What If We Really Believed?
By John Hughes
At a retreat in London a few years ago, after a rousing chorus of a song proclaming the truth of Christ’s resurrection, the worship leader asked the group, frankly and exuberantly, “Well? Do you believe it?” The question hit me hard and I decided to take it seriously. I re-read the words to the song we had just sung, reflected on their meaning, and a new inspiration came over me. Actually, yes. Yes, I do believe it. And that is a big deal.
In the truth
of the gospel
In the power
Later I was telling someone how amazing it was that all these men had signed up, and he said, “Well yeah – isn’t that what you were praying for?” Funny, I thought, I hadn’t made that connection. I had been surprised that the result I wanted had actually come about. I hadn’t been praying as though anyone heard or could answer. I was just – you know – praying, that’s all. And I thought, what would our prayer life look like if we really believed?
The comforting news is that I’m not the first one in salvation history
to have this problem. In Acts 12, Peter is imprisoned and “earnest prayer
for him was made to God by the church” (v. 5). Then God
In the word
of the Lord to us
At the Sword of the Spirit’s International Coordinators Meeting in Santo Domingo last May, we heard the Lord say a lot of things to us about our mission as a community of disciples on mission. The transcription of the prophetic word was 19 pages long! It seems to me that the prophetic word to the Sword of the Spirit in recent years about a season of grace for mission and evangelism has increased in volume, intensity, and even urgency. I need to soberly ask myself: Do I believe that God speaks prophetically to us? Really? Do I believe it in such a way that it affects practical decisions I make as a UCO mission leader and a member of the Word of Life Community? What would happen if all community members and leaders really believed that the Lord himself was speaking personally to us as individuals as well as corporately?
When we read or hear the prophetic words from the International Coordinators Meeting in Santo Domingo do we think to ourselves, “Oh that’s nice – I’m gonna skim through this quickly?” Or do we respond in faith and sober reverence, prayerfully examining the Lord’s word to us, eager to respond and change according to his call?
In one of the prophetic words the Lord said, “I cannot do with you what I intend to do with you until you have given me more than you have yet given.” I think the right response to this should be, “What more do you seek from us, Lord? What would you like to do with us?
In another prophetic work the Lord said, “You are not prepared for the mission I have for you.” – “How can I prepare, Lord? What do I need to change in my life to be more fully your servant?”
And in another prophetic word the Lord said, “Today I call you to move forward” – I think that the Lord actually wants us to respond to this word by asking him for his direction: “To where, Lord? How? Show us and we will follow you.”
Let us believe afresh – “that the Lord is God, he made us and we are his; we are his people...” (Psalm 100:3). His gospel is true, his ears hear our prayer. As his people we are to listen and respond in faith when he speaks his word to us.
[John Hughes attends Knox
Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. He is the mission leader
for University Christian Outreach
in Ann Arbor and an underway member of the
of Life community.]
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