So we (boot camp nw) held our first "advanced camp" last weekend.
In the W@H vernacular - there is a lot to unpack. Like, I mean...a lot.
From the strictly BCNW perspective I think it was a real watershed. Simply taking this step was a big one for us all by itself, as far as we can tell, we are the only organization in the whole country doing this material, even Ransomed Heart has stopped doing it because (I think) they're wanting to see who will step up. That aside, we all came away from this weekend feeling like it was us who were being initiated into something. I mean I'm sure the attendees had a good experience, but I really think that the real work was being done on us and on a number of different levels, both personal and corporate. I think I mentioned in a past post how I entered 2007 feeling like major changes were in store for BCNW and that seems to be coming true. It's still very unclear where we're going...but we are certainly going.
It's a funny thing in my head right now. I wanted to hook up with these guys because I believed in what they were doing. They touched my life 2 years ago and I thought that was a very cool thing. But I realize that I have no pre-defined context in my mind for being a part of a real-life ministry. It simply never entered my mind even as I was deliberately looking for some role to play inside of a ministry. And so I'm having a kind of "well I certainly didn't see this coming" feeling when it comes to BCNW. To be reaching so powerfully into so many men's lives has a certain out-of-body quality to it, almost like I'm watching myself from a respectful distance. It's pretty hard to describe what I mean by all this. It's not bad in any way, and I'm not exactly feeling disconnected...I guess for a guy who's generally used to pre-visualizing my life, this is feeling a little surreal and serendipitous (Re - is that a word?)
So, in case it wasn't clear, this weekend was also very powerful for me. I got to speak on a topic near and dear to my heart, spiritual warfare, and I actually had multiple peopl say "The Spirit of The Lord was upon you."
I'm sorry, what did you say?
To be honest , I don't really know how to take something like that. I mean, I know it's meant as basically a compliment, except I think they really meant it and to be candid I'm a little weirded out by that idea. It would certainly go a long way to explaining the disproportionately positive response I got to a speech I thought was too fast, too random, and maybe too ornery, but my biggest response to that comment is, "Really? You think so?"
I also feel like my session may have finally established my cred with the BCNW core team. Up to this point I felt as if I were something of a hanger-on, like a blue-badge at Intel; needed for daily operations, but still on the outside (as opposed to the employee green badges). As shallow or as needy as that might seem, I felt really good to be accepted and respected in a new light among a group of men who I deeply respect...it was a very cool feeling.
But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this weekend was the very real, and very powerful spiritual warfare that we (the team ADN the attendees) experienced. This was heavy Satan mojo on a level I'd never seen before, and to be candid it almost broke BCNW apart. You know that scene in Fellowship where they're at the council of Elrond and Frodo puts the ring out on the pillar. Next thing you know you see everybody reflected in the ring and they are all fighting over issues that boil down to hurt feelings, suspicion and pride...that EXACT thing happened to the entire BCNW team on Sunday morning and that hammer stroke fell HARD. In a matter of minutes we found ourselves on a greased pole to dissolution. To be honest, if it weren't for the fact that we were up against a hard time break where "The Show Must Go On" - it could have been way worse.
There was a whole lot more to the weekend, but this moment was the apex of the enemies assault on the team and we escaped by a hair. With a few minutes break for everybody to clear their heads, we realized what was really happening and by God's grace we were all willing and able to put out wounded hearts down, to ignore the insults (real or imagined) and chalk every bit of that conflict to the enemy and therefore not worthy of further consideration or discussion. We rallied together and spent the next 90 minutes in the most intense warfare prayer and song that I've ever participated in. And it was bare-knuckle stuff. We'd be fighting back this incredibly oppressive spirit and start to grow in unity and confidence when you would see a guy in the group physically collapse under a massive feeling of guilt, or a feeling of insignificance or rebellious rage - instant and overwhelming emotion that had no "real" connection to what was happening. So we'd rally around that guy, hold him up, lay hands on him, sing over him, etc. This went on and on for several rounds until we felt a solid breakthrough and it was over. We stood in that cabin, the eleven of us, totally drained. The struggle took everything we had but God got us through.
Then in what I'll remember as one of the most beautiful moments in my life, our leader began to pray for the Spirit to rain down on us all to wash away the horrid feeling of having been violated by foul spirits - and rain it did.
Before the words had left David's mouth there was the strongest cloudburst of rain and hail that we saw all weekend - that little cabin suddenly sounded like a drum and we all ran outside to raise our hands to heaven! Standing in that downpour, victorious and united with these brothers, shouting a victory cry back to heaven and our Omega - it makes me choke up just to think about it.
One more thing. In the whole weekend, there was something happening that I wasn't able to put into words until today and it is perhaps one of the more profound things in the last several years. Through everything (most of which I haven't gone into here) I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I had a deep sense of place and of purpose and a clarity about what I was supposed to do, and what I was not supposed to do, that I rarely if ever feel. Not just a sense that I belonged...but I belonged exactly there. That I was exactly living out one of those "good deeds ordained for [me] by God since the foundation of the world" And that is proving to be a very, very, deep water experience.