When God moves us

It was 4:30 a.m. on Monday, May 2, 2005. I was awake for the day, a full half hour before my alarm went off. After turning over and wishing I could go back to sleep, I spied the book, Acts 29, on my night stand. It had been given to me on the previous day by a member of the congregation I served (Ron). He had accidentally purchased two copies.

Now I always have a large stack of books waiting for me to read, and I had every intention of putting Acts 29 on that stack to read sometime. But that morning, the book just wouldn’t leave me alone. So I said, “Okay, God, I get it.” I picked up the book. I discovered that it had only 30 pages of reading. So I started reading.

As I read how the author, Terry Tekyl, had led 30 people in his church to pray through 10 chapters in the Book of Acts, God said to me more than once, I want you to do the same. It was conflux moment–a moment when God was breaking into my life for the sake of my own spiritual growth and the spiritual growth of others.

I objected. “But I can’t think of thirty people in the church, who would want to pray this together. God responded, “Write down the names of anyone who might pray.” I did, and to my surprise, I came up with more than 50 people.

I objected again. “The prayer program is supposed to begin on Pentecost, which is less than two weeks away. I don’t have time to get this organized that fast.” God responded, “Ask Ron. He will be interested.” Still, I wasn’t done arguing with God. “But will all those people purchase this book? How expensive are they?” (Talk about not listening to God!) God simply responded, “Look it up.” So I went online and found that the book was reasonably priced. Finally I said, “Okay, God. I’ll go forward.” Once I got past all my objections, I started to get excited, for I have found that when God moves like this, something good always happens.

It just so happened that I had a previously scheduled lunch appointment with another member of the congregation about a different topic. In the course of our lunch conversation, I mentioned Acts 29, and my discussion with God earlier in the day. He asked me the price of the book, and I told him. He replied, “I will purchase twenty-five of them for the congregation.” I was floored. It is amazing how God was bringing this all together.

Later that afternoon, I talked with Ron. He was eager to help. He made phone calls; he passed out books; he prayed. By evening the next Sunday, there were over 50 people signed up to pray through the Book of Acts, using Acts 29. We prayed for our church and community together for 50 days together. Lives and hearts were changed. It was amazing.

Last month, I defined a conflux moment as a moment when God breaks into our lives for the sake of our spiritual growth or the growth of others. I share the story above to give you another example of what a conflux moment looks like. I also share it to say that when God breaks into our lives in conflux moments, we have two choices: to embrace them and act on them OR to ignore them. When we ignore conflux moments, we ignore something important that God wants to do in our lives or the lives of others, though we will likely never know what it was. We pass up an opportunity to see God at work in our lives and the world.

But when we embrace God’s conflux moments in our lives, they often lead to other conflux moments. (My responding to the urge to read Acts 29 led to the call to engage the congregation in “50 Days of Prayer,” which led to someone volunteering to purchase 25 of the books, which led to Ron’s help and over 50 people praying for 50 days.) It also led me and others to experience God’s faithfulness in God’s call. We all grew spiritually. None of this would have happened, however, if I (and others) had ignored the conflux moment by refusing to act on it.

It is my prayer that you will act upon to all the conflux moments God brings into your life. I pray you will not let time constraints or fear or anything else keep you from acting upon them. For when you act upon those moments that God breaks into your life, you will find God’s presence with you amazingly real in ways that help you continue to grow in him. Amen and Amen.

Diann O’Bryant is pastor of Gilman United Methodist Church. Thoughts of Faith appears on Saturdays on Focus on Faith. To submit a Thoughts of Faith column, email Claire Heiby at cheiby@mariettatimes.com.