In Pursuit of Something Greater

It all started with an encounter that I believed changed my life forever. I grew up in the Church; born to Pastors Lester and Jacinta Byers. So there you have it...I'm a Preacher's Kid (P.K.); and I'm definitely sure that says it all.

I served on the worship team, the youth ministry's committee, the intercessory department, the events planning committee, and many more. Later on, I was ordained as a Youth Pastor. I've preached, spoken, interceded, prophesied...honestly, I believe I knew God.

Despite the knowledge and first hand experiencing of miraculous acts, there was a hunger and thirst for more of God that increased uncontrollably. No matter how much I read the word of God or sang worship songs, or prayed, the hunger and thirst was never satisfied; they only continued to prove that they existed and would extend their borders. You would probably believe that attending "church services", meetings, whatever you want to call them, would satisfy that intensifying craving that existed - but no it didn't. It didn't because the four walls indeed represented the obvious restrictions which were placed on the one we kept telling "have your way".

We've been telling Him to have His way, but our eyes are focused on our watches. We tell Him to have His way. but it appears awkward to the unbelieving brother or sister whose hunger does not overtake them enough to understand, so in order to ensure that a substantive offering is collected, "we have church". Our meetings are programmed, timed, and soon become a recitation.

After visiting several assemblies (congregations), I have now realized that this grave and unfortunate situation is not unique to any particular denomination; it is a problem with the "CHURCH".

As I continued to observe, I realized that in every congregation, there was a handful of people who were not satisfied with going to church - they wanted more. They were not caught up with religion, or entangled with the affairs of denominational differences; all they wanted was God. This was definitely an assurance that I was not alone. But how could this handful of people dare interrupt the carefully planned services, or prolong the worship services that were only meant to last fifteen minutes? How could they, when instructions to sing three songs (two fast songs and a slow one), collect the offering, allow one of the ushers to pray, then turn over to the moderator, were clearly and strictly given? How dare us hungry pursuers?

Despite the grave disappointment of my expectations, my hunger and thirst for God began increasing even more. I was completely honest with myself enough to know that attending church services, merely reading the Bible, and singing worship songs was not filling the emptiness that existed. Resultantly, I found myself in a place where I was not shouting, I was not jumping over chairs, I was not rolling on the floor. I was not screaming to the top of my lungs or praying for two hours straight. My prayer was simply this, "God I want you". My prayer was, "God I need you". My prayer was, "God I trust you". My words to Him was, "God I miss you". I began telling Him things like, "Holy Spirit I'm in love with you".

Hey! I was really in love. I was knocked right off my feet and on my knees with tears streaming down my face. I was now in a bonafide relationship with a man whose presence would satisfy the hunger and thirst I was experiencing for so long; but at the same time, allowed for a fresh and new hunger and thirst to be surfaced. How could this be? What was this? There were days I would be standing at the sink washing dishes, and as I started speaking to Him, and in a

matter of time found myself on the floor - hands lifted, with a tea-cup in one hand, and a soapy sponge in the other.

This was the beginning of encounters that I experience up to today. But how did they begin? What changed my course? After much reflection, I realize that I had stopped reading my Bible...I started studying it. I stopped singing worship songs, I started singing to Him. My prayer was no longer just about Him and what I wanted from Him (blessings/gifts), but they were now to Him and about the relationship we had together.

For years I was in love with the idea that we were in a relationship - I was in love with the reality that I knew of Him, but I constantly ran from the truth that I was not intimate with Him. Yes, we loved each other, but my main objective was getting what I wanted, even if it required making a promise I knew I was not going to keep. I was like a customer at a prostitute house. I didn't care about the person I robbed to get what I wanted, or whether my promises were mere lies; it was all about me. However, things changed.

Can you relate?

My encounters placed me in positions where I needed Him bad enough to ask if the offer presented years ago, was still on the table. Like a potential lover who played hard to get then realized that them playing hard would be a loss and not a blessing, I ran back to God admitting that I wanted Him all along. I was just afraid of the commitment. We stared sharing our secrets, and the affairs of our hearts. Like a physical relationship, we spent quality time with each other, communicated effectively with each other...we KNEW each other. We were now intimate; inseparable lovers bound by an unquenchable thirst and an insatiable hunger.

Several additional changes happened after that. I became desperate, no longer just hungry. Any moment possible with Him was utilized - at the supermarket, on my lunch break, while walking/jogging, in the shower, on the toilet...and even at "church".

My desire is that we rise up as a people who would shift the atmospheres with our desperation. My desire that our personal devotions with Him will reflect in our corporate worship to Him. My desire is that our "church buildings" and meeting locations will be saturated with His presence, that we stumble trying to get in. My desire is that those on the outside looking in will not just see the church building, programs, and norms, but they will see God. My desire is that we will be stopped on the streets by random persons who are even more desperate to find out who this God is.

My desire is that we will know Him for ourselves.

Intimate with the King is the perfect book for you if you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and experience the power, presence, and glory of God. The only requirement is that you come naked, stripped of self, religion, and normalcy.

Are you willing to go deeper? Do you want to experience a fresh, new encounter with God?

What I'm about to say to you may shock you; but it's the truth. You do not need another prophetic word for an encounter with God. You do not need another church service. You can experience this encounter right where you are...on the bus to work or coming from your car on your lunch bed...on the the waiting room of a hospital...literally, wherever you are.

All you need is one moment with the King of kings - an encounter that will turn into encounters, and change your life forever.

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© 2020 by Esther J. Thomas