15 October 2010

Bedford - Father's Heart, Session 3

During this session we heard Mark Stibbe speak on 'Varieties of Encounter'. He is an amusing and interesting speaker and had us in stitches at times. But he also makes some excellent points and there's a structured clarity in his thinking that provides a memorable framework.

Mark Stibbe
Mark began by explaining that we must all encounter Father's love for ourselves, we are all different. Yahshua said, 'I have made you (Abba) known to them.' (John 17:25-26) And he is still doing it!

We heard about the dentist's lie that, 'You won't feel a thing.' But cessationism isn't true, we can (and should) still experience spiritual life in all its fullness. However we all need to be hugged in different, tailored ways. Mark explained that the kind of hug he gives his son would be inappropriate for his daughter. So we mustn't all expect to receive Father's touch in the same way.

He may touch us dramatically, or gently, or somewhere along the continuum between the two. In the same way our experience may come suddenly or gradually over time. But the testimonies people share are usually dramatic and sudden, much more rarely gentle and gradual.

His touch may be mediated or unmediated (it might come through another person's prayer or a touch by their hands, but it may also happen without anyone else's involvement. And it may be sought or unsought by us (see Isaiah 65:1). Finally it may come through an experience of pain or an experience of joy (perhaps as a result of having a bad father or a good one).

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