It’s been a while since my last post. Please forgive my making up for it in this post. 🙂
A lot has happened. I’ve begun to do something I’ve felt God calling me to do since I was in Middle School: be a pastor.
A year ago, Bethel Baptist Church in Weatherford Texas asked me to lead them. I had already been their Interim Pastor, filling their pulpit until they found the one that God had for them. But God had more in store for me and for them. It has been a wonderful fit for everyone. Unfortunately, a few have moved to other churches, but a few have begun worshiping with us.
Being a “bivocational” pastor is something I swore I would never do. I got burned 14 years ago in another church and basically said that I would never let that happen to me again. In June 2007, while serving on staff on one of Fellowship of the Sword’s “Quest”, God broke some things off of me, including my vow to never be hurt that way again. One week later, I was in the pulpit at Bethel.
A year ago, we looked at the Names of God and how God progressively revealed Himself to His people. The series was very well received. Thanks to my friend, David Terry, for his CD message that was the basis of the series (“Giving God a Name”).
I recently began a study on the Old Testament Tabernacle. We moved through the Tabernacle Complex, looking at each part individually and how it fit in with the whole. I pointed out that far too often, when we look at the Tabernacle, we rush into the Holiest Place and talk about the Ark of the Covenant. We can’t do that. There is so much we need to understand before we get there.
It begins with an understanding of the holiness of God. The Outer Courts were surrounded by 7 1/2 foot tall curtains of pure white linen (in contrast to the earthtones of the other tents and desert environment). As you move from the tribe of Judah (praise) into the Outer Courts through a curtain with Blue (heaven/God), Red (earth/Man), and Purple (royalty/[a mixture of blue and red] embroidery, the first thing you see once you get inside is an altar. You realize that something has to die. You can’t go any further until that happens.
This past Sunday, without a working PowerPoint and without my notes and Bible (I had left them in my office) I pointed out that God never intended the Tabernacle to be about the sacrifices (altar) and the ceremonial washing (laver [basin]).
The Tabernacle was always to be about what happened in the Holy Place: fellowship (“table-ing” with God), being illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and being a fragrant incense to Him — things that only the priests were allowed to do, and what happened in the Holiest Place: seeing our sin (violating God’s commands [10 Commandments], rejecting His provision [gold pot of manna], and challenging His authority [Aaron’s Rod] being separated from God’s presence by the Mercy Seat. What a wonderful picture!
Sunday Night, God showed up! With a handful of us present, God showed up about 5 minutes into our church service. We sang, wept, sang and wept, and just sat in silence. An hour and a half later, we felt God was sending us out as embers to light fires where we went.
It was an awesome privilege to be graced with the presence of God.
We will spend some more time in the coming weeks studying worship in the Bible. I pray that God will continue to not only visit, but rest on our fellowship.
More posts to come! (And more visitations?!)