In 2020, probably the most overused word was ‘unprecedented’. In 2022 could it be ‘transition’? Maybe we’re in an unprecedented transition! In his book A Non-anxious Presence, Mark Sayers, a church leader and author from Australia, talks about how we have moved from a world that was complex, to a world that is chaotic. Before, despite complexity, we felt that by planning and strategy we knew what outcomes we’d get from most things in life. Now the world has changed and planning and strategy no longer give us the illusion of control. In fact he argues that all that’s happened is we’ve returned to the chaos that has been normal for most of humanity’s existence. Only those followers of Jesus who have learned to rest in him, take solace from him, find strength in him and receive wisdom and direction from him will be able to continue to advance his kingdom, while living at peace, in the world we now find ourselves.
As we gathered for Dwell at the start of October, the Eldership team didn’t really know what to expect, except that we’d worship Jesus for some time and see what happened.
Here’s my summary of what God said:
- There were numerous reminders of his faithfulness. Faithfulness to us personally, faithfulness to his promises, faithfulness to his destiny for us as a community, faithfulness to his plans and purposes.
- His ongoing promises to bind up the broken hearted, free the captive, release the prisoner and empower the weak. Whatever situation we find ourselves in he is willing and able to meet us in our need and to help us.
- As we intentionally wait on him, still ourselves before him, slow ourselves down and allow him to speak to us, he will set us free.
- As we focus on what he is doing, join in with what is happening in his story, our focus gets lifted out of our present difficulties and gets fixed on him. This doesn’t necessarily change our circumstances but it does change our view of them and our ability to trust him in the midst of them.
- He is calling us to trust him completely. When life seems easy and controllable it can seem like we trust him, but really we just feel in control. When life is hard, unpredictable and the hits just seem to keep coming, we have to know God intimately to continue to trust him and leave the outcomes in his hands.
A friend told me that they had a deeply profound encounter with God at Dwell. They have a lot of very difficult circumstances in their life at present. There aren’t known outcomes in many areas and yet they came away from that encounter assured that God is in control and somehow it will be ok.
As a side point I felt Holy Spirit say to me that Dwell was an example of what our church gatherings should look like. A diverse group of people, all contributing their piece, to bring a fuller picture of what God wanted to do among us.
I finish with some words for Jonathan Heslers song ‘Thank you’
You don’t have to come, but you always do
You show up in splendour and change the whole room.
Thank you Jesus for the reminders of your goodness and loving kindness.