“The Flying Horse” from L.Willows, C.S. Lewis; Pastor Tom Holliday (redemption, miraculous living, for Christ, a new creation)

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Lift Off!

C.S. Lewis on Transforming a Horse into a Winged Creature

–For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine.”

“God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game.

But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders — no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings — may even give it an awkward appearance.” ) Mere Christianity.

A Challenge to live like a Flying Horse!

Last week, our Pastor Tom Holliday of Alexandria Presbyterian Church repeated the challenge “Do you want to live like a “Flying Horse”? Really? How are you going to do that?”

I loved the image of a Flying Horse! He told the story of the C.S. Lewis quote weeks before. I was intrigued. He dared us to live like Flying Horses. Could we be challenged to live with radically transformed hearts? In lives that soared beyond and above fences that we had not even dreamed lifted and towards heights far beyond and above what our imagined “ceiling” was?

Are you sensing how it captured my heart? I even turned it into a song. (privately) Enjoy my passion. The image of a flying horse, of being transformed into one – made me thoroughly filled with joy.

We all need to lift to grow wings. We need to become Flying Horses. 

What does that mean?

The horse in the story is us as we move through spiritual transformation. More, it is about Miraculous Living and how to overcome hindrances by redemption. We can only Fly through the power of Christ in us. His Spirit is the agent of our transformation. His Heavenly Father, our God draws us towards Himself. He sent His son to live amongst us and drew him back to the Heavenly Places, calling us lovingly to rise from the fallen- become the ‘new man’, the redeemed, grow “wings” and answer His Call. 

Lewis speaks about the hindrances within each of us that we face when we try to fly using “other means”. We ask for power to rise above.

We try to be kinder, nicer more pleasant people seeking all means of adapting to fit this world. We “work” at it. We depend on our own ability to improve our status in this world. We keep trying to improve the status of being kinder and continuing to “better ourselves”, gaining ground of status; similar to a horse in a race horizontally. Yet Lewis suggests a better way. Let the horse grow wings.

There is only one way to grow Wings. We become a New Creation.

He describes the awkward stage when the wings are still growing. At this stage, when the wings are just beginning to grow, they are like “lumps on the shoulders”. No one could even tell that one day they will be wings. I get that lumpy shoulder stage. How many can relate to that? Spiritual transformation, breaking through to the “Lift Off” can be experienced in many stages of joy, challenge, quest, trust, hope, effort, trial, and joy again.

2 Corinthians 5:17: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Inevitably, we become witnesses to the old, everything that ‘becomes old’ in ourselves and in our environment- experiencing a form of death. It starts to pass away as we ourselves become a new creation. The work of Christ “works” in us. Our work ceases to “work”. We surrender to Him, our lives surrender and we trust in him, completing the work that He began in us with the gift of Grace.

Trust in God allows Miracles to Take Flight.

When we trust in Christ, we begin to learn to Fly. We become Flying Horses.

We must trust in him to complete the work he began in us as he prepares for the coming day, new creations in a new heaven and earth.

What forms does that trust take? What does it look like?

Trust happens inside of an intimate relationship. It is honest. When your heart is honest before God, it can relate in an intimate and trusting way. It is the ability to form a two-way dynamic. There are many examples of Trusting God in Scripture.

Look for the examples of the prophets in the Old Testaments and the apostles in the New Testament. I love Moses in Exodus. What do you find? Trust in a relationship requires honesty, listening, and humility. Are there more qualities that you notice? Do we need perseverance? How is trust built? What is it built upon?

  • Learn to form an honest dialogue with God. Seek Him out as your most important Consultant and Source of Wisdom and Discernment. He Is.
  • Bring your heart to God and ask Him to search it. Ask for help knowing that you do not have the ability to “see” your own heart. He will answer you. Let Him lead you.
  • Pray. Seek God in prayer as the most important part of your life. It is the most intimate relationship to cultivate in life.
  • Find God in Scripture. Know Him through His Word. He is there. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring it to your heart by praying before reading.
  • Seek God’s guidance and wisdom in all things. Let God lead you in life. Know that He sees the details as well as the whole, the before and the after. Listen.
  • Trust in His Promises (Scripture). Keep them with you all the time.
  • Keep encouragement and Encouragers near to you all the time. Notice that He places this near to you. Recognize it and express gratitude.
  • Express and cultivate Joy. Generate Joy in your heart and in your surroundings.

See and become God’s Goodness and God’s Love. Though we fall short of His Glory, we glimpse it.

We are Trustees of His Goodness.

1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Become A Flying Horse. Having glimpsed His Glory – Leap Towards It.

We long for Christ. That longing is one that propels the heart with such a surge, it can make “a horse fly”, it can change the most ordinary life into one that is extraordinary.

Prayer that was dry becomes vivid with the Presence of God. Hearts that were lost are found. Broken places are healed. Revival becomes a word with new meaning. It starts to shake the foundation of self like a wondrous new birth. Something winged emerges. A joy that cannot be suppressed takes hold even in the midst of challenges. The Longing is like nectar that grows so sweet, life seems dim without it. It, The Promise of His Holy Blessing and Return becomes Hope, a Hope deeper and more glorious than any other.

