The countdown is on! The Cave is just around the corner, and as much as we will miss the normalcy of sweaty mosh-pit worship, hoarse voices, and seeing people we love from all over the world, we all know that it is still going to be mind-blowing. We’ve seen what can happen when a bunch of lion-hearts come around a vision, hungry for change and ready for anything - it’s powerful! And this year is no different because, as wonderful as the gathered experience is, it's our hearts that are the most crucial ingredient to this feast.
A couple of years ago we had a powerful Sunday series called ‘Follow Me’. Watching the life of Jesus we saw how He led the people closest to Him through storms, through detours, through fear, even through their Samaria - the places they would rather avoid. And it gave us the opportunity to check our own hearts as followers, correct motivation and adjust direction to get right back behind Jesus.
My personal favourite gem from the series was this Pastor G classic;
‘storms hold the greatest potential for growth.’
Maybe this year has felt stormy for you - you’re not alone. Jesus actually wanted the disciples to experience storms, not just once but again and again! He knows that the storm does something good in us, it grows us and stretches our faith but only if we are following Him through it.
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
In this well-known storm (Luke 8), Jesus takes the disciples out on the boat and then falls asleep. The disciples panic as the weather turns nasty, and instead of copying the peace that Jesus models to them, they disturb it, waking him up. They are physically following him, into the boat, and across the lake. But their hearts are way off. Fear instead of faith, panic instead of peace. Jesus wasn’t disturbed at all by the weather, He was disturbed by their doubt. And even as the wind and waves followed his rebuke immediately, calming back to stillness, the hearts of the disciples were a little slower to obey.
The same challenge falls to us today. We might be physically following, doing the right things, tuning in or turning up to church, but our hearts might be far from the faith-filled, trusting, consistent example of Jesus. Maybe the swirling fear, emotion and confusion in the world around us has led us into a place where we feel fragile or tired. But breakout is coming!
says it perfectly;
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
So one week out, will you join me in checking your heart? It’s the most important thing you can bring to the Cave this year, in your location’s building or in your own living room. If we can follow Him alone, heart and soul, He has mighty and beautiful places to take us.