Posted by: Ed | April 13, 2010

LEAP OF FAITH & the Weekend that Was

The weekend after Easter is always an interesting weekend at a church. Our peeps did such a stellar job on the whole invite thing that Easter was packed and a bit out of control. Since we’ve consciously decided to basically do a buffed out version of a normal weekend on Christmas Eve and Easter, you hope that lots of people who don’t regularly show up will decide they might want to re-thing that and choose to come back.

For me personally it was super fun to have some friends that checked things out on Easter weekend show back up this weekend. It kind of made my day on Sunday.


Here are a few thoughts and highlights of the weekend:
THE LITTERAL LEAP IN ACTS 14 – In part two of our series, Beyond Belief we looked at the “leap of faith” that seems to be what activates real faith. I landed on that great story in Acts 14 of the Apostle Paul in Lystra. It was a fun message for me to do. The passage makes sense to me. The exegetical cards are pretty much face up on the table. But there are a few lingering existential or experiential questions that I’m turning over and that I continue to work on. Foremost among them for me, is in verse 9
Acts 14:9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be 1made well,

What did that “seeing” look like (pun intended)? What was it that Paul was experiencing when he saw that the man had faith to be made well? I confess that for many years I glazed over this going to the “well he was an apostle card.” Of course that answers nothing and pretty much sucks dry the power of Acts as any kind of model or picture of New Covenant, Holy Spirit empowered life and ministry (you can look over 2 Corinthians 3 if you want to think more about this). So assuming that these things are normative, how does one “see” this?
I have some ideas that I shared in the message. I do think that this is sometimes where some of the gifts of the Spirit called “Word of Knowledge” come in. At the end of the 2nd service as I was closing the message and inviting people to get prayed for, I invited those with problems in their “hips” to come forward for prayer. There were several that came feeling like it was for them and we had one person report a pretty dramatic healing.

There are lots of practical questions that I wrestle with trying to “stay in step with the Spirit” but I’m o.k. with wrestling. I hope I’m in a place of preferring wrestling to settling for less.

Additional note: We used a powerful clip from the movie “Henry Poole Is Here”. If you haven’t seen this, it is a must see.


SELAH – Our monthly Selah was one of those times where it’s very obvious God was in the room. The worship thread (unplanned) had us “at the feet of Jesus” – seemed like the songs all ended up there. It seems like that is a place of surrender and letting go of our wills. Where the Lord took us was praying for those at crossroad and with a kind of dreadful decision weight on them. We also had a leading to pray for some deep depressions and sadness. I really can’t write about it without it sounding way more sterile than it was. If you go to Journey, don’t miss the next Selah. It’s truly a “ya never know…” kind of thing.

GREAT WEDDING – I did a wonderful wedding on Saturday.

It was a great celebration of this gift from God, but more than that, the groom really made that beautiful personal connection with God in the course of their relationship. I also heard some great stories of God at work at the reception. I’m thinking some my journey’s are coming out of this. Also, I had never heard of or been to the Junipero Serra Museum (Click here). It was so beautiful with a spectacular view. I would say that less that 1 in 10 weddings I perform are indoors and I love that.

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Responses

  1. I feel like your resident responder so this is simple and quick. If a picture says a thousand words, than that film clip said a thousand sermons. (Not that your sermon wasn’t eloquent – it was something I really needed to hear.) And I love what you say here about wrestling vs. settling for less. I’m so trying to find surrender amidst the wrestling but it’s hard. You remind me that anything worth doing, is worth doing badly (or with a little wrestling). Thanks.

  2. Selah was so anointed (understatement). the morning service really struck a cord with me.You (Ed) were talking and God started to elaborate. I had to stop filling in the spaces and just write down what He was saying. In the, My Leap, section God was saying, ” stop running just stop .” I wrote that down and the first thing out of Jasons mouth at the Selah was , ” stop running “, and he reapeated it a few times. Apparently God wants me to deal with deep hurt (really from childhood) that I have been running from it causes me to feel erroneously insecure quite awkward at times.Just saying this lifts such aburden. Anyway thats what happended. Thought I would share.

