Heather and I have just returned from a holiday on the Isle of Skye, a beautiful, remote, rugged island where history and nature come to life. Walking is strenuous over boggy sheep tracks attempting to ascend mountain tops. It felt at times a lot like Lord of the Rings, and yes complete with Gollum who followed, snivelling and grasping for “ the precious” ??
It may surprise you to know the word precious appears in our bibles in 2 Peter 1:1. “ “a faith as precious as ours”! The Greek word precious “ isotimos” typically used to describe jewels. Peter wants believers to understand that faith is both a gift and a treasure, that what is ultimately precious to God is “ our faith” and “ without faith it is impossible to please God” Heb 11:6.
I believe Westpoint was a “game changer” in terms of faith for our churches in Commission. A clear vision to be embraced, cities like Nineveh to repent on hearing the gospel, each of us getting unstuck, and to sing the song of the barren woman over our shared mission. The miraculous offering was I believe a gauntlet thrown from heaven, “ you want to see a doubling of churches, salvations, nations, to see heavens windows open? Well let's get the ball rolling with a down payment in this offering. Oh and by the way, it's double what you asked for!
Each member of Commission needs to be SURE of what we hope for, clear on our vision, certain of what is yet unseen by human eye. We are called to” go not knowing” adventuring together to transform our world. Together trusting God for a new day in our nations, a stepping out in all areas of personal and church faith to see a doubling, I.e. baptisms, members, churches, influence, healings, finance, discipleship etc.
But we have an enemy, a Gollum, that stalks our every step and seeks to rob us of faith, that tells us there is another way to go, an easier route than the cross.
Our holiday sadly began with news of my mum rushed into hospital, it was serious, life threatening stuff and my 80 year old dad was confused and my only sister holding the fort. We were 700 miles away on holiday without Internet or phone signal. All we could do was pray, daily, hourly step by step. Psalm 121 was memorised, repeated prayed and yet in truth Gollum skulked and taunted our faith “I want the precious, can you really trust God? ”. It drove us to prayer, to weep, to cry out for breakthrough and to hold onto God, and to our precious faith. Miraculously mum has recovered and now back home but the lesson an important one for all of us post Westpoint.
We in Commission are reaching for the impossible, much much more of God and his power and presence. It is only by faith that each child and church must walk, and this faith needs to be treasures more precious than gold.
So do not give up or give in. Don't listen to unbelief, silence those dark voices by reading God’s word and spending time in his presence. Keep pressing into God and let's tell our stories to encourage one another. I am already hearing amazing stories of doubling!