Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Word from Gary Elkins

Garris Elkins      We have just come through a moment in time where the Church has been repositioned into a new place. Few of us really understand this new position. Something has changed. This new place is not yet fully defined, but will become more evident with each passing day as we seek God's face.
      As I prayed to understand this repositioning, I began to see an image. In the image we were standing in a dark room. I could sense this was a room of transition. I could see someone standing at a dimmer switch that controlled the level of light allowed into the room.
      As the dimmer switch was moved up, the level of light within the room began to increase. Those of us in the room started to see dimly lit objects around us. Things that seemed fuzzy in the low light level now began to take shape and definition. As the room became fully illuminated, four objects in the room became visible – a box, a boat, a sword and a journal.

                          I Saw a Box of Expired Methods
      As I looked across the room, the first object I saw was a box. It looked like one of those antique wooden steamer trunks used for travel a hundred years ago. Across the face of the box was a large label that read, "Expired."
      God was letting me know that some of the methods of ministry we have used in the past would no longer be used in the future – they had expired their season of usefulness. Methods that worked in the past had become, for some, a place where faith was no longer needed. The methodology linked to the known methods had now replaced the vulnerability of stepping forward in faith.
                     I Saw a Boat With a Punctured Hull
      In the side of the hull of the boat was a large hole, just below the water line. It was obvious this boat would not be able to float if launched. This hole was defined as "Self-promotion."
      Self-promotion had punctured the hull of the ship where ministry was allowed to become an industry. Industry in the natural requires promotion and advertising in order to survive in the marketplace. I felt the grieving of the Lord over this issue, when He said to me, "If I be lifted up – not what you do in My name – I will draw all men to Myself." I began to repent of this very sin in my own heart.

                I Saw a Sword With a Dull and Chipped Blade
      This sword was large, like a medieval knight's war-sword. The dulled edge of the sword was also chipped. I got the sense that it had been used to strike objects in its dulled state and waschipped because it had lost its ability to cut.
      I knew this sword represented the Word of God. At first, I tried to understand what this meant since God's Word is described to us as "active, alive and sharp." The Word of God is a powerful weapon, so why was it not cutting?
      I began to understand what I was seeing – this was an image of the Word in our hand unused, not the Word in its purest sense. The Word in the hands of some has grown dull because of the lack of use. Our opinions about life, ministry and the Kingdom had replaced the Word. As a result, it was easier to try and use the sword as a weapon to motivate people toward our opinions.
       I believe God is asking some of us to navigate this new place through a return to a Word-based understanding of life and calling. As these images and words came to my mind, the blade of the sword began to repair and glisten in sharpness under the reflecting light in the room.

                       I Saw a Journal Covered With Dust
        This journal was titled "Principles." There was a layer of dust covering the journal. This journal of principles had not been handled for a long time. I began to understand that principles we discovered in the last season had become slogans for our lives in the current season. These principles had lost their power because they had not been used. They had only been spoken, observed and recorded. The dust had gathered on this journal of principles because they had not been handled and had not come in contact with our inner man.
        As I continued to view this now fully illuminated room and its contents, I realized God was calling us to see clearly and to make adjustments that will yield abundance and fruitfulness in this new place. The Early Church did not walk in assumption, nor did they follow intricate and developed long-term plans. They lived in the moment, dependent upon God to illuminate each step they took. This dependence on Him kept the room of their lives clear and uncluttered so they could move freely into the new and unchartered future of faith.
      Father God, turn up the light of Your presence in the room of our lives. Show us the clutter. Show us what we need to reactivate. Make Yourself known to us in this new place so that we can move forward into the full light of Your presence.
Garris Elkins, Senior Leader
Living Waters Church – Medford, Oregon


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