Saturday, May 26, 2012

Week Eleven

The Discipline of Guidance

"Heaven and earth are on tiptoe waiting for the emergence of a Spirit-led, Spirit-intoxicated, Spirit-empowered people.  All of creation watches expectantly for the springing up of a disciplined, freely gathered, martyr people who know in this life the life and power of the kingdom of God."- Foster

It's almost as if the world is waiting for God's kids to realize and KNOW who they are, what kingdom they are apart of... and what is in store for those who abandon all else for God's will, purpose and design.  They are waiting for the word of God to come alive in and through us.  They are watching for any sign of real life, hope, love, truth and freedom in this world.

The kingdom of heaven is drawing near.  I feel it all around me as I see God's kids receiving this massive love that constantly flows from His thrown... I hear it in the testimonies, see it in the miracles, and rejoice in it as I walk around in this kingdom daily.  Yes, we have so much to look forward to... but wow, we have such an incredible opportunity to experience this kingdom right now! Gah!! So cool!!!

Point is... HE pursues our hearts so we'll open them to this unfathomable love.  And when we do... oh man, just watch out!!  This love encounter will leave you always craving more of Him, and others will be blown away by the authentic kingdom IN YOU that seems so "out of this world".  I just imagine heaven and earth actually on their tiptoes.... waiting in eager expectation!!!  All we gotta do is awaken to what He's already done on the cross and accept the fact we are already and forever accepted.  Rest in THAT for a second.  Wow... how good the GOOD NEWS really is!

In Celebration of Discipline Richard Foster draws importance on the Discipline of Guidance and how God leads through His people, which he thinks has been a quiet subject in the church for the most part. There are many examples in the word how God used men and women who trusted in their Savior, disciples, fishermen, and even ex-tax collectors.  No matter their background... because of the love they encountered they become the children of God He destined them to be as they walked into their purpose and believed what God said about them and Himself.

His will + their unity = Authority in Christ

"There was the assurance Jesus gave to his disciples that when a people genuinely gathered in his name his will could be discerned.  The superintending Spirit would utilize the checks and balances of the different believers to ensure that when their hearts were in unity they were in rhythm with the heartbeat of the Father.  Assured that they had heard the voice of the true Shepherd, they were able to pray and act with authority."  Foster

It's easy to rely on the advice of others, the rule of human authority, the guidelines placed by those long before, the voice of our pastor, the rules of our government, or even the latest blog on a similar experience.  We seek many things on this earth for direction, instruction, and leadership.  Many times I've sought something other than the source for truth, and occasionally been led down the wrong path because of it.  Do I believe that God can still redeem any situation?  Of course I do!  Do I believe He can use anyone for guidance in your life? Yes... If we allow God authority, He will open our eyes to THE WAY.  And the authority He gives us is not to rule over others... but it's FOR others.

His purpose for all of us is to walk in the kingdom of heaven on earth every day and align ourselves with the word of God and be guided by the Holy Spirit.  He wants us to receive as much of His love on earth as we possibly can.  And the crazy thing is all we have to do is awaken to the love already deposited within us when He died on the cross. Shwew... good stuff!

Foster talks about a Spiritual director at one point and the purpose of one in our lives.  "His direction is simply and clearly to lead us to our real Director.  He is the means of God to open the path to the inward teaching of the Holy Spirit."  Yea, so this pretty much sums it up.  We point to Him by letting the infatuation and love exchange we have with Him flowing out of our pours as we give and give and give that goodness away.  We will never run out.  Ever.  Endless supply of this love... and we are assured of it as we enter the eternal kingdom mindset.  We are so rich with His love. Wow.

Spiritual directors are teachable, humble, transparent, authentic... they are unmoved by the fluctuations of the times, they can absorb the selfishness, mediocrity, and apathy around them and transform it.  They are unshakable, unjudging, compassionate, and committed.  They know who they are and they know WHOSE they are.  They see themselves how God sees them, not who the world tells them they are.

Not only are these the people I love to hang around... but they are also the person I want to be.  As we all walk into the kingdom together and accept the view God has of us, we become the person He created us to be.  We no longer live according to the judgement of the world, but as a grateful child of Jesus who spews forth love from every pore!  We must begin to listen... listen to the holy spirit within us, and listen to those around us.  There is no room for manipulation, guilt, and control in the kingdom of heaven.  Let us learn and grow in the spiritual realm together as we open our eyes and hears to our King and Savior.

"The aim of God in history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons, with Himself included in that community as its prime sustainer and most glorious inhabitant." Dallas Willard

The RACE!!!

Well, I did it.  I ran the whole 13.1 miles that it takes to complete a half-marathon.  I still can't believe my eyeballs.  Technically I probably ran about 14 miles if you count running back up a steep hill to retrieve my iphone from the port-a-john.  Talk about a stinky predicament... I even thought about leaving the thing in there, for punishment i guess, but then realizing it was my own dang fault I grabbed it and headed back down the hill only to find out my running buddies had disappeared into the crowd.

At first I felt a little lonely, not knowing a soul around.  But then i started pretending that the hundreds of people on the sidelines cheering were for me.  Not only that, but all 30,000 of us runners were in this thing together... and that's inspirational!  The motivation I felt to finish the race was unbelievable when those people started yelling, "you can do it"!!! It's like I had an extra burst of energy.  The runners were even encouraging each other.  At one point a man about 85 years old ran up behind me, told me how beautiful I was... and then zoomed past me.  Yea, he zoomed past me.  Haha.  Still, we were all like a family.  Something in my heart knew that this was actually how it was supposed to be in life.

There are so many incredible moments in that day... but the greatest was the fellowship we had with the other runners all headed to the same place.  Perhaps everyone was out there that day for different reasons, but as I ran I began to see what was most important.  It wasn't how fast I could run it, or how good i looked out there (pssssh ya right), or if i sat down for awhile, or slowed down to have a conversation, or anything like that.   I think it was actually that I ran with my eyes open.  I mean, in this case i really didn't have a choice... but in real life we do.

For the first part of my life I read about "running the race" in the word, but most of my run my eyes were shut tightly out of fear, guilt, shame, insecurity, doubt, or condemnation.  And maybe that's how I ended up running off course from time to time or missing out on some awesome blessings from the Father.  Perhaps it's even why we feel at times we can't see Him or hear His voice.  Maybe we are too afraid of what we will hear or see... instead of trusting that God is who He says He is, He wants to communicate with us, talk through things... and overwhelm us with His love!  There is nothing to fear in that!!!  When we open our eyes wide and awaken to the love that's been there the whole time... we realize how effortless it is to reach, in fact it's right there in our face waiting on us to see and receive it!  There is another whole realm of living God has for us on earth if we are willing to just let go... and walk in His kingdom... the WAY. 

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