This past Wedneday I attended a most God-thrilling conference up at Bethel Church in Redding, Ca. The conference was entitled Pastoring Kids in Revival. I had read and heard from others how God shows up at this church! God has given a special anointing to Bethel and his leaders there in that they impart healing miracles left and right, curing cancers and ailments just like much of Jesus’ ministry. They even have healing rooms that people travel to from all over, even internationally, to come and be healed by God in.
What I did not anticipate so incredibly was the level of humilityand trust so many people up there have in their hearts for God. Those leading the children’s ministry get this half-nauseous, half-anger look every time someone talks about pastoring children in anything remotely resembling the tones of day-care!
Bethel kids are treated with a very serious Love. Not the cute little, albeit unconditional Love we are used to seeing little kids get doted on with…but a serious Joy. They endear the children as though they were little Stargates, constantly and simply able to tap into God’s presence, power and playfulness. They view them as glimpses into God, which, given how complicated we make tapping into God’s presence in our lives and hearing from Him…they view them as little teachers.
I can’t begin to say how thankful I was to attend this conference and how equipped they sent us all on our way to do His bidding in our own appointed worlds. One of those many things I took away from this conference circled around gathering others. Luke 10:2 tells us that,
The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.
How true that always is…A lack of laborers, people, willing to go out from the comfortable, or heck, even stay put right where they’re at and simply stop, and Love, with all they have and are! I believe this unfortunate truth stretches indeed as far as the ends of the earth and as deep as our Love, or lack of Love, for God. But… in the midst of a world tearing itself apart, as usual…there is hope.
Did you know that right now, according to UNICEF 2008 statistics released last month on their website, the world, for the first time in history, has enough literal food being produced to actually give every single person in the world 2,738 calories of grub per day…making the crisis known as food shortagenow properly called by its real name, death by distribution. That’s exciting to know that now, unlike ever before, we have the resources to actually end world hunger. You always hear those Miss America contestants fulfill the cliche of, “I’d end world hunger” as one of the caviotanswers to sum up there ending thoughts to the judges. Well, high five girls, because although I bet you didn’t know the truth behind that hope, it’s actually possible!
I could go on forever with so many of the things I learned up at Bethel this past week…And I will…only over the course of a few prayed over blogs, and not all at once here. What I did however want to mention was that little treasure I took away about seeking and calling those oh-so-needed laborers out to the harvest alongside you.
This is such a great visual! Elephants often split up their herd, sometimes as far as 15 and 20 miles in search of water when in the dry season. These lone ranger olee-phants (as hobbits call them), often the visionary, lead bulls, but not always (there are some Joan of Arc Mama-elephants that do this too) go out, braving attack from other animals, dehydration, separation, poachers, etc, all in an effort to find water, buried deep beneath the parched, sun scorched African terrain.
When they find these pocketsized hidden oases, andthey do, they begin to stomp on the ground. The stomp is always the same…rhythmic, Loud, angry, excited, determined…a crazy tension between fury andJoy! They stomp for hours if need be, until the others elephants hear the stomping from miles away and hear it they do! They are trained andobedient, even in the midst of going through the motions of the herd-life, to know what that call of Life sounds like. When they hear this stomping, they know that someone from their family has foundlife underground and is calling everyone to it.
The original stomping from our reconnaissance elephant never stops…instead…he is simply joined by other elephants, upon arrival, and they begin to all stomp together! At some point, when enough elephants, or laborers, have heeded the call and come to stomp, it happens. Breakthrough! The ground gives way from the relentless stomping of the multitudes, and breaks forth with life-giving, life-saving water for all who have come! The elephants feast on the harvest of Life so much so, that they often call that place home for months, rationing out the water in order to stay put and pay homage to the Life they have sought out.
They often times set up shop right in the midst of a packs of hyenas andlions…who, if you know anything about these animals, have serious advantages over elephants come nighttime. Vulnerable elephants, their kids, their sick, etc stay put andbrave the packs of superior, 1000+ lb preferably night-hunting cats. Never thought I’d say this, but how incredibly inspiring these animals are in doing this! The seek out Life, find it, relentless stomp away, calling others to Life, gain breakthrough, andthen enjoy the harvest…until they do it all over again! They now call the dangerous place, where Life is/was found, home!
So, although I’ve never prayed it before…I will pray this prayer daily, hopefully for a lifetime. I want you to bring me some elephants God! I want people to come alongside me and believe in the vision…Not that I have, although that’s true, but in Your vision God, through me, to go out, wherever and Love people back to Life…back to You…back Home. I want laborers who will stay put and prepare, whether it be here or where they’re at, because, as much as it drives ’em insane, their hearts are believing and calling upon bigger things than impatience. They don’t want to go try out this life abroad…or tinker in mission’s trips to test the waters…
I want people who want to go out forever, should they be so lucky and led, and stomp the hell out of the parched landscapes of man, and bring forth revival and living water to all who would come and drink!
I don’t want people, as someone strategically told me last week, who want to go and plant orphanages. I love that person, but I don’t want someone whose end all be all with God and their calling is to plant orphanages. Of course I want to plant orphanages…but I also want to plant God seeds…everywhere! Seeds that mature into on-the-spot churches. Seeds for shelters for, AND in large part, run by the street kids. Seeds of stealing back the girls chained to their world of prostitution. Seeds of the hungry who without their desperation would normally despise us, coming in droves and feeding off of the spiritual and the literal Gospel we bring because of God.
But, before ever I do this out there, I am learning and Loving to do this here. I am praying every day, all day, for elephants to be sent this way. I want elephants to read this and get excited at the call to stomp forever on parched lands not our own! I want elephants who will leave everything behind, family, friends, expectations, savings, security, the safety even of their own lives…Count it all as loss, and come stomp…counting such a life, such a response of faith, such a sacrifice…all of it, as absolute surrendered Joy in Christ. I want elephants who don’t have it all together…some who might even get lost on the way to the stomping they are wandering toward. Those elephants will Love the best, because they know, they cannot do this on their own, and want to do nothing without God.
So…I stomp! As loud as I can! May my feet clamor with crazy Love…Over a vision, over a call for Revival, over dry land that need only be broken open with fellow laborers…with my fellow elephants! I stomp! And I encourage you, however this can encourage your walk…don’t just run with it…Stomp with it. Ask God to burn in your heart the Love for the one that is tucked away, radiant with God’s Love around them, out in the harvest, waiting to be touched. Maybe you’re someone who needs to perk up those ears and hear the stomping that’s been just out of earshot for you for so long. Maybe you are the one to catch fire and do the crazy stomping, believing that God will send others. Whatever the case, believe in the fire, the promise and the Love that Papa-God has for us, and let it fill you in ways that won’t let you keep it to yourself.
Spiritual stomping…is simply Prayer! Constant, humble, relentless, violently confident assaults of Heaven’s open door, petitioning for God to do what He does best…to Love.
Love to pray…Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of Himself. Ask and seek and your heart will grow big enough t receive Him as your own.