May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13 ESV
Today's service at Ethnos was amazing. Once again the presence of the Holy Spirit was administered in power. I have had a quite discouraging week - one of the worst in my life perhaps. I needed a glimmer of hope, and it rained down this evening. Thank you Lord!
This week begins the Advent season, and today's service focused on hope. Much of the service was spent in corporate prayer and sharing time. It was a thing of beauty. People feel free to be transparent here. This availability for openness is what freed me from my own desperate darkness. It was in this way that I was exposed to the Light. I believe it is equally important for others to be forthright about their problems. There is mega strength in the Body of Christ. We must break the bondage of this culture's encouragement toward autonomy and isolation. We need each other.
Today we prayed for those who needed it. In fact, everyone was prayed for. We broke up into small groups and prayed for each other. Following the personal prayers, we huddled around the advent table and prayed what Anthony referred to as "Korean Style Prayer". Basically, we all prayed out orally at the same time. I am so amazed at the beauty of this event. I would like to do it more often. There was a sense that we were offering up our prayers directly to the mercy seat of God Almighty, Yahweh Most High! Not that we should ever doubt, but today I am sure our prayers were heard!
The worship in song was inspired and vibrant. Anthony led us into the throne room. In fact, I'd say it was the best worship service I've attended in a long time. Something(s) about it hit me powerfully. A shining message of hope was offered to us, and we encouraged each other with stories of hope in our lives. Oh God, what an amazing night! I could not help but smile hugely as I was singing because God's presence was so clear. The gifts of the members of His Body were shining, shining, shining! O man, you should'a been there! Now THAT's church! :)
I felt like we shined tonight as lights of hope in this dark world. The spiritual world surely was shaken, the forces of darkness disrupted. That is the glory of our King, when He stirs the hearts of His servants. We have the power and authority of His Name at our disposal, the wonderful Name of Jesus!
Like the recent altar call service, this too was a much needed service, one I have longed for. I have needed so long to sing some of the songs we sang today, to pray in the way we prayed today. I was brought to tears because the Spirit moved me with great emotion. Even now I can't hold back the tears. Glory to the name of Jesus!
As the Jews waited in great expectation of the Messiah to come to earth, we now wait for Jesus' second return. This season of advent represents this time of waiting. Not only that, but we groan in our spirits for that time when everything will be redeemed. Creation waits eagerly with us. He has redeemed us, and He is in the process of changing our hearts. What a mighty God we serve. Nothing is too difficult for Him! All things are possible with God.
Yes, there is hope. There is hope indeed. One of the songs we sang had a powerful line - we screamed it out, while Anthony, Mark, Sarah and Wes jammed!
The Best is Yet to Come!
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Romans 8:18-19 ESV