One Month On

 

A weekend spent intentionally seeking God, worshipping Him and resting in His presence is definitely a weekend well spent. 

Something powerful happens when you gather with others who have the same desire as you, when you allow God space and time to move amongst you collectively and individually.

Let’s be honest, how often do we give God the time He deserves in our daily lives to impact us, to change us, to be God?

Almost a month ago, a group of people gathered in a tent in a field to give God that time and space he deserves.

We went into the wild with God, we participated in wild worship, we wildly pursued God, we prayed wild prayers and we had wild dreams.

Throughout the weekend I can honestly say that God met with us, He spoke to us, each and every one of us.  That might have been through prophecy, testimony, time with friends or the small voice in your head that you just know is Him.

The Pursuit is a place where you don’t put a limit on God, you’re not in a rush with God and that allows you to be changed by Him, to have your eyes opened to all He is and has for you.

How then can you meet with God so intimately and powerfully and not act on that when you leave?

You need the time and space to seek God but then you also need to action that.  To take what happened so powerfully in a tent in the middle of a field and use it to impact the world.  God changes us for His glory.  God changes us so that we can impact the lives of others.  God changes us so we can change the world.

You come away from a powerful weekend and you are reminded of what you are called to do:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew’s Gospel 16:24-26)

Go wild with Jesus, lose yourself in His presence and recommit your life to Him once again.  Then go out and change the world. 

___

by Kate Newhook, a fellow Pursuer.

 

Photos collected from the weekend can be found on Facebook here and instagram #thepursuit16

 


POIROT

How Poirot taught me to ask questions about my faith
And introduced me to the concept of yeshiva bochas

When I had lunch with Hercule Poirot* earlier this year (I refuse to refer to him as David Suchet), he spoke a lot about ancient yeshiva bochas, which, it turns out, is a very hard term to shorthand, and an ever harder word to later transcribe.

I nodded dutifully throughout our long conversation about how we would do well to bring their methods back into the Church today, and then rushed to the toilet to Google what on earth yeshiva bochas actually are.

It turns out they’re Jewish students in orthodox learning establishments, who spend their time “wrestling with the faith and doubts”. That’s what it’s all about, Poirot said.

From the very beginning, our faith was something that wasn’t just accepted at face value, but worked through.

Coming to faith at the age of 40, he had questions, and he wasn’t afraid to raise them. But not all of us have people we can raise questions to. I’ve never heard a sermon on doubt. I’ve never been in a small group where they’ve encouraged us to get the doubts out into the open.

Perhaps I’ve not been going to the right places, but I think doubt is something the Church isn’t always great at recognising.

Last year, threads went to The Pursuit and set up a Secret Doubt Garden.

We encouraged people to come on in, get a little crafty by making flowers or leaves from card and write their deepest doubts down on their creations. We then pinned these around the tent. By the end of the weekend, it was beautiful. Flowers of every colour, size and style, tattooed with thoughts that some people told us they’re never told anyone before – or even been given the opportunity to.

The thing is, we shouldn’t keep our doubts hidden. They don’t need to be a secret.

You can see examples all over the shop in the Bible – from Eve in the very beginning, doubting God’s instructions, through to Zechariah when the angel told him he would have a child and then, of course, Doubting Thomas, whose unfortunate nickname has stuck throughout the ages.

The point is, faith is bigger than doubt. It’s ok to admit we don’t have all the answers – because to say we do would be to lie. To paraphrase Romans 10, it’s faith that’s the remedy for doubt. Holding on to your belief despite questions, occasional wobbles and doubts? That’s real faith.

It was a privilege to facilitate the garden. This year we want to go further.

We don’t want to only create that special place to release your secret thoughts, but also, we want to offer some encouragement. If you’re coming along to The Pursuit – and there are still tickets here if you haven’t yet booked – then find us in The Twilight Tent.

