Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

19 August 2009

Stand by me

During our Tuesday prayer and worship night (Fusion) last night... I starting singing Ben E King's classic song "Stand by me". I was actually thinking about this unforgettable "Playing for Change" version performed by an eclectic group of musicians from every corner of the world... together... in their own style.




One lady in the room heard me singing and told me after that the words gave her hope and the strength she needed in the moment to keep pressing on, believing for a miracle that she'd been believing for for a long time. A gentle reminder that God stood by her during a time when "the land is dark".

My mind went a different place when I was singing it. My mind went to the people who are the forerunners in life and specifically in ministry. Both then and now.

THEN: I was thinking of Acts chapters 1 and 2 when the Jesus peeps were forced with the conundrum of how to be "Christians" without the Christ physically beside them! This is how it went down:

6When they were together for the last time they asked, "Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?"

7-8He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world." 9-11These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, "You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left." (Acts 1:6-11, The Message)


So they forged on back to their clubhouse and took care of the necessary administrative work in what was likely a bit of a "
When the night has come and the land is dark and the moon is the only light we'll see" couple of days. They did what they knew they were supposed to do (because it's what Jesus had taught them)... they prayed. And then suddenly like a rushing wind... you know what happened. He stood by them.

But then they were called to go out and be bold Christian leaders and witnesses to a world and religious establishment that was sure to mock them. But they knew they could do it... "
No I won't be afraid, just as long as you stand by me". Heck it hadn't been that long ago that Peter couldn't even admit he KNEW Jesus... but now with the Holy Spirit was standing by him... he finally GOT that whole Matthew 16 rigmarole where Jesus told him that he was rock on which He'd build the church. So that's exactly what he did.

But without Him... even the deep rooted would have wilted.

NOW: I was thinking about the difficult and often wearing nature of being the same kind of charge-ahead Christian leader. People who do real kingdom damage are not often universally liked. In fact it seems like some even revel in trying to take bold people down a notch... assuming that they deserve to be knocked of their high horse.

And the reality is... that a smart leader knows these arrows are coming. They are prepared for it and it won't deter them from their goal. But if they don't stop to intentionally invite the Holy Spirit to stand by them, being their empowerer, preparer, leader, guide and friend... it can feel pretty "When the night has comeish" while they're pressing on.

It's beautiful what our God does for us when we worship "in spirit and in truth". We give ourselves up... and ask Him to come close. He does it... and the truth we need comes becomes so tangible.



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