Journey Inward/Journey Outward
Finally… we are at the end of this particular journey! Principle 6 on sustaining growth in a Ministry of the supernatural.
Every person has an engine. If we don’t keep that engine stoked, then we run out of steam. Steven Covey uses the phrase “sharpening the saw”. It’s the principle of keeping yourself sharp because if you don’t it will take twice or three times as long to cut down that tree, than if you had kept yourself mentally and emotionally sharp and refreshed.
What works in the natural realm works even more in the spiritual realm. Jesus exemplified the principle. Having been filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism, Jesus was compelled on mission, with regular stops at the spiritual filling station.
Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed
This is such a hard battle to fight!
Even though, as evangelical Christians, we know how important devotional times are, yet the battle for our time gets ever more intense, and we find our lives being consumed by the urgent rather than the important. What is important is to be spiritually refreshed, which means a lifestyle that allows for that.
To be honest most churches don’t have a structure that supports an Inward/Outward lifestyle, my church included. It just doesn’t fit into the modern way of doing church largely built on the Enlightenment educational model. We are there to be taught, rather than there to encounter. And if you are lucky to be in church ministry, you spend a great deal of your time managing and administrating, as well as teaching, rather than encountering. The early church did it differently. In Acts 6 when it came to light that the widows of the Hellenists were being overlooked in the daily distribution of bread, the Apostles made it clear in verse 4 what their priority in life was –
“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
In fact it was said of John the Apostle, that he spent so much of his time in prayer that he had callouses on his knees the size of camel pads!
Journey inward, journey outward.
So recently I prayed for a woman at one of our emerging campuses. She was in pain and nothing happened. No sense of heat or the Holy Spirit, nada, nothing. It’s dispiriting when that happens.
I made a connection. I realised at that point that more, much more happens when I feel tangibly connected to God, than when I don’t. Not everyone is healed and there are many conditions that I haven’t broken through on, but much more happens when I feel that sense of God within me, which is the presence of the Holy Spirit.
So I decided to experiment. That week I determined to spend more intentional time in God’s presence, developing that “tangible” sense of him being with me. Like I was set up, a few days into that week, I was walking with one of the caretakers of our building, who is not a Christian and doesn’t work for us. He was suffering from a very painful episode of gout, which went when I prayed! The story is more fully here, but the upshot is clear:-
The more time we spend developing his presence within us, (Journey Inward) the more impact we make in our ministries (Journey Outward).
Here’s to the journeys!
If you have any testimonies as a result of reading/practicing these principles, I would love to hear from you.
Keep up to date with the previous posts in this series;