Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Love Story, cont'd, or, How Baptist Girl Ended Up Anglican, Part Three

Part One
Part Two

After we'd been visiting Rez for just a few weeks, Papa Rooster invited John Fawcett to come up to our apartment to lead a prayer meeting with us and the R’s, let’s call them—the couple we were praying about starting the church plant with. First, he made our old piano ring like it hadn't in years, as we sang worship choruses together. Then we began to pray. John, who had incredible gifts of healing, asked our friend, Mr. R, if he could pray for him, and then he began to pray, with insight that could only have come from the Lord, into a specific situation in our friend’s life that John could have had no earthly knowledge of. It was powerful.

While he was praying for Mr. R., I began shaking. This had never happened to me in prayer before nor has it happened since. I wasn’t cold, but I couldn’t control the shaking, and then John began to pray for me--again, with insight that only could have come from the Holy Spirit. At the time, I barely understood myself what he was praying, partly because it was in tongues—brand new to me--and partly because he kept using a Greek word that I was unfamiliar with. (Another story for another time....)

All I knew was that I was changed afterward--freed, lightened, unburdened in some way--and the sense of God's working was so powerful that one of my first questions, afterward, was, "Can you pray for nonbelievers like that too?" I thought that no one could encounter God in this way and not believe He was real, living and active in this world! (The answer, by the way, was, "Certainly, but they have to be open to Him to some degree.")

Looking back, this prayer time was such a landmark event for all four of us because none of us, in our evangelical churches, had ever really experienced the Holy Spirit working in such a powerful way. (Well, with the exception of PR, who was saved in a Pentecostal church at age 7.) It was mind-blowing and faith-building all at once, and totally changed our view of the third person of the Trinity: He's not an "it," but a Person with a unique ministry.

So after this prayer time, I was more eager to keep going to Rez, but worried about the situation with our friends and the L.A. church plant. Our friends were eager to visit Rez with us, but they didn't connect with it like we did. It was a big leap from Willow Creek’s “seeker sensitive” model to a liturgical service!

After a couple months of trying to attend both Willow Creek and Rez, we decided we would start going full-time to Rez, and inevitably, we decided we weren't going to L.A. anymore to plant a seeker-sensitive church. This rocked the rental house, but it led to many conversations about the seeker-sensitive model and its pros and cons, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit and its place in church. Interestingly, the R's ended up leaving Willow Creek as well, on their own journey through a couple of Vineyard churches and ultimately, wishing they lived close enough to attend Rez, or Light of Christ!

As we prayed afterwards about what the L.A. church plant sidetrack was all about, PR received a word from the Lord about it which has turned out be quite prophetic: “Ishmael.” Like Abraham, trying to make the promise come true, prematurely, he felt that there still was a church plant or “a new thing” to be birthed someday. (And fifteen years later, Light of Christ was born!)

So after 8 months of living in the rental house together—which was a time filled with fun, great worship and prayer times together, as well as tension, as living in community often is—we bought our first home in the summer of '92, a townhome in Warrenville, just minutes from Church of the Resurrection. I was expecting Blondechick in November.

And so began an era in our lives, which would last nearly seventeen years.

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