We all have a dream or a vision, a calling to do something greater; a reason to wake up every day and a roadmap to achieving it. It requires a set of positive actions to succeed and above all, a deep resolution to keep going when the going gets tough.
The last few years have been a period of transition for many churches, organisations and individuals and such emotive things may seem far different than the ideal just mentioned. The disruptions brought about by the pandemic, and the innovative ways of living our new ‘norm’ have made it difficult to sustain the momentum. The pandemic broke a lot of regular church rhythms with people. It’s hard to build excitement with broken rhythms but to be fair, most of the churches across the country have done really well, considering the obstacles they faced. God is not on mute, and in the “zoom” call of life we have to intentionally and deliberately incline our ear to the whisper from the Holy Spirit that prompts us that the future is in God’s hand so that we keep our hand on the plough.
John Wimber once mentioned that this was how he saw so much of God’s activity in his life – he listened to the promptings of the Spirit, and obeyed.
These are some of the most challenging days to live in – but we are not alone …
Part of our dilemma today, is finding ourselves living in the tension to hold on to the ways that we used to do ‘life and the emerging way of doing things both now, and with the future in mind. Things are different and the sense of belonging or being rooted into something has changed. We face challenges we never faced before. Covid is still rampant, fires, storms, rains and frenzied global warming apocalyptic language leaves even the hardiest minds at unease. Not mentioning the terrorism and the rising threats of increased militancy of Russia, North Korea and China. Challenge is here to stay – but we have tools to face it.
Don’t be anxious. Jesus’ words, not mine. If it was down to me I would say, “PANIC!” but Jesus has the first and last word. (Matthew 6:25-34) We face those challenges which ever way we look at life, but four qualities of character not only make a huge difference in our lives, but provide a springboard into even greater adventures.
Audacity, Tenacity, Felicity Perspicacity.
These are all qualities that are all conducive qualities for our ongoing walk with God. There are many more, but these will suffice for the moment.
The Holy Spirit is moving people to do tremendous things, to live out great passions, to be brave and bold.
There is an audacity of heart that God wants to pour out in the hearts of leaders at this time but Church leaders are both tired and confused. You can be exhausted but have clarity on what to do. When you lack clarity, exhaustion jerks you back to the status quo. A lot of pastors have no energy and no direction right now.
That audacity comes as a result of conviction – conviction of His word, His call, His commission and His presence and power to do exactly what He has said, and more. Audacity can’t be separated from faith. It’s the quality of fearlessly and boldly believing against the odds, in the face of defeat or challenge and being determined to see things through, on God’s terms and to God’s timing. Be audacious in prayer, in faith and in your personal conviction. Here I stand, I can do no other…
Another aspect of faith. We are still the hand-built church, God’s unique people who are extremely persistent in adhering to or doing something that has great significance and is stubborn and relentless: holding on to the promises of God, believing the best of each other and being friends on a mission. When people lose sight of the main thing, their sense of purpose evaporates which is why we need each other, and why the retelling of the gospel brings strength, faith, determination and a renewed sense of God’s presence.
I recently looked at my church’s podcast to discover I have sat through nearly 700 sermons! I’ve heard the gospel message over and over, but it still is fresh and imperative. The tenacity of our walk with God and our fellowship with each other is a determination to firmly hold together what we have learned, what we have believed and what we are expecting of God. It’s a tenacity that is expressed when we declare that Christ died for us, Christ alone – no one else. It’s all about Jesus and in the words of Tullian Tchvidjian, “Jesus plus nothing equals everything, Jesus plus something, equals nothing.”
Such a characteristic leads conveniently to Felicity. Our great felicity is that Christ has become the magnificent obsession of our lives, not just of who He is and what He has done in and for us, but because our happiness in Him. Because of sin, any attempt to earn a righteous standing before God will only ever result in earthly sadness and eternal death. But in the gospel, we come to understand that God’s approval is received as a gracious gift through faith in Christ alone.
When we believe this good news, it changes us and gives us everlasting life. As the prophet proclaimed thousands of years ago, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2). He has delighted us when we had a miserable, guilty, depraved and sin-ridden heart by giving us a new heart. It’s a heart that has been reconciled to God, by God Himself! Who would have imagined it? God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. God came to spare us and save us. He is a lovely and kind God. We’re a people that are marked out by joy – after all, is a fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives. This unbridled, hilarious joy is reflected in our giving, loving, serving and befriending. The joy of the Lord is our strength, our great felicity. His light overcomes our darkness, and His joy overcomes our sorrow!
A new day is coming. The prophet Joel said that in the last days God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh. There would be dreams, visions and prophecy; revelation would be the hall mark of His people. The Church is a people who God speaks to, and a people who hear and discern his voice. That’s us! In the gifts of the Spirit, we have an acuteness of perception, discernment, or understanding. We know, sense, feel and are aware of God’s Presence in our midst and when we are found in the business of life. We’re aware that God is at work, that His plans for us are good. And, based on our knowledge of what we have learned in more likely 1,000 sermons we are convinced that God is profoundly at work, winding history up (as much as we know) and putting things in place today for tomorrow’s blessings.
Audacity, Tenacity, Felicity Perspicacity!
What is it about these “city’s” that can so grip the heart? It is the heart for people, the passion, the zeal, the glory of God in each person. God is in these heart-gripping characteristics.
The Holy Spirit is moving people to do tremendous things, to live out great passions, to be brave and bold. So, the journey with God continues, the future is still very much before you. Keep trusting the Lord ~ you will not be disappointed.