Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Back from the mountain top

I had a really awesome experience at the Campus Ministries Conference at Oakwood College. There just something powerful with hearing awesome sermons, meeting and hanging out with other spiritual people, and just generally focusing on God for a couple days in a row. This experience is what I call the "mountain top" experience. I feel good. God seems near. I sense that God is going to do great things.

But as I arrived back on campus on last Sunday, I began to feel a loss of excitement. I was back at Southwestern with classes on Monday. I had a bunch of homework due at the end of the week. I looked around on campus and realized many students were still indifferent towards spiritual things. I remembered friends that were still struggling with issues in their lives. I was back from the "mountain top" and entering into the "valley."

It was kinda disconcerting, almost jarring to my soul, to realize that things hadn't changed at Southwestern. I don't know, I guess I was expecting people to be praising God and being excited about serving people when I got back. Kinda dumb, huh?

Well, I don't know if others from the conference are feeling "mountain top" withdrawal, but I know
I already miss the people I met at the conference. I miss the powerful sermons. I miss not having to worry about homework. I miss being able to just focus on God without all the distractions in student life. I miss the newness of being in a different college.

But I'm back at Southwestern at the end of my 6th year here. (Because I'm on my second degree). I'm at the "valley" where the multitudes are. I'm at the "valley" where the crowds of students gather. And the students here have many distractions: finances, friendships, romantic relationships, homework, family, etc. Will they hear God's still voice? Will they reach out for Him? Will they seek Him? And will I myself continue to connect with God?

It's amazing to see that Jesus spent much time in the "valley." I'm sure He spent a lot of time praying and meditating on the Old Testament. But I also see Him mingling with people in the crowd. I see Him eating with tax collectors and sinners. Amazing. His first miracle was at a very festive occasion, a Jewish wedding!

I guess I'm realizing that God has me where He wants me. I've had my "mountain top" experience. Now it's time to serve people in the "valley."

[God, thanks for the awesome experience at the conference. I praise You for calling so many talented and passionate people for campus ministry. Thanks for the new friendships, the awesome sermons, and ability to praise You. Please bless us as we serve in the valley. Give us Your love, strength, and patience. Amen.]



At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

During college I experienced many spiritual mountaintops, as well as many valleys. The only thing that can tie them together so well is the presence and Spirit of God in your life during both times. It is exactly the realization of that that gives one security and peace through the rollercoaster of life. But not only the realization, but the faith to live your life accordingly. That's why the righteous live by faith.

Jesus is the constant; never-changing, always desiring to be present. God is our refuge. He brings us to the mountaintop to prepare us for the valleys, where we spend a majority of our time because His work is in advancing His kingdom there, not bringing the world up to the mountain. Since we have been raised with Christ, have been seated in the heavenlies with Him, and He now lives in us, the mountaintop is within us as we are used and moved to advance His kingdom in the valley. God doesn't give us mountaintop experiences to tease us or show us what we can have once a year, if that; He gives them to teach us the reality of the power of His Spirit that's intended to be in the reality of our daily existence. That is also fully realized within the Body, the supernatural connection among believers, who "may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." - Eph. 3:18

"I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." - Phil. 2:20

This is now the reality for those who have chosen the cross in their own lives, chosen to "lose their lives." There is no other reality. All other suggestions or pop psychology are not reality. If Satan can deceive us by having us think that we can rarely experience mountaintop experiences, or that we must search for those to experience substantial spiritual growth, then we will not embrace the reality of the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit in our daily walk (not be victorious), be distracted from being empowered and fulfilling our role within the Body, and we will seek the mountaintop instead of the God who sits on top.

May the bretheren not be deceived on these matters.


At 3:22 PM, Blogger deebarizo said...

hey, Gabe,
I'm doing better. With God's power, I just had to readjust to my circumstances and environment. Thanks for the reminder that I shouldn't "seek the mountaintop" but instead seek "the God who sits on top."

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mountain top is a beautiful place, because God is known to be there. He is also very near, or "not far from any one of us." Praise the Lord for your experience because it was real, moving, and alive. You still have that same Spirit with you.



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