Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Building His House - Laura

Laura Hennings, when not performing magic among the cafés in the South of France, leads the STINT team in Montpellier. Her team of three girls is the first one in Montpellier. “One of the great things about being the first STINT team is that nothing we do is a failure!” Laura writes. “Every day we are learning new things and so we are constantly evaluating and revising how we do ministry in this city and this culture. We’ve been choosing to take first steps and see what happens and what we can learn from it. It’s been a really exciting process!”

Laura adds, “Since we’re the first STINT team in this city, we want God to use us to lay a foundation for others to build on in the future. Our hope is that what we do and how we incorporate prayer, evangelism, fellowship, time in the Word, etc. will help form a solid base from which the movement will grow. One of the aspects of the ministry that we have moved forward in is establishing a student leadership team to help give structure, organization, vision, and momentum to the movement. We have talked a lot about the difference between just being a group on campus, and being a spiritual movement. We want that heart and vision to be integrated from the beginning. We’re excited to see how God will multiply our efforts through these committed students, and to see how they will gain a vision for what a movement can look like.”

Speaking of foundations… I was studying recently in the Book of Haggai . The exiled Israelites who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon along the remnant rebuilt the foundation and the altar as recorded in Ezra 3. However, because of opposition they stopped there. They got sidetracked and spent all their time fixing up their own apartments to feel nice and homey. The Book of Haggai is a story of how the prophet mustered them to get back to the task at hand of building God’s house… the temple… the place where His glory dwelled.

In chapter 2 of Haggai, he asked. “How many of you saw the house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?” The Lord Almighty through Haggai proceeds to give three encouragements that we can all apply no matter where we are in the movement launching / temple building process.

The first two are:
“Be Strong and work for I am with you”
“Don’t fear because my Spirit remains among you.”

About her situation in France, Laura says, “It can feel overwhelming at times, just being three girls here. There is so much we want to see happen, and it can seem impossible. But I know I have been really stretched in bringing everything before the Lord and entrusting it to Him and asking Him to be at work. It’s been amazing to see how He has provided in really specific ways. It has also been hard at times too, leading alone and having to make decisions, but I think in those moments God continues to show me my dependence on Him and to teach me to bring everything before Him. It’s been cool to see God be so faithful to work in my own life, as well as in the lives of the students here.”

God calls us to work but really, as Laura writes, He is at work. He really doesn’t need us. And yet He calls us into the work with Him. His presence is here. His Spirit remains among us. There is no reason to fear.

Haggai goes on to give a third encouragement. It’s a vision… a promise of a future that's far surpasses what they were seeing with their own eyes.

“In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory. The silver is mine and the gold is mine. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house. And in this place I will grant peace.”

This is amazing. And yet God could not have been talking about this building they were working on. This temple didn’t last. It wasn’t even the temple that Jesus visited. So he is not speaking of this temple building built nor Herod’s temple and certainly not Solomon’s temple. But there is a house… a temple... a kingdom… a Spiritual movement… He is asking us to work with Him on building. This temple will have greater glory. He will shake the heavens and the One that all nations desire in their heart of hearts will come. This temple - the Spiritual One that He is asking us to build with Him that is a mosaic of many nations and colors - will be filled with his glory as the waters cover the sea.

…and that’s no slight of hand in a street magic show.

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