Saturday, 11 May 2013

New Wine Rewind...

New Wine Guernsey last weekend, longed-for and looked-forward to. A weekend of worship and teaching and renewal. Bliss.
Everyone's experience is different. Some liked one speaker more than another. Some would have preferred more 'old' songs, some wanted still more new ones. Some wouldn't have gone forward for prayer even if wild horses had dragged them (in which case, surely they would? How could you resist?) while others leapt at every prayer ministry opportunity.
I imagine that we all took something different away from the weekend, too.
This was what stayed in my heart:
Not my strength.
Emily Freeman, in Chatting at the Sky, says: It seems to me when I finally recognize my inability is when Christ shows up able within me.
The theme of the weekend was Power from on High.
How often do we subscribe to this, saying something like: "Yes, God, send more of your spirit, more power, Lord...etc etc."
And how often do we add, subconsciously, unaware: " add to my already quite impressive self - MY strengths and capabilities."
We think God is in the business of topping up an almost full jar instead of filling to overflowing an empty one.
We avoid emptiness, because emptiness is an unpleasant feeling.

During the weekend, there was much emphasis on unity. Unity dependent on good relationships, friendship, godly affection. Agreed.
There was talk of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit: of faith, expectation. Oh yes.

In the middle of this, a few verses and thoughts slipped in, dominating my soul, then and now.

THIRSTY. "“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive." John 7:37 - 39

HELPED. "I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!" John 14:16 - 17
I remembered some old truths:
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A GENTLEMAN. There is no forced take over;  no sweeping away - unless I ask for it with a truly humble spirit; no invasion of my jealously guarded privacy.
THERE HAS TO BE ROOM FOR ANOTHER PERSON IN MY LIFE. If my life is just full of 'me', how can there be room for Him? The more preoccupied I am with myself, my thoughts, my desires, my demands, the less I am available to the Holy Spirit.

WEAK. As I pondered the loads I carry which the Helper could help me bear - work attitudes, relationship problems, future worries - I realised that I had been ignoring the Spirit's help and struggling on in my own strength.
Ridiculous. How can I even think about living out Jesus' example in my own strength? The demands of being a disciple are simply too big too accomplish on my own. If the first friends of Jesus struggled before the Holy Spirit came in power, then I shouldn't even think of trying it.
"... the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (Romans 8:26) Or, as the Message puts it: "He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves..."

As the speaker reminded us of the work of the Spirit: the power of God - I realised how foolish  I am to do anything in my own strength. I need help beyond myself - for physical healing, for broken relationships, for forgiveness, for living...
And as I live with tension - aiming for the perfection of the Kingdom while living in the problems of the present - I need to remember that I CAN'T live this life well in my own strength, but only when I am humble enough to admit my need, come to Jesus and ask for God's power and peace.
Because, if we STAY HUMBLE and HUNGRY, there isn't anything God can't do through us.
As Peter says: "Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing." (1 Peter 3:8 - 9, The Message)

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