The second thing that was brought home to me during the conference is how amazing it is to surround yourself with fellow believers. We get so caught up in “the world” that we sometimes forget that Billions of others hold our beliefs.
I met some very nice people and once again dwelt in the Spirit for an extended period. You can’t get that at church. But in a setting like this you spend a full day with these people. It’s wonderful. Especially wonderful was the concert on Sunday night. Michael Card is probably most noted outside of his fans for having written “El Shaddai.” That tune was one of the rocket boosters under the career of Amy Grant. (Link to video)
But to listen to Michael sing it in an intimate setting this weekend was different. I wept because the Lord’s journey was so real and vivid in the way he performed the song. Again, go listen to it and ponder the words. (Lots of links today!)
At the end of the conference we were challenged to insert ourselves into the Gospel of Mark. As in:
“The Apostles followed Jesus into (name your town) and espied a crippled man at the side of the road. His name was Joseph of …”
I think that this request for the personal testimony of your rebirth in Christ in a Biblical setting is one of the greatest creative writing/philosophical questions I have ever been asked in my life. I’m encouraging all of you to take ten minutes and write out your response right now. If you are comfortable in doing so, I’d further ask that you send me a copy via the comments section of this blog. I will publish it if you want, keep it private if you don’t want to go public. You do have to specify in your subject line. And without further ado, my “Biblical” appearance is below.
The Apostles turned to Him and said, “Rabbi, that man has returned. The one who paces back and forth in front of the Temple but never enters. Shall we summon him and find out what he desires?”
Jesus smiled at Peter, “No. He is not ready yet. Let time prepare his heart a bit more and then I will talk to him this night.”
That night the stranger fell asleep in his lodgings, his wife nearby. After a time he awoke in the midst of carnage and destruction. Confused, he wondered how he came to be in this place. He felt a presence that could not be seen. “Who are you and what am I doing here? I was asleep in the inn and now I’m in the roadway?”
The presence loomed just outside of the man’s view. “You are at a crossroads. You can continue on your present path and spend eternity like this or you can follow me and be soothed in my love.”
“Are you The Christ? You abandoned me long ago. I turned my back in return. Why would you want me to be happy. You’ve been punishing me for something I don’t even understand. I’m not sure you even exist and this hasn’t all just been a bad dream.”
Jesus remained hidden. “You will know the time and the place. I have a home for you in My Kingdom. One day soon you will no longer walk past the temple – you will enter and change your life forever. And I can’t wait for you to rejoin Me.”
The man awoke in a panic. He was back in the inn, but the dream was so vivid that he was shocked to find no trace of the fire and death that had surrounded him a moment before.
For a long time he struggled to deny the dream. He struggled with surrender and admitting that he was wrong. His vanity was going to cost him his soul.
But one day he walked in the door of the temple to do trade with one of the priests. To his surprise, and everlasting joy, Jesus was waiting to greet him. Jesus handed him a robe, a ring, and provided a seat at the table where a banquet was set just for him. “Joseph, son of Oliver, I am gladdened to see you this day. I have a special task for you in My church. Please eat and we will discuss your role as one of My scribes for The Kingdom Eternal.”
Stunned the man sat down and was filled with The Holy Spirit. He no longer wandered the highways of destruction but had a new path to eternal life.
What is your Biblical story? If you’d like to share it, please post a comment with the text and let me know if you’d like it to be public or just between us. I’m looking forward to the responses.