God is up to something and I’m speechless.

IMG_8642

18And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute.  Luke 1:18-22

Zechariah was taking his turn serving in the temple when God sent a message. His wife would have a child who would be the forerunner to the Messiah. It seemed unbelievable to Zechariah. Not the part about the Messiah, but the part about his wife having a baby.

When Zechariah left the seclusion of the temple he was speechless. He knew what God had said; his friends and family knew something had happened to him and perhaps it was from God. But they did not understand him. All he could do was try to communicate with his hands. They did not understand.

Sometimes our attempts to tell others about God’s call on our lives may be like Zechariah’s attempt. God confronts us. We have a new experience. We get a glimpse of what He is doing in the world. And we know we get to be a part of it. And now we want to tell others about it. But nobody understands us. What has been conceived in our lives by God is not yet apparent to others. And perhaps we are not yet really believing God. We lack the simplicity and conviction of speech required to express what God is showing us.

We may need a season of quiet patience, simplicity, and trust. That was the issue for Zechariah. He didn’t yet trust or believe God in the matter of the child. His ten months of silence or speechlessness was a graceful gift. When you are struggling to communicate what God is forming in you and for your organization try something: spend some more time quiet with God ‘till He forms the words in you that resonate.

Left, Left; Left Right; Left

IMG_1639

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:22-26
Paul writes to the Christians in Galatia so they can know how Jesus changes lives. Its not through a proliferation of rules. Rather change comes through the regeneration of a life in the power of the Gospel of Jesus. Grace poured into our life by the Spirit of God: “we live by the Spirit.”

Now our life is lived in response to Jesus.

Now, we can “keep in step with the Spirit.”

I like to walk. Quickly. My drive is fuelled by the need to exercise and the desire to get there. However, I am able to adjust when in the company of others in order to be with them. As we start out we may each want to insist on our own pace; but soon we are in step with each other. If I am fighting against the pace, it feels like death. So it is with the Spirit of God.

If I am mindful of the Presence of Jesus with me during the day then I adjust my pace, my attitudes, my actions in order to join Him and to keep up with what He is doing in the world around me. When I am in step with Him I can bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

You will know it when I’m not in step with the Spirit when you see conceit, provocation, and envy. How to get back in step? As soon as you become aware: pause for prayer, confessing the sin, and accessing the Gospel for the occasion. Highlight the Cross of Jesus in your thoughts, considering Him who endured sinful people. Then, relying on His grace, move forward in His love and power.

Left; Left; Left, Right; Left; Left…

change on the horizon

Today has been a roller coaster of emotions, as I announced publicly at Cityview that I am responding to God’s call to plant a church in the UBC Campus Community.  God has blessed my family over the past 16 years with your friendship and partnership in Vancouver.  Starting early this morning I replayed the stories of many people who have seen Jesus lifted up and their lives transformed by the Gospel at Cityview.  Thank you for praying for us and for being a part of our lives.  If you would like to hear more of what I shared, listen to the talk that will be uploaded later in the week at www.cityviewchurch.ca In the meantime, please pray for Cityview and for my family as we go through this transition.  Our last Sunday will be July 18 and in September we will give our full attention to the UBC Campus Community.