Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My Azusa Now Experience, Part 1

Hey friends, I'm pretty sure that most of you who follow me know me well, but for those of you who don't, this next paragraph is for you.

Just so you know, my personal blog is not like my weekly ministry blog where I post a devotional one day a week. Both are sincerely me in that I have an earnest desire to see the people of God rise up and be who they were called to be - unashamedly, boldly and without excuses. I have been called to pull, push, and drop kick people out of their comfort zones so that they can go deeper in God, venturing further than they've ever dared. That's me! I love people! I truly do. So if anything I write here comes across to you as other than that, then I'm asking you to please read it again keeping in mind what I just shared about myself and filter my words through those.

In this blog I am gut honest, but I will never dishonor the Lord in what I say (at least not intentionally). I will tell it like it is, but never to harm or criticize anyone. I don't beat around the bush because I just don't have the time, but you will hear my heart and the passion within it. So with all of the out of the way, I'm ready to begin sharing with you my Azusa journey!

...from The Call Azusa Moments.

I posted on my Facebook page a few days ago that I would soon be writing about my time at Azusa Now in L.A, on April 9. However, first I needed some time to process all that was churning in my spirit from the weekend. I'm ready now to start sharing tidbits from my personal experience with you all, and I plan to begin where they started on that Saturday morning - preparation.

Before things really got underway, before introductions and all the stuff you'd expect to happen at the beginning of a 15+ hour event like this one, we were charged with this one thing - to lay aside any judgements or critical opinions on what we might see, who we might hear or what could possibly happen throughout the day. I thought that was brilliant!

Just imagine over 60,000 people from many different denominations and life experiences, all coming together for a day of prayer, not knowing who'd speak or lead worship and whether or not it's people we "follow," like, or even trust! You know that had to mess some people up internally as they were being asked to lay all that down for the sake of unity under one banner, one Lord, and one purpose - to bombard heaven with prayers for revival for our nation. That's it! No personal agendas allowed. No pouting because your favorites didn't make it on stage, or perhaps weren't even invited. No taking up offenses because no one from your stream was on the platform. No grumbling because worship wasn't what you're used to. None of that stuff allowed that we Christians sometimes get caught doing because we like things a certain way, we believe a certain way or we're just plain stuck in our ways. None of that!

I loved how the day began! I loved that this was the first mandate of the day. I love that we were charged to examine our own hearts so that we could push that mess aside at the get go, so that the Holy Spirit would have room in and through us to move.

What if we started every day that way? What if we each prepared ourselves like this before entering into church on Sunday morning? What if when someone we're not particularly fond of is given a platform to speak, we took some internal inventory and got our judgments out of the way? What if we actually lived judgement free?

Some of us cannot even imagine such a life because our minds are so critical and full of judgements on ourselves as well as others. We know the right way, which of course is the ONLY WAY to do things. We know who should be doing it and if not them, then us. We have an opinion about everything and everyone and we wish people would just listen to us. I know this because I'm sometimes that woman, but you can bet I'm not alone! Before you shake your head, know this. I know many of you, too. We're just flawed human beings, and this is why the charge was issued. Those in charge know we leak. We are far from perfect and it's so easy to fall into that trap of passing judgement. Yet if we desperately want a move from God in our lives and in our nation (which begins with a move in our lives) then we've got to let go of what gets in the way - our critical spirit.

If you've ever been on the receiving end of a critical tongue passing judgment on you, then your heart is probably softer and more tender in this area. If you know my own personal story, then you realize I get this. Yet, I confess I struggle. I didn't struggle on that day with what I might see or experience because I LOVE when nations, and ethnic groups, races, denominations, and different streams come together to stand under one banner. This thing of unity is inbred in me! It tears my heart out at times and keeps me on my face before God. It breaks my heart how much disunity there is in the church - factions here and pockets there. This group for that person, and this one for this other person. It should not be that way yet we are hindering the message of the Gospel by holding onto our judgments of one another. It's our love and affection for one another that will turn the lost to Jesus.

So, yes. Though I was ready and excited about whomever was going to be up on that stage, I too, had to do some business with God in that moment. There were others, not having anything to do with Azusa Now, but everything to do with my heart and what I would receive that day, that needed to be released from my judgements. Even now, I am still actively releasing. I don't want anything to hinder the flow of God in and through my life. I could care less what others say or think regarding who I should be, or what I should be doing, or even how far off I may seem from their ideal whatever! Therefore, I don't care to choose this side or that, or this person over that one by passing judgement on their life. My goal is to honor the Lord. Nothing else matters. I must be faithful to that call above all others, and my judgements don't quite fit into that category.

Hear more about The Call Azusa...