Easter is my favorite holiday. I love the beauty of the sacrifice, the agony of the wait while Jesus laid in the tomb, and the thrill and amazement of victory as He rolled the stone away and walked out.
The Resurrection story is so much more than a few verses of a song or lines of a child's poem. It's the very thing we crave, long for, require for Salvation, and yearn for: Life from death, mercies made new, a new creation, beauty from ashes.
This Easter, while you're celebrating a resurrected Lord, allow Him to resurrect you. Lay down the dead and dying parts of your life and watch Him breathe new life into them.
The job you lost.
The child that strayed.
The parent that hurt you.
The spouse that cheated.
The diagnosis that rocked you.
The friend that betrayed you.
The drug that demands your soul.
The sin that won't relent.
The thing that won’t let go.
Lay it down.
And watch Him raise you back to life.
Paul was a tent maker. That's a nugget of trivia many may not know about this man who almost single-handedly wrote the New Testament.
Scripture tells us "Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks." (Acts 18:4)
His life "Monday through Saturday" was filled with living life in a practical way. It was on the Sabbath that he preached and shared the Gospel in church.
For much of my adult life I've worked very hard to teach, to share the Gospel and to lead. Leading Bible study has been enjoyable and refreshing and energizing for me. It's a passion. My main desire is to see others grow while building community.
Just today I had the thought, what if we just made tents?
What if we simply lived our lives and allowed our actions and character to speak the Gospel? That doesn't mean we stop telling the story of Jesus, but maybe it's time I step back and stop trying to create this community and instead, live in community where I am.
We're called to disciple others and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That's not always done on the hillside while preaching to 5,000--often (and usually) it's done over coffee, while folding laundry, during a PTO meeting, in the lunch room, and in a number of other mundane ways.
Jesus "lived life" during his 3-ish years of public ministry. He ministered wherever He went. Often it just "happened." He used ordinary, everyday occurences to teach infinite and eternal Truths.
Paul changed the landscape of our world by carrying the Gospel thousands of miles and when you read the Pauline Epistles (letters from Paul in the New Testament) you see he did so through relationship. That's where I want to focus. I've focused long enough on manufactured, often one-sided relationships where I yearn to pour out, but often don't take time to receive.
Bible studies are wonderful and I will probably continue to host them, but my main focus now is on building relationships that are shared life experiences with God at the center.
On the way to church one night for a special prayer gathering, my kids grumbled about missing play time. I got frustrated as I explained the power of prayer and how we are literally communicating with the Almigty when we pray.
I was trying so hard to convey to them the power we have access to through prayer when I felt my annoyance level skyrocket. Why couldn't they understand? How could they not get excited at the opportunity to go before the Throne of God for someone and watch all of Heaven answer that prayer? What was I doing wrong in raising them?
And then it hit me. My words stopped tumbling from my frustrated lips.
They didn't understand because they weren't experiencing the amazing things I was. I have experienced the supernatural. I've felt the Lord speak and when I obeyed, I was rewarded with seeing Him work through my actions of obedience and petitions of prayer in ways I could never have expected or predicted.
I have been in situations where my prayers were directly and immediately answered for different things for myself and others. I've also watched the Lord work things out beautifully over time through a series of events . I've experienced things that can't be explained away by man's knowledge.
But my kids hadn't. Not only that, they didn't know I had either. And the reason they didn't know is because I didn't tell them. Why not?
For the same reason that I hesitate every time I talk to others or post here. Because I am afraid of the reaction I'll receive from others when I describe sensing the Lord's voice in my life or having prayers answered in front of my eyes. I don't want to scare anyone away. I don't want anyone to think I'm crazy. And because of my fear and self-preservation, I was robbing my kids of experiencing God personally.
Right then, during that car ride, I shared a few things with them that better illustrated how important and intimate, and mind-blowing prayer is and can be. Their eyes opened wide and even though they were slightly shocked, I didn't feel like they doubted me. It was refreshing. I've made myself a promise not to prejudge their ability or desire to hear the truth. Not the watered-down version of what a relationship with God looks like, but the kind of relationship the disciples enjoyed with Jesus: A deep friendship; an awe and reverance that comes only from truly knowing someone and finding them trustworthy. That's the foundation for big-time prayers that sound crazy, but are kid's play to the Lord. That's the mindset needed for petitioning the Lord the way He tells us to.
Are you quiet too? What amazing experiences with the Lord are you keeping to yourself for fear of judgment?
This space is reserved for Founder Mandy's perspectives and viewpoints of Scripture. Man is fallible, but God is not. It's strongly encouraged that you study the Scripture for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding.
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