  3. You said (on Sun or Sun nite) that to submit to Him takes effort, it doesn’t just happen. The “leap of faith” definitely is part of that. Made praying for people Sun and Sun nite more vulnerable and annointed. So cool to be part of a big wave of the spirit. Thanks for pressing-in, listening and then leading! There’s victory in the camp!

  4. Yeah it’s me again…..I don’t think I’m being a pest it’s just that I am so pumped by what I see God doing at JCC. Can you tell how excited I am?
    The morning rocked and then the evening felt totally caught up in the Spirit and prayer for folks was easy, light, freeing..joyful!
    My big question is not so much what did Paul see but what did the crippled man hear from Paul that caused faith to rise in him. My guess is he heard the Gospel of the Kingdom which includes healing, miracles and deliverance. The strong probability that healing could be his must have been presented for him to grab onto with faith. (Faith comes by hearing?) Wouldn’t Paul preach about the Messiah who healed all who came to Him, as well as a Messiah who died for the sins of everyone?
    I can just see the man’s hope rising in him as Paul preached. I can see the depression and hopelessness leaving him and his head lifting up as the possibility of walking again started to take root. I can see his eyes brightening and his face changing as hope gave birth to faith! As Paul continued to talk about the miracles of Jesus and in the early church I can see a faith that becomes like a magnet drawing a response out of Paul. Then the spark, the “Bam” takes place with a command/invitation to “RISE AND WALK” THE WILL OF GOD FOR HEALING AND THE MIRACULOUS, “AS IT IS IN HEAVEN” FOR THIS MAN TAKES PLACE!!! Normal Christianity in action….as normal as when Jesus was doin’ it!!!
    My dream is to move forward from the place of preaching only the Gospel of salvation through Jesus to preaching and demonstrating the Gospel of the Kingdom which includes Salvation and the stuff Paul preached about that created faith in the man to be healed.
    “THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE PREACHED IN ALL THE WORLD…AND THEN THE END SHALL COME”!

  5. Ed, while listening to the sermon for the second time, I was struck by the verses in Acts 14 where the people began worshiping Paul and Barnabas after seeing the crippled man healed. The apostles became so grieved by their flattery and idolatry that they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd crying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are men of like nature with you…” It disturbed them to see the glory that belonged to God given to them. They were just His instruments. Visualizing this scene, I longed to be an artist so I could go home and paint it! Contemplating this causes me to pray:
    May the Lord grant us humility such as these men had to be uncomfortable with any glory men try to bestow upon us that belongs to God alone! …….(I don’t know if we should tear our clothes however-might not be appropriate in our culture!)

  6. Ed, Hey it’s the tek guy from Oasis at Brookside in Omaha! Remember me? Do you ever think while you are preaching that someone in Omaha is listening?
    I’ve been podcasting Journey for a while and enjoying it all – great supplement to my own church. Anyway – on this leap of faith thing: After listening to this talk – and then the following one that Jason did the next week – I have to ask/challenge/whatever – Did you all miss the part where God is “rational/reasonable” in his dealings with us? “Come let us reason together”. The reference to a leap of faith I can see but it certainly isn’t EVER a blind leap right?

    I see us standing on the edge of the pool with our daddy holding out his hands to us to jump in – to his arms. We don’t do this unless a few things are present – such as some past, historical evidences that he loves us, some level of knowledge (there’s that gnosis word again) that he won’t let us drown, and last of all, and most important, his call to us in a voice we recognize.

    The reference to Kierkegaard was a bit troubling because through Francis Shaeffer I always understood him to be a proponent of the blind leap…with faith and reason divorced…which, as an engineer I simply cannot do :-) It’s against the engineer rules or something.

    Anyway – just wondering on your take on that.
    Thanks – you all (as a church) really do help folks leap in the right direction.


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