Ffff – a breath of fresh air

Ffff – a breath of fresh air

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As part of our research-based sabbatical, Phil and I (Rachel) had the privilege of attending the National Conference of Assemblies of God of Great Britain, a gathering for Church leaders which is held over three days annually. Although Phil has attended before, it was the first time in ten years that we have been able to participate since living in South Africa.It was a great few days in which we were able to spend quality time with the pastors from our ‘home’ church in the UK, as well as connect with our contact person from the Assemblies of God (AOG) Mission team, and benefit from listening to Chris Hodges. Chris is the founding and senior pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama, which is known for its life-giving culture and focus on leading people to an intimate relationship with God.It was clear that Chris has a deep passion for the Church, and especially for developing leaders. We were fortunate that he facilitated six of the nine sessions at the conference. During one particular session, Phil and I were both stuck by his statement, that:

‘Jesus is a breath of fresh air’

At this point Chris blew into the microphone to demonstrate that although we translate the Hebrew word Ruach and Greek Pneuma into ‘Spirit’, the literal translation is ‘ Fff ’- breath. Chris briefly highlighted 1 Cor 3: 17, 18 – how God calls us all to make a difference in the world by choosing to be a reflection of Jesus in our contexts, as God’s image bearers – before unpacking how being ‘a breath of fresh air’ involves taking on the four faces of God (Ez 1:10):

  1. the face of the man means loving people, seeing others as they could be – as God sees them – believing in people, and putting processes in place to help people develop
  2. the face of the lion requires us to love God, to know Him deeply, to draw near, to get close and ‘lean in’ and, in doing so, to develop our calling, i.e. who we are designed to be
  3. the face of the ox involves having the attitude of a servant; submitting and having a positive influence – like a ‘tigger’ (from the Winnie the Pooh stories by A. A. Milne)
  4. the face of the eagle means we’re invited to do everything with excellence, to put systems in place that help people to do things well, to take initiative and do more than is expected

We were encouraged to consider which face we need to work on more within our churches, organisations, work places, families, etc. One face particularly stood out for me (Rachel), and, as we are travelling to different countries, cities and communities, I am trying to be intentional and work on this by establishing some kind of routine so it becomes natural.Why not take some time to read through the four descriptions again – above or in context from Ezekiel – and as you do ask God to speak to you about which face you need to reflect more. Push in, by considering what this means practically in your every day life choices.

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