It was a beautiful night last night. The rain had passed and all that was left was a full moon and the smell of rain.
I realized something today.
I was in Turkey for two weeks and I have yet to tell you about it on here.
So here it is:
This was an amazing trip. I truly felt as though I had a glimpse of what the Kingdom of Heaven will look like.
My team stood in a room filled with missionaries from multiple countries all singing worship to our beautiful, powerful, holy, King. We sang in Russian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and English. I was constantly reminded of the verse in Revelation, "from every tribe and language and people and nation." These workers rarely ever get a chance to worship freely, to speak openly without fear, or to be encouraged by having time with so many other believers. It was such a picture of what the Body of Christ should look like. These workers come from all different countries, they all have drastically different mission fields, yet they come together and worship this God who stands alone. There was such a unity, we were one body praising this man named Jesus.
I have never experienced anything like it.
The kids, it is hard for me to overstate how solid these kids were. I feel as though I was blessed far more by working with them than I could have blessed them. Each morning we would wake up at 7, go have breakfast,
(which turned out to be the same food that we had for lunch and dinner but covered in yogurt. The Turkish are experts at making you think you are eating something different until you bite into it and realize that it is exactly the same as what you've been eating all along.)
Then at 8 o'clock we would get the kids and pretty much until 7 at night we would have them. We would always start off with prayer time where we would ask what the kids wanted to pray for and then dive right in. First off, if you haven't prayed with a 5 year old lately, do it. It is so beautiful to hear their childlike faith and expectation in God. They know what the Bible says, and they don't doubt it.
As Christians growing up in the Western Church I feel as though we put limitations on God and His Word quite often. We know that Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12) But we somehow manage to talk ourselves out of that reality. We are living lives were we are submitted to the will of God, but when we are asked to step out and walk in the power of God we tend to think that is something for missionaries living overseas, or the Acts Church, or Moses. It's not. Jesus healed the blind, He made the cripples walk, He raised the dead!! He tells us that we now have the power to do the same thing because we have His Spirit living in us! He is going to the Father on our behalf and we can walk in that power! This changes everything. And somehow we talk ourselves out of it.
1 Corinthians 4:20 "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power."
These kids understood that. They knew that when they spoke, when they prayed, when they went to their Heavenly Father things changed. The simplicity of it was beautiful.
So during the day we taught on something different. Most people did parables, but Derek and I got the fun one! Thank you Gato, I mean Mandy. (Inside joke between BSHOP people, none of which read this I think so probably pointless in writing it.)
We spoke on Pentecost and Spiritual Gifts. It went pretty sweet. But my favorite part was breaking into small groups and talking more specifiably about the gift of prophecy. One of the gifts which Paul says each one of us should use. We told them how pretty much it was us hearing from God and telling someone else what God is saying about them. But what's equipping without practicing! So we had all these kids break up and just start praying for each up and asking God to speak to them for the other kid.
There was this boy by the name of Victor. Let me just say, he is an amazing man of God. This kid is 14 years old and is so gifted and completely devoted to following Christ. As I got to know Victor over the two weeks I realized he had a lot of the same Spiritual Gifts as me. His strongest gift was the prophetic, which is mine as well. When Victor prayers he sees pictures, and not just vague pictures, but very detailed pictures, more like movies than pictures actually. And when I pray, the same thing happens. It's just how God speaks to me. I love it. So I partnered up with Victor and we were praying for each other, I'm asking God to impart more giftings, mainly interpenetration because it's one God has given me but Victor hasn't really received yet. It was a really powerful time of prayer. It's kind of wrapping up but God's not done...
"Hey Michael, I got a picture for you..."
Victor went on to give me the most accurate and touching prophetic word of my life. It's been awhile since a prophetic word has made me start crying. But this one did it. I'd love to tell you what the vision was so if you ask me I can explain it, it's just there is a lot of background and I'd rather tell you in person...
But what really touched me about it was that it gave me a fresh revelation that God knows me.
The Lord who made all of this, the God of Job 38 (if you haven't read it go read it right now) the Most Holy of Kings, He knows me. I Knows me!! He cares about what's going on in my life and He loves me deeply.
He is a jealous God and I can't help but praise Him. He is so good.
Everything else in the trip pales in the light of this moment. I saw so many beautiful things. I got to sing Jesus, All to Jesus, in the Blue Mosque, I got to sing Our God reigns in the Hagia Sophia. During the call to prayer blasting over the speakers five times everyday all across the country I got to sit there and intercede for that countries salvation.
But above all else, I got to meet with God, I got to see again how much He cares for me and loves me. And it's because of those moments that I can't help but worship Him. It's those moments that fill you to overflowing that make you want to go out and spread the gospel.
I can't do ministry in my own strength, but in Him, it's all I can do.
The God of the universe. He knows you, He loves you. Deeply.
"The Lord your God is with you, He is Mighty to save. He takes great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."