27 January 2006

staff retreat

okay - the pic is a new low in quality, i know. i was supposed to take a pic for dino to use in his blog entry about retreat. this is what i got. it was during the opening session of our retreat. lights were low and God was moving big time. i just couldn't see whipping out the big flash to capture it.

so, this is the pic you get. hopefully some of the description i give you here will be more impactful. dino's got a couple posts up about it, too, that you oughtta read.

you can click here to listen to the audio from that night (it starts about mid-way through the meeting, unfortunately).

but here's my personal account.

we went into a room that probably would comfortably seat about 100 people - almost all the chairs were gone except what lined three walls. there was a 7-foot cross lit up in the corner, and a table with communion laid out on it. delynn and jason and a very small band were singing some of the worship tunes we've recently added to our arsenal. and the lights were very low. very very low. great environment for worship. i don't usually get the benefit of just being able to walk into an environment like that and not get overwhelmed with analyzing it and reconsidering what decisions were made to set it up the way we did. it's been a long time, but i got it last night. i got to just roll in and join in the flow. nice. (thanks to all those who invested their time and effort to make it what it was).

the plan was just to worship and pray and see what God did. amazing. timmy straight (hpc's st. francisville campus pastor) gave a message in tongues, and then the interpretation: the gist of it was asking why we are surprised when God moves like he does. why are we shocked when God answers a prayer we pray? don't we believe it when we pray?

there was more to the message, but that's what rang loudest in my heart. God began to show me how when i pray, i typically don't really really believe (at least not like i should) that he's gonna answer. i pray because i know i should. i pray because i want God to answer. but i don't pray like i really truly think he is going to answer.

what he began to show me was that i need to do like elijah told the widow - gather vessels and God will fill them. i need to get ready for God to answer the prayer. why do i pray and not prepare myself for his answer? i need to recognize the "cloud the size of a man's hand" and get prepared for the downpour. i need to start running now because God has answered my prayer, and the rain's coming. there's no reason to be surprised or shocked when the rain comes. it's gonna come and i need to be ready.

every time i've prayed since that point - even praying over my kids last night - i've started having this little check in my heart asking myself if i really believe God is going to answer that prayer. it should be a "duh" kind of thing to ask myself, and the answer is always "yes" but when i answer "yes" the rest of the prayer then becomes a little more focused, and a little more determined.

i guess that's what praying the prayer of faith is about.

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