A bit of my story (Rowan here) in God which reveals why this blog, and, in many ways, why our church does what it does. Happy reading!
Over 10 years ago I was in a series of church services in which I felt uncomfortable.
I was pretty sure that the emotionalism (people laughing / crying randomly) was over the top and unnecessary. While I could see that people were being impacted and encountering something powerful by the message being preached, I was, on the other hand, wanting to run.
The services were being held over a few days and so I had a chance to get with God after one of the services (I had been a Christian for most of my life) and talk about it all. It was here I felt overwhelmed that I was perhaps, unaware of it, but resisting God - and that I should turn from that error. That night I wrote out a prayer saying to God that if He wanted to say anything to me in the remaining meetings, I was open.
The very next night, the speaker turned to me (we were in a room of about 2000 people!) pointed to me and said, "You've been watching me haven't you?!" He motioned for me to come over to where he was standing and asked if he could pray for me. Of course, I said yes and opened up for what God might want to say to me.
The next thing I knew, believe it or not, was that I absolutely couldn't stand up! And he wasn't "pushing and praying" either. Suddenly I was on my back on the floor and this feeling of euphoria swept over me and I began to laugh out loud with a joy from God I don't think I'd ever felt before.
Once a person tastes this kind of a Presence from God, it feels so free and full of life they NEVER want to go back to a hard or dry heart!
Interestingly the laughter was followed by some intense crying. It was though cleansing in my heart was happening as I yeilded to Him, not even knowing what He was dealing with. It was so deep and unexpected I could only attribute it to God's work.
God's Presence, whether encountered in prayer like this, or through His Word, or even by just being with other people following Him has a profound affect on the inner-most workings of our hearts. He knows how to heal our brokennes, and once you feel His work in you you begin to trust it profoundly.
As I lay there going back and forth between crying and laughing I was remarking to God how fantastic this was and how awesome and clean and alive I felt! Then I had this thought that as amazing as this was regular, ordingary life was waiting for me. That soon it would be Monday next week and life would be the same it has always been.
Right at that moment, the minister who had prayed for me came back over to where I was lying on the floor and kicked my feet as he declared:
"You can live like this you know, you can live like this!"
This encounter with God completely changed how I was living my Christian life.
Over time I began to see this phrase "You can live like this!" was something that God wanted me to tell anyone who needed to hear it. It's a way of living hungry after the Presence of God and yet full of Him at the same time. It's about leaning into His Grace for passionate, successful, full living. It's about encountering Him in big ways and small ways all the time. It's about learning that He's right there in life with us, loving us, helping us and enjoying us. All the time.
Hence our church: Designed for life-changing God-encounters. I truly believe that no matter what your experience of God has been to date, our greatest encounters with His Presence are still ahead. Not only that, we can learn to live closer and closer to His Heart and His Ways experiencing Him more fully.
And hence this blog. I aim for it to be a collection of reflections, thoughts, resources and how-to's on how you too can live like "THIS"!
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