Fly. Fly. Fly. (still singing)

© 2019 Linda Willows

“Quotes on Spiritual Gifting and Service”, Pastor Tom Holliday, APC sermon notes (Kingdom hearts, perspective, serving God)

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Notes on Spiritual Gifting with Pastor Tom Holliday

(Alexandria Presbyterian Church): Sermon Quotes and Notes from Sunday 1.19.20; for a deeper dive, the full sermon will be available on the website beginning 1.21.20, see link at bottom of the page.

Welcome. These notes were written while listening so there may be some slight differences in the wording. I recommend the link at the end if you enjoy these quotes. I hear so many of the themes in the scripture.

The verses were identified throughout the sermon in addition to these quotes so that we could each make the connections to scripture. I was writing but my heart was sparkling with a big “yes, this is who we are, this is what I need to be reminded of, this is scripture –  and here are some quotes that wake my heart in a joyful way!”

Sermon, “Serving God and others with our Gifts” Pastor Tom Holliday

1 Peter 4:7-11 Scripture

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

“Let your spiritual calling be the height of your future.

“Don’t judge your future by your past. Experience is not our barometer.”

“God says, show me what you are capable of.

“Get in the game. Make a difference in His Kingdom.”

“The verb is ‘receive’. We have received gifts from God. They are to be used for His Glory and with His Strength.”

“You will not, or may not see most of the fruits of your ministry in this life. If you need to see it in this life, if you are living for praise; if you need to be propped up; if you need it for your identity – you will suffer.”

“We are blessed so that we might be a blessing to others.”

“When we don’t use our Spiritual gifts, they atrophy just like muscles that are not used. Sometimes we need a spiritual surgery to save our hearts, to renew us and to give us “spiritual physical therapy” so that we are more able to serve God.”

“What is living in light of His Second Coming? Why must we be sober-minded? The Bridegroom is Coming. Your life is not about you, it is about His Glory.”

“We are all given spiritual gifts but the power and strength to serve are from God. We are the stewards of these gifts. As stewards, we will need to account for how these gifts have been spent. The gifts are spent only by God’s strength, not on our own. When we try to use our own strength we become stressed, depleted, discouraged.”

“Make your life count.”

Pray. Make me desperate God. (for You) He will answer that prayer.”

Love each other deeply. Constantly.”

Don’t be easily offended. Don’t be a baby Christian.”

“This is God’s Grace. He has forgiven you. God stretches our love. Have perspective. Have Kingdom Hearts.”

“Kingdom Power comes from Kingdom Hearts.”

Put down your scorecard and pick up your gifts.

“Don’t say I can’t, say I won’t.”

The Body of Christian Service looks like Joseph and his coat of many colors. Play your position and play it well.”

“Ask God to give you Joy. Ask him to give you Peace. Ask, the Power of the Holy Spirit.”

“Pray.”

(if you would like to hear more go to Alexandria Presbyterian Church Sermon Archives)

After the sermon ended we stood up and sang one of my favorite songs — (Take my Life and make it Yours…)

“Living in God’s Presence”, Brother Lawrence (conversing with God, knowing God, Faith)

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A friend led me to the Christian 17th century text “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. He conversed with God as a way of living. He expressed, “the love of God was the end of all actions, it was a single motive behind all.” Prayer was constant, devotional and spontaneous throughout the day. At the core of his heart was trust. He speaks of the love of God as coming from knowing Him and that ‘knowing’ as being based upon the growing relationship formed through the holy habit of being in His Presence.

Living in God’s Presence always leads to His loving lead. His Presence pours Love and Mercy immeasurably. We only need to live with and for Him. 

The Practice of the Presence of God

Brother Lawrence, Fifteenth Letter, his final letter

GOD knows best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we knew
how much He loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with
indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from
Him. The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong
light. When we see them in the hand of GOD, who dispenses them: when we know that
it is our loving FATHER, who abases and distresses us: our sufferings will lose their
bitterness, and become even matter of consolation.

Know God

Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one
desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper
and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love
of GOD were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.

Seek Him by Faith

Let us not amuse ourselves to seek or to love GOD for any sensible favors (however
elevated) which He has or may do us. Such favors, though never so great, cannot bring
us so near to GOD as faith does in one simple act. Let us seek Him often by faith: He is
within us; seek Him not elsewhere. Are we not rude and deserve blame, if we leave
Him alone, to busy ourselves about trifles, which do not please Him and perhaps offend
Him? ‘Tis to be feared these trifles will one day cost us dearly.

Let our devotion belong only to Him

Let us begin to be devoted to Him in good earnest. Let us cast everything besides out of
our hearts; He would possess them alone. Beg this favor of Him. If we do what we can
on our parts, we shall soon see that change wrought in us which we aspire after. I
cannot thank Him sufficiently for the relaxation He has vouchsafed you. I hope from
His mercy the favor to see Him within a few days. Let us pray for one another.

Brother Lawrence