Monday, December 11, 2017

Waiting 2017 - Recap #6 - "Build Where The Fire Falls"


This is the sixth in a series recapping "Waiting 2017".  To read from the beginning of the series, click here

Additional Testimonies

Since my last post, several have contacted me with additional comments concerning their experience at Waiting 2017 and the aftermath:

Deborah Beck (French Lick, IN)

“…We had to leave prior to the final service. I really wanted to stay, but we felt we needed to head home. As I read the recap (about the final service) and learned of the time of being thankful, I was excited. On the way home, I suggested to the boys that we "play a game" in which we took turns stating something for which we were thankful. We did this four or five times each! Isn't that wonderful! We couldn't be there, but God gave us a little taste of the meetings as we drove home!

Eric Snuffer (Fayetteville, WV)

Pastor Michael Douglas' song and message were such a blessing during the (Sunday morning) service. Here's a part of my personal review from our trip up on Friday. I praise God for the privilege to be able to attend these meetings- thank You Jesus!
"While listening to a sermon by Rev. Helm on the trip up to Parker City, the Lord planted a seed deep within my heart, which was a theme throughout the weekend for me. The

Holy Spirit witnessed to Rev. Helm about the truth of how the powers of hell will fight to prevent God's people from hearing and keeping the message of the importance of us "denying self, taking up our cross and obeying the Lord". If a person does get this message, the devil will work hard to get it out of their heart. In fact, he will work every second to try to keep ministers from remembering, heeding and proclaiming this requirement for walking with God. Then Pastor Michael Douglas reinforced this message with his sermon on Sunday morning stating the reason we do these things (denying self, taking up our cross and following Him) are not out of duty, but out of our LOVE for God."
Father, by Your grace, help me (help us all) to truly hear, retain, and live out these "missing links" to be able to really walk with you out of a heart FULL of Love for You!
Becky Bailey (Fayetteville, WV)

Praise the Lord. I am so thankful for the Lord's help last weekend. We so enjoyed being with everyone. …I have a story that I want to share about something that happened about 9 years ago. I was attending Palm Beach Gardens Christ Fellowship and I was spending time with Charles Payne and Benny Ship. I had a burden for Brother Helm's ministry and who would carry on what God had started through him. God revealed to Charles and Benny that he was raising up someone in the younger generation. That person was Aaron. I had no idea but Jesus did. Praise the Lord! I am so thankful for what God is doing.

Closing Thoughts

The Lord put it on my heart to close this series with a video message, which I did on Facebook Live (You can watch below).  However, I want to summarize what I shared in that message here:

When God began to work on my heart about writing a series of meeting recaps on the Monday after the Waiting, I began to search my heart and mind to try to understand if I was really hearing this right, or if this was only my human desire.  Jesus simply spoke, “John 8” in my heart, so I soon turned to this passage.  My eyes fell on the familiar words: “…if you continue in My, then you are my disciples indeed…” (John 8:31b KJV)

I was struck by the fact that this is exactly what the Lord was speaking to me about in relation to the meetings.  You see, we are not “disciples indeed” because we have experienced the presence of God, because we have been taught by great men of God (from Loren Helm to Aaron Simms), but because we “continued in His word.”  The word “continued” is actually the translation of the Greek word “meno”, which means to stay, remain, or abide.  It is in fact the same word used by Jesus seven times in John 15 where he says, “Abide in Me and I in you…” (John 15:4).  John uses this word thirty-three times in his gospel and fifty-three times in all of his writings.  Must be pretty important!
Later in the week, Jesus brought a key verse in Hebrews to my mind:

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed (“much closer attention” NASB) to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip (“drift away from it” NASB) Hebrews 2:1 KJV

This scripture places before us the exact opposite of the teaching of Christ in John 8:31 above.  The phrase translated “let them slip” or “drift away” means “to glide by.”  It’s what happens when we don’t “continue in His word.” The word translated “earnest heed” or “closer attention” means “to bring a ship to land, to hold or cleave to a thing, or to be addicted to.” 

You see, these things which we have experienced will slip away from us if we do nothing.  They will become gold-encrusted memories.  Only by continuing in His word, abiding daily in Him, cleaving to Him, becoming addicted to Him, will we (in a figure) “bring the ship to land.”

Our 21st century attention span is exceedingly short.  There is so much competition for our minds – TV, radio, internet, sports, video games,…you name it…all want to crowd out the only thing truly worth paying attention to.

