Encounter: In the middle of a busy and fruitful ministry schedule of teaching, healing, feeding and caring for people, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a mountain. Find a quiet spot away from distractions of the day and slowly read through the account of this EPIC hike in Matthew 17:1-9. What words or phrases stand out to you. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit what is important to see in this mountain-top experience.
I love retreat! I would describe the moments away to just “be” with Jesus in spirit-infused worship, reflection and holy times with brothers and sisters in prayer as “mountain-top experiences.” Away from the distractions down below in my full schedule of life events and work, I’m able to see, hear and experience things in my relationship with my Creator God that are hard to sense in my every day. I come away encouraged through what I received in that place. My faith is renewed and there are places in my soul that have been awakened and refocused to know God and to live more deeply with new strength as a daughter of the Living God. I experience Revival! The encouragement is palatable.
Encouragement: Giving someone support, confidence, or hope. Like oxygen keeps our bodies alive, encouragement keeps our souls alive!
We could all use some encouragement sometimes, right? It's so easy to become discouraged in all of life’s stressors. Maybe you’re experiencing this due to relationship struggles, job challenges or maybe it is hard to put your finger on what it is exactly, but you feel it. Be encouraged – God sees you. God hears you. God knows exactly where you are and cares deeply for you. God knows you need revival.
Peter, James and John had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry that was turning the world upside down. It’s enough they were walking with God revealing himself through miracles and revelatory teachings (though they were not always aware this was happening), but I wonder if in some ways they were getting tired?
Constantly on the move, dealing with conflict and reactions that were not always positive, never knowing what was coming next. Along with that, Jesus just shared some pretty difficult things with the disciples about what was coming in the future. Their blahs were not caused from boredom from the mundane, but from facing challenge after challenge in a surprisingly new terrain they were not used to. A little encouragement can go a long way at times like this. Maybe Jesus knew they needed some revival.
The “Transfiguration” has long been understood as a visual bridge connecting the prophecies of the Old Testament to Jesus and the New Covenant fulfillment of what had been foretold of for centuries. But I can also see Jesus using that experience to support, build their confidence and give them hope as they were experiencing the presence of God that was no longer contained within the walls of a temple but being poured out on all who would open their hearts for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
God shined the light on their blahs with His presence and that is what we are all hungry for deep in our souls. Why else would hundreds if not thousands of people walk miles to see Jesus throughout Judea, or travel by car or plane to Asbury to get what their souls long for. We were not created to live apart from our Creator. Every revival in history has been an answer to a prayer to bring us home.
This has been our prayer at Eden for months now. We have been praying for people to become so hungry that they would come to the table that has been set before them through every ministry and sacred space we create. We’ve prayed God will fill hearts with love and passion for Him and not just out of duty or tradition. I wonder if our prayers have been joining with the prayers of His church around the world and we are seeing God move to answer these prayers. Not to keep an experience of his presence between four walls (Peter: let us build tents:) but to be poured out on all who will open their hearts.
We are grateful to be witnessing these prayers being answered here. Through our 12 Miracles of 2022 some of those stories are told, but there are so many others who have found their faith rekindled through the power of God through outreached hands of Eden Church.
But we are not satisfied and we ask for more and the promise is we will experience God when we seek him with all of our hearts. Our ESU students need our prayers for faith to awaken in their hearts. Each of us have a hunger for His presence.
Let our prayers continually go to God knowing He can surprise us at any time and anywhere whether we are on the mountain top or down below on the streets of our city or in the countryside of Delaware county! God is WITH us! We are confident God will do what we cannot do. Will you open your heart to revival and an awakening within our hearts, our community and throughout our world.
What happens on the mountain tops transforms what happens when we come down. Now Get Up and Don’t be Afraid! You’ve seen my glory, you know what I’m going to accomplish, you are part of that. Let this revival in your soul strengthen you for the journey.
See you Sunday as we reflect, pray and experience revival,
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” Ephesians 1:18 NLT
Reflect: Where in your life is God inviting you to “Get up! Don’t be afraid. What are the challenges you are facing as a follower of Jesus or one who is hungry. Can you name that hunger? Talk to God about it and ask for an awakening, a revival in those places that need to be filled with his power, wisdom and light.
Encourage: Write down in your prayer journal people who need your encouragement. Think about ways to bring support, confidence and hope to those on your list. Pray for them to experience God in powerful ways and in the mundane of everyday life. You may be part of their revival. “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
Gather: In your small group time pray for the students and others experiencing these mountain top experiences across campuses and cities that what they have experienced translates into a strengthening of their faith to be witnesses of what is possible in everyday life as they face challenge after challenge as followers of Jesus. Pray that their lives, relationships and very selves are transformed into the likeness of Jesus!
Next week, February 22nd, we invite you to begin this journey toward the restoration of our souls as we pray for an awakening for those we know need to know, believe and understand the love God has for them. Maybe that is you, it is definitely our kids and young people. So we are creating an interactive worship experience for our Family Ash Wednesday service, we have a
February 26th: Annual Meeting: Witness 43:10 - You are my witnesses, so people will know me, believe me and understand me, I am the Lord! Let us gather for fellowship and witness to all God is doing through the ministries he has empowered to bring life!