The intimacy challenge

Stuart Glassborow (Catch the Fire London) was speaking on May 10, 2015, at Network Vineyard Church, Reading campus. Here’s my summary.

Image of Stuart and Chloe Glassborow Stuart and Chloe Glassborow

Welcoming God’s ownership

The Greek word kyrios translated ‘lord’ means ‘owner of it all' – complete ownership.

We sing:

“Holy Spirit You are welcome here, Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by your presence Lord.”

Us owning the partnership

Stuart demonstrated three ways of putting on a jacket. I can hand someone the jacket to put on. Or I can put it on the person. The Biblical way is neither of these. It is more like he puts on the jacket with me helping.

We are instructed to partner with God.

Some people are passively waiting for God to put the jacket on them. it is like saying You are welcome here if you don’t go over time, if you don’t go beyond the box I have defined.

We want to be submissive to what God wants to do, but not in passive way. The Biblical perspective is that God does everything and we also do everything.

The river vision in Ezekiel 47

Stuart related a picture he had seen relating to the well-known passage at the beginning of Ezekiel 47 in which we read: “I saw water coming out under the temple… east… ankle deep… deeper.” Verse 5 mentions a river that no one could cross. Here’s the full text:
Ezekiel 47:1-6

This is a word about ownership. God has total ownership but it is also about US owning our part of the relationship. In this passage we read: “The man brought me” or "The man led me…” It is repeated several times. He didn’t carry me, but LED me – a picture of partnering. This is about us owning the partnership with God that we are in.

Our own relationships are dysfunctional if one partner does everything. So it is in our devotional life. The prayer life that has questions and answers is more scary than one-sided ‘shopping list’ prayer.

Do you want to look more like Jesus? We do, but that’s not going to happen in a way where we expect Jesus to do it all.

Stuart’s wife Chloe tells a story of waking up, spending time with God and remarking: “The Holy Spirit says He has had a hard night.” The revelation continued, saying that four or five of His children in Afghanistan had had limbs blown off. That was factually correct and confirmed later that day on BBC News.

When we get to be asking God how HE is doing, that’s a real relationship.

The well-known image of footprints in sand doesn’t show a set of lines in the sand. God wants to walk with us, not drag us.

We put God in control – He puts us in control

A common thing we pray is for God to be in control of a situation. That isn’t always right. God is the Almighty King of a kingdom, so He is without doubt in charge, but He positions Himself not to be in control. He has given us free will. He doesn’t want control, because that would make us robots.

Have you ever been in a place where you know you are not welcome? You can even be in a room where you are the leader and not be welcome. So it is entirely possible to be in charge but at the same time not be welcome. That is why it is important for us to genuinely welcome the Holy Spirit, and express that welcome (as we have been singing).

At a conference one time, a prophetic word was brought that Holy Spirit had been told He was not welcome. It turned out that the people in that church were afraid. They had agreed in a previous meeting that they didn’t want a release of the Holy Spirit in the services, because they were fearful of the consequences.

God is beseeching us for a partnership

God is beseeching us for a relationship which is a partnership of love – a relationship where we are hand in hand, and not just on Sundays and quiet times, but at any time. It’s hard to remember that in the busyness of life. Stuart said he had an iPhone app which buzzed every 10 minutes, reminding him to focus back on God.

Know God – word study

The Greek word generally translated ‘knowledge’, ginosko, is linked to the Hebrew word yadah, which basically means to know. But it is nothing to do with our concept of cerebral knowing. It is an intimate word. In Genesis 4:1 we read: “Adam knew Eve” (ESV and other formal versions), “Adam lay with Eve” (NIV) or “Adam was intimate with his wife Eve” (Holman).

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they [ginosko] know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Eternal life is to [yadah, ginosko] know God. That is an expression of something way more intimate than sexual intercourse.

Once we get this, then living the kingdom becomes easy.

Miraculous healing: predicated on intimacy with God

Stuart recounted: “On one of our recent trips to Kenya, we encountered a woman who could was unable to walk to the meeting because she had a lot wrong with her – she was dying. As John Arnott has memorably said, “There’s a LOT wrong with dead people”!

“As we prayed over her and commanded the kingdom to come into her body, we noticed that she was also blind – there was a blueish film over the eyes and clearly she was unable to see, as well as other acute ailments.

"First, her damaged ankle was healed. Then the severe gut pain she was experiencing disappeared.

"And as we continued to press in, in prayer, we saw the eyes change – they became of normal appearance. And she could see.

"All of this happened because we were intimate with God. We went, and we noticed things.

"We have even seen missing eyeballs slowly grow in sockets and start to move in parallel with a good eye. These are incredible stories, but they only come about as a result of real intimacy with God and being aware of what He is showing and what He wants to do."