us right now as Westlake Church?