I was gone from the house for 11 hours yesterday for work, yuck! I worked my regular shift during the day then I had to sit in a mall for 4 1/2 hours with my credit union’s advertisements behind me. It was so slow. Nobody stopped to talk with us. They didn’t even make eye contact. What a day!
So needless to say I didn’t get to continue telling you about my amazing trip to California last week!
Day 5 of our trip was actually the last full day of meetings for us. Day 6 we had only a morning meeting then we checked out of the hotel and headed back to San Diego. There was a lot of praying going on this trip. Lots of the spirit moving over us.
One of these nights Rob was praying for me and when he went to put his hands by my head I felt a “poof” of warm air. He didn’t touch me. K, it was less of a “poof” and more of a “wham”. Then I felt warm all over, almost sweating actually. This same evening after he was done praying and everyone was quiet (moments before there were people laughing, rolling on the floor and before that there were people crying with a real feeling of mourning in the place) suddenly we were just sitting there. All in silence, a real peaceful quiet. You could actually feel the gentleness in the air. We sat in our seats for around 20 minutes – just soaking it all in.
So anyway back to the last things Rob preached on… (Many times he’d go to finish his sermon and God had other plans, the Holy Spirit was a moving!) He talked about the doctrine of laying on of hands. Practical steps as leaders to follow. The last one was one many of us leadership couples mess up on… it is not getting enough rest, solitude, and alone time. For us personally we have made ourselves available to any in our church to call 24/7 if they need us. Now some of those late night calls were total emergencies and it required immediate action but some calls could wait until the next day. It does make it even harder since right now at this time we are the only official leadership couple in the church. This year there will be more so we will have to put an official day off into effect. I also have to honour that Sunday afternoon be a quiet time after preaching, for him and for myself. It’s emotionally draining. Stats say that a Sunday morning service to a pastor/preacher is equivalent to 8 hours of physical labour. What do most people do after a full day of physical labour? Veg! Rest! We need to too.
The last service was about learning the early signs of legalism. Which is a loss of the understanding that grace is the foundation. He talked about the difference and the need to fully understand of the acceptance component of grace and the empowering component of grace. Until we have the first one “down pat” we will not experience the fullness of the second one. We need to be fully secure in Christ. We are accepted by Him the minute we say we believe and make Him Lord of our life. We don’t have to “clean up” first then He’ll accept us. We don’t have to make ourselves perfect or make sure all of our T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. He accepted the thief on the cross beside Him the minute the thief asked. He didn’t have to first finish Bible classes, learn to tithe, say long prayers, attend faith building classes, witness to 100 people, or even get baptized. None of that saves us. None of that keeps us saved. Through faith and saying, “Yes, I want You!” does.
Why is there no sacrifice that needs to be made? Because Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice – of all sacrifices. No more “works” were required and still are not required. You are no longer an orphan, no longer fatherless, you’ve been adopted into “the” greatest family anywhere! When we have that “I get it” (light bulb) moment and you KNOW your position in Christ – watch out world!!! That’s acceptance grace. Supernatural power, signs, wonders and miracles will soon follow. That’s empowering grace.
Here are some signs that legalism has crept in, besides the obvious ones of guilt and manipulation: (Rob’s list with the help of C.J. Mahoney)
#1 ~ Taking ourselves to seriously. Be honest, open, laugh, be real, don’t pretend.
#2 ~ Loss of joy.
#3 ~ Can be identified in the answer to the question, “How are you doing?” Is it a negative or positive answer? What is the primary focus of the conversation?
#4 ~ Have a sin complex. Focused on our shortcomings more than what Jesus did on the cross. Peace should be present. (Preaching the law is for the lost. Revelation of His love for us should be bigger than our revelation of our love for Him.)
#5 ~ The way we respond when we do sin can show if were living in legalism or in grace. Don’t think yourself to high ‘n mighty here, we all have our moments. Whether it is gossipping, pride, didn’t do what He asked us to do, anger, or lust, we’re not better than anyone else… So when you do sin, do you “crucify” yourself, put yourself down, punish yourself?
#6 ~ Have a hard time hearing messages that are challenging and leave the service feeling condemned. Not secure in the grace of God. Cannot take a compliment or affirmation, (we’re not talking about flattery here – that is only manipulation). It is difficult to have a intimate relationship.
#7 ~ A life that is characterized by, “What needs to be improved?”. God celebrates every one of our steps – not just milestones or just our victories – EVERY STEP. Think about when your child took their first steps – did you only shout for joy when they started running or did you cheer and clap and shout after their very first attempt and finally their very first step? How is our Father any different? He’s not. We’re His children. He celebrates the exact same way over us!!! We all mature at different levels and speeds. Don’t despise your small beginnings – He doesn’t! Isn’t this GOOD NEWS!!
That’s about it for our conference. I hope you enjoyed the few snippets I’ve provided. Let me just say I know it changed us, my hubby and I – and I I know that in turn it will change the lives within our church. Get ready people ~ great things are about to happen!!