Saturday, May 2, 2015

BE THE CHURCH…COME EXPECTANT

We started a conversation called BE THE CHURCH a couple of years ago and God is still writing that message on my heart.  I don't choose where I attend church, God does.  And as I submit my heart [will, desires] to the Lord, He plants me in a specific church [tribe, community] for a specific purpose.


"God has meticulously put this body together;
He placed each part in the exact place to perform the exact function He wanted."
{1 Corinthians 12:18}

As I have been trying to internalize the idea that, my view of my church is often a reflection of what is going on in my own heart, God has been speaking a new word, a new conversation to my heart...

…come expectant.

There is a story in the Bible of a woman.  I don't know her name and know very little of her story, but I think about her everyday.  The woman lived on the western side of the Sea of Galilee and struggled for over twelve years with an ongoing medical issue.  TWELVE YEARS.  She tried to get help many times, but each time she left worse than before and eventually found herself completely broke.

To complicate things even further, her issue was a protracted [extensive, lengthily, lingering] menstrual problem that kept her ritually unclean and unable to fully participate in Jewish life throughout its duration.

After twelve long years, I imagine she was broke, miserable, hopeless, lonely, isolated, and desperate.

Then one day, she hears about a man who casts out demons, heals the sick, makes the lame to walk, and makes the blind to see.  I wonder if she immediately knew she was going to find Jesus or if she was scared to even get her hopes up?  I wonder if she would have believed had she not been so desperate?

When Jesus and the disciples returned to the Galilean side of the sea, they were welcomed by a large crowd of people.  As they walked through the narrow streets, people were everywhere.  They pressed in on Him.  The crowds were smothering.

No one noticed the woman following, keeping her distance.  For her to be there was risky.  She was suppose to yell "unclean" if anyone got near her so not to defile them.  But she couldn't help herself.  She showed up expectant and was determined to touch his robe.

She acted on what she heard about Jesus, what she believed about Jesus.
And when He walked by, she reached out and touched the hem of his garment.

"And immediately the flow of blood dried up,
and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease."
{Mark 5:29}

Then all of the sudden, Jesus stopped…

"Who touched my garment?'"
{Mark 5:30b}

The disciples basically start reminding Jesus that He is surrounded by a crowd of people, all who are pressing in on them.  All touching Him, yet all denying that it was them.

But Jesus insists…

"Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me."
{Luke 8:46}

Jesus' desire to know who touched Him was stronger and more persistent than the woman's desire to touch Jesus.  Jesus wants to encounter the woman!  He wanted to meet the woman whose faith resulted in a miracle!

And this is where my head spins.

There were people all around Jesus.  Leaning on Him.  Touching Him.  There is no way in a crowd that large that the woman was the only one who needed a fresh touch from Jesus.  And yet, power didn't leave Him when the crowd pressed in.  They were in the presence of Jesus but they did not have a single encounter with Him.

And God keeps reminding me…I get to choose.
I can be the crowd or I can be the woman.
But it all starts with me.

Do I come expectant?

How many of us go to church every Sunday, but we don't go expectant?
We stand and sit in the crowd, in the presence of Jesus, and leave without ever encountering Him.  We press in, we raise our hands, but don't actually expect to leave changed, to leave different.  Some have even decided it's not worth the trouble so we just stay home and watch church online.  

No matter where God has planted me, I am to come expectant every Sunday.
If Jesus is going to show up and encounter someone, I want it to be me!

I am choosing to come expectant.

Not expectant of the music being what I want.
Not expectant of the pastor preaching the way I like.
Not expectant of the church bending to my wants and desires.

When I come to church expecting anything but a touch and encounter with Jesus,
I leave just as broken, desperate, and jacked up as when I walked in the door.

So I am choosing, choosing to come expectant that Jesus is present and wants to speak a fresh Word into my heart and breath life into my soul.