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God working at Bethany

by:John

 

wind in window 
 Christ is like that breath of life-giving air that brings
strength and refreshment to us.  This is displayed very well in this great painting by Edward Gordon

           This past week was a one week class entitled, The Excellencies of Christ, taught by a man named Alan Hood.  As I sit at a table before my computer reflecting on the lessons learned with the brisk, fall night air blowing in through the window, I realize how much Jesus is like that wind.  Before, I opened that window, it felt really stuffy in here and without Jesus, our religion is just stifling.  But, when He shows up, it’s far greater than a ‘breath of fresh air’.  This last week was just another gust of the man Jesus who lives still today.

            I wasn’t the only one who was touched either.  It was really neat to hear some of the testimonies of others whose lives were changed.  One girl rose her hand to ask for prayer during a time that was dedicated to prayer for the sick.  She had lost fifty percent of her hearing in one ear for the last 3 or 4 years and had received prayer many times before.  She testified that while in the lunch line, she was surprised at how loud everyone was acting, but wrote it off as excitement over what God was doing.  Then, she noticed an odd detail, that she could hear her soda fizzing.  “That’s odd.”, she said as she sat down at a table with some friends.  And after noticing how clear she could hear them all, it registered – she had been healed.

 

 cross
 When we truly meet Jesus at the cross, we don’t always expect the levels of surrender that we are asked of.  But, fortunately, we also get a blessing that is so much more than we could have asked or imagined. 

           Another brother who lives in our dorm (Jason) had a cool testimony of how God spoke to him personally.  Another friend (Will) spoke of how God really confirmed his relationship with his girlfriend and worked in both of their lives to bring them to deeper levels of trust and surrender.  Not only were there many testimonies of God doing really amazing things, big and small in the lives of many individuals here on campus, but God also did a great work in the heart of Bethany as a whole.  It was a real time of seeking God as a corporate body for the future of Bethany and I was so blessed to see how the leaders humbled themselves to seek the Lord.

            One amazing word that Alan Hood delivered was about the ‘God who opposes us’.  He spoke of how God is not afraid to take away our fruitfulness and/or resources to get at our hearts.  Bethany has seen some tough times, and I think that this was a word to God that He has much more for us, and He’s determined to bring us into what’s best rather than what’s good.  In other words, He wants to give us all real relationships and vibrant ministries of Christ, rather than the drab, dull and dry ministries of cultural Christianity, or traditions and past systems.  Forms are good, but it’s so easy to slip into a dependences on what worked in the past.  We don’t realize that the reason that it did work, wasn’t because of the system, but because the heart that we had at that time.  So, rather than go back to a system, we need to embrace the right heart.

            This was definitely a word for me as well as a word for Bethany.  In fact, I think that it was a prophetic word for the western church – one that we should hold on to. 

 Much love, John Clancy

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