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Out Of The Desert by Mike Dwight

Out Of The Desert by Mike Dwight

Who hasn’t experience a spiritual desert in life and ministry? It can be both devastating and life transforming.  Having served as a missionary with WEC International for over 35 years in Europe and Asia I didn’t realise just what new things God had in store. Surely it was time to look back and just re-play the video. I think I could honestly analyse these years as being fruitful, reaching