Running in the Spirit

Ever heard of Crossfit? Does it bring to mind ridiculously ripped and beautiful athletes tossing around giant barbells, eating mounds of meat, and spouting inside lingo like “Muscle-Ups” and “Double-Unders?” Their methods of ‘Forging Elite Fitness’ feel unattainable, and downright crazy to most of us.  Despite my stereotypes, I love my class at Rainer Crossfit in South Seattle! As a ministry of Urban Impact, it’s one of the only non-profit Crossfits in the nation with an express goal to make quality training accessible to people who otherwise couldn’t afford it. It’s also full of very ordinary moms, millennials, and down-to-earth people who just want to be as strong and healthy as they can. My friend Bruce, a single dad, started out seeking to control his blood pressure and ‘stay alive’ for his son, can now deadlift over 350 pounds and almost beat his high school running times. Faster and stronger than he thought possible.

When it comes to operating in the gifts of the Spirit, we can fall into the mindset that it’s just for an elite few, slightly crazy people. But God’s invitation to all of us, no matter our background or experience level, is to hear His voice more each day and to experience powerful things we never thought possible through the gifts of his Holy Spirit.

This past November, nine of us from Bethany joined several others from ECBF at the Dunamis conference in Bellingham, ‘In the Spirit’s Power.’  At this conference hosted by Presbyterian Reformed Ministries International (PRMI), we learned how God uniquely gifts us through the Spirit, and how to operate in more confidence and boldness.

After each segment of teaching from scripture, we put into practice what we learned in groups of three or four, such as listening for a word of knowledge from God. It was a safe place to make mistakes without fear, which is a part of learning new skills. One person exclaimed,

“It was so exciting because I rarely see pictures in prayer, but this time I did, and it was deeply meaningful for the person I prayed for, which was additional confirmation it actually was from the Lord.”

We saw incredible things!  Specific pictures or words from scripture, leading to breakthroughs in receiving God’s love or joy, given by strangers. Brand new spiritual gifts poured out by God, used for the first time. Savoring God’s Word through art in prayer reflection stations. Divine prayer appointments clearly orchestrated by Jesus. A team gathered around one person in tears, listening for what God wanted to say to her, watched her set free from a lifetime burden of feeling unworthy.

Annie Uomoto reflected,

“I was so encouraged, being trained as a body of believers to minister and take care of each other, and not just for a select few.  It’s all of us, learning to listen to the Lord, letting his Holy Spirit work, learning to welcome his healing, and see people set free.  I mean, what’s better than that?”

For me, one of my favorite moments was when we gathered in small groups to pray for ministry at our respective churches.  As we listened for God’s voice, a seemingly random thought entered my mind as we prayed for one woman. “This is so strange, but does the word gingham mean anything to you?” I asked, and she started laughing. “I’m a quilter, and I made my very first quilt from gingham fabric!” It was a hilarious and poignant moment reveling in how closely God knows and pays attention to every single detail about each of us, His deep affection and playfulness as He invites us partner with him in ministry.

Our group left deeply encouraged, knowing that God truly desires to empower each one of us in the body of Christ to go stronger and faster in His Kingdom work than we ever thought possible.

Want to join people from Bethany and ECBF at the next Dunamis conference in April, The Power of Prayer?  See the announcement (below), and contact Siri Unneland, to express your interest.


The Power of Prayer

April 5-7 in Bellingham

Have you ever wanted to be more effective in your prayer life?

Do you think God only answers the prayers of “prayer warriors?”

In “The Power of Prayer” we look at how any Christian can pray with vision and power. Sessions move between focusing on growing in intimacy with Jesus Christ through prayer and participating with God in shaping the future through intercessory prayer.

Comments from recent participants:

  • “I feel the Lord used this time to call me into deeper relationship with Him and new work for the Kingdom.”
  • “Renewed my hope to be persistent in prayer”
  • “Thanks for the reminder of our empowerment as believers to intercede for God’s work in the world. I am encouraged to pray for the struggles of my friends and family.”

Whether you think you are simply “not good” at prayer, want to go deeper in your walk with God through prayer, or want to grow in your understanding of intercessory prayer, this conference will give you Biblical foundations and practical instruction to help you grow in both personal and corporate prayer, led by the Holy Spirit.