Sunday, January 3, 2016

Refresh, Restore, Release

Sixteen years ago, Jan and I stepped off an airplane in Medford, Oregon after four years of ministry in Europe to become pastors of a local church. The total of our earthly possessions, apart from some books and a single chair stored in my mother’s attic in Montana, were contained in the luggage we carried. We soon settled into the routine and rhythm of pastoring a local church.

One day, shortly after we arrived, I was driving across a freeway overpass when the Lord spoke to me.  He said, “I have called you to refresh, restore and release My people.”  I knew this was an assignment for our local church in Medford, but I knew it was more.  In the following years I would come to realize this was a life-assignment I will carry with me until the end of my days.

Several years ago a man in our church brought me a gift.  He came from a ranching family and had a branding iron made for me.  It was an iron with “3R” as its brand.  I still have that branding iron as a physical representation of the word the Lord gave me.

All of the goodness of God taking place in our lives today is because we were branded by an encounter with the Spirit almost forty years ago.  Jan and I now carry multiple brandings as we have transitioned through different seasons of life and ministry that required a new anointing of the Spirit. We carry these brands with us into every new experience of life. These brands are personal testimonies that declare the only way forward was discovered through an encounter with God. We have committed to never move forward until we have those encounters and the accompanying words they release.

As you step into 2016 offer the Lord the unbranded parts of your life and allow His Spirit to imprint you with a new assignment and a new word for a new season. Capture those words and live them out to the best of your ability.  They will lead you forward into a lifetime of encountering God. At the end of your days the marks of the Spirit’s branding upon your life will be the evidence you have been faithful to His calling for your life.

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