Thursday, June 23, 2016


You know that one of my all-time favorite verses is from Ephesians 3:20; Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask of think, according to the power that works within us...  God is able to do the big three--exceedingly, abundantly, beyond--according to the power of the Holy Spirit who works within (see the text, Eph. 3:14-21).  I'm proposing that each of us has light-years of advancement to make regarding this electrifying fact.

Fear shouldn't be a factor.  Faith should be.

The very nature of faith is to walk where there is no path.  Human nature wants routine, management, and eventual control.  This is why the WORD ONLY rule was spun in years past as it effectively skirted the Holy Spirit involvement which will not be controlled by human judgment.  One of the phrases often quoted to me when arriving as a young preacher at Memorial was the warning: We don't want any surprises.  And guess what?  We had none.  All went according to the controlled thermostat of manly correctives with no room for the what if, what could be twins of Holy Spirit possibility.

What would it be like if we could continue to mature in the beyond imagination exercises of the faith walk?  What is it about our stances that we would discover it difficult to fulfill the doctrine of this Ephesians text?  Why would leaders hedge on this most impacting Word that would let the church productively soar?

The probe begins with me (of course, yours begins with you).  For 40 years beginning in the auditorium in Quincy, Illinois I would spend time with God asking that He help me/use me/guide me to reach the whole world.  I want to impact the have-nots, the has-beens, and the could-bes.  I hunger to reach even the strongest churches/leaders who are strong on regulation of church pattern and weak on relationship with Jesus.  I need all of this.

Would any of you need a nudge to move off of what you might regard as live-center when its rote movement coupled with repetitive phrases has left you quite stuck on dead-center?  I think so.  Due to the immeasurable size of God and the lavish work of the Spirit, I believe this need to be of constant wonder and hope.

What system have you developed that works well for controlling people; yet, it simultaneously blocks the adventuresome Spirit.  I believe many of our congregations are in serious trouble.  Our blindness to doing-things-the-way-we-have-always-done-them doctrine is drooping; not just in the smaller congregations, but the larger ones as well.  If the Spirit of God isn't leading, then we must be.  And if we are, our energy will eventually begin fade with age.  The good news is that if our ministry is of the Spirit, we are newer and more energized for it day by day (II Cor. 4:16).

So, Terry, what is it exactly that you think we should consider?  Wouldn't we make progress if we moved from preserving the church to engaging with Father?  Wouldn't it be something if we could dare let go of those controls which we believe provides us security and then actually step out into the swollen waters of the Red Sea to experience what God could do?  Are our congregations supplying energy to the lower grades, interest to the high-schoolers, but finding that the college group begins to wither on the vine right before our very eyes?  This is one challenge to see if we are providing form or are we offering life.

What I'm suggesting is not that we focus upon an age group; but upon our system of weakening safety...our adamant insistence that we set the organization in motion, keep it under our control, and hope that new families move in.  The Spirit of God is all about three stretches to the human heart; excessive, abundant, beyond.  Contrarily, self wants regulation in the name of prudence, management, and non-disturbance.

We do not want to be caught off-guard.  This is major to our humanistic effort to walk with God.  We don't want to appear different from our conservative critics so we walk in safety of reservation.  When this goes on we find that we have not died to self; although that doctrine is one of our favorite discussions in Bible classes.  Rather, we have died to kingdom expansion.

IF "BEYOND IMAGINATION" WOULD BE EXERCISED, we would find wowing and wonderful supplies and surprises of God.  I experience this at times and so do many of you.  May we cheer the church on to letting go and letting God....even when we thought that in itself was nothing but a mere slogan.  It is more than a slogan.  It is the call of the Spirit to the flesh; Move over!

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