I always love when God begins to do something special; when He begins to move among His people and take them to new levels.  I love it…and I hate it.

"Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

Well, I don’t really hate it, of course, but I don’t enjoy what inevitably comes.  Attack! It seems that every time God begins to do something, sifting from Satan comes closely on it’s heels.  In the end there is no power he [Satan] has over me, but he can cause enough manipulation that my own sin-nature and fallen will can easily finish the job.

For the last couple of months, there has (as I’ve written about before) been some real steps forward made at The Gathering.  We have focused more on the mission of The Church (both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment), looking for new and creative ways to meet the needs of those around us, looking beyond ourselves to a hurting world that needs deliverance, physically and spiritually.  We have engaged in meaningful and authentic worship and taken a new focus on real discipleship and community.  We have experienced some seeds of numerical growth, of late, as God has brought in some wonderful people who have a heart for Christ and a desire to minister.  All of this is really great and I praise God for it.  At the same time, I have experienced more internal struggles, at times gasping for my spiritual breath, and more conflict relationally than I have in quite some time.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

Christ tells us to expect this.  He tells us that in the world we will have trouble.  Not might, but will.  I know that, but it hurts; it leaves us longing, sometimes empty feeling, always weary.  It is sometimes hard to get past that part about the trouble to the rest of the teaching about being of good cheer…I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)uphill_runner

I would like to say that I’ve worked it all out and that I am just jumping for joy in the deliverance of Christ.  I am not.  Though I am confident of His deliverance, I haven’t fully felt it.  I have experienced some little tidbits of encouragement, but those are only morsels, holding me over as I wait for the feast.

Sometimes, I am little more than “making it,” holding it all together as I muddle through while at other times I have such a certainty that God will make all things new…and I think that’s enough for now.  I continue to trust Him.  I will seek Him.  I will find Him.  You see, I understand that one of Satan’s schemes to bring down a church is to bring down her pastor.  I know that objectively and must, then, process that truth subjectively so that I feel it and gain strength from it and embrace a resolve that it will never happen because of the Spirit of God within me.

So, as much as I absolutely hate the attacks, I embrace them.  I am determined not to be undone by them and believe that, in the end, Christ will be made much of because of the deliverance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit to finish this work that He has started.

Soli Deo Gloria!