Drawing influence from nomadic culture in the Middle East, we’re creating this temporary home for you to come in, lie down, and release the doubts that you’ve never before aired. As the tribe of God, let’s get real. Stop wandering, and lay your head down. Read a book under our starlight. Jot down your thoughts on a luggage tag and add it to all the others on our ceiling. Be inspired by the thoughts of others.

“Jesus replied: ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.’” (Luke 7:22-23)

It’s time we stopped stumbling. Our faith is bigger than our doubts.

 

*I would apologise for the shameless name dropping, but it was POIROT. I can’t be cool about having lunch with everybody’s favourite European detective.
________
Written by Amaris Cole. She always wanted to be a journalist. Well, apart from the few years she spent longing to be a spy (she even took a GCSE in Russian as all good spies speak the language, or so her teacher said). She is now Editor of the Evangelical Alliance, but is sure Mi5 will come knocking soon. Amaris enjoys going to the gym far too much but is able to resist the biscuit tin far too little. Her most embarrassing moment was saying: “No probs” to Prince Charles.


WILD?

 

Am I the only person who reads ‘Into The Wild’ and immediately feels very ordinary..?

Last week took me to this year’s leaders meeting for The Pursuit. For the first time I heard the vision: ‘Into The Wild’.

Soon, I felt myself shrinking back. Because as a worship leader I hear the phrase ‘go wild’ amidst a chorus of motivational catchphrases like, ‘Let’s take more risks, let’s be more creative, let’s step out of our comfort zones…’ and the invitation to lead worship suddenly has a sting in its tail.

Oh gosh. I’m going to have to get both feet off the ground and spin… burst into spontaneous fits of joy in that chorus. What if tongues of fire don’t appear over my head? Even then…”

That bite of insecurity. A prickle of anxiety followed by a paralysing shot of lethargy: Will I be wild enough? Probably not…”

I’m relieved to say that as we prayed and worshipped, the pressure to ‘be wild’ didn’t loom so heavy.

STRANGE FIRE

In my mind, I was taken to the Old Testament story of Aaron’s sons Nadab & Abihu. They’re famous for being struck down – a la mort – in the temple. (Leviticus 10)

Staggering in side by side, they carry censers filled with burning incense. The Lord observes their ‘strange fire’ and is incensed… like really incensed.

They bring fire into the worship space that is not fire from the altar.

Aaron’s sons made their own fire and we now think how unwise they were. But what they did is so tempting, and so dangerous.

WE DON’T HAVE TO BE WILD TO ENTER INTO THE WILD

I don’t have to be glorious to enter God’s glory. I am made glorious – not through my own attempts at gloriousness – but because of the glorious blood of Jesus.

On entering the wild, God wants us to burn with wildfire – not strange fire! But what is wildfire?

WILDFIRE

It’s the quiet embers of God’s presence snapping softly in the air around us as we worship.

It’s a Sunday afternoon stroll through a short worship service with God’s fire burning candescently in the background – by nature wilder than any musical marathon set within manmade holographic flames.

Wildfire is a monstrous storm, felling trees around it with earth-shattering force. Renewed reverence and awe hitting us like freight trains as we approach the glory of God’s presence.

I may not always feel wild (do you?) I may not be able to do wild (in that crazy extroverted way). But the wildest thing about all this?

Wildfire is in me. The Spirit is in me.

It’s a wildness I’m powerless to tame, but I am able to pursue, to cultivate…

It may not even appear that ‘wild’ in an earthly sense.

WILDFIRE IS CONTAGIOUS

Imagine hundreds of brave worshippers running barefoot over burning coals of encounter as they pursue Jesus…

With hearts not dampened by fear of failure, or minds burnt out with the exhaustion that comes from trying to be a certain type of wild.

How many others would follow them?

Wildfire sets the sky ablaze, staining it red with the blood of Jesus. Blood that sets the Father’s heartbeat pulsing throughout the canvas of creation, telling all who see it that the way to the wild is open.

How foolish I would be to stumble forwards with an offering of strange fire, when the heavens and the glory of God beckon me – have always beckoned me – into the Wild.

______

— Debs Davies