Body Surfing w/ Jesus

As The Table is in a season of discerning how God would have us serve Him in the coming season, I’d like to offer a few thoughts. I would like to base these thoughts today from the book of Malachi, and then consider how we might approach our discernment.

Malachi was written by the prophet to confront God’s people w/ their sin and ultimately restore their relationship w/ God. Malachi addresses priests and people who were offering defective sacrifices to God. He reminds them of their original purpose, which was to help bring God’s peace and life to His people. He calls them to repent, and pursue God w/ authenticity. The good news of the book of Malachi is that God desires relationship w/ His people. He desires for us to swim in His waters of love – that we would set aside the stale water bottles we cling to, and drink from His crisp fountain of life. He desires that when all things are completed we would live into the picture of Malachi 4:2, when is says: “But [in that final day] for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” The good news is that God desires that for us; He desires relationship w/ us.

In sharing this good news, the prophet Malachi is living into the meaning of his name; he is bringing God’s message of restoration. This is my prayer for all of us, that God would give us such an incredible picture of His peace, that we would be saturated by His love – and that we could not help but be His messengers of grace, bragging about the waters of life and leading fellow thirsty people to the waters of refreshment.

So my question is: How then do we go? All too often we psych ourselves out or rely on stale water bottles, choosing safety. We feel alone in stepping out into the water, or that God wants to kick us in the deep end when we barely know how to swim. But the truth is that we are not alone, nor is that the heart of God for us.

God impressed that point to me last week. We took our kids to the peninsula to camp and play at the beach. The waters were cold, and waves choppy, but my daughter was braving the conditions and went out on her own up to her waist. I knew she wanted to go further and wanted someone to join her. So I sucked it up and went out. I stood beside her and said, “Come on let’s go out further together, it will be fun.” She and I went out into the cold waves, body surfing, diving into the oncoming breakers, getting blasted and laughing the whole way. I was confident in her ability to handle herself in the waters. Her confidence was high b/c she knew I was there to grab her when a big wave came. It was an awesome time w/ my daughter, and afterwards we stared at each other in a new loving way. It was the highlight of my trip. Later, when the kids were asleep and my wife was reading by the fire, I walked the beach at sunset. I praised God for the day and for my time w/ my daughter in the waves. And then I was stuck powerfully by a thought. I believe God was smiling upon me and saying: “That’s what I desire for you and Me, Aaron, that you would trust me, and we would adventure together.” I had been praying about this next season at The Table and some upcoming family decisions, and it was as if God was saying: “Come on let’s go out further together, it will be fun.”

I believe God is saying that to each of us today. “Come on let’s go out further together, it will be fun.” I think as a community, we have learned how to swim and we want to head out and be messengers of His peace. As individuals we desire to be Kingdom builders in the fashion God has designed us to be. And like my daughter on the beach, we want to go further, and want someone to join us. The good news is that God desires to adventure w/ us, for us to swim in His waters of love, drinking deep. He desires for us to be messengers to those who are thirsty for His peace. And I believe He is standing next to us today, saying: “Come on let’s go out further together, it will be fun.”

So as we as a community and individuals discern how God would have us serve Him in coming season, know this: You are not alone. God the Father is smiling upon you, desiring to adventure w/ you and fill you up so you can serve Him w/ gladness. It is my prayer that God would give us such an incredible picture of His peace, that we would be dripping in His love, and that we could not help but be His messengers of grace.

So as we discern as a community and individuals, consider this question: How would you answer God today if He asked you, “What fun thing can we do together, that would build my Kingdom?” What would give you life, while building His Kingdom?

 

May God refresh you this season, as you consider how you/we might serve Him.

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