Hi friends, you may have noticed I’ve become a bit of a Jesus freak in recent months.
It’s an interesting thing that happens to a person or group of people when they start to grow beyond religion (which can sometimes mean form and ritual without relationship and power) and begin to encounter the living God.
In January during 3 weeks of prayer and fasting, I started to experience what it’s like for the Holy Spirit’s presence to come into the room. One particular morning during worship, for 10 minutes straight, my skin started to crawl all over with this insane tingling, and the pain in my body (some of you know I’ve struggled with chronic pain for 14 years) started to have some relief. This intense tingling/chills mixed-with-pain-relief has happened pretty consistently in worship for the last 9 months, and it’s woken up a hunger for God’s presence that is on a completely new level for me.
I just got home from Bethel’s Heaven Come Conference in downtown LA, which happened directly across the street from one of the biggest porn conventions in the world, and couldn’t help but reflect a little. In the midst of so much bickering, mud-slinging, and weak, insipid, political Christianity, there is a movement of Christians sprouting up that has started to grasp the crazy, reckless love of God and the meaning of “true religion.” People beginning to walk in the full, holy, supernaturally transformative power of the true Gospel, which claims to be the exclusive means for freedom from all forms of bondage, including disease, addiction, depression, isolation, fear, poverty and shame. Good, honest, humble people who are who are simply fading into the background of all the political bickering, and instead creating spaces for God’s presence to powerfully fall (just like it did in my room that day) in ways that bring true healing. People who are seeing the drug addicts, porn addicts and the prostitutes through God’s eyes — and instead of condemning the evil, they’re inviting them to encounter the presence.
You might look at all this at say “Oh Melody’s getting a bit Pentecostal” because humans have a need to put labels on things they don’t understand or haven’t experienced.
You might look at this video from the conference and say – there’s a lot of religious people being religious and working themselves into an emotional fervor, but I was there and I felt the glory of God fall, and the sickness in my body run for the exit. And it was something to get kind of excited about.
All I know is, I can’t apologize anymore for the name of Jesus, and I definitely can’t continue in a kind of religion where all we do is talk about the power but not live it out, and I no longer mind looking a little foolish, uncool, and obsessed.
The name “Heaven Come” is actually not about getting to heaven, but about seeing heaven come to earth. In this day and age of natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, violence and hatred, the church gets really excited about escaping it all via the second coming. But I have a feeling Jesus isn’t coming back till the church gets its act together and starts living in the full reckless, crazy power and love implicit in the Great Commission and modeled in the early church. Cool thing is, it’s starting to happen.
This is actually the heart behind the “Your Love Is Strong” project… a very religious-sounding word called Revival. Because the power to live a life of purity comes from a genuine life-changing encounter with God. We don’t get holy by trying really hard to not sin, but by encountering God’s presence in a way that changes us forever. Conversely, the worshipful act of holy living is part of what invites that presence to fall with power, so the two go hand in hand.
Very excited about what’s to come.