Encounter: Meditate on the words of James 1:19-27, 1 John 3:16-18, John 14:12, Luke 9:24 underlining or writing down words or phrases that speak to you
One of the keynote speakers during my recent pastor’s Midwinter Conference shared the story of how a tea party for women in her church turned into a new ministry. Gwen Adams, the founder of Priceless, an anti-sex trafficking organization that walks with victims to find new life while meeting practical needs based out of Anchorage, Alaska tells how their large church had a successful women’s gathering each year and about 10 years ago as hundreds of women met together to have tea and a speaker, an overwhelming sense came over her that something had to change. She felt God was telling them that instead of gathering together in the church, they were to gather to make a difference in their city. So what did they do? They began praying.
Nine months later, Gwen met with a State Trooper who was heading investigations of sex-trafficking in their area and he shared with her they just busted a ring and rescued 75 victims. The investigation had taken 9 months. They realized they had begun praying at the same time plans were being made to bring justice to those most vulnerable. From then on, they began working together with local law enforcement agencies who called them the crazy church ladies. A recent Facebook post for this amazing ministry began with “Imagine what happens when the hope of Jesus intersects the injustice and brokenness of our world?” Through their worship, God gave them an imagination for justice, an imagination to create something to make things right where it is the messiest.
Mark Labberton writes in The Dangerous Act of Worship, No imagination rivals God’s. The God who put the “sliding shutter” on the lizard’s eye and created more than three hundred kinds of hummingbirds has a boundless effluence of creativity Each person bears God’s signature and expresses that uniquely. Our God is Beauty, Goodness and Truth, and the fount from which all its many expressions come. The greatest evidence of this is the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of God. Here God’s imagination is born in mysterious, self-offering love that begins the re-creation of a fallen world that will one day become a new heaven and a new earth. Only God’s imagination could dream such an end or fashion such a means.
And God is revealing such works through our imaginations to motivate his church to not just keep absorbing the truth but to reenact it in the world around us. James tells us, But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. (James 1:19).
This Sunday we wrap up our series on living dangerously for God allowing our worship to awaken us to the needs around us. But it is not really the end, it is just the beginning as we get ready to step into our EPIC journey, to find our stories within God’s story. Let us pray together for God to reveal himself through our imaginations for the greater works he planned for us long ago. We are forming a new Outreach Team to help guide our efforts to move forward and answer His calls to justice along the way. Does ministries of Compassion, Mercy and Justice move your heart to want to do more? Would you pray, reflect on what is coming to mind as together we dream and allow our worship to not merely point us upward, but to turn us outward as well.
Dreaming with you,
Reflect: What makes imagination so important in matters of worship and justice? How does your experience of worship stimulate or fail to stimulate your imagination for God or things of God? Why?
Encourage: How can you keep your imagination growing for God and for God’s heart for justice? How can this encourage and enlarge your understanding of God’s purposes that include you?
Gather: What will help you do that? How might your personal, Life Group, Sunday Study Group or our congregational worship practices help?
For more information about Priceless you can go to: