Most encounters we have with God are a source of delight and inspiration, but there is a type of encounter that can be very scary. These encounters are a response to those parts of our life that we would rather remain hidden, the known but denied. Nevertheless, the necessary encounter is the act of a loving God to confront us about those things that will, if left unaddressed, lead us toward destruction.
What is God writing on your wall?
Each of us carry a certain set of assumptions about how God might encounter us. These assumptions become a box that limit our ability to recognize who God may want to speak through or how he may do it. In order to break this box we need to learn to expect the unexpected. If God can “open the mouth of the ass” then he can surely use anyone and anything to get our attention.
There can be a frustration that arises around sharing the gospel, sometimes it just doesn’t feel like we get traction in people’s lives – the story doesn’t stick. When we look at the relationship between Paul and Timothy we recognise that good information and permission for innovation aren’t enough, because it is imitation that gives traction to multiplication. Otherwise we may just end up doing burnouts in front of police stations.
(1 Timothy 4:12-16)
When it comes to experiencing conflict, we often find ourselves caught in the middle of two points. One the one hand, we recognize that conflict is present, but if we are honest with ourselves, we are also not ready to forgive. The temptation is to just let the situation drift along, hoping that over time everything will turn out OK.
Jesus, however, demonstrates a better way, a way that protects our heart. Because whether you are the offender or the offended, all conflict has a use-by date.
(Matthew 5:21-24, 43-45)
A common icebreaker is the question: “If you were shipwrecked on an island, what three things would you take with you?” Whether you believe in God or not, the way you answer this question sheds light on what you think is most important in life. Shipwrecks, whether by circumstance or choice prompt us to think differently, just as Jesus demonstrated in the midst of a storm. Because God uses shipwrecks to clarify what matters most in life.