A story told in both 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles also has been on my mind in relation to “continuing in His word.”  It is the story that begins in a bad way.  God allows Satan to stir up David to take a census of his warriors so that he can understand the greatness of his (David’s) kingdom.  God was certainly displeased with this, and sent a man to discourage David.  Yet David persisted, and the count was made.  God sent a message through the prophet Gad to David that he was to be punished and that God was giving him the choice of three different punishments.  David’s response was to place himself in the hands of the Lord to let Him make the choice, as “His mercies are very great.”  As a result, the angel of the Lord is dispatched and 70,000 fall.  David pleads with God to stop the carnage. God relents, and stays the angel’s hand as he stood over the threshing floor of Ornan on Mt. Moriah, the very spot where Abraham had been told to offer his son Isaac to God many hundreds of years ago.  The angel sent a word through Gad that David is to make a sacrifice at Ornan’s threshing floor. David purchases the property from Ornan at full price and makes the appropriate sacrifice.  The fire of God fell down in answer and consumed the sacrifices, and the hand of God was stayed.  (All of this is told in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21).  Yet the story does not end there.  1 Chronicles 22: 1, 2 tells us David’s response:

Then David said, “This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”   So David gave orders to gather the foreigners who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to hew out stones to build the house of God.

David had the revelation that the place once destined for death and destruction, which had been redeemed and consecrated (by David), the place where the fire of God fell, was to be the place now where offerings to God were to be made, rather than at the ark of the covenant (which was five miles  up the road at Gibeon).  Furthermore, God revealed to David that this place where the fire fell was the place which God had chosen to place his new temple.  Although David would not be allowed to build the temple (his son Solomon after him would be given that responsibility), he would hew the stones to build the house, and he would have all the furnishings for the new temple fashioned in preparation for it’s construction.  David would build where the fire fell.

I told this long story because it seems so relevant to me, as we find ourselves on the cusp of a new year, and of a new season that God is inaugurating.  I think many who attending the Waiting would agree with me that the “fire of God fell there.”  Who that attending could not say that “the gospel did not come to (us) in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Th 1:5 NASB).  For me, there can be no doubt.  The anointing of God, the blessing of God, the touch of God…His very fire…was with us.  So now what do we do about it?

Pastor Mike Douglas began his anointed message Sunday morning of the Waiting asking this question, “What do you do when God does something new?”  You see, in David’s day, the old place of sacrifice was at the place where the ark of the covenant was located (as a matter of act, later, the ark would be moved to “Ornan’s threshing floor” after the temple would be built). Yet, God revealed to David that He was doing a new thing…His fire would come in a different place from where they were accustomed to seeing it.  And they were to build where the fire fell.  For me and for you, that means that we are to build our lives around whatever place  we find the anointing of God, the fire of God.

In my case, when I found where the fire of God was falling in 1995 (at a little cinder-block building in Cynthiana, Indiana, fifty miles from my home), I had to make some hard choices.  Yet, they were not really hard at all.  I knew that that place…Fair Haven Christ Fellowship…was where God had chosen me to be, and I was to be there…I was to raise my family there.  Eventually, in 2003, I would move my family to that place…where I am writing from right now. 

Am I saying that we all should now move to Parker City or Fair Haven or anywhere else?  I am not. (Yet, it is possible that there are some who need to do exactly that.)  I am saying that we need examine ourselves, to see if we are “all in” (as Pastor Mike talked about).  If we are not, we need to repent.  If we are, we simply need to ask God, “OK, so what do I do now?”  I can’t answer that question for anyone else, but we each desperately need to ask that question.  The status quo is no longer an option.  We cannot drift. We cannot let these things slip.  The answer to That Question may not come at once, but if you ask sincerely, with an honest and open heart, it will come.  I assure you…it will come!

Coda (With apologies to Esther Morey!)

As I was praying about these things early this morning, I felt “loathe to leave” this place of blessing.  It has been such a privilege to write these things, to be able to just report the “doings” of God in 2017.  It has been a lot of work, but it’s been a lot of good work.  Yet, in my spirit I believe I felt the Lord speaking, “You don’t have to leave it.”  Sooo…there may be more. Not on “Waiting 2017”, but on the “doings of God” in all of our lives…in the few days left in this year…and in AD 2018…and in ???.  What I have enjoyed the most in the last week has been hearing from you.  I believe that I might perhaps continue writing as the Lord leads in the coming year, but I need your help.  I’m not going to take my reporter’s hat off just yet.  I’d like to ask you, if you are willing, to share with me your Kingdom Moments, so that I can share with others.  Please share them with your local assembly first.  But I believe that God is calling us to share corporately, as the larger Body of Christ.  I’d like to know what God is doing in Kokomo, in Fayetteville, in Plainfield, in Beaver City, and in the host of other places where God is moving.  You can call me, text me, message me, email me, snail mail me, send me a smoke signal (although you’ll need to train me how to interpret that one!)  My phone is 812-622-0342.  If you post a Kingdom Moment on Facebook or Twitter (I’m on there too), wonderful…please tag me if you would like for me to share your Moment with others.
God bless each of you as you trust in Him!  See you soon!

For anyone interested, here are links to a few things I've written in the past:
The Answer To Everything
Why Pray? (1st in series on devotional life)
Thoughts at Fifty...Living Between the Dash
What Is Marriage?  (1st in series on marriage...I caught a lot of flack for this!)
Reflections on Thirty Years of Marriage
A Man of a Different Spirit (about one of my favorite Bible characters)

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