We were…
– Baptist.
– PCA.
– Non-Denominational.
– Anglican.
– Seventh-Day Adventist.
– Methodist.
– Home Church.
– Episcopal
– Wesleyan
– and more…

We were from…
– Rural America.
– Urban America.
– Urban South Africa.
– Urban Dominican Republic
– Suburban America
– Universities.
– and more…

A group of pastors gathered together in central Maryland this week. We shared our lives. We told our stories…

There are very few things more moving than hearing stories of the Holy Spirit working in different settings, places and times. From hearing of drug addicts from the D.R. recovering and passionately following Jesus, to individuals from suburbia selling their homes and moving into less fortunate neighborhoods to be Christ there, to others “simply” deciding to follow Jesus, it was amazing this week to listen to how the Holy Spirit is working in other places and settings.

So often, I live in my little world. I quickly get excited about what God is doing in the things that are familiar to me. Hearing stories of people in my community who are finding spiritual healing in Jesus always encourages me. However, rarely do I get to hear of how the Spirit is moving in South Africa. I don’t often hear how the church there was instrumental in overthrowing powers of oppression. Rarely, do I get to interact with people from so many different denominations and church settings and hear the stories of ives and communities and countries being transformed by the people of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So often, we think that what we are doing is so very revolutionary and new. Perhaps it is new to us. But it is not new to the Holy Spirit.

While we sadly hear statistics of the ever-decreasing numbers of the church in the West it is as great to hear the exceptions. Great to hear that in the midst of struggle, despite the statistics, God is working.

Despite all the differences in approach of “how to do church” and “be the church” we all brought to the table this week, we were able to gather together, confess Jesus as Lord, Messiah, Healer, Life-giver and know that the Spirit is moving…

I love hearing stories, especially from different places…Perhaps the best part is knowing that we are part of something greater than ourselves….

Please God, create more and more stories of hope, redemption, life, compassion in our world. Lord. May your will be done, may your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven….