Race Weekend in Bristol and a week of moving bedrooms around in our house (read: CHAOS!), and then a Lampstand meeting! Circumstances may not always seem ideal, but it is always a blessing to make time in our lives to stop and seek the Lord.
Even before we began to worship, we jumped right into a prayer time for God's people in this region to be a house of prayer. We were meeting and worshiping that night at almost the same time as the Bristol Nascar race. There was an encouraging story from years ago about a young girl who had a vision of a racetrack and a small house of prayer in the same area and that God heard the sound from the tiny house of prayer as being louder than the sound of the racetrack. This is an encouragement to us that even though we may be small, God sees and hears from heaven. We were praying that God would awaken ALL of His church in this region to be a praying people who would cry out to Him!
Ian, for those of you who don't know him, is an excellent worship leader (and a husband to Abbi and father of 2 cutie little girls). He has written some songs that are among my favorites. On this Saturday night, he was focusing in on Jesus. We were really lifting Him up during worship and looking at Him and His work on the cross and His mercy and goodness. It was so powerful. There was truly a grace that was given to us to see Jesus, to behold Him, as we lifted Him high together.
Matthew said that during worship he felt like the Lord was saying He would establish a "helpline" through our praise. He read from Psalm 28 and said that as we lift up Jesus and make much of Him (praise), then we will see Him work on our behalf.
Linda said she felt during worship like there was a portal open and the Bride was standing ready with voices filled with praise.
We sometimes hear a message that so encourages us we know we couldn't say it any better so we share that with the folks who come to the Lampstand meeting. This was one of those times. We listened to a message from Times Square Church in NYC by Gary Ham entitled "Behold the Man." He was looking at the passage in John 19 when Pilate brings Jesus before the people in the crown of thorns and purple robe, all beaten and abused, and says, "Behold the Man!"
This message went so much along with what Matthew has shared at the last two Lampstand meetings and what the Lord has continued to highlight to us that it was a powerful challenge to us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Especially in the midst of challenges that we face, we must fix our eyes on Jesus. We must answer the invitation of the Spirit to BEHOLD this Man. This One who has created the heavens and earth, and performed so many miracles, who claimed to be God, who then took the punishment for our sins by dying on the cross. This One who lives now to make intercession for us and who IS coming again to rule and reign on the earth.
Here is the link to the teaching...it is worth it to listen! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afWjdJCwBiM
Before we moved into a response, Skip Cone shared a thought comparing Zechariah 6:9-13 with the John 19 passage. Hundreds of years before Jesus came, Zechariah prophesied this invitation to behold by putting a crown on a man with the same Hebrew name as Jesus (Joshua, which means "salvation"). That Joshua received the word that God was sending forth, His servant "the Branch". It is amazing that word "Nazarene" means branch. Jesus had the title of “the Branch” declared over Him on the cross when he was crucified. The sign said, “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews” (John 19:19). Amazing to see God's word declare Jesus from cover to cover! The work of the Holy Spirit is truly to lift Jesus up and to draw attention to Him!
After the message, we broke up into groups to pray for one another and to share together anything that specifically impacted us or that we felt we needed to respond to.
Let us all live our lives beholding Jesus and considering who He is, what He did, and what He is doing now and what He will do... Let us be fascinated by Him all of our days!
Matthew or Julie Wine