We Need to be Refreshed
He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. Psalm 107:35
Having grown up in the desert areas of Arizona, biblical metaphors like the one above from the Psalms make perfect sense to me. There are few things more precious in the desert than water. When the rare summer rain comes to cover the blazing rays of the sun, to turn the scorching wind into a cool breeze, and to purify the heavy, dust-filled air, it seems like there is nothing that could be more refreshing.
The Psalmists, who themselves were desert-dwellers, understood how refreshing the rain in the desert truly was, so much so that they used this metaphor to describe a deeper spiritual reality of the true goodness of God. Especially in the ancient agrarian culture of the Bible, farmers in the desert knew that beyond being merely refreshing, the rain was vital for survival. Rain in the desert was life-giving and life-sustaining. Without it, there was no hope for life.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus also used the imagery of rain to refer to the blessings and provisions of God:
For (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45
Just as the dry and lifeless desert is absolutely dependent on the nourishment and refreshment of the rain to survive, God has created us so that we are absolutely dependent on the nourishment and refreshment of His Spirit to survive spiritually.
Because this is true, we need to be refreshed and we need to seek refreshment from God. Spiritual refreshment happens from God and it happens to us. We are not entirely passive in this process, but, for it to happen, we are completely dependent on the Lord to do it. With that in mind, there are times in our lives where we need to seek a special season of spiritual refreshment.
We know that God has also designed His creation with seasons that change throughout the year. In Arizona, we only had two seasons, hot and hotter! In Portland, we get to experience all four seasons, and currently we are in a season where we are looking forward to the arrival of spring. I am writing this on a day where snow has been falling all day, covering the ground with fresh white powder. As beautiful as that is, most of us are anxiously awaiting the spring season. There are few things more refreshing than when the rain combines with the light of spring to bring the rose bushes to bloom and the leaves on the dormant trees to sprout in brilliant shades of green.
This Sunday, as a church family, we are going to begin an intentional time of spiritual refreshment, as we seek for the Lord to refresh us, both as individuals and as a community. This season will coincide with the 40 day Lenten (meaning “spring”) season that the historical Church has observed as a time of preparation, reflection, and repentance in joyful anticipation of Resurrection Sunday (“Easter”).
This “Refresh” season will go from this Sunday, March 3 until Resurrection Sunday on April 21. Our purpose for this season is to intentionally seek the God who refreshes us, both individually and as a community.
Among the things that we are going to introduce this Sunday as a part of our Refresh season are:
A New Sermon Series. Our “Greater” series is going to take us through the entire Bible in eight Sunday morning messages, connecting the dots of the biblical story together to discover how we live out God’s story today.
A Season of Focused Prayer. We will be focusing on five areas of prayer that are specific to this season of preparation.
A Season of Focused Worship. Beginning on March 10, we will be dedicating a time before every Sunday morning worship service for prayer and preparation.
The 1 + 1 Challenge. As a movement to help us seek the Lord, we are going to be challenged to drop at least one thing that hinders and pick up one thing that helps in our lives to follow Jesus more closely during the Refresh season.
An Outward Orientation. We are going to focus ourselves on being more intentional in reaching out to our city in the name of Jesus.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, we are also going to be presenting our new church logo this Sunday!
As you can see, we have a lot planned for this Sunday, so you won’t want to miss it. The elders and staff are excited for what this milestone Sunday is going to bring and we look forward to seeing you then!