Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Be still and know...

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
- Psalm 46:10

This is among the most difficult Biblical commands for a ministry to heed.  It is also one of the greatest truths that we can be reminded of.

We often find ourselves being busy, and forgetting that He is God.  It is for this reason that we intentionally schedule time to pause, reflect, pray and worship during the busiest season in our ministry cycle.

Our entire year is spent preparing for our summer ministry.  It is the season in which the most is at stake for us, vision-wise.  Our community is at its largest:  58 young Christian musicians to train in servanthood, awareness, and the active sharing of their faith this year (not to mention a lot of music); a training community of 28 in which to further develop Christian leadership and character; six global ministry partnerships to resource and support, and dozens of community volunteers to coordinate.

Twice each summer, we have ten days in which to train three separate teams in all of the musical, spiritual, physical, logistical and emotional aspects of being disciples of Christ individually while being an international music ministry corporately.  Four days of intensive leadership preparation precede this time of training.  Our days begin before 8, and run until after 8 the same evening.  Our staff splits time between the office and the training site.

Amidst the spiritual, there is an intense amount of practical and detail-based work to focus on.  So during this season, we specifically identify one person who has both the authority and responsibility to continually draw our focus back to the reason for all we do.  Before the bustle of training begins each morning, we set aside 45 minutes for each team member to reflect on specific passages of scripture, and we as a leadership team gather to pray for the day and the needs of the training community.  This is followed by a time of corporate worship and devotion.

Last week we had our final day of training before our first set of teams for this summer were sent out.  We felt we had more to accomplish than the hours would allow that day, and we questioned whether or not we had the time to dedicate to our normal devotions and worship that morning.  In that moment, the Spirit reinforced a truth that we had been reminded of throughout the season:  that what we labor for is accomplished “'not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)

And so, at the prompting of the Spirit (and the insistence of the person to whom we had given this authority)… we were still.

During our time of worship that morning, we sang these words:

You are with me still, Your love will endure
You are with me still, Your promise is sure
You are with me still, Your mercy remains
You are with me still, You give strength as I wait 

We had not the might or the power to accomplish the things we felt we needed to that day.  Our strength was gone… but He gave strength as we waited.  And as we celebrated these truths, God poured His spirit out in a time of healing, confession and restoration among several in our community.  He was exalted among us that day! 

There is a promise to be found beyond the command to be still in Psalm 46.  God says “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  This is His purpose… His plan.  His promise is sure:  His word will not return to him void.  He invites us to participate.  But He does not depend on us.  We can be a part of it, or we can stand on the sidelines.

That morning, when we heeded His call to be still, we were privileged to see Him exalted, and to know without a doubt that it had been not by our power or might, but by His Spirit.  What a privilege to know that He is God, and to be a part of His plan!

Lyrics from “You Are With Me Still” - Caleb Clements, Todd Proctor, Travis Collins, Brandon Collins © 2009 Sandpiper Songs (ASCAP)