Story - as written by Jason Granger.
What just happened? Many times we'll find ourselves asking that question after something unexpected and unplanned occurs. You may have found yourself asking that question after this past Sunday's service. And that's okay.
While I don't have an exhaustive answer, I may be able to provide some information that will shed some light. This local church is Spirit-led. We believe that Jesus was empowered with strength, wisdom, and joy through the Holy Spirit to do all that He did during His time on earth. It is this same power that allows us to live as children of God - with an abundance of strength, wisdom, and joy, as well as direction. We are children. Therefore, we need direction, to be led and taught. This means that everything we do is guided by the Holy Spirit. While we plan and live with a level of order and preparation in every area of our lives, we have decided that at any given moment, we will follow where the Spirit leads.
Every cause is followed by an effect. So, what is the effect of following the Spirit's leading? Broadly speaking, people are set free. As Isaiah 61 defines the beginning of Christ's ministry and 1 Corinthians 3:9 outlines our partnership in that ministry, individuals who struggle to accept and experience the love of God are met face-to-face with His kindness relevant to their life-experience. Those with wounds from past offenses and abuse are made whole. Those bound by addictions have the opportunity to be completely set free from its bondage. And those who struggle to understand God are given the chance to listen as He speaks revelation to their past, present, and future.
All of this is because God loves us. God guides us, even interrupts us because He loves us as His kids.
And as we abide in Christ, we constantly ask for more - more of truth, wisdom, strength, and joy. Because this interruption isn't a one-time thing. It is a constant. His presence is a constant. That's why mature Christians continue to ask for more of His presence. Because it is there that we find the truth that continues to transform our thoughts - greater insight beyond our current wisdom, creativity to replace productivity, unconditional love in the place of empathy and tolerance, direction instead of routine and ritual. This interruption, these concentrated moments in the presence of God are never meant to be a simple emotional high, a spiritual bandaid on our human nature, or a change for the sake of change. The presence of God is meant to plant truth in our thoughts where sin, ignorance, apathy, even distractions once grew. His presence has a purpose.
We understand that our thoughts determine our actions. Those actions create circumstance, that is culture. And it is this culture that reveals our true character, our true beliefs as disciples. We pray, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. A kingdom is less determined by its borders than it is by its people and they way they act, even think. Therefore, we desire, first and foremost for truth to guide our thoughts so that the kingdom of God, the culture of God would come to earth as manifested through our actions. This is what glorifies God, because it reveals the character of God through us.
This past Sunday reaffirmed the truth that we are Spirit-led, because God, in all of His wisdom and compassion, interrupted an order of service (which is biblical) so that people in each service could experience His presence in a less-than-routine way to know truth and freedom, or to come alive as our April series is titled.
While The Harbor has always been a Spirit-led church, our pursuit has been concentrated and that much more intentional over the past 3 years. Ever since October 2012, our church has been in a season of Awakening to the presence of God, to the truth of God. If you're new to this journey with us, welcome to church.