Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Re-Discovered History

The farther an experience moves away from our current reality the greater the chance that experience will someday become only a legend to future generations. The first disciples did not let this happen. They lived in the daily demonstration of God’s power and presence and continued in that lifestyle until the end of their days. They had no partitions in their faith that relegated the demonstration of the God’s Spirit to a back room experience in the fear of making someone feel uncomfortable.

As you view the history of Pentecost over the last 100 years, some denominations and church movements that began in a visible demonstration and affirmation of the Spirit’s power now only tell stories of the people who became legends in the initial imprint of their history. Those who study these histories ascribe some of this to a sociological process called Redemption and Lift. 

Redemption and Lift starts when we get saved and begins the process of organizing our lives around Godly principles that will eventually affect our character, finances and relationships. As a result of this transformational process we begin to rise from the pits of social and economic despair and start climbing higher in the social order. In that rise we have a tendency to leave behind the very thing that was present at the start of our journey – a dependence on the power of God. This process, if ignored, can deposit us in a place of respectability that we will use to sustain our newly acquired status in culture. Once our needs have been met we no longer require a miraculous God to show up to meet our future needs because the momentum of our social status has replaced Him. 

The resulting mindset this uplift creates can infect what we do in our private life and in the public display of our faith. Once we arrive at this new place we begin to change our attitudes and language to reflect a god whose primary goal is to help us maintain our new position in culture. Risk becomes the enemy of our newfound status.

As you review the history of revival it is rare to see a fresh move of God rise from within existing denominations or church movements. The reason for this rarity is because, after the first generation of risk-taking apostolic leadership passed, they were replaced by a maintenance style of leadership whose primary role was the survival of the status quo. In the decades following there may be seasons where an external revamping of mission takes place, but at its core nothing has changed. Something still remains in the organizational thinking that makes safety and stability the primary role of leadership versus the kind of leader who welcomes the level of risk required for revival, renewal and a new beginning. As a result, embracing the instability that comes from a fresh encounter with God becomes suspect. 

Today, if you find yourself in this place take heart. There is a way forward. The way forward is discovered when you revisit the beginning of your history and rediscover what you may have left behind. Within the elements of your beginning you will reconnect with the faith required to help you get back on track and finish well. 

A house is always built from a foundation. During the most dramatic remodeling process your faith and practice will remain solid if it is constructed atop a solid and known foundation. Risk will never put a solid foundation in jeopardy. Your rediscovered history will give you the courage required to begin the redesign project of your future that will allow the presence and power of God to take center stage once again.

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