March 16, 2009

Streams of Living Water

Thanks for your prayers for our Holy Spirit Weekend. I wanted to share, inadequately for sure, a bit about our amazing experience.

The Alpha retreat this weekend was beyond.

Beyond my expectations. Beyond the limits of my vocabulary to adequately describe. Beyond my prior understanding of who God is.

This weekend we learned about the Holy Spirit. Who he is, what he does and how we can experience the Spirit in our own lives. It’s the part of the Trinity many Christians really don’t know much about—or resist. But oh what a difference the Spirit makes.

To use an imperfect analogy, I think the filling of the Spirit into our lives is like adding vibrant color to a pencil drawing. Or like putting gas in our car instead of trying to push it along under our own strength. Or wiping Vaseline off our eyeglasses.

One of my friends summed it up like this, “I never realized there was so much more to being a Christian than just accepting Jesus.”

In the Old Testament God gave the Holy Spirit to particular people at particular times for particular purposes. But after Jesus ascended to heaven, God poured out his Spirit the early believers at Pentecost. (Acts 2) Finally the apostles “got it.” Ever since Pentecost the Holy Spirit is available to ALL believers.

As Jesus declared, “’If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (John 7:37-38)

So that is what we did this weekend. We came and drank. God freely poured out His Spirit for the thirsty. He refreshed and renewed and revived. Some traveled to the mountaintop. Others received a much needed refueling. And for a few the Spirit uncovered long-hidden struggles, brought them into the light and laid them at Jesus’ feet. The experiences were as unique as the individuals present.

It’s not often in our day-to-day that we encounter the Almighty so intimately. But on the Alpha retreat we do. Every time. That’s why I’ve been involved with the program for so long. I continually see it produce glorious fruit. I know many who encountered Jesus up close and personal this weekend will be forever changed — their faith set on fire, their lives filled with purpose, the eyes to their heart opened.

Through the many courses I’ve done, I've witnessed the way God knits us together as a community. Strangers become friends, bound together by a shared passion for Jesus. The more mature help those just taking baby steps. Infant faith blossoms. Participants become helpers. Helpers become leaders. Each group reaches out to help grow the ones that follow. It seems just as Jesus intended.

This weekend we sang Mercy Me’s song Word of God Speak. I continue to soak in those words today.
I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

Lord, I pray for every person who attended the Alpha retreat this weekend. Continue to invade their hearts with your life-giving Spirit. Give them rest in your embrace. Fill their lives with your purpose. And protect them from the attacks of the enemy. In Jesus’ name, amen.

For more information on the Alpha course, click the button on the right.


Melanie Dorsey said...

Praise God for what sounds like a time of freedom and liberty in Christ!
I have never heard of the Alpha course. I'll look into it.

Lori said...

So glad you had an awesome weekend with your friends (old and new), but most importantly with Jesus. I hope you feel refreshed and renewed in the Lord. God's blessings on you and all of those that attended. May the weekend continue much longer than just those few days!

saleslady371 said...

I'm so happy for you! It sounds like your hubby enjoyed it too. Isn't it terrific that you experienced the weekend with him? I know you are led by the Holy Spirit. That's why I follow your blog.

Sassy Granny ... said...

Wonderful! I can see why you feel at such a loss for words. I love the song selection too.

I'm actually a little speechless myself when it come to responding to so much food for thought.

Well ... guess I'll just praie the Lord!


Becky said...

Isn't God amazing? My mind cannot even begin to comprehend how awesome He truly is! Praising God with you.

:) Becky

Cheryl Barker said...

What a blessed weekend you all had with our Lord! And what a perfect song to sing throughout your event -- and beyond. Mercy Me has some great songs, don't they?

Debbie said...

Morning Kelli,

I was praying for you and I'm glad all went well. Most of all I'm glad many of the participants came to a deeper knowledge of who God is by understanding and knowing the Holy Spirit.

Have a wonderful day!

Love, Deb :)

Sue J. said...

I wish that our churches would function more like the retreats our churches support. There is a focused intensity at a retreat--focused worship, focused prayer, focused Scripture, etc., that leads to that amazing encounter with the Spirit that works within each one of us.

I really think God intends for His church to look more like a retreat--with each individual coming together with others; receiving that same Spirit like the disciples-turned-apostles; and, going forth changed, transformed and renewed, ready to serve!

As you all walk forward this week, I pray that what you experienced will not be forgotten but will continue to build upon that foundation, which is Jesus Christ!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

God's Spirit is an amazing companion and One that I cannot adequately put into thought. I just know that He's here, always, interpreting the sacred things of God on a very personal level. How thankful I am to be a NT believer, endowed with God's Spirit within. He always, and I mean always, brings me...

peace for the journey~elaine

Irritable Mother said...

Sounds like a wonderful, wonderful weekend. It's amazing to think the God of the universe would want to dwell so closely with us.
But HE does.
And I am thankful!

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh it sounds wonderful and that God was working in all of you! I have never attended anything like that but I can imagine the joy!

Tea With Tiffany said...

Loved reading about the fresh filling and fire you experienced at the Alpha Retreat. May God continue to pour living water on your heart and use your passions for His purposes. I believe the Holy Spirit is SO important. Without Him, I would not be able to do what I do. Nothing. I need Him to fill me and give me wisdom and courage and words.

Thanks for taking time to inspire others!

Wendy said...

What an incredible weekend. Isn't God awesome? If we come together and humbly seek Him, oh how He shows up in a big way!! Love it.