The Rubble, The Babble, and The Spirit

IMG_7907

4And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” 6Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”

8Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 10For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.  Zechariah 4:1-10

Small beginnings.

Zerubbabel was tasked by God with what seemed impossible: rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem from the large pile of rubble, a mountain of rubble, currently occupying its former space. His small beginnings were an object of contempt among his detractors. But God awakened Zechariah to encourage Zerubbabel to continue laying out the stones so that he could choose the cornerstone that would set the foundation and the walls of the temple.

God’s grace.

Large tasks and visions have their temptations. The leader is tempted to rely on her own wits, authority, and power. While these require skill and political awareness. The spiritual leader called by God has an ultimate point of reliance. The spiritual leader relies on the Spirit of God. God says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His disciples. Jesus fully intends to build His church. Therefore He continues to give “impossible” tasks to His disciples. But He gives His Word. And He gives His Spirit as our Helper.

26“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.John 15:26

 

6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.8And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;10concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;11concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.14He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.15All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  John 16:6-15

Dreams from the heart of God

What’s the great mountain standing between you and the dream God has put in your heart? Last weekend Origin Church explored God’s Word to Zerubbable as a word for us. In our spiritual journey we believe disciples are graced with dreams of Jesus’ work in the lives of people. Every great dream has small beginnings. We must not despise the day of small beginnings. Although we bring all we’ve got we do not rely on ourselves as the ultimate force. Spiritual leaders rely on the Spirit of God “to build the house.” God brings the grace that fully exceeds our strengths and our weakness.

Here’s our encouragement: God says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

 

Advertisement

Unlimited Access

IMG_0207

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Through my online reader I see headlines from several national newspapers. When I see what interests me I go to it. But after I reach the mark of “ten articles per month” my access is limited. It is so disappointing to click on an article and then see the screen popup with the message: “For only $___ a month you can get unlimited access.” You see my frugality now.

Thankfully, God is not like this. When difficulties and challenges arise we do not run out of access to God. Through Jesus we have access to God the Father. We obtained access to this grace, the peace with God through Jesus Christ, by faith in Him. Access  does not run out. We have unlimited access. This is good news to me because the challenges that produce pain for me have not run out either.

Discipleship through challenges

The text describes a massive feedback loop essential to discipleship: A challenge, and then rejoicing because we have knowledge of a process and the experience of God’s love.

The process: suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

The experience: Love poured into our hearts. Jesus Christ mediates our access to God and has made peace. Our access to God is reality by the Holy Spirit. He has poured God’s love into our hearts. God’s love that takes the shame out of our suffering. God’s love that moves us into a growing, persisting, full, and hopeful life when we are hurt.

To rejoice in our sufferings seems ludicrous and impossible were it not for a firm conviction of God’s love for us through Christ Jesus and our unlimited access to Him.

 

God’s Spirit and the Frontiers of Your Soul

Years ago I read Dallas Willard’s phrase “the unexplored frontiers of the human soul” and his encouragement that we go there as pioneers. I want to go there with God. The Apostle Paul joyfully reminds the church in Corinth of God’s gift of the Spirit to take us into the expanse of God’s love, His thoughts, and His free gifts for us.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined

what God has prepared for those who love him.”

10But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.  1 Corinthians 2:9-12