It all began in Eden, in the Garden. God created Life (Genesis 2). It will all begin again in the Garden restored (Revelation 22). Life.
Yes the whole story, our story, is a story of Life! Between the comings of Christ, the whole creation is still suffering from a lack of Life. In these fallen chapters, sin has taken its toll.
When our hero arrives for the first time, Jesus of Nazareth comes incognito. Disguised as a carpenter He comes, and He declares and offers why He has arrived, what His mission is all about… Life.
I came that you might have Life and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
This word Jesus announces for Life in the Greek is the word zoé...
Life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.
(New Testament Greek Lexicon for more on zoé)
Now, to receive this Life, all that is needed from us is to take God up on His offer. If Jesus is Life then it only makes sense that to get Life we must receive Him. This, receiving Christ, is the glorious beginning, but to truly enjoy the Life he offers is another journey, altogether. We are and will be restored... made over and into our truest selves. This is also part of the Larger Gospel—not only a transaction but a transformation. For we know that the full work of Christ—Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension—accomplished what we needed to come alive… to move from being dead in sin to alive in Christ (Romans 6) is a mystery so great that it can only be enjoyed, not fully understood; and then the journey of newness begins. God initiates, again, and removes our infection; takes away that which encumbered us, and the breath of life enters our hearts and souls, again, and we are “born again” (John 3:3,7) so that we can become more.
Pause for a moment... This is no small matter. We are resurrected in the spiritual realm?
Really?… Brought back to Life?... Astonishing!
And all motivated and fueled by Love. He loves His image bearers so much… He loves all of His creation so much that he pays for it, winning it back from its fallen state and evil landlords. And at His coming back, his second coming, He will bring His claim to it all. The oppressive war for Life will end, and the beginning of the celebration of Life eternal will begin.
Forgiveness is a grand thing to be sure. Who can in any way diminish the work of the cross? But that is not the Gospel—at least not the Larger Gospel. The Larger Gospel declares that we are forgiven through the amazing and awful Cross so that we may have Life and have it more abundantly. The cross digs us from the grave; the resurrection catapults us into Life—Life from God, through God, by God, and for God! He ransoms, redeems, and is now restoring us to our former glory!
Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
And now, for those with Christ and in Christ, it can best be described that the Life of His apprentices is all about learning through healing and training how to live like He does. The King of kings is, no less, entrusting Life to us, again. He has loved us back to Life; and now, Father, Son, and Spirit are loving us to Freedom. For that is the Kingdom way to live… Free. We are Free in Christ, and we are learning how to live Free. We are most alive when we are being loved. The more we are experiencing His Love, the more alive we become…
Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:7,8,13 (AMP)
Love. It is easily the #1 subject of the scriptures. Where the Bible is not talking about it directly, Love is continually in the backdrop, constantly in the forefront, and always between the lines... a immovable presence in which the Larger Story has both its profound meaning and its ongoing invitation in which to be experienced; tasted and seen.
How can a page on a web site do Love justice? It can’t. After all, Love is in all the stories we tell, the books we write, the films we watch... because it is in our story and Love is the longing and desire of our hearts that we carry with us from the day we land in this great story.
Love is everything!
Love made us... and Love is what we were made for. It doesn’t take long to discover that Love is the most violently opposed, falsely twisted, and sinisterly compromised ingredient in our story. Oh yes, there is a kingdom of darkness set against us experiencing the very thing that sets us free.
Look at wounding, hurt and pain and you see hate (opposite of love), lust (twisted love), and maybe the worst of all, conditional love; the brutal false or shallow kind of masquerading love that would declare, "I would love you if...", and IF there is one thing we don’t need any more of… it's conditional love.
God is Love (1 John 4:8) and where there is love there is God. There is no love without God, whether He is acknowledged or not. The Trinity is in a fellowship of love, committed to love and bound by a love in which to rescue, redeem, restore, and set free! That which God loves, the image bearers of God, sets the whole story in motion; the restoration of all things.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12
It is Love our hearts long for because we were made that way and it is Love that longs for us because God is that way. Give our hearts to anything else as our primary supplier of love and we will sooner or later drain the source. It was C. S. Lewis who wrote…
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
But with God, the depths of his Love are unfathomable… just what we need, love freely and abundantly offered by the Father through the Son and sealed by the Spirit. More, and more, and more.
As his creatures, those unique in creation bearing his image when we are being loved we are clearly most happy, as anything is most happy when it is experiencing that for which it was made. When we are experiencing God’s Love we come alive.
Love is the offer of the Larger Gospel, and when received, experienced, enjoyed… love settles us. Love is what fuels Life that we might have it abundant and to the full (John 10:10).
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
The ingredients of Love are pretty simple: validation, acceptance, worth, belonging and significance. These are the things every heart longs for and hopes for. It is our prayer you are experiencing this Love… experiencing God. It is our team’s goal and mission to offer what we are experiencing.
We deeply hope to provide environments where you can experience the intimacy, oneness, and connectedness with God that you were made for, not just once or once in a while, but again and again so that you will never be the same. We believe the more we experience God's Love, the more we will experience the Life offered by God… and the more we experience God’s Love and Life, the more Free our hearts will be and that is why Christ came… to set us Free.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1
History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid. General Dwight D. Eisenhower
It is one of the most memorable scenes in the film, Braveheart, right before the death of William Wallace and his declaration, FREEDOM! he says from his chains and prison cell on death row…
Every man dies, not every man really lives. William Wallace, Braveheart
And who can forget the "freedom speech" before Wallace rides out to pick a fight, and then moments later the rag-tag bunch of Scottish Warriors (farmers mostly) charge the fields of Stirling to defeat the armies of the evil king, Edward Longshanks?
What will you do without freedom!?!?
Long before Randall Wallace penned the story of Braveheart, the Author of our story had Freedom on his heart. Ever since the Garden Fall in Genesis 3, a mission so grand, so glorious, and so loving was set in motion. We were ashamed and so we hid… God goes boldly to win us out of our prison. As with the beautiful story of Braveheart, we must win our freedom. Oh, it has been won by Christ through the Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension (see our Daily Prayer), and yet, we must regularly step onto the battle field, often declare our intention to our enemy, and then claim that for which we have been won.
Our Freedom might best be described by Paul in Romans 8. Essentially the old apostle writes, and I paraphrase… Jesus became like us, sinful man, so that we could become like Him, glorious ones. This is the greatest exchange program in the history of the world!!! Motivated by the wildest of love, He gives His Life that we might have Life and have it to the full… that is Freedom!
Look at how Paul writes it, and we offer the Amplified version because the volume of the message is wonderfully amplified…
Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do [that is, overcome sin and remove its penalty, its power] being weakened by the flesh [man’s nature without the Holy Spirit], God did: He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful man as an offering for sin. And He condemned sin in the flesh [subdued it and overcame it in the person of His own Son]...Romans 8:1-3 (AMP)
HE BECAME LIKE US SO THAT…
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son[and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers. And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified [declared free of the guilt of sin]; and those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity]. What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us? He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:28-32 (AMP)
...WE COULD BECOME LIKE HIM, GLORIOUS BELOVED SONS AND DAUGHTERS. If we are going to live the life that Jesus lived, we are going to have to be Free—Free at our core, and equipped with everything we need to step into His shoes and the part He has written for us to play. He even gives us His authority (Matthew 28: 18-19)… we must be going need it! Oh, it will take training, lots and lots of training; but to be sure, we must have it within us in order for it to be trained up and come out of us. God has made a way for us to be Free in order that we can become like Him.
Maybe one of Jesus' best friends, John, said it best when he wrote…
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
It is the best news of all. It is what the cross and forgiveness afforded us… LIFE!!! We are given Resurrection and FREEDOM. Like the old General of WWII said, "freedom isn’t free, and we are going to have to fight for it… protect it."
There is nothing so sad as naive or ill-equipped believers. The enemy is at work, the kingdom of darkness is still in the story; defeated yes, gone no. If they can’t keep a soul from transferring their citizenship, then they work all the harder to make sure as much baggage and brokenness goes with them. Our enemy has a huge stake in compromising the saved and free and bringing them back into captivity. The POW camps of the spiritual realm are full of imprisoned Christians, able to leave at anytime and reclaim their freedom if they only knew how, but held by the guards of guilt, shame, and fear.
That is why Zoweh exists—to create environments to encourage, equip, inspire, and love the image bearers of God to live a life of More. To enable free hearts to live in intimacy, oneness, and connectedness with God and each other—Redemptive Community—where there is More Love, More Life… More Freedom!
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. Galatians 5:13-14 (MSG)