I am slowly but surely heading towards a first year of being a Christian and I guess that my good friend and pastor Gideon Hoekendijk could not have said it any better than yesterday when attending a pastor’s lunch with Jason Westerfield, the whitest black preacher I ever heard:
talk about being thrown in the deep.
I guess that is what has happened in no uncertain way. From being a skeptic with an unexplained urge to go to church, I found myself in the midst of a community and events that are after revival, after the restoration of the Tabernacle of David, after God’s presence in the here and now and not as some distant unpersonalized life insurance policy for the hereafter. So far it has been an amazing journey. Let it be said: a challenging one for sure. After seven years studying and working towards a book on debunking RELIGION, I ended up encountering RELATION, and no matter how smart, rational, intellectual you are (and with an IQ of 148-154 depending on which test in which language I guess intellectual fits the profile), it was in experiencing RELATION with the living God, not at all distant, but highly personal that I was shook up in my ugg- boots and am on a daily basis.
In all this I learned about the other side of prayer: loud, in tongues, long, with open arms, face down on the floor, for others, and I must say it has not always been easy. A lot of my foundations, actually very similar to what Christchurch has been going through in the past weeks, seems to reflect what has been happening to me in a personal, intellectual and spiritual sense. In a very direct and profound sense I had to came to a point where the adagio: I NEED TO UNDERSTAND SO THAT I MAY BELIEVE, was replaced with I BELIEVE SO I MAY UNDERSTAND. And while I am far from perfect in that sense, a bit of the old rationalist, the facts and evidence based investigative consultant is still there, yet it is in reading the Bible and praying that real answers came, most of all when I stopped talking to God to give Him a chance to speak.
This Jason Upton song seems to reflect this need for silence the way I experienced it.
I guess what it boils down to is that we spend an awful lot of time talking, requesting, to God, and don’t get me wrong, that may well be for all the right reasons; but it is, at least for me very easy to forget taking the time to listen to God and if anything it has been in the listening that I found my answers and actually am starting to experience the reality of the restoration of the Tabernacle of David, the power of His presence and the peace that comes with that. If there’s anything that typifies the past year as a Christian it must be that it is in the speaking to God that we get our issues sorted in the literal sense but for me it is in the silence that I seem to find the answers. I do not always like what I am hearing and in all honesty at times I thought I knew better. But it seems that the more you hand it over to Him the more peaceful you become in whatever comes your way. But… you need to take the time to listen, to ask at times
what are you trying to tell me Father?
Best of all: if you subsequently shut up and listen there is a good chance the answer follows, either while being silent or in the form of a sign straight after that, or when you read your Bible and some or the other passage seems to speak to you more than the others.
And when it comes to being quiet, I have found the music of Kimberly and Alberto Rivera working miracles for me btw just as much as the music ministry within Harmony Church and I guess that’s why I enjoy playing there so much. And in hindsight: what a foresight! It was not through doctrine or intellectual exercises but through music, in the words of Gideon Hoekendijk, my love language, that I came to encounter the Spirit before I was converted, and in such a strong way that there was nothing left but to be converted: PRAISE THE LORD! And is it just not miraculous, after seven years of diligent “religious fraud” investigation, what happened to me happened in the eight year, the year of restoration: for me now the year of RELATION. Talk about a God with a biblically sound plan! BUT…. back to Kimberly and Alberto Rivera. Below some of my favorite youtube videos. I will post the highlights but suggest you listen to the songs as a whole.
I hope you enjoyed the videos as much as I did again. I hope and pray that like me you will find answers in His Presence and your Silence.