Wednesday, May 27, 2009

By Narrow Minds or Prison Walls Restrained?

Today, I had the privilege of sitting under the ministry of General John Larsson and his wife Commissioner Freda Larsson. The afternoon was well worth it.

My colleagues and I spent an afternoon singing some of the great songs that the famous duo of Gowans and Larsson composed. We heard the stories behind the compositions and were inspired by narrative of the musical genius of these two men.

Now many of you will understand that my style of musical taste really does not fall in line with what I heard today. I am more a Linkin Park type of guy. I do enjoy the music of Tim Hughes, Matt Redman, my boy Phil Laeger (I know Phil don't get a big head) and other writers of the new hymnody of our day.

Today, was a different day though. We sang some of the songs I sang as a teen and a guy in my early twenties as an officer. One of the songs we sang was "I'll Not Turn Back." The chorus is famous, but there are incredible lines in the verses which stick out to me.

You will know that I pride myself on the fact that I tend to be somewhat unconventional. My viewpoints are less than traditional and sometimes, I think people see me as bordering on the heretical.

As we sang today, a line struck me with incredible force from the song..."If doors should close then other doors will open. The Word of God can never be contained. His love cannot be finally frustrated, by narrow minds or prison walls restrained." I am not sure of the whole story behind these words. Yet, my eyes met with a friend of mine in the room as we sang this. We both had a similar emotional reaction. We wept. I cannot speak for my friend, but I think I know that I have struggled in recent years with implementation of grand visions for the expansion of gospel, because there seems to be a refusal to see beyond common sense and protocol. I admit, I have fallen into that trap as well.

I was given assurance that God's word is powerful and creative. It is even unconventional. I have no right to try to tell God how to operate. Protocols cannot get in His way either.

I was given a vision for what can and must be done in my life and in my ministry. I had my conscience pricked today about how narrow our minds have gotten when it comes to mission and the economic crisis we now face. We see dry bones but God sees an Army. We see doom and gloom and no resources, but God sees that He has storehouses of resources.

Our narrow minds and polity often act as impediments to what the Word of the Lord wants to accomplish. Yet, scripture reminds us that the Spirit moves as and when He wants. Finally, if we don't do it, He will find someone who will agree to His plan.

I heard an illustration recently. I think it might even have been one that General Larsson used. The speaker talked about how neat and orderly his office was. He talked about how papers were just so on his desk and in his file. It was easy to do business that way. Life was precise, predictable and contained. In other words, the focus was very narrow.

The speaker went onto say that on very hot day he opened a window. As is often the case, a pretty brisk wind picked up and began to gust in his office. He returned after a meeting to see that the papers had blown all over the place. Life was not orderly, but the wind had refreshed the space and made it cool and bearable, in a very unbearable and orderly place.

In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is likened to wind. He blows in where he wants. I see it this way. As stewards of the Word, we can either keep everything neat and manageable or we can trust the Spirit to refresh, while maybe messing up our protocols and pushing the Word forward. "His love cannot be finally frustrated, by narrow minds or prison walls restrained."

So friends, do you think as I do that we have tended to let common sense and protocol rule us too much? Has our polity become an impediment or a practical help to the Gospel? Is it time that we escape our narrow focus (I speak to myself here) and allow Spirit to really show us how to operate? Have we just hemmed God in? Will His word really not be frustrated?

What do you think?


Blogger jeff said...


10:55 PM  
Blogger Rob Reardon said...


7:14 AM  
Blogger BrownEyedGirl said...

This really spoke to me today Larry. Thank you for sharing this. May windows open and the fresh wind of the Spirit blow through my life,ministry and our Army. "We see dry bones but God sees an ARMY"- Amen.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Cheryl Lyle said...

Enjoy your musings.

7:30 AM  
Blogger jsi said...

What a convicting post you expose today. We cannot contain or define God, it is meaningless to try. Your words are poignant and specific as expressing the window illustration - ["Life was not orderly, but the wind had refreshed the space and made it cool and bearable, in a very unbearable and orderly place."
The Holy Spirit is the gift of God, bringing order out of disorder - exceptional!

7:15 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

No big head here. Just honored to be in the same sentence as those guys. Great post. Convicting. Grace...

6:23 AM  

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