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A Day in the Life of a Lover



I’ve been looking forward to writing this post, because it surrounds one of my favourite stories in our history book. It’s a longer post, so grab yourself a coffee and let’s chat.


From Daph’s and my thirteen years as children’s pastors, in Toronto, I had two big take-homes. One, learning intimacy with ever-present and faithful Holy Spirit; and two, that God is my Father, and that all He’s ever really wanted from humanity, is to be known as that.


You’ll remember from my “Look for a Window” blog, that only recently did I get the revelation of the absoluteness of Jesus.


 

It’s Going to Make Some People Mad!


There are only these three things which remain important to life and Godliness:

  1. Knowing God as my Father.

  2. Remaining intimate with Holy Spirit,

  3. Accepting Jesus and His absolutely finished work.

Of those, and for here on earth, there is only one thing which is imperative; accepting Jesus and His absolutely finished work. (I'll explain this more in a grace series.)


That’s it! Everything else is vanity and chasing the wind.


When we give ourselves the permission to fully embrace each of these, in their simplicity, and when we allow them to permeate our spirits and overflow into our everyday lives, the ramifications will be both liberating and controversial.


Liberating, because we finally discover what Jesus meant when He said that it was for freedom that He came to set us free.


Controversial, because that freedom can often look messy, undisciplined, and heretical, in the eyes of those working hard to adhere to academic religious traditions.


- We will ...


A short while after planting a church in Calgary, one of our leaders meetings got quite heated and out of hand. The rest of the team wanted to develop a vision statement and a strategic plan to move forward - you know, like a church growth plan!?


After hearing all of the discussion none of it sat well with me, so I simply said, “No, we don’t need any of that. If it was enough for Jesus just to love people, then it’s enough for us to just do the same. We don’t need a vision statement!”


Tempers flared, literally, and angry words were exchanged. For me, though, being led by Holy Spirit was more important than coming up with a vision statement for people to read about who we think we are, or where we think we’re going. My sentiment frustrated those who wanted to structure God’s Kingdom for Him.


- if He did!

Jesus life was one surrounded by controversy, too. Remember the story of when He healed the man at Bethesda? After doing so, He instructed the man to take up his bed and walk, which got the man into a great deal of trouble because it was the Sabbath, and no-one should be doing any work on the Sabbath.


Then, when the Jews eventually found out who told this man to break the rules, they took issue with Jesus too, and as John recalls, “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and wanted to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.”


After being questioned by them, Jesus’ response was; “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Well, Jesus, you may just as well have just thrown gasoline on a fire!


This upset the religious even further; “And so the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”


Here’s the nutshell version:

  1. Jesus healed a man and broke the rules of religion, which infuriated the learned religious.

  2. Jesus told the healed man to break the rules of religion, which infuriated the learned religious.

  3. Jesus called God His Father, which, yes, you guessed it, infuriated the learned religious.

The healed man’s liberty, became another’s controversy. And, Jesus knowing God as Father, became another controversy.


When, in the integrity of our hearts, we live in these foolish ways, it’s going to make some people mad!


The Church, however, is being brought back into a simple and dependent relationship with God Himself. And, unlike the divided church which we see today, Jesus says to His Father, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”


Jesus is raising up a unified Church, one that is in love; where it’s only about Him, His Spirit, and His Father, and against which the gates hell can never, and will never, win. It’s happening like leaven, pervading people’s hearts, and there is so much that is different than what we’ve been conditioned to believe.

 

A Woman at a Well


One day, after silencing the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together and one of them, and expert in their religious laws, tested Jesus by asking, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”


“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”, was Jesus reply.


He said nothing about their worship, temples, or synagogues; or, music, programs, or attendance. What He said was so simple that even a child could do it - Love God, love yourself, and love others.


This is mirrored beautifully when Jesus meets a woman at a well.


After a long journey the disciples leave Jesus alone at a well in Samaria, and soon a Samaritan woman arrives to draw water. The two of them speak about a few things; how He could even entertain dialogue with her, being thirsty, water, and living water, and then about her past husbands and the man she now lives with.


In conversation Jesus came to know something about this samaritan women’s heart, something that only the Father would know - and He revealed to Jesus.


She, perceiving that He has prophetic insight, asks Jesus a question. “You Jews worship God down there in Jerusalem, and we on the mountain, but where is the real place to worship God?”


When we read the word worship, in our Bibles, she’s using a word which means something different to what we have habitually come to know as worship. She uses the word, Proskuneo, which means to kiss the hand of someone, a token of reverence; and, like a dog licking its masters hand.


It’s important to note that the Samaritan woman does not yet know God as her loving Father, or intimacy with Holy Spirit, nor even who Jesus is, the One standing right in front of her.


Also, in order to kiss the hand of someone, you have to be really close to that person, in intimate physical proximity.


We have a family dog, Kylo, and when she wants to be close to us she’s very expressive and nudges our hands for attention. Often in the mornings when Daph wakes up early and sits on her chair in the corner of the living room, Kylo jumps up on the chair and lays up against her.


We recently returned from a three month trip to South Africa. As we arrived in our driveway and stepped out of the car, Kylo ran outside, around in circles, and then up and down the street in exuberant joy of having us back home; her tail wagging, she jumped on us, and nudged us and licked us - all in the excitement of being close to us again, and in fearless reverence of who we are to her.


Proskuneo!


The Samaritan woman wasn't looking for another program, a new song, or a better sacrifice. For what she wanted, she’d searched the church and came up empty, and in earthly men and was left wanting.


But suddenly she met the One who knew her like no other, and as Jesus draws her in He neither condemns her for her brokenness, nor for the actions of her pursuit. On the contrary, He does what He sees His Father do; He looks past her brokenness and into her heart, and then He leads her into the only thing she’s ever really wanted.


“… but where is the real place to worship come close to, and kiss the hand of, God?” She asked.


Being the image of her Father, and the tangible evidence of ever-present Holy Spirit, Jesus stood there in the fulness them both, and said, “It’s not up on the mountain with your structures and programs, nor is it down in the city with our structures and programs, but it’s right here, and it’s right now, with Me!”


Without human religion, she was now positioned where she’d always wanted to be, face to face with the One who truly loves her.


The Father Wanted This Just as Much


This encounter so radically transformed her life that she ran back to town, shouting “Come and see the man who told me everything I’ve ever done!”


Well He hadn’t done that, but like Abraham, the words of her mouth were just her human expression of her repositioned heart. “I’ve found love, and in it I’ve been seen, I am fully known.”


“For now we see through a glass, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I will fully know, even as also I am fully known.




“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to other gods, and they burned incense to images.

But it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; and they did not realize it was I who healed them.

I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.”


~ God


The Father wanted this just as much as the Samaritan woman did, and even more, so He sent Jesus to her - and He sent Him to us, too.


“God is Spirit, and He longs for those who come close to Him, to come in Spirit and in truth.”


Our Father loves the secret place, where we dine with Him in unfiltered honesty.


He's not in a building made by the hands of man, and He’s not somewhere on a distant mountain - you can find Him at the well, the table in your heart. It’s a place where the noise is silenced, where works don’t work, and laws become irrelevant.


It’s there where we find that our worship of Him becomes our love for Him!


“I will be found by you, when you search for me with all of your heart.” ~ Your loving Dad.



 

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