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Posts Tagged ‘Mars Hill’

Acts 7:33
Then the Lord said to him [Moses], ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground…’ [Stephen to the Sanhedrin]

I have always thought Moses was told to remove his sandals because they defiled the ground. But today, as I read this passage, I see something new: it was important for Moses to actually feel that holy place with his feet. There was strength and truth and power that would touch him through the ground, that holy earth spot.

I don’t have much experience, background or tradition of holy places outside the church or in various para-church settings. But I think there would be more experiences if I would open myself to them. I too often cocoon myself away from seeking out holy places.

In the same way that Moses stepped onto holy ground initially in sandals, I clothe myself in tradition and limiting expectations. It’s time to take off my shoes…. again.

Some years ago, I was on the cutting edge of worship. I was listening to the Vineyard and Hillsong and even Maranatha before that. I was standing on the charismatic bandwagon and riding up front. I was dancing and praising and jumping and shaking and laughing. I was speaking in tongues and singing in the spirit. I was prophesying and interpreting. I was on fire.

But I don’t think I was standing in bare feet on holy ground. Not really. I was going through the motions (and emotions) of what it might mean to touch holy ground. Actually, all I did was put on a different pair of shoes than the more traditional churches were passing out to their congregants.

Today, there is another generation of believers who is trying to take off their shoes and experience God’s holiness. For some of us, it’s too different. They are getting their feet very dirty. They are slopping through some weird stuff, but they are persisting through the swamp and on to higher ground. They are loving God and loving Christ Jesus and loving their neighbors. They are emergents like the Emergent Village, they are Christianity 21, they are Catalyst, they are in “conversation.” They are connected virtually and face to face. They are Solomon’s Porch, Apex, House of Mercy, Ooze, Axxess, Sublime Remix, Boaz, Headspace, Cedar Ridge, Water’s Edge, Tribe, Resonance, Three Nails, Mars Hill, and ReIMAGINE, to name just a few. They are embracing Christ in our culture and sharing His relevance with those who have long since worn boots in all the holy and unholy places.

For the naysayers against this new brand of followership, I remind them of Gamaliel, “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” [Acts 5:38-39]

Lord, take my shoes this day and help me touch holy ground. Give me insight and transforming power. Give me courage to walk in this new place. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll dance again.

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John 18:4-6
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

The gospel of John is the only account of the crowd falling down to the ground when Jesus was arrested. Isn’t that the strangest thing? How could this happen? Why would John include this in the gospel?

I really like creating pictures in my mind as I read. Needless to say, my picture for this scene is quite dramatic. The only thing I can wrap my head around is that Jesus released a great deal of power (a release of power is also recorded in the story of the woman who bled for 12 years and touched his cloak in Mark 5:32). In my mind, Jesus was always having to choose to limit himself to the human side, the human container. But this moment was really a turning point. It was no longer a possible future; it was no longer a mere concept.

Turning points are moments of power in all of our lives. Some years ago I participated in a wonderful conference on “Story” at the Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle. Before starting the workshop, our homework was to identify the turning points in our lives. This was a very illuminating exercise and I recommend it for everyone.

The power in a turning point comes from the motive or driver that brings the moment before us. Do we take the left or right fork in the road. When we choose a direction that is under girded by the Holy Spirit, then power is released. In Jesus’s case, there was enough power to knock down a crowd of people. If we take the other path, we are on our own.

If a turning point comes today, Lord, guide my decision.

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