Defining the Season (Part Two): A Word about Ascension
First off, a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! It is a great season to be thankful for all that God has done in our midst and is going to do!
This last weekend, I shared with the gathered congregation that the Lord had given me a surprising word on the 25th of October while I was in Costa Rica. I am making this word available to our wider Fusion family so that we can pray through what the Lord is saying and prepare to go forward with it.
The Word for Fusion
It’s time to re-feather the nest. Your friends and loved ones, precious ones have left the nest…as they are supposed to.
Now it is time to reestablish, to re-feather the nest. My presence, new places in worship, it is time to go higher.
I am calling you to ascents, ascension worship, birthed of Spirit, not effort and mere words.
You say, “Lord, we are a worshiping people!” I say, I will take you to places you only dreamed of and some you could never imagine.
Prepare your heart, go in rest and rise in ascension worship.
Unpacking the Word
Leaving the Nest
At first glance, it doesn't seem like a significant word in what many would measure. But it has profound and deep meaning....at least to me.
During the time preceding and in the middle of COVID, many have left the Church. We have found this to be true all over the earth. It was certainly the case in Costa Rica and in here at home. In the this, the word is telling us that the Lord has moved people. As I alluded to in the previous word and in my teaching on Sunday, there is more migration to come: jobs, regions, connections, etc. It is literally a fulfillment of Hebrews:
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
This "shaking" is from God. It reminds us to let go of things we are leaning on instead of Him. It helps us brace, and resettle in the kingdom which cannot be shaken. It helps us to lean into and acquiesce to our God as He establishes Himself among the and over the nations. Trust me, God is up to good!
The call to re-feather is a picture. Mainly, it is a call to reestablish. Every now and then, I do a personal inventory: I check my life and see what may have shifted while I have been doing life and serving the Lord. It is like a trucker who pulls over to tighten the load before the next part of the journey. For our church, our main thing that we carry is the priority of His presence. To simply worship and release testimony of who God is and what He has done among us is always present at every gathering and meeting. In fact, I encourage all of you to continue to do that when you get together. Retell what God has done first, worship Him and take communion together! Let's recommit to these practices as part of our "orthopraxy" (right or true practice) before the Lord.
Corporately, is a call to recommit and reestablish worship. It is a free fall and abandonment to His beauty and glory, a deep desire to be with Him and to know Him.
He has told us there are places in Him, in being with and gaining His beautiful presence, face to face that we have not yet gone to. I am both thrilled and a little intimidated, not in an unhealthy way mind you, but I have been in moments where I indeed wrestled with the greater reality of heaven invading the lesser reality of earth. He is infinite and we are finite. His thoughts and ways are way higher than ours and it is not even close.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
This invitation from the Lord may seem like a challenge, but it is really the invitation to go where we haven't been, to leave the safe visual confines of the shore and set out for deeper water.
I had to look up these words to see what I was missing because of my use of them and familiarity with them. Sometimes, you don't know what you don't know!
1. an act of ascending; upward movement; a rising movement:the ascent of a balloon.
2. movement upward from a lower to a higher state, degree, grade, or status; advancement:His ascent to the governorship came after a long political career.
3.the act of climbing or traveling up:Three climbers attempted the ascent of Mount Rainier.
4.the way or means of ascending; upward slope; acclivity.
5.a movement or return toward a source or beginning.
6.the degree of inclination; gradient:a steep ascent.
It is meaning number five that really caught my heart and eye, " a movement or return toward a source or beginning". It seems to me that the Lord is calling us to Himself, away from the swirl and the noise of what this world and its rulers are trying to assert. Back to Him, despite anything else that has captured our attention.
The teaching I gave this last Sunday is an example of that. Mary ignored all that was going in the room, even the voices that wanted to condemn her and make her feel bad about her act of worship. She was so grateful, so captivated by the person of Jesus, that she carried out the act in a singular focus, lost in Him. Her act, breaking open, extravagant acts, wiping with her hair, changed the atmosphere of the room. It cemented her as part of the gospel story forever. Ascension worship in rest and devotion will do this.
We are not called to this by ourselves, it will be birthed by the Holy Spirit! He can create anything (see the story of Jesus' birth).
Preparation, Going in Rest, Rising in Ascension
The word concluded with the call to prepare our hearts, "go" in rest, and rise in ascension worship.
There is a little verse that gives me pause regarding preparing my heart. It is found in 2 Chronicles 12:14 about Rehoboam, who was given position, but he did not prepare his heart before the Lord and it states this:
2 Chronicles 12:14 (NKJV)
And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD.
This verse is not a rebuke, but a cautionary tale. We cannot give half hearted effort to this. We must prepare ourselves but focusing on Him. I know about the economy, politics, and so much more, but it is imperative that we "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness". He must be first, there is no second. Remember that if we do this, then "all these things shall be added unto you". (Matthew 6:33) Seeking Him, advancing in the kingdom, is the only safe place to be.
Going in rest, seems contradictory if you look at them as separate acts rather than a state of being. Rest in the scriptures always signifies a fulfillment of promise, prophecy and the length of days. It is the last thing that God spoke to Daniel, Daniel 12:13 (NKJV) "But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days." It is also what He spoke to the Moses and promised to "go with" them: Exodus 33:14 (NKJV) And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
For us, going in rest is walking in His presence, His face to face encounters with us.
Ascension is the place where we are called. It is pictured in this from Revelation 8:3-4 (NKJV), "Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand."
We will offer ourselves up in this new season, being broken open like Mary's alabaster flask and poured out on our Savior, changing the atmosphere and the trajectory of our collective lives!
It’s time to re-feather the nest. Your friends and loved ones, precious ones have left the nest…as they are supposed to. Now it is time to reestablish, to re-feather the nest. My presence, new places in worship, it is time to go higher.
I am calling you to ascents, ascension worship, birthed of Spirit, not effort and mere words. You say, “Lord, we are a worshiping people!” I say, I will take you to places you only dreamed of and some you could never imagine.
Prepare your heart, go in rest and rise in ascension worship.