I attended GoFest 2015 not feeling particularly like "Going" anywhere to tell the world about Jesus, but rather with a feeling that it was where God wanted me to be and ready to listen to whatever He wanted to tell me. Every meeting was amazing, from the atmosphere in the room to the worship to the speakers. I was in awe of the way in which the organising team of such a large event managed to allow it to remain so flexible and responsive to whatever direction the Spirit of God wanted to lead things, even at the last minute. It was great to be surrounded by so many wonderful people filled with the love of Jesus, and to get a better idea of how the body of Christ is working together to get fulfil Jesus' command to "Go and make disciples of all nations". For me personally, there seemed to be three main concepts impressed upon my heart during GoFest...
~Wake up. ~ One of the songs the worship kept returning to included the words "Wake my soul, I do believe faith my able guide to be". For a long while I've been feeling as though I'm living mostly asleep. "Wake up, Neo. The Matrix has you." For a long while I've kept finding myself thinking things "If I really believed... <x> then why aren't I ... <y>? Do I really believe that Jesus is who He says He is? That the Bible is true? That Jesus died for every person I walk past on the street and that He told me to tell everyone? If so, then how on earth do I remain silent? Do I not believe, or not care enough?
I really want to get to the bottom of that personally: either decide to not believe it, and live however I please; or fully believe it and act/live in the fullness of that belief, without compromise. It feels as though we're all flying in a plane that we know is doomed to crash anytime soon, and we've discovered that truth and fitted our parachutes, but are now content just playing with the inflight entertainment system rather than risking discomfort or rejection by daring to talk to the passengers next to us!
~ The Man with Fire in His Eyes. ~ Andy Byrd referred to Jesus this way, based on some verses in revelation, and the phrase has stuck in my mind ever since. Jesus is amazing. Yet for years the sound of His name, "Jesus", evoked thoughts and feelings of shame, embarrassment and fear. In early high-school days, I used to be ashamed of going to church, and though of Jesus as this wimpy guy in a robe with a weird-sounding name that appeared on colourful stickers saying "Jesus Loves You". Not the image I was after to be "cool" and fit in, which was what I wanted most desperately.
I've since learned more about how amazing, eternally-relevant and life-changing, Jesus is. I'm excited by the idea of more fully transforming my own internal/subconscious image of Jesus based on the incredible truths in scripture. He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is the fourth man in the fire. He is the Rock. He came not to bring peace, but fire and division. He is the King. He is the man with fire in His eyes, and I'm learning to fall in love with Him.
~ Rewriting my Worldview. ~ As I've learned more about Jesus, and recently wrestled through topics of miracles and healing and experienced those in the real world, my brain has started to struggle. I've always been very logic-based, and doing a PhD in Computer Science reinforced that all the more. However I've recently had to admit to myself that my modern, scientific, technological, western worldview does not adequately accommodate the truth of what is actually going on in the world. Even with a sprinkling of Christianity on top to fill the obvious "spiritual" holes, I still didn't have a stable framework through which to understand life, the universe and everything.
Last week I heard a quote from Krister Stendahl, "It is not so much what we don't know, but what we think we know that obstructs our vision". I've decided it's time to humbly lay down everything I "think I know", and start again based on the Spirit's guidance as I read the Bible, without trying to squeeze it through my western presuppositions or subconsciously-arrogant "modern scientific understanding". The truth is hidden from the wise and revealed to the child-like. So here I am at square one, ready to humbly learn who I am and what I'm doing here...