March 7-15, 2014
First, let me thank each of you who were praying for this event. I’m packing up my things this morning and heading home, and I am just overwhelmed once again at the way I saw the teachings of Jesus change hearts and lives this past week.
I met some very precious people from the community as well and had the immense privilege of seeing some old friends once again. I’ve been invited to share in this community three times over the last fourteen years, and I absolutely loved what I saw Jesus doing in the lives of those I have only had the pleasure of keeping up with from a distance. There is a movement of God’s spirit—I see evidence of it in almost every location I visit of those sincerely desiring to return to the teachings of Jesus and to enlarge his Kingdom here on earth. This movement crosses all peripheral, manmade boundaries, and yet it is centered deeply in the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
I would be lying if I said that, as we revisited together Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount this week, there were not times when even those who had been following Jesus for many years now were not challenged by some of the things Jesus taught. G.K. Chesterton is famous for his summary of Christian history that does not prove that Jesus’ teachings have “been tried and found wanting, but rather they have been found difficult and left untried.” But rarely have I witnessed the sincere openness and dedication to following Jesus as I have witnessed among this group. If I could sum up the spirit I saw among my friends in Pullman, it would be that once they “see” something as being what Jesus truly taught—difficult as those teachings may be for those in our Western, Americanized culture today (the favor of God, nonviolence, helping the poor, etc.)—they strive to begin putting it into practice. I was so encouraged this past week by the sincere desire to follow Jesus that I witnessed being awakened in those who visited from the community (even those who have a low tolerance for religious events) as well as the passion to follow Jesus I saw rekindled or growing deeper among those who have been following Jesus for quite some time.
Lastly, there was an overwhelming response to moving away from a passive spectatorship within the small groups to experimenting with the open, mutual, participatory nature of the New Testament “one-anothers.”
We aren’t called to change the world for Jesus, but to put on display what the world changed by Jesus looks like and invite others to join us in doing so. This week, by Jesus’ love, I saw many either enter the Kingdom, or choose to go “further up and further in.”
Again, for all of you who were praying, thank you. Your prayers were answered in one beautiful demonstration after another. For the Kingdom, thank you.