A little while ago Mel Hope shared a few scriptures with me and something about them wouldn’t leave me. I went home and read and re-read them to let their truth sink deep into me. As I did, I made some observations for myself and I wanted to share them with you for this month’s Creative Conversation!
Here is the first Scripture:
Mark 3:13-14 (TPT)
‘Jesus called the ones He wanted to be His close companions… He wanted them to be continually at His side as His friends…’
It is remarkable to me the depth of relationship and intimacy Jesus had with his disciples. And I hope you can hear the invite extended to you and I, as His disciples, into deep relationship with Him.
The next passage Mel shared with me was Acts 4:13 (TPT) which says, ‘They began to understand the effect Jesus had on them simply by spending time with Him’
The ‘they’ in this passage are the Council members who were trying to silence the disciples after the Holy Spirit had fallen on them and given them great courage to preach.
Two things stick out to me, and they are linked: Jesus calls us to be His close companions, and when we spend time with Jesus in close communion, it has obvious effects on our lives.
Jesus wants you to be close to Him… to be His close companion! It’s like we never actually stop living life in a perpetual ‘altar call’ moment, where we’re always responding to this invitation of staying close to Jesus.
And why is closeness important?
It is proximity to Jesus that shapes and forms us.
Here in this passage the council members saw a distinct change in the disciples and could ONLY reason that it was due to their time with Jesus.
So what is the result of being with Jesus?
WE ARE SENT
The crazy thing is this; when we get close to Jesus He sends us away! Wait, what?
I would argue that the equal depth in which we sink into His presence, is the same ‘distance’ that He sends us out into the world with His message of love.
That’s what Jesus does with His disciples. Mark 3 (TPT) says, ‘He wanted them to be continually at His side as his friends, and so that He couldsend them out…’
It’s interesting how quickly humans can turn the gospel into a self-centred or focused message. I guess this is just our human nature left unbridled, we want to focus on our needs and our wants.We want to get close to Jesus and have Him all to ourselves.
The disciples were pulled close, and the closer that they were pulled actually acted like a sling shot to propel them out.
Leading worship isn’t just about sitting at his feet. These ‘at His feet’ times are good and necessary, but leading worship is every bit as others focused, as it is God focused.
This is because the lost ARE His focus.
There’s a saying we’re building into our culture here at HopeUC, which is to talk about those far from God as; ‘the people God misses the most!’
Our times of intimacy with Jesus are not to be missed, but the deeper you go in God I think you’ll find that His concern is others.
So I have a few questions for you:
How is your worship-leading others focused?
How are you helping those distant to God draw near to Him? (& this may also include Christians who are feeling far off)
My next observation around the effects that close companionship had on the disciples is this:
THEY HAD CONFIDENCE
Close proximity to Jesus gives us confidence in who He is.
When I step onto platform to lead I feel more confident to declare God’s goodness today than I ever have before. Why is this?
Because I have witnessed more and more, the truth of His Goodness in my life and I’m not afraid to share that. I have no problem asking people to lay down their lives for Him, because again, I have found that when I have done this in my own life He has not left me empty handed or wanting.
He can be trusted, relied upon and believed in.
How would you feel about saying these statements on platform?
‘God is good and He does good things!’
‘Call on His Name Church and He will hear you!’
Be confident. Our close relationship with God causes us to access deeper authority.
When we know Him, we know His power and we won’t be shy in declaring it.
Ever wonder why those older generals of the faith just seem to have no sense of embarrassment when it comes to boldly declaring God’s goodness … it’s because they went deep into relationship with Him and God just used that depth to sling shot them out into the ends of the world that need Him most.
It is when we are sent for Him that we activate His power in our lives.
You’ve probably heard the phrase; ‘and what gives you the authority to do (insert action)?’used when someone does something outrageous and the onlookers question the act or deed.
Well, when we’re questioned on what authority we have to make statements as outrageous as ‘God Loves You,’ ‘He has Good and not evil planned for your life!’ We can stand confident on the authority of the one in which we have been sent to represent, and the one in whom we are in close relationship too.
Just like the disciples who stand up after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and aren’t afraid to face opposition and persecution. When we go with authority and confidence God’s plan for redemption and salvation are enacted.
I have a crazy idea…
What if you saw your PCO roster as a commission? A sending of sorts rather than a spot that you ‘fill’. And what if you received it as an activation of God’s intimacy sling-shotting you out boldly to declare His goodness?
Now, just think about that for a bit.
Love You Team!