Sunday, June 1, 2008

What If?

UPDATES: Please let me know if you have written anything to add to this and I will link you. (even if it was something weeks, months or even years ago)

#1) Sarah at Accidental Blog has added 2 posts that add a great deal to this post. Please read here and here.
#2) Joel added his thoughts at Grace Roots with his post "Moves of God" and One Heart at a Time
#3) Cynthia adds more great layers in her Monday Morning Mentations.
#4 And a new blogger - Tiffany, who is thinking some pretty dangerous thoughts ;) The Church has Left the Building


In my last post I made a kind of tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that ”maybe” this movement of people pouring out of the institutional churches and into the unknown was the next “Big Move of God.”

For many of us, those words evoke a feeling not unlike the stomach flu. They remind us of a time where we were being strung along spiritually, emotionally, financially and relationally waiting for the “Next Things of God” that we dare not miss.

But in writing those words and in mulling over even being tempted to use them for what is happening to me and some of you I realized something.

I entitle it: “What If?”


What If God were much bigger than I had ever imagined?

What If Grace was more encompasing that I could believe?

What if God wanted to find his people, go after his sheep, anywhere they had wandered?

What if there was no big "Move of God" but just God pursuing people – sometimes seemingly in the same location at the same time?

What if He was desiring a relationship equally with us who have left the institutional church AND those who are still in there?

What if today, His “Big Move” was to search out hungry hearts anywhere they will be found?

What if He finds some of those people in a institutional church today?

What if He finds some of those people in a park?

What if He finds some of those people in a gutter?

What if He finds some of those people in their pain?

What if He finds some of those people in their joy?

What if He finds some of those people in Lakeland, Florida?

What if He finds some of those people in the church I just left?

What if He finds some of those people lying in bed, hungover with someone they don’t remember meeting?

What if He finds some of those people who are former atheists and now in a Catholic Church? (meet Jennifer)

What if the "Big Move of God" was simply God having a heart to pour out onto his people wherever, whenever he finds them open and hungry to know Him.

What if we stopped trying to label the next "Move of God" and started participating in His plan to touch one life at a time?

What if we no longer cared if we are missing out on the "Next Move of God" and started to BE the next move of God for another person?

What if we believed in the Grace of God soooooo much that we allowed him to be just as big and diverse and loving as he wanted?

What if I stopped trying to decide who/what is right and who/what is wrong and truly let God sort it out?

What if I ceased wondering and looking for the Next Big Move of God in my life and simply allowed Him to love me today and allowed my heart to open up and tell Him of my love back for Him?

What if God was not limited to The Next Move of God? What if He was bigger?

25 comments:

Mark said...

What if indeed.

Isn't it awesome to realize that God is so much more than we can ever figure out?

TheFavoredSon said...

Wouldn't that be supernatural?

brokenpilgrim said...

"What if we stopped trying to label the next "Move of God" and started participating in His plan to touch one life at a time?"

I love that. "The next move of God" or what ever you want to call it will never happen unless we start participating in the mission of God. Sitting in Pews just doesnt cut it.

Tyler Dawn said...

Amen sweetie, loved that :D

glenn said...

Barb ~

Fantastic post. I have felt this for sometime, just never expressed it so well.

What if part of the next big move of God is something that scares many of the people of God witless?

Anonymous said...

Kind of gives new meaning to the following words of the well known song:

Find Me In The River

Find me in the river
Find me on my knees
I've walked against the water
Now I'm waiting if you please

We've longed to see the roses
But never felt the thorns
And bought our pretty crowns
But never paid the price

Find me in the river
Find me there
Find me on my knees with my soul laid bare
Even though you're gone and I'm cracked and dry
Find me in the river, I'm waiting here

Find me in the river
Find me on my knees
I've walked against the water
Now I'm waiting if you please

We didn't count on suffering
We didn't count on pain
But if the blessing's in the valley
Then in the river I will wait

Katherine Gunn said...

*Smiling* Thanks. Yeah. What if we are not 'missing out' on God's next big move just because we are not in an institutional church... Great post.

Sarah said...

Yes!! Amen, Barb! You have articulated it so well here! God is so much bigger than our own boxes of 'you're in' or 'you're out'.

He loves all of His children, wherever they are at, poor or rich, unknown or celebrity, revered by man or reviled by man. He's not impressed with the things we are, nor does he reject on the basis that we do.

We always want to create boxes where people are 'in' or 'out' based on whatever we think God wants. But, like you said, He's bigger than what we think He wants.

That's the difference between religion (which produces fear of being 'out' of the move of God) and love (which says, I'll always move toward My sheep to draw them close to Me).

That's a good redefinition of the words "move of God" if you ask me. That He unconditionally moves to draw us deeper into His love, closer to Him. No matter who we are, what misconceptions we have, or even how we've hurt others in our misconceptions.

Thanks for posting this! This is a truly prophetic post in that it reflects the very heartbeat of God: love.

Jeff McQ said...

"What if we no longer cared if we are missing out on the "Next Move of God" and started to BE the next move of God for another person?"

The entire post was great! But this was my favorite "What If?".

Well said.

Don said...

This is one of my all-time favorite blog posts! And all the comments to date are terrific, as well. Finally, the quoted song is one of my favorites (sung by Gary Shelton).

Joel Brueseke said...

This post closely resembles what the feelings of my heart have been for a long time! Great stuff.

God meets people individually right where they're at, and if He happens to be meeting several people in close proximity all at once, then great! If not, then great!

On the day He met Saul on the way to Tarsus, Saul was saved and it was a great thing. Earlier, on the day of Pentecost, there were tongues of fire, people began speaking in different languages, and "three thousand souls were added to them." That was a great thing. There's been an ongoing "move of God" ever since! Sometimes the "numbers" are big and sometimes they're not, sometimes it's 'in church' and usually it's not, but no matter what, God is always on the move, working in people's hearts and just plain loving them!

Barb said...

Thanks all for the great comments and encouragement. The more I learn and just constantly hear of the Grace of God, He gets bigger and bigger, more loving and more loving.

Something in me is changing.

Ruth said...

"What if God wanted to find his people, go after his sheep, anywhere they had wandered?"

This sounds like the "beggers banquet". We'll be surprised who ends up at the table.

Your post resonates with me big time. I think the Kingdom of God can be anywhere that the fragrance of Jesus is emitted...where two or three are gathered in his name. The big movement of God is all the little movements added up together. The Kingdom of God is like yeast.

traveller said...

It is not "what if", I believe this is exactly what God is doing. The only question is whether we will be a part of what God has been/is doing. I pray we will....

Thanks, Barb, for your insights. I always like the way you articulate things.

pearlsandchocolate.com said...

Really interesting thoughts! I am glad that I found your blog!!!

pearlsandchocolate.com said...

Really interesting thoughts! I am glad that I found your blog!!!

Joel Brueseke said...

Barb,

I enjoyed this post so much that I posted a link today on my blog, and commented a little more:
"Moves of God"

Barb said...

Ruth, I love the beggers banquet analogy! It really is.

Traveller, thanks I just need to love those in front of me and try a bit more to go out of my way for some others.


Pearlsandchocolate...thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Joel, I updated my page to include yours. Thanks for writing on it. I am amazed at how much fear was involved in believing that we could be left out. A number of people mentioneed this too.

Like we almost believe that God is a train that we can miss and never catch again.

Sue said...

Thanks for this. It challenges me to realize that these "what ifs" are what God has been and is doing all along. They are His heart for us and that makes me happy.

Tiffany Partin said...

I love this entry. I think it dovetails precisely with a post I put up yesterday: http://www.fathomdeep.com/2008/06/church-has-left-building.html.

Thanks for being open to living outside the box!

Ruthie said...

YEEEEESSSS!!!!!!!


BF

Sarah said...

Not to put a damper on the party - you know I love this post and I think God is really speaking on love, and grace, and mercy.

But I have this little nagging question: how do Ananias and Saphira fit into this equation? Where was God's grace for them? I pose the question, simply because I don't have an answer. And I'm curious what others think...

Barb said...

Sarah, I think you may mean this comment to go to the post above on God keeping records?

Husband and I have been talking about this tonight. He thinks that God has to keep a record for some of the other scriptures to be true of judgement seat stuff and reward promised in heaven. There are huge holes that need to be dealt with in this whole thing. I need to read more.
Thanks for bringing up the comment. It is an example of the problem that my husband is having with the whole post.

Sarah said...

Thanks, Barb. I know there is a balanced understanding to be had, and I'm haven't 'arrived' at that. But when one has been starved of grace as there has been a lack of it both in the culture around them (in or out of church) and in their own life toward others, it is a wonderful experience to begin a deeper immersion in God's grace!

Jennifer F. said...

Another amazingly insightful post. You truly have the gift of wisdom.