Monday, June 02, 2008

"Moves of God"

The third post I wanted to mention from yesterday was a great post at A Former Leader's Journey called "What If?" Barb asks a bunch of "What if" questions about grace and "moves of God" that I take as rhetorical and reality, and not just possibilities.

She starts out with:
What If God were much bigger than I had ever imagined?

What If Grace was more encompasing that I could believe?

What if God wanted to find his people, go after his sheep, anywhere they had wandered?

What if there was no big "Move of God" but just God pursuing people – sometimes seemingly in the same location at the same time?

What if He was desiring a relationship equally with us who have left the institutional church AND those who are still in there?

What if today, His “Big Move” was to search out hungry hearts anywhere they will be found?

And that's just the beginning! Barb really nails a lot of things right on the head. Check out the entire post, as well as the wonderful comments left by others. One of Barb's very own comments speaks to me as well: "The big movement of God is all the little movements added up together."

Although I've been growing in grace for well over a decade now, I only began really connecting with other similar-minded believers through the internet about three or four years ago (people who were tired of religion and who were learning about grace and freedom in Christ, and walking in it), and my connection and interaction with others really seems to have grown exponentially during the past year or so. I've kind of thought that perhaps through the internet there would be kind of a huge tsunami wave or big explosion of God's grace - a "big move of God," so to speak. But I think (and I could very well be wrong, but this is simply my perception right now) that while there does seem to be some very wonderful things happening around the U.S. and around the world, it's not so much one huge "movement of God" but rather a lot of little ones.

Mega churches and mega ministries are easy to see and are perhaps easier to collect data on. But what's not so visible to the naked eye are all the small gatherings of the saints and the LIFE that is passed on from one saint to another in places such as homes, caf├ęs, on the internet, on the streets, over the phone, in places of employment, in the parks, in private conversations, in the bars, in the gutters, in the alleys, in solitary, in gatherings of two, three or ten, etc, etc, etc, where God is doing big things in individuals and small groups of people.

Don't get me wrong - I think there are some really wonderful things that God is doing in the lives of people through "big" ministries and through "big" churches. I pray for that to always continue! The point is, "What if" God was doing what He wanted to do wherever and however He wanted to do it, whether it was visible to the masses or not.

I'm saying all of this because over the years other people have said and done things to me that have essentially left me feeling inadequate and "out of the loop" because I haven't jumped on the bandwagon of various so-called "moves of God." The reason I haven't jumped on the bandwagon isn't because I'm cold or stuck up, but rather because I'm sitting here listening to and watching what God is saying to me and doing in and through my life and in the community He's put me in and I'm sticking with that. IF He "moves" in me to do something "big" or to join something "big" (as was the case of remaining involved in the mega-church that I was a part of for seven years), then I want to ride the wind of the Spirit and be as involved as He wants me to be. But for now as I seek, pray, watch, etc, I'm very content to be a part of the "small" movement of God that's going on in my own little world and with the people I've come to know and love.

Right now what I see, with my limited view, is a lot of butterflies spread out all over the world that are emerging from their cocoons and are wanting to spread their wings and fly and be free (see my first post from earlier today). If God forms these butterflies into large groups or mega-groups that sweep across the nation or world, then what a great thing that will be! If He keeps them in smaller groups that help, serve, heal, save, impart life, etc, to one life at a time, wherever they're at, what a great thing that will be too!

Do you have any thoughts on "moves of God?" Are your thoughts similar to mine? Different? I'd love to hear from you.

5 comments:

  1. Joel, I love what you've shared here. Like you, my primary source of connection with like thinking believers is through the internet.

    I see Father connecting small groups of believers but I see these groups more like interlocking circles. Scripture says that his glory will cover the earth and I believe it'll be through these interlocking circles.

    However, I'm not as positive as you are about mega-churches and mega-ministries. I believe they're soon going to hit their peak or maybe they already have and we'll soon see them begin to decline.

    At one time, it was very unusual for someone to leave the system. Now, it has become so common that articles are being written about it including in secular magazines like Time and Newsweek. I believe this trend will grow and accelerate as people move out of the system.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, that's my 2 cents.

    Aida

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  2. Joel,

    I think you right on the money. This may be what you were thinking when you chose your imagery, but it reminds me of the Butterfly Effect. This is the theory that a butterfly flapping his wings in Africa starts a series of chain events that produces a tornado in Kansas. I think that there is definitely a parallel in Christianity.

    It is sad to me to think that there are those who think that God is only interested in the "Big Picture." They think that He doesn't concern Himself with the trivial aspects of our lives. They aren't necessarily Deists, but they haven't had the blessing of seeing God in a sunset that is too beautiful to describe, or in that sweet little old lady that gave you a hug before church, or even in that rude cashier that pushed all your buttons.

    It is just like God to use the trivial, mundane aspects of our day-today lives to grow us and to bless others. What a mighty God we serve.

    In Christ,
    Gary

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  3. So it wasn't just me that resonated with what Barb was saying in her post? You have added some great thoughts to it. Your words echo my thoughts as well.

    "I'm sitting here listening to and watching what God is saying to me and doing in and through my life and in the community He's put me in and I'm sticking with that."

    I hear you brother and say Amen!!

    I'm done with trying to follow this or that or feel drawn into things because I "should". I realize that I can recognize what God is doing right in front of me and if he calls me elsewhere he will let me know it. It's a principle that he builds his kingdom upon - Yeast

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  4. Aida, yep indeed I think small groups of people is where a large amount of the "movement" is being done. I think that without smaller groups of people connecting with each other on a more personal basis, a large movement doesn't mean a whole lot.

    In my thoughts about mega ministries and churches, I didn't really mean to say that I'm a huge fan of them continuing. Like you, I think many people are leaving the "big" church in droves. But what I mean is, even in those larger churches (one of which I was a part of), I've seen God doing some wonderful things in and through His children, and as long as there are mega churches out there, I pray that He continues to do those "movements" in and through those who are there. Some of the 'larger' ministries that I had in mind include Grace Walk, Lifetime Guarantee, Free Believers and other grace-based ones that are helping larger numbers of people. The main thing is that individual hearts are being touched and are growing in grace.

    Gary,

    I've heard of the butterfly effect sometime during the past few years, but I had sort of forgotten about it until you brought it up. It was interesting to read more about it through the wikipedia link you gave.

    I think it's so true that God is deeply involved in the trivial, mundane aspects of our daily lives. That's why I think it's so important to not jump on "big movement" bandwagons, unless of course the Lord leads. God moving in the heart of an individual person or small group of people is a big movement because indeed it's a might God who's moving!

    Ruth,

    Indeed it seems that Barb's post resonated with a lot of people! That's great! I really like the things you said as well in the comments over there, and here as well.

    So many people are focused on "big" things that God is supposedly doing, and maybe truly is doing, that we forget the things that are right in front of us. As we simply rest in Him, as you say He will let us know what He's calling us to do and where He's calling us to, if it's different from where we're at right now.

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  5. Okay, Joel. Now, I get what you mean. When I posted my comment i wasn't thinking about grace- based mega ministries. I think those are vital for the church. Travelling ministries like Steve McVey, Darin Hufford and Wayne Jacobsen are needed to bring encouragement to the people wherever they are but, on a personal day by day basis, I really believe the smaller more intimate groups are so much more effective.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Aida

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