I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:3-6.
Moving of the Spirit of God:
There is undeniable and transformational power in the moving of the Spirit of God.
If you attend church for the fellowship, for the music, for the interesting messages, and for the overall positive, encouraging, uplifting atmosphere of the worship event, then the experience will be worthwhile; you certainly won’t be disappointed. But if that is all church is, then you are only scratching the surface of what’s possible. Opening ourselves to God’s more radical initiatives of grace; inviting Jesus to walk with us moment by moment, as master and friend; welcoming the presence of the Spirit in our most tender, vulnerable selves. Now we’re talking life transformation; now we’re entering the territory of personal risk.
INSTALLATION: Yesterday – Sunday March 8 – was an especially inspirational day at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. Powerful worship, extremely productive conversation in my discipleship class, and then the official installation service for our new pastor, John Fawcett, in the afternoon.
It was difficult – especially in the afternoon service – to hold off the Spirit. God was that present, that visceral, that real.
John asked Rebekah to bring the message at his installation, and she decided to dovetail with the Lenten “R-word” series they have been preaching. She used the idea of “Redolence,” and by the time she was done the entire sanctuary was redolent with the sweet aroma – the compelling fragrance – of the encouraging, uplifting, indwelling, transformational love of God.
“He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.” – 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
Personally, I felt like I had taken a bath in God. And I could tell that I was not alone. There were more tears in the sanctuary than I typically witness during a worship service. They were tears of overspilling. The tears came from the deep apprehension of the amazing depths of God’s personal – and corporate – love. That love – and the emotion attached to it – simply could not be contained; and so it spilled out through our eyes.
If you have never attended an installation or an ordination service in the Presbyterian church, then you have missed a treat. It is actually a presbytery event, and that means other preachers, and elders, and guests, from the region. Consequently, the service has to be scheduled some time other than Sunday mornings, and – more’s the shame – a lot of people simply don’t come back in the afternoon. Personally, I can’t imagine anything else anybody could have been doing that would have even come close to what happened in the sanctuary at WFPC, 2:00 yesterday afternoon.
After worship, the deacons provided a wonderful reception in the CLC. And I thought, as I was talking with different people, sharing in the celebration, that the building really is living up to its name. This place is “redolent” with Christian Life.
It’s the Christian Life Center, and our life as followers of Jesus moves out from this epicenter of worship, and inspiration, and encouragement, and love, and infilling, and indwelling.
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. – Philippians 1:9-11
In love, and because of love – DEREK
(Gallery of photos from Sunday at WFPC:)