Intimacy Strike Force
Our second strike force for BYH 1, is for people who have a productive journey involving intimacy.
There are two common pathways to becoming able to experience intimacy with God and man: pain and pleasure.
Some people who have had a brutal journey, have learned that their community cannot possibly be approached with any posture other than dominion. Some of those people extend that power-based posture toward God, while others are able to leverage extreme vulnerability in human community into an ability to engage with God and trust God for basic survival, and beyond.
Others are born into love and intimacy, safety and opportunity. Like the first group, some of those become viciously narcissistic and repulsive, while others extend the love they have received to others around them.
Fundamentally, our life experience does not determine where we end up in our capacity for intimacy and practice of it. It is the result of our choices.
And a life of intimacy is not the superior spiritual walk. Elijah and John the Baptist would hardly be called people of intimacy, yet they were in the right place, at the right time, walking out their passion for holiness with a measure of physical (Elijah) and emotional (John the Baptist) violence.
And Jesus overtly called them two of the greatest people in human history.
That said, they were not a model to replicate endlessly. The successor to Elijah was a guy who did social intimacy well. When Elijah called him, he showed a deep disregard for any urgency that either Elijah or God might have had.
He did community/intimacy with style, and he was going to have an extensive, formal, gratifying party, and then, when he was quite settled in his intimacy, he would go find out where Elijah was and what he was up to.
At the end of Elijah's life, Elisha was still an over-the-top intimacy guy. He had managed to be the servant to a piece of 40 grit sandpaper for who knows how many years, and his intimacy survived Elijah's inability to do even basic courtesy, much less intimacy.
Jesus, likewise, was poles apart from the irascible John the Baptist, and the logical follow up to his breaker anointing.
Ohio is an interesting picture, historically, of dominion and intimacy.
The state produced a bumper crop of abolitionists in the pre-Civil war theological, political and social sectors. Many of the most verbose came from Oberlin College. Passionate, fire-breathing rhetoric from Ohio helped keep the topic inflamed.
On a parallel track, you had the Quakers who were deeply engaged in a culture of quiet intimacy, yet they held a strong, broadly quiet, abolitionist stance.
Of special interest is the Underground Railroad where dominion and intimacy met, in the smuggling of escaped slaves to places of freedom.
How will God use a goodly load of prayers FROM people with authority in the area of intimacy?
No clue. Not something I am in charge of figuring out.
I am simply recruiting people who have come from the place of extreme selfishness (infancy!) to a place where there is the capacity and practice of intimacy with God and man. We will use your treasure of authority in intimacy, to polish and enlarge that Scrabble letter, and then proffer it to the Trinity to play on the Scrabble board of BYH 1.
Copyright by Arthur Burk
The story of Hosea and Gomer is haunting. She desperately wanted emotional intimacy. He gave her tons. She could not receive it. So she defaulted to physical intimacy instead.
Until she got her heart transplant.
Obviously, the biggest point for this seminar is to help people respond to the love of God more intensely, amazingly, transformationally.
Hence, this vital strike force on intimacy.
But before we dig into the granular strategies, I would like to oil the strike force with the catalytic power of awe.
So for the next couple of weeks, would you just meditate on two facets of awe?
Drift through the stories in Scripture where there was an awe encounter with God and ponder what happened there – leading up to it, during it, and how was the person changed, especially in terms of intimacy.
Then look at your own life. When and where has God taken you on an awe experience and how has it impacted your own intimacy with Him?
Soak in that theme until the next strategy email.
Consider this story. A lady was going to be a camp counselor for a bunch of pretty chewed up kids from the streets of New York City. She knew they were all emerging criminals who had to be watched like a hawk, and they were all badly misparented little waifs who needed massive love.
And with the infinite wisdom that only a 21-year-old has, she loftily assured me, “Most of the time, I know when to hug and when to holler.”
I am happy for her. I spend years of my life trying to decide which to do with some of our Tribe who are highly wounded IEDs waiting to go off.
God has no such issue. He clubbed Saul of Tarsus into submission without a shred of compunction. And He blistered the two on the road to Emmaus for being religious instead of spiritual. And He was gentle beyond words with Peter at the lake.
I would like you to savor the awe factor in each of them moving from where they were to intimacy.
Then pick three more people in your world who are vaguely similar to them. They may not be coming to the seminar, but might only hear about these teachings second or third hand five years from now.
Envision what God will have to do to move them from where they are, to the place of intimacy. Then worship the God who CAN, because no one’s junk is too big or too hard for God to breakthrough in order to bring them to intimacy.
Once you have brought your spirit to a place of high faith and awe, then turn your attention to each of the people who will be at the seminar and cry out for their hearts to be brought to a place of intimacy.
I most ache for the ones like the two on the road to Emmaus. They seemed to be running hard after God. Quick to seek out the bright new sparkly thing that was happening. Knew the Word in a non-transformational way.
But they had such a religious filter on; they could not possibly understand the Word they knew.
We will have a LOT of those at the seminar. Chasing after God cognitively and sacrificially. Careful to not leave any free money on the table. Spent big bucks to come to the seminar.
And they have been routinely leaving so much free money on the table, because they cannot hear the Word they know.
Pray for the God who opens impossible doors, to hack their intellect, and bring them to a place of intimacy.
I go into Home Depot and see sandpaper. It stirs a warm spot in my heart regarding my journey with God. I might be the only person in the world who experiences intimacy with God through sandpaper. But I do.
Every individual has a file, large or small, of intimacy memories with God. Some have only one. Some have decades of intimacy memories and triggers.
I would like you to focus on sanctifying time from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on June 24th.
The devil often sets up traps for people along the way to a God encounter, so they arrive emotionally yanked. Let’s flip the script and have people arrive feeling deeply loved by God before the first word of teaching.
Ask God to look at the record of each person coming, count up all of the emotional hits the devil has already delivered across the whole of their lives, and then ask Him to avenge Himself on His ancient enemy by preparing a boatload of vastly creative hugs in that window of time, in ways the devil cannot anticipate or block.
Let the miracle of heart healing begin before they arrive at the venue, continue through registration and seating, and build into a tsunami as God comes to each one in customized ways that no one else would recognize, but that they do.
Your strike force is arguably one of the most critical as the issue of intimacy with God will be one of the biggest themes in the teaching on Saturday the 24th.
The problem is, people define intimacy too narrowly.
Think of this set of pictures: the moment of engagement; the first year of marriage; birth of the first child; wedding of the first born; first grandchild; death of a parent.
Each of those is a wildly different event. Each offers a setting for intimacy to be experienced in old ways, or to discover new facets of intimacy. But the intimacy that a couple experiences over the death of a parent is profoundly different than the intimacy of young love.
My intimacy with God happens at the computer, during Bible study, out walking, while mowing the lawn, in the grocery store, and while rubbing Arnica on whiny body parts. I am passionate about erasing the line between the secular and the sacred and EXPERIENCING God all day long.
I do it well.
And I plan to passionately pitch that at the seminar, to move people out of the religious intimacy settings into the sustainable, dynamic lifestyle of intimacy.
I have years of experience, passion, ideas, word pictures and all of those communication essentials.
Please supplement it with your prayers for the power of God to tailor the message to each individual.
My words will be good and strong. Guaranteed.
My good, strong words will not be enough to hack the firewalls the devil has built. Guaranteed.
Please lean in during the next two weeks in preparation, then during the day on the 24th.