After years of careful research and in depth analysis, I have come to believe that a critical part of life is breathing. You might even say the act of breathing is essential to life! Unless a person inhales enough oxygen in a continuously re-occurring manner, that person will die. The problem is that our lungs only have the capacity to hold enough oxygen for us to live on for a very brief moment before they must be re-supplied. If we don’t exhale, emptying our lungs of precious, but used, breath, we can’t refill them with new oxygen-rich air.
Once the breath of God has entered our spiritual lungs, there can be a tendency to take hold of that and savor the ecstasy of life in Christ. To bask in the security and joy of being loved by God and being saved from death. But if we hold it in too long, the result is death – not necessarily ours, but others’. We rob the world when we don’t exhale His breath of Life.
“His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” -Jeremiah
When our students have allowed Christ to begin transforming them and have connected with Him and with His Body, then together they will become conduits through which the Breath of Life will flow wherever God wants it to. As water VAPOR travels with other molecules of water VAPOR, they collide and combine and condense. The VAPOR even becomes more visible to us as clouds as it is collected and blown about overhead. Eventually the molecules of water in a cloud will become dense enough that the force of gravity escorts them back to earth as RAIN.
In human terms, we see this part of the process as students humbling themselves in community in order to love. In simple terms, love is putting someone else above our own desires, thinking of another first. That is impossible without first humbling ourselves before God and learning to think of ourselves as players in His story, not merely our own. We want to see our students enter into relationships through very small discipleship groups in which they each humbly seek the good and growth of the others in the group.
It is in these relationships where students will learn to order their lives in alignment with God’s mission. Erwin McManus and Mosaic use a phrase as a core value: “Love is the context of all mission.” In the RAIN environment, we want our students to live lives of love that allow them to enter into the mission of God. We know that God is desperately concerned with restoring His relationship with “missing” people. They’re missing from His family – He created them to love them. In humility and love, RAIN is allowing God to send us back into dry areas on His mission to bring life to the world.
And that will bring us to RIVER…