Jody is nearly through with the Macedonian Summit. They have been staying at a place called Majski Cvet in the city of Struga (the blue icon at the link shows the facility). She has been greatly encouraged by the response of the women there. In more than one of the places she has visited she has shared what we call the “hand illustration.” In brief, it refers to the necessary steps if we (the church) are to have a positive impact on our community. Where the hand comes in is that it is a memory device. As you look at your hand, the little finger stands for “community impact.” Impact will only take place if we learn what it means to operate as a “community,” the ‘ring finger.’ Community will only come if we learn to walk in “unity” (the middle finger) with our heavenly Father, and unity with God is only found in “humility” (index finger). That essential quality of humility is the natural outcome of a worship encounter with God — the thumb. A palpable experience with almighty God has a way of stripping us of our pride and leaving us humbled and ready for transformation. A prayer summit often opens the door to that all-important encounter.
Here are recent excerpts of emails, some written in the dark of the morning in the dorm room where Jody is staying with fiver other women. She was crouched under the covers of her bed tapping notes to me on her Blackberry…
- (Saturdy, 4:54am PDX – 1:54pm Struga) We had an incredible morning. I shared that we were invited to come boldly before the throne of grace, but the OT tabernacle teaches us the way of approach. Before we even began to “enter his gates with thanksgiving” there was the sense of his presence and we went to a breakthrough almost as we began to worship. The session ended with ps133 and song, Bind Us Together. Went from worship to community in 2 hrs. Then I sent them out with jn 13-14. [at a summit we often send participants out to meditate on parts of the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to call attention to portions that are particularly relevant in the moment. Upon return, the group often prays together about the encounter, “praying back” their response if they choose]. When we prayed back, the overwhelming majority had been stopped on jn 13:1-3 and/or 34-35 and jn 14:1, so I had them get into one of three grps, one for each set of scriptures and use that set of verses to fuel their prayer for their city, their nation, and the Balkans. We just broke for lunch. Gave a break until 5:30–walk-talk-rest-meet again at dinner.
- (Sat. 7:43am PDX – 4:43pm Struga) We had lunch at 2. Ate something like meat and spaghetti-sauce gravy and cabbage. Left to take a walk with maria and we had two local drinks. One was hot and tastes like rice pudding without the rice (called salep) and a cold drink made from a root called “boza” — like sour thick oj or something. Both were good. It is a beautiful day and everyone is outside walking.
- (Sat. 12:20pm PDX – 9:20pm Struga) Today was a wonderful day –tonight we did a modified version of the chair, and this afternoon we took the time to make requests –salvation, healing, provision. [“The chair” refers to making a chair available in the middle of the room so others can gather around and pray for those requesting to be prayed for]. I am fairly exhausted–it has been a long and good day but long nonetheless. Tomorrow, we have brkfst at 8:30 and first session at 9:30. We will go until 1:00, have lunch and then catch a 4oclock bus back to skopje. I have been asked to speak at a city-wide gathering on tues night. What will I say? So far God knows –after summit perhaps I will.