Tonight was a great night at my Life in the Spirit Bible Study. Some of you will be shocked to read that, since that is not normally my assessment of the study. And, honestly, I did not go anticipating anything different than the last few weeks. But, tonight, God showed up in a mighty and real way that is hard to even describe. It all started innocently enough. We are studying being filled with the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. The pastor asked us to share stories of people we knew where we had seen the Spirit at work. I immediately thought of several people at different times in my life where the Spirit had moved in dramatic and not so dramatic ways. I thought of Jason who a friend and I had discussed was going to be a preacher two full years before he heard/accepted/acted on the call (you choose what works in your way of thinking). I thought of another friend who I had seen change from deathly afraid of international travel to working in full-time mission work. I thought of how God has led us to each job change and locality change that we have made in our marriage. I thought of the ladies who have been posting their New Year’s meditations on Laurel’s site and the way God is moving in blogsphere. Others thought of and shared their stories as well. It was encouraging.
Then the pastor asked what would it look like if revival really came into our church family and how we would react. Could we anticipate revival? How do we do that? We had a great discussion about watching for God at work and being active in seeking His leading and His moving in our church. And we talked about that part of anticipating God moving is to be willing to do things differently--to be open to change--because God rarely does what we expect; He does so much more! That really got me to thinking about what the “more” might look like. Would I like it? Would I want it? Would I be a part of it? I would hope that I could answer “yes” to all of those questions because I should want to be a part of anything God is doing. But moving outside my comfort zone always takes my breath away. So I realize that I need to pray to be ready to change. I need to honestly and earnestly seek a flexible heart if I am going to experience God in a "more" way.
Before I left for the study tonight, I grabbed a copy of this that Ellen wrote over at Laced by Grace. I had copied it because I‘ll be sharing part of it with my Ladies Bible Study next week to jumpstart a discussion of where we see God taking the group this year. I had not given any thought to taking it tonight. But something (or Someone) prompted me to get it. And then I really felt I needed to share questions one, two and six. So I did. I guess we‘ll see what God does with that. (side note--I‘ll be sharing some of my answers to those questions in the coming days, because I am being seriously challenged by them. Watch this space.)
Then it was prayer time. It was a time of open prayer, which is usually 3-4 people praying out of the group of 10. Tonight it was silent. Really silent. For a good 10 minutes. I can hardly describe it. It was “heavy“ with the presence of God. I kept hearing a repeated refrain in my head of “Don’t talk” so I didn’t. I was literally bouncing with giddiness as I prayed about what God could do in our church if He truly filled us. (I may need to remind you all that I am in a conservative traditional evangelical church that shies away from charismatic anything for the most part--so this is not our normal prayer time expression). All of a sudden I could not help smiling at the thought of what God was going to do. I almost laughed aloud, but thought better of it, since the time was not really right. The pastor closed the time with a prayer that he thanked God for a time of “overwhelming presence that keeps us in silence.” Afterwards one of the ladies in the group came over to me and said, “That was the greatest feeling--kind of heavy with God’s Spirit and then I couldn’t help but smile as He washed over.” HOW COOL IS THAT? I don’t know what it means, but I know that God is at work and I am EXCITED to see what He does. I wish I could say that is always the case, but too often I am comfortable in the normal and even leery of change. So this is a great feeling. I’m sure I’ll be posting more as this unfolds. But for now, I feel like my waterfall is coming. COOL!