After two days of running hills here in Omaha and praying over our next series at Kfirst…thoughts have been stirring.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! Isaiah 52:7
Growing up in church, there is a term we used over and over.
I’m a pentecostal. I believe in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (gifts, fruit, ministry). I used that term “Mountain-top experiences” for those moments where it seemed like the presence of God is so thick around me. It was as if a fog rolled into and around my life and I had this greater awareness of His presence. Those “mountain top experiences” are what we had sought at Sunday evening altars. I felt the call of ministry on my life there. I receive healing there. I remember moments of praying with friends. I remember hearing my parents interceding over me. Those moments made me want more.
I remember time in church where we would sing and pray, desiring to be in “that place” with God. We wanted revival. In retrospect, I wonder if we should’ve stopped using that word and replaced it with the word “renewal.” Why? Revival gives the connotation that something that is dead is being back to life. I really don’t remember people coming to Christ during those services. What I do remember is being at an altar with my church family praying and seeking His face. There is nothing wrong with that and I have great memories of those days. Like Moses going to the mountain of God, we were determined to seek Him and be consumed with his love and his presence.
Mountain tops are great moments. They will transform your life. There are so many spiritual truths to grasp from from those that have the climbed amazing peaks of our world. From the mountain top, you’ll get new perspectives, views of unfathomable beauty, and experiences that will mark your life. I have dreamt of one day climbing some mountains and experiencing some opportunities that I have only seen on Discovery channel. Truth be told, mountain tops are great places to experience, but they are not supposed to be the place were we live.
I have a growing concern that the Church wants not only the “mountain top experience” but wants to live there. As nice as that my sound, it’s not where we belong. We want that Moses experience of being hid in the cleft of the rock to let the glory of God pass before us (Exodus 33:12-23). We enjoy the sensation of services of unending worship and unyielding prayer (I don’t know what we limit worship and prayer to a church experience). But mountain tops were not meant to sustain life. Again, it’s not where we are supposed to live.
The mountain is a place were we are a recipient and an alien. It is a place to temporarily meet and receive. Jesus didn’t send us to the mountain. He releases us to the valley. Moses went up to the mountain to receive and bring down to Israel what he was given from the Lord. Even in Acts, they were in the upper (mountain) room and received in order to go into the world (valley). The valley is where life happens. The valley is where everyone lives. But we, the Church, make it sound like living in the valley is a dark time in a person’s life. But if we’ve received from the Lord on the mountain, we then illuminate the valley with that which we have been imparted with.
Isaiah describes beautiful feet. They are not of those who live on high and have no connection with the valley below. Beautiful feet are possessed by beautiful people who “bring” the Gospel (Good news) to the world. They don’t shout it from the mountain hoping others can hear what they are saying. They don’t send out a random tweet/facebook status hoping the masses will catch the message. They “bring” (Hebrew for announce, bear tidings, show forth, publish) news of peace and salvation. They bring the declaration “God reigns!”
John 1:14 says “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” We start a holiday season celebrating the One that came with beautiful feet, dwelling among us, full of grace and truth. We honor Immanuel (Christ with us). The one that came from on high to be the light in our darkness.
It’s time for the church to model the Son.
It’s time for the church to leave the mountain.
You’ve richly received from God.
It’s time to illuminate the valley.
Make your feel beautiful by be a messenger of illumination to the valley around you. Speak the good news of peace and salvation. Proclaim “God reigns!”
Thanks for letting me ramble on vacation…