To remember; to be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness. I’m sure you, as myself, have looked at loved ones and remembered a special time or significant moment. It’s often I look at my children and get weepy because I recall the day they entered my heart and took over. Equally true to the moments of euphoria are the memories and times of tragedy. If you are old enough you can recall where you were when Ronald Reagan was shot, when the Space Shuttle tore apart across Texas or when New York City/Washington DC were attacked by terrorists. The mind is more powerful than we may ever understand. It has the capacity to recall moments in our lives in such a vivid way that our emotions and soul are impacted. In light of this, I recently have been thinking about what was happening 6 years ago in our church and the areas of ministry in which I have leadership responsibility. Just the other day in a quiet moment Jesus said these things to me, “Do you remember your excitement about the emerging culture 6 years ago? Do you still have that feeling of excitement and anticipation? Do you remember the first miracle, the evidence that things were different? Do you still have that feeling?”
Yes, those questions ring as challenging now in my heart and soul as they did when Jesus first asked me. In pondering and meditating upon what Jesus was saying, I wonder about you and do you remember the excitement of the early days here at Church of the Hills. We have a long standing history of being a great church in the city with a reputation for strong leadership and integrity. However, it has come to our attention recently, from a Christian leader in the city, that our reputation now as a movement has to do with the miraculous and supernatural power of God.
Making the transition from a good church to a church with a reputation for miracles and the presence of God is not easy and it’s not subtle. We have had more than our share of mistakes, blundered leadership choices and challenges. But one thing has remained constant...CELEBRATION! Celebration is a value that has a loud voice in our environment. It does so because as we remember what God has done, we are forecasting what he desires to do and thus, we CELEBRATE!
The hebrew word for “remember” comes from the root word for “male.” Males carry the seed for reproduction. “To remember” is to bring the seed of a past miracle into a present conflict and situation. Remembering is not something we do only for our jollies or to laugh at the “good ole days.” We remember because it carries the seed of life in it.
When Jesus asked me to remember those days of ministry years ago I believe he was asking me to find the seed of reproduction and bring it into this current place. We have not achieved all that God has for us. As a matter of fact, and I think you would agree, we are not even close! However, our energy and enthusiasm for the future must be based on fact. That fact is, remembering the goodness of God in the past is how we leverage it as power for the present. Remembering is catalytic in it’s role as we declare God’s good purposes and life giving promises.
In preparing for this leadership weekly I ran across some old notes from a Bill Johnson teaching I listened to in March 2007. What I captured that day seems relevant for this moment so let me share a few thoughts.
To remember is important mostly when you are facing disappointment. When life is grand we may think more about the memories we are creating, rather than recalling those of the past. But LIFE HAPPENS and when it does it strikes a mighty blow against our “enthusiasm and zeal.” What should you do to keep finding the seed of past victories and see the winds of life change direction?
1. Find your emotion in the Psalms. Live and find your solution in those great passages. I certainly would not limit myself to the Psalms, but some of humanity’s rawest emotions are found in the life of David. The scriptures have your answer. Hope always desires to have the last word.
2. Do not hang out with complainers. Complainers are focused on what God is not doing, or what someone is not accomplishing. They are talking themselves and thinking themselves into a place of absolute poverty. It’s not a poverty of spirit that Jesus says we should rejoice about (Matthew 5:3). No, it’s a poverty disposition that allows pauper thinking and a “spirit of lack” to govern their hearts. It is so, so important that we do not ignore the emotions associated with challenge and tribulation, but you can ignore their influence to govern your heart. Paul writes in Romans 15 that the Kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace and joy IN the Holy Spirit.” According to that verse the Kingdom has a lot of emotion in it and it’s positive. Don’t hang out with complainers. If you want to slay giants, hang out with giant killers, not older brothers who criticize you.
3. Live with the awareness that you are owed something. No, I am not promoting entitlement. I am promoting divine justice. I am stating that the devil is a liar, a thief and a destroyer and since I no longer belong to him he must repay what he has stolen. Please do not read this with a value for a “blab it and grab it,” “confess it and possess it” kind of mentality. Understand the pillars of God’s throne is established and upheld by two eternal truths, righteousness and justice (Isa 9.7) The prophet Isaiah states in 61.8, “For I, the Lord, love justice.” Justice is defined as the restoration of relationships. When God executes justice on your behalf it is not against you, but against those things that are constraints debilitating your capacity to live in right relationships.
You are a powerful son or daughter and it is my encouragement that you spend a few minutes remembering what God has done for you. Rehearse it all, big and little. As you do, you will encourage yourself and others. And, hopefully you will find yourself increasing in the capacity to carry hope and give it away in marked demonstrations of power.