Esther Update: Thoughts from my fast so far
I know to some fasting is a somewhat taboo thing to talk about, but you know, at the end of last year I shaved my head and my eyebrows for money, I decided that I’ve been saying “worst case scenario in life = death which really = heaven” for years so I’d better get on with actually living like I mean it, then I lost a ton of weight (40 lbs), I pretty much look like a boy and I just do not care anymore. So when I tell you I have 5 days to go and I will be finishing a 40 day, no food fast, I can assure you I am not writing this for your approval or to boast. I’m writing this cause God has put me on a journey and I believe I am responsible to share what he’s doing in my life with anyone who will hear it and anyway, if it’s so taboo, why do the scriptures record that people fasted? And why did Queen Esther get Mordecai to gather people together to fast with her?
(By the way, shout out to Dad for taking on the Mordecai mantle and getting a group of people to fast and pray with me during this period, I’ve had someone fasting with me every day!)
I did this fast because I want to see more of the Supernatural in my life and in our ministry, because the vision is big and needs our Supernatural God to move mountains for it to come to pass. The 35 days I’ve completed have been an amazing time, I haven’t felt hungry or craved food, I’ve had some physical things to endure but those very things have enabled me to take a chill pill on life and rest, both physically and in the spirit to a greater extent than I probably ever have. I can pinpoint some awesome God moments from this fast and I am sure I will be unpacking all the things God has spoken to me over this time for maybe even years, however the stand out moment has got to be day 31. Everyone in the family was out or busy, I sat alone in our living room listening to Hillsong United just sitting in God’s presence and I began to think about some of the Kingdom ninja’s I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and some of the crazies I’ve come across, and all that God has instilled into my life in the almost 24 years I’ve been chasing after Him (my born again birthday is March, 92). In that moment I believe God revealed some of his truth to me. So here it is - Part 1 of the fruit of my 40 day “I trust you, God” exercise.
I love the presence of God, it is better than everything. It just simply is. Gods presence is completely life changing. I’ve been experiencing it my whole life thanks to parents that cultivated the presence of God in our home…and pretty much everywhere we went. We’ve had times in our car on the way to church singing praise and worship together, or dad would buy a new CD and we’d blast it at our house. I remember one time we were all in my bedroom with the veranda doors open and Andre Crouch “Mercy” on full blast, all four of us singing “MERCYYYYYYYYY, HAVE MERCY LORD”. Road trips have been turned into praise parties, commutes have been changed into spiritual warfare. Speaking of which, finals day at GMA Immerse 2010, we were finalists in 3 categories but the night before the event manager told us we could only perform for two of the categories to save time (this was going to be problematic for a number of reasons, as well as if we were to do so we’d actually end up breaking GMA’s own rules). Thank goodness for age and experience, Dad challenged the decision, said we’d respect their choice but asked that they’d reconsider overnight, I mean, if there were three different finalists for all those categories, they’d all get to perform. Well, all I can say is, there’s nothing like driving in Tennessee in the middle of a hot summer with no air con in your van, me, dad and 4 dudes under 22 jamming out our song “Battering Ram” with an acoustic guitar down the freeway in the face of adversity, then getting to the venue we were playing at to find we got the breakthrough! The event organizer apologized profusely and told us, of course we could perform in all categories, their organization is all about actually supporting Christian talent! Thanks Jesus.
One of the most important and definitive God moments that I can remember was the day I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. I was 15 and my family were at a Christian music industry conference in NZ called “Noise”, it was the first year of the conference and they had a host of inspiring speakers from all over the world. It was a pretty awesome time. They ended the whole thing with a concert featuring all the artists from the conference. I remember getting to the venue and not sitting with mum and dad…which is totally like me - I’ve been independently strutting away from my parents since I left my mum without a backward glance on my first day of school. I have three major highlights from the concert. 1. The parachute band sang 2 of my fav worship songs 2. They had a ‘Superband', feat. some of the worlds best session musicians, sooooo inspiring. 3. My ultimate highlight of the night was a NZ pop/rock band called Detour 180, they have a song that I think they wrote after visiting a war torn country in Asia, the chorus says “Throw down your guns, show me what freedom feels like, I’ve suffered enough, show me how freedom feels”.
For me, the whole night was an epiphany. The expectation in the arena, I’d never before been in a room full of so many people all worshipping God together, it felt like an ocean of hands raised, people getting completely lost in worship together in unity. Blew my little mind. And then that song, it felt like the cry of every generation combining across the earth through our voices screaming together in little ole, NZ, the ends of the earth, and like God was reaching out to us as we cried out showing us what freedom looked like and I had a moment, surrounded by a crowd of strangers where in the best way I was alone but saw myself as part of it all, as one with everyone and the Holy Spirit baptized me right then. I spent the drive home the next day uncontrollably speaking in tongues in the middle of conversation. A fire was lit.
My life is filled with presence of God moments like these, and FYI, I’ve had some of them in the middle of the absolute center of chaos, I’ve had them watching superhero movies, listening to “secular” music, watching the news and on stage singing Billie Jean to camera’s and judges, they don’t necessarily happen where you expect.
Here’s something I’ve noticed, sometimes as Christians we become like spiritual junkies - always chasing that next high, that next powerful move of God that is going to change or fix our lives. Now, desiring powerful God moments is totally awesome and necessary and important, however change doesn’t always come in a moment, change also comes in daily choices and disciplines. And if our eyes are always focused on the next powerful move of God that we’re waiting for we can miss the beauty and the power of the fact that God is with us, here and now. The here and now God is the God that rises up within us to DO his will on the daily.
Sometimes we feel like - 'Oh man if everyday I could just feel like I felt on that one day when God changed my life, I would achieve so much for the kingdom of God'. But you know what we’re doing when we think and live like that? We’re limiting the presence of God to simply a powerful experience and feeling WE once had. The presence of God is about making ordinary things extraordinary and he does that by living and dwelling within us. Always there, ready to be accessed at all times so that we can do His will. Take the Great Commission, here at Megamorphic Church we talk Great Commission talk a lot, Matthew 28, the thing we are all called to do, how does it end?
Verse 20: “And I am with you always, even until the end of the world.”. Isn’t that inspiring? These scriptures aren’t dead words. They’re intentionally given to us from the King of Kings Himself, the only authority that can determine our eternal destiny! He tells us "The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead is able to quicken our mortal bodies as he dwells in us” (Romans 8:11). Meaning we have consistent access to the power that conquered sin and death.
Jesus tells us, "When you do it unto the least of these you do it unto me” (Matt 25:40). He says “If two or more of you you agree as touching anything in my name, it will be done by My Father in heaven” (Matt 18:19). He says "My meat is to do the will of God” (John 4:34 KJV). We often hear people talking about wanting to get past the “milk” and into the “meat” of God’s word. When we go through our Megamorphic Foundations course we learn that the things the Bible itself lists as ‘foundational’ and the ‘milk’ that we need to get when we are baby Christians are found in Ephesians 2:20 and Hebrews 6:1-2 as 9 Bible foundations: Jesus as cornerstone, the apostles, the prophets, repentance from dead works, faith towards God, baptisms (plural), laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement. Again, those are what the Bible lists as foundational truths that we need to learn as babies and then as we mature we move on to the meat, which is to do God’s will, to put those foundations principles into practice and share them with others.
Let me tell you, if we choose to walk with God, there will be days that we will be doing the will of God, doing things unto the least of these, fulfilling the great commission, and it won’t feel like a powerful God moment. Case in point, our team has a prayer time every morning that we call our “Spirit of Prophecy” time, last Friday, Caleb was out driving for Lyft so Derrick (who works at our house Fridays), Dad and I got together to pray. We’re singing away, I’m not feeling inspired, in fact I’m feeling anything but inspired really but we’re all making the effort to dig in to the spirit and I get the sense that I need to pray for my friend for peace and healing. I sent her a text to see how things were going and then started to lead out in prayer speaking peace and healing over her family and their household. Dad suggested we stick in that moment and record whatever came next and so for the next 5 minutes or so we all sang out and spoke freedom over them. We finished, I stopped the recording and sent it to my friend who responded and said “Right before your text came through my newborn baby was crying like he had been almost straight for the past three hours (he was jaundiced and had been refusing to feed for the past few days so they’d all had very little sleep) As I was still trying to feed him and console him, he fell asleep immediately. I knew it was from God and I literally felt a peace come over us.” We weren’t even in the same place as my friend and her kid but God heard us and moved in her house bringing exactly what we had been praying for!
You know, when you first meet famous or influential people it can be exciting or awkward or any combination of things, but hanging out with famous/influential people get’s you places you can’t go. Mum worked for a charity in New Zealand called the Order of St John, in fact she was acting CEO for a while. The Order of St. John is a worldwide healthcare organization with a number of very influential people involved across many spheres, including government and even the house of Lords, all very posh really. Before mum left they brought on a more experienced CEO and while she helped out with his transition into the role she facilitated the international Order of St. John conference in NZ where she mixed and mingled with many of these very influential humans (she actually also did this while working with the Order’s board when she was CEO). She tells the story that she had made friends with some of the right people and so when she and the new CEO were booked in economy for a flight and some of the big wigs were in first class, one of them simply being who he was said, "Oh no Shona, come and sit in first class with us" and boom it happened because he was that influential (much to the displeasure of the new CEO). Now, being in the presence of this guy entering the plane was obviously powerful and effective that day for my mum. His life is pretty much always like that, he has influence wherever he goes. I imagine that when mum and he were in board meetings together, other than his entertaining quaint niceties, mum didn’t experience the same benefits of his presence as the day she flew with him.
What if we lived as though God was with us in every moment, like every moment was a life changing moment because that is actually the reality of the situation!
Far more influence than getting first class flights on demand, GOD with us at all times. When we’re saying hi to that stranger - GOD is there, when we’re taking the time to ask our cashiers about their day and life - GOD is there, when we’re praying over anything, small or great GOD IS THERE. This is why the beginning of the famous Matt 28:18-20 segment says 'I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth', the big picture of this is 'I’ve been given all authority in heaven and on earth therefore change the world because I’m with you, always.' All access passes to the supernatural 24/7. All access passes to the Holy Spirit’s power 24/7. The storehouses of heaven ALL ACCESS PASSES. Forgiveness, love, grace, mercy, hope, courage, boldness, meekness ALL ACCESS PASSES. Fruits of the spirit ALL ACCESS PASSES. Every spiritual blessing ALL ACCESS PASSES. Every spiritual gift ALL ACCESS PASSES.
This is what it means to LIVE in transformation, this is what it means to live a Megamorphic life. It can be in the epic and in the seemingly mundane but He is here for us, available every day. So let’s live it. Let’s commit to choosing to live like God is actually with us at every moment, like we have all access passes to the Kingdom of Heaven because, guess what? We do. And what is most important in understanding this, way more important than how Christ can benefit us, is that it means we can work with Jesus in his name to influence people so they can enter eternity. We can change the world.