As some of you may know I have earnestly been praying for a deep move of God's presence among us here at Eastside. I have been praying for God to release our hearts to give all of us a desire to follow Him passionately. In my prayer and bible reading time this week the Holy Spirit highlighted this passage for me.
Ezekiel 36:24 – 28
“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.”
Then later in the passage God says this:
37 – 38 “This is what the Sovereign lord says: I am ready to hear Israel’s prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock. They will be as numerous as the sacred flocks that fill Jerusalem’s streets at the time of her festivals. The ruined cities will be crowded with people once more, and everyone will know that I am the lord.”
What strikes me about this passage is God's initiative. God's initiative in forgiving and cleansing us from all of our sins and then giving us a heart to follow Him passionately.
The second striking claim in this passage is "I am ready to hear Israel's prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock"
God speaking saying "I am ready, I am listening tell me what you want me to do, ask me what you want to ask me."
Our desire for our church has always been for this to be a place where people can come, out of their complicated lives to receive grace, forgiveness for their sin, that is, and for them to experience God's life transforming power in their own lives. God is ready to hear our prayers to this end. Let’s ask God to use our church like this. Let’s ask Him to challenge people to serve, to get connected and to give of their time and money to make this happen.
For you personally: perhaps your life is complicated or you need forgiveness of sin. Why not ask God for forgiveness; ask Him to transform your life.
Young Adults Weekend Away
Sometimes one of the most spiritual things we can do is take time out to do life together, and this past weekend 17 of our "young and working" Eastsiders spent the weekend together at Monateng Safari Lodge camping. As with all camping trips, there were great camp-fire chats, too much meat (no such thing!), hours in the sun and deflated mattresses.