Embrace Suffering. Part I

For my birthday this past June, my wife bought me a wall-mountable pull up bar. I haven’t finished putting it up yet…and it’s August.

Yeah, I know.

So today after church and dinner, with my daughter taking her much needed nap, I decided to work on it. The instructions said to put the actual pieces of the pull up bar together before mounting it to the wall, which I managed to do while Mrs. SJMak and I watched an average movie on Netflix.

I walked outside to drill the necessary holes in the wall of my garage. Mind you, I marked the drill spots WEEKS ago. Marked the studs, etc.,

Drilled one set of holes fine. Went to the other side and…wellp, that’s not a stud.

I think there is concrete behind a portion of my wall. Who does that?!?

This is the second home I’ve had the privilege of buying. But any homeowner who has owned a home for more than a month knows that stuff comes up. And with the stuff comes money and handyman work.

I like the thought of being a handyman; handling issues around the house, while my wife sings my praises (lol). But how many of you know that handling house stuff is NEVER straight forward. There’s ALWAYS something I wasn’t prepared for.

Lately I’ve learned something about myself; Sometimes I have a tendency to back down when challenges present themselves that I wasn’t prepared to handle. In SO many areas.

At this point in my life, the message that keeps flooding my spirit is this…if you expect to get anything worthwhile out of life, you CAN’T BACK DOWN. You have to learn to face challenges head on, fearlessly. That thing that makes you stop, go inside, and watch TV on the couch instead of being productive…FACE it. Stand flatfooted, stare it right in its eyes and face it head on.

Today at Eighth Day Church, Pastor David Brinson spoke on ‘conditioning’ (click here to listen to Contagious Understanding Part 2); going through necessary disciplines to be the resilient and powerful people God designed us to be. That’s what the apostles did even before they performed the signs, miracles, and wonders we always speak of desiring today.

Acts 2:42-44 (NLT)
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper[a]), and to prayer.  43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.

We can’t have the power without the conditioning. There are no shortcuts!

So face it. You can either sit around being dissatisfied with life while you wait on manna to fall from the sky, or you can embrace the necessary pain and suffering that come from pursuing God and all that He has made available to you. Your choice.

Now, back to this pull up bar.

Presence Night – Deeper Fellowship Church. WOW.

I took the featured image picture from my phone in the moments before the service, or ‘River’ started. The anticipation in the air was thick, even after about a 1.25 hour wait outside.

My wife and I visited Deeper Fellowship Church in Orlando, Florida this weekend. It was not our first time…actually our third. But it was our first time visiting for Presence Night. I’d been looking forward to this for at least a year.

Things started off with strong prayer and exhortation and the atmosphere was so ripe with expectation and desire for God…WOW. I have rarely experienced such a thing in corporate worship, but it resonates with me deeply in a way that only God seekers would understand.

Worship @ Deeper Fellowship Church

Worship was about 5 or 6 songs total…God centered and energetic. I’d venture to say that EVERYONE participated…yet again, a rarity in my opinion. Instead of a ‘going through the motions’ type of thing, it really felt like our worship was accomplishing something. I am sure that it was. Worship leader Trinity and the praise team WENT…IN…oh my goodness. Each song was telling of the very longings of my own heart, and were sung with a passion and a realness that made it easy to join in and give a more hearted effort myself.

In the midst of, and after, worship, Pastor William McDowell, Pastor Caleb, and Pastor Theo were just flowing in the Spirit…what an amazing thing to behold. As they admonished us to pray and receive, rather than spectating, they laid hands on people and prayed as they were led, at times in a coordinated fashion that was, without a doubt coordinated by the Holy Spirit.

There were several occasions where there were ‘waves’, in which it was clear that God was moving…not just at the altar, but throughout the entire room. Pastor McDowell kept reminding us that we could all have it if we would only receive. I absolutely LIVE for moments like this.

Though I did not experience a dramatic encounter that night, my life was GREATLY impacted and I am SURE that my spirit received an impartation, and I was blessed just to see revival in ACTION. Without a doubt, I am compelled to take this culture of revival into my own home. Though I wish I could be at Deeper Fellowship Church every week, I at least know that I can and MUST have this culture in my own home.

And I will.

Thank you Pastor McDowell, Pastor Caleb, Pastor Theo, Trinity and the praise team, the musicians, and all the hungry people at DFC who have showed me that there is a greater move of God to be seen on the earth.

We’ll be back. A LOT.