New Year is normally a time for church's to set out the stall for the year ahead - this is what we are going to do etc. I felt God during the Christmas break put a pause on our planning. Usually that would cause me a sense of unease bordering on panic but the Holy Spirit kept saying Selah - Pause, reflect an ask the question not WHAT you are going to do but WHY...
It is easy to be busy. Often there is a subtle pressure that if we are not exhausting ourselves in Jesus' name then we are not quite up to scratch. God reminded me that Jesus is the reason that we do anything and everything that we set our energy to must be an overflow of our relationship with Jesus. As I was walking home one day last week the Lord said to me that the only Kingdom He is interested in building is HIS Kingdom. I had to stop planning my own thing (even if if it church stuff) and then spend time asking for the blessing of God to multiply it but to pause, reflect and listen to what the Heart of God was for my life, my church, my ministry right now. Get involved with what God is doing, that is already blessed as Bono once said.
So the first thing is that I, and Exchange Church, are called to be a place where men & women first encounter the presence of Jesus. In His presence we are healed, restored, encouraged, lifted, strengthened, envisioned, given hope, joy and much more besides. We are a church that is marked by the presence of God. These verses sum it up well. Good programs wont make us different, clever marketing will not change lives or heal hearts. What we as this church are called for is to be a people who steward and carry the presence of God.
"My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." 15 Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" EX 33 vs 14-15
We have an expectancy of the goodness & love of God in our lives. We want to see the Kingdom of heaven demonstrated in our lives. We want to see His love & presence change our families, friends & loved ones in their bodies, souls & spirits. That is the first thing for 2014.
Jesus - In His presence & power.
You will be able to watch & listen to this talk tomorrow - check the website & social media