Encounter

Went to the Hillsong United Conference in Miami a few weeks ago. Was amazing. I’ve said this before but if you ever get the chance to go, do it. Life-changing.
The conference was called “encounter” which was not a new word to me obviously, but the way in which it was used in accordance with our relationship with Jesus was amazing. It was defined as the collision of the unexpected with God, WHICH in turn brings purpose and direction. This idea in my head, has only really happened to me once in my life, when I made the decision to follow Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. But I realized that these unexpected encounters with God haven’t happened much since then because I haven’t been allowing them to, nor taking the time to even stop to watchf or them. I’m too consumed with my everyday life, and what I have to get done, go do, or go see. Its too much about what I, I, I want, or think is important, instead of what really is important – my relationship with Jesus.
What he said was, “Don’t let ANYTHING rob you of the collision of the unexpected God Encounter. He used the example of the parable found in John Chaper 9, where Jesus heals the blind man. It speaks of all these different voices that crept in that day that could’ve gotten in the way of the God Encounter this man had with his healing. All these things can be hinderances to us in our personal lives and in our ministry as a church. We let TOO MUCH STUFF get in the way of Jesus and an Encounter with Him.

  1. One was the “neighbors” in the parable – which are the “Voice of Familiarity”. These are the ppl who know you too well. The ppl who stop you from becoming something new, something better. They like you or things the way they are. But God wants us to become something NEW. something unrecognizable. We serve the great I AM not the great I WAS. He is living and amazing. God doesn’t want to hold us in what we WERE but wants to release us into what he intends for us.
  2. Another was the “Pharisees” – the “Voice of Religion”. People try to box us in with this Voice of Religion.  Sometimes people are so fixed on how things should be that they can’t hear the Voice of God, and miss the power of the God encounter. The coolest point that he made was that we need to define our lives not on what we’re AGAINST, but what we’re FOR. We focus so much on all the things we can’t do, or shouldn’t do or what we avoid,  or what others are doing wrong, that we don’t take the time to or put the effort into all the things that are important–our actual relationship with Jesus, and sharing that relationship with others.
  3. Another was the “Jews” – the “Voice of unbelief. This one is pretty self explanatory, but he talked about not allowing the voice of unbelief undermine the voice of God. Its easy to let others’ mediocrity overpower our belief, and excitement about our relationship with Jesus. Its VERY easy.
  4. Another was the “Parents” – which were the “Voice of Fear”. This is in reference to worrying about what other ppl think. YOu can’t allow what other ppl think to get in the way of a God Encounter. This goes for you as a person, but also the church and its ministry as a whole. If you’ve got your eyes fixed on Jesus, and everything you’re doing is to focus other ppl’s attention on Jesus and His glory, you’ll be doing nothing wrong.
  5. Still another was the “Disciples” – the “Voice of Reason”.  They were problem focused, instead of God Focused.

All of these came together to make me realize how much we can let outside sources effect our realtionship with Jesus, and the growth and potential encounter with Him. It stinks, but its just reality that the evil one uses distractions to take us away from growth and relationship with the one true Savior of all. Made me think a lot about a lot.

THEN, we had  an awesome ladies bible study kickoff the other night at our church, and it was amazing. The craziest part about it was that the speaker’s (Debbie Taylor Wiliams) whole message was so in line with all the stuff that Brian Houston from Hillsong was talking about. Crazy. She talked about that fact that we need to focused on the surpassing greatness of Christ, to desire the POWER that raised Christ from the dead, and to present our bodies as living sacrifices to Christ. Reminded me that our lives are not about us. Where did we ever get the idea that they are all about us? She talked about having a passion in our lives, and that passion being Jesus and the work he has called us to. If its all about me,then  its a pretty wasted life. Where do we get the idea that our lives are about what WE want? All that we do should be to bring glory to Jesus’ name. If Christ is filling my life, then my passion is going to be HIS passion, which will align with the Holy Spirit. God has given us the GIFT of the Holy Spirit, but we are COMMANDED to be filled with the spirit. We need to recognize that he is our Lord and God. We miss the joy that God has given us on this side of Heaven. We need to enter into the JOY, and use what Christ has entrusted to us.

I think the timing of attending these events in my life is perfect. I’m at a place where life just was seeming a little too complacent. Something or someone needed to open my eyes. 2 years ago i had one child, worked a full time job and was a wife then moved 1000 miles away from everything I knew. I then became a stay at home mom, and am now a Mother of 3 young children. Has been one of the toughest times in my life. Never knew that my life would turn out this way. I do love it. Its just different. And i have to discover what God has purposed for my life, in this time, and at this stage of life. I don’t want to live waiting for a day to come when I think things will be easier. I want to enjoy the time i have now, live in the moment, and not have regrets for not sharing my faith and what’s important to me. I want to be everything that God created me to be, and I think i needed these two important messages right now in my life to set me back on track with what’s important. We seem to know a lot about what ppl do throughout their days and lives by all the updates and messages on Twitter and Facebook, but do we truly know what’s going on in their hearts and minds? I don’t know. Maybe with some ppl you do. It just seems like we’ve gotten away from truly getting to know ppl and building deeper relationships. And that’s what life’s about. After all, Jesus didn’t sit at home on a computer waiting to see what was going in in ppl’s lives. He was out there, in the midst of the craziness, the pain, the sickness. It was the messy stuff. And if we can’t be honest about that stuff, who are we honest with. Seems like not even ourselves. Pretty crazy when you think about it. God has meant us for so much more than what we’ve become. Or at least what I’ve become. So for any of you I’ve hurt or disappointed, consider this an apology. For those of you who know none of this about me…..well…..we’ve got a lot to learn about each other 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Encounter

  1. Mary – this was so incredibly touching! Thank you for being so transparent. I can definitely relate to what you said about life being “different” — 2 years ago I was practically staying at home with 4 and now I’m working 50+ hours each week full time with 5. Somedays I leave before Zach gets up and get home after he is in bed. It is painful for me to even type that. I’m sure, too, that Jeff never would have envisioned 2 years ago he would be a stay at home dad of 5 boys! lol

    I completely agreed when you said, “God doesn’t want to hold us in what we WERE but wants to release us into what he intends for us.” I needed to hear that today. =O) I almost think you could add the line “and what we weren’t” because so many times I think regrets of choices not made or the comparisons we make of ourselves to other women or mothers holds us in a prison and prevents us from realizing the magnificence of Jesus.

  2. I just want to say thanks for sharing! This is something I’ve been needing to hear! It’s easy to loose sight of things when you are constantly on the go with the kids. I’m trying to work on living in the moment too. My husband left for Afghanistan about 3 months ago and everyday I seem to be wishing for a day when things will be easier! Instead I should be thanking God for everyday I have with my beautiful children.

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