I’m finishing up my weekend with some believers in and around the Kalispell, Montana area. This area is awesomely gorgeous, though it has rained three of my four days here. On the Friday, however, I got to go for a hike on a mountain above Flathead Lake with some old friends from the YWAM base near here. What a beautiful hike and we fouind a rock at the top fo the hill where we could look almost 300 degrees around at the lake and mountains and the landscape was as awe-inspiring as any I’ve seen. I love the mountains and forests, so this is like heaven to me.
I arrived here not ever having met the folks that invited me. We had corresponded a bit on the ‘net, but that was all. But in the plans to come up here, many others emailed me to find out where I was going to be and expressed surprise that there were others in the Flathead Valley thinking outside the box. God is definitely stirring a large number of people in this area and freeing them from religious boxes that have distracted them from knowing him.
What a weekend! We did nonstop yakking from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening sharing this incredible journey, affirming the things God’s been teaching his people and celebrating our unity in Christ. A couple of things really stand out from the time this weekend.
First, Father has already been speaking into our hearts the things he wants us to know. For many people here the things I shared weren’t brand new to them, but there were many ‘Ah! Hah!” moments where people recognized that the voice that had been whispering similar things to them all along, but they hadn’t really thought it was God’s voice because it ran so counter to the religious things they’d been taught all their lives. That is so fun! What God is doing to draw people to himself today is a work of the Spirit in the hearts of those who long for him, it is not a movement initiated or controlled by any author, speaker or organization. Leaving people freer to follow the Shepherd’s voice is the greatest joy of doing what I do.
Second, God is preparing people all around us to live more fully in his life. We may not know them yet, or know what God is doing in them, but it is easy to see how easy it would be for God to connect a few dots and we would see how incredibly whole and healthy his family is in the world. When people get together who are on the journey of knowing God more deeply and being transformed in his image, fellowship is so easy and so inspiring. I love the connections that happen in an area simply because people who’ve found their way to my website, get to meet others who live near them who hunger for similar things. Many who thought they were all alone in their passions, find they are not and that there are others around them with whom they can connect.
And as I was finishing this, Eugene Peterson returned my phone call of yesterday. He lives near here and we had met years ago at a small writer’s retreat that Leadership Journal hosted near Chicago. There were only a dozen of us that got to know each other over four days. Even so, I was shocked he remembered me. I just wanted to bless him and tell him how much I have appreciated his translation of the Scriptures and his other writings. Even though we are a few miles apart in how we view the Church, we are kindred spirits in the Father we love and the journey we have walked to live in him more deeply. He’s as genuine a human being as I have ever met and it was icing on the cake to have a chance to reconnect with him today.
I’ve got a few more folks to visit with today and then have a late afternoon departure to head home. I get in pretty late tonight, but there is nothing like the trip home! I always love getting home to Sara and those crazy pups of ours!