A N E W F R O N T I E R S U S A P U B L I C AT I O N
I N T H I S I S S U E
Isaiahs encounter with God (Isaiah 6:1-8) helpfully illustrates the effect of the greater reality we discover when we encounter God. Gods reality breaks into Isaiahs life and everything is rearrangedhis view of himself, his view of history and his priorities. When God comes into a persons life, such an encounter changes everything!
Isaiah enters the temple and immediately has a vision of the Lord high and lifted up. He sees Gods glory radiating from His throne; he hears angels shouting out Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is filled with His glory! (Isaiah 6:3). The founda-tions shake and the temple fills with smoke.
The word glory literally translated means weight. It has to do with what is permanent vs. what is tempo-rary. In other words, its the weightiness of God Him-self as compared to all other things. God alone is permanent, and His glory is weightier than anything else. When God came down on Mt. Sinai, the moun-tain trembled violently. When God appeared to the praying church in Acts, the place was shaken. Gods glory is the greater reality; and when its revealed, things are radically transformed.
There is a difference between saying I believe in God (acknowledging His existence), and having a living reality of who He is. Many seem to move God around to fit their lifestyle, making God lightweight rather than the weighty God He truly isthe God whose real presence alters ones life completely.
Isaiahs encounter with Gods glory creates great trauma as he realizes just how holy God is and just how unclean he is. Isaiahs previous concept of God is replaced as he beholds God in reality. Gods holiness becomes an immense, weighty threat, and Isaiah finds himself undone, unraveled disintegrated.
However, Gods immediate response is grace! The moment Isaiah confesses, an angel wipes away his sin, guilt and shame. His confes-sion of guilt does not become a reason for God to destroy him, but rather an occasion for Gods grace and pardon! Immediately Isaiah is faced with the high privilege of partnership with God Himself and His mission. I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for
us? (Isaiah 6:8). Isaiahs self-image is decon-structed, while his view of God is completely reconstructed on the spot. Isaiah realizes that he is far more sinful than hed previously thought; but even so, that God loves him and fully accepts him!
Having met the real God, Isaiah now gains courage and humility. Before he lived by the standards of his own performance; yet in Gods holy presence, Isaiah is confronted with the impossibility of living up to Gods perfect standard. He discovers that his approval before God is secured not by his own works, but by Gods grace alone. In reality, nothing has changed. The difference is that an encounter with God completely deconstructs ones self, and reconstructs ones lifestyle and priorities in relation to a genuine awareness of His presence and purpose.
Like Isaiah, Christ-followers still declare Here am I! Send me! This is what sets us apart from other people. The people of God have encountered a greater realitya weightier Godand have been caught up together to fully worship Him and actively partner with Him on His glorious mission!
Newfrontiers is a worldwide family of churches together on a mission
to establish the kingdom of God by restoring the Church, making disciples,
training leaders and planting churches.
Pearls of Wisdom from Women of Faith
Soundbite from John LanfermanTeam Leader >> Newfrontiers USA
TRANSFORMED FOR MISSION One of the significant, missional characteristics of the church in Acts is that the gospel was so tangible to them that they fully lived out its reality. What motivated the early Church to love people so radically, give money and property so joyfully, and journey to the ends of the earth to share the gospel? It was their awareness of Gods presence and purpose! This reality was more substantial to them
than anything else. Their motivations and material possessions were entirely reoriented as they viewed every-thing as being designed for the purpose of serving Gods glory.
Newfrontiers USA churches, church plants and pioneering efforts are currently working in 15 states.
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
SAYING I BELIEVE IN GOD
(ACKNOWLEDGING HIS EXISTENCE), AND
HAVING A LIVING REALITY OF WHO HE
IS. MANY SEEM TO MOVE GOD AROUND
TO FIT THEIR LIFESTYLE, MAKING GOD
LIGHTWEIGHT RATHER THAN THE
WEIGHTY GOD HE TRULY ISTHE GOD
WHOSE REAL PRESENCE ALTERS ONES
A Closer Look: Prairie Avenue Christian Center >> Hayden, ID
From the Nations to the Nations >> Bo Noonan
Newfrontiers USA TODAY
Pearls of Wisdom from Women of Faith
>> Linda Lanferman >> Rachel Mowrey
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How do you find balance in your life with Christ?
Linda: I practice the presence of God. During the day you can't always stop to pray, but if you are aware that God never leaves you or forsakes you, then youre consciously aware of His presence. When I cant go to sleep at night I remind myself that He never slumbers. I view this time as a date with Him and an opportunity to be in His presence. God always invites us to draw near to Him, and in turn He says that He will draw near to us (James 4:7-10).
Rachel: Being a mother of young children with a baby on the way, it feels as though everything I have is required of me. It is important for me to stay grounded in God's grace by committing each day to Him. I find everyday is more fruitful when I begin by asking Him for fresh mercy (Lamentations 3:22-23) to treat my children in a way that honors Him and to selflessly serve my husband. It is helpful to begin the day in the Word, though it is not a discipline Ive perfected. Each day requires flexibility. I pray throughout the day as thoughts cross my mind, rather than banking on having a block of uninterrupted time with Him.
How is your faith in Christ applied to your day-to-day living?
Linda: I pray in the Spirit often. The Spirit knows what I need and He intercedes for me according to the Father's will. This builds faith that God is at work in and through me to accomplish His purpose.
Rachel: I find that Christ continues to mold and shape me by using my husband, my children and other relationships to reveal things in me that need to be changed. I discover more and more things about my character and motives that need to be submitted to His authority. Being a parent and a wife has shown me how desperate I am for His guidance and Spirit to lead me! Hes shown that what He calls me to, He will enable me to accomplish (Philippians 4:13).
What helps you overcome the tough times?
Linda: Knowing that Jesus said In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer! I have overcome the world (John 16:33). Hes already gone before me, won the battles and carried my burdens.
Trouble comes to every life; how we handle it is the challenge. A favorite saying of mine is Experiences will change you, but its
your response that will shape you. When I have been hurt or am afraid I pray, God, help me to see things or people the way You see them, to love them the way You would have me to and to feel as You would have me feel. It works! He answers that prayer!
Rachel: During tough times it can be a temptation for me to pull away from others and tackle issues on my own. Leaning on those I trust and love makes pressing through much easier. Above all, drawing near to God in prayer is a necessity! He faithfully gives me a word of encouragement, reveals what new thing He is working in me amidst the difficulties or showers me with His presence and love, dissolving any anxiety.
What is one thing youve learned from discipling other women?
Linda: When someone is looking to me it causes me to grow in my relationship with God, knowing I have nothing to give them unless He gives me something. He knows exactly what they need, and I have confidence that He loves them and desires to fill those needs.
Rachel: I've learned that it doesnt have to be as difficult as it sounds and that it is less intimidating if I focus on friendship first. Im encour-aged by the things God may be doing in their lives and I benefit by being around younger women. Its truly a two way street! I've also learned that God comes through to give me insight and wisdom where I may feel inadequate.
What is one of the biggest challenges in our culture today for women?
Linda: The greatest challenge for women is getting caught up in what the world offers to the point that it crowds out our relationship with God. With every blessing comes a challenge, as we are often tempted to replace God with the blessing itself. We begin to worship the creation rather than the Creator.
Women have a deep craving for connection and intimacy. God has called us to love Him with all our heart. When I give Him first priority in my life, all other things are rightfully aligned and my needs are filled by Him.
Rachel: One of the biggest challenges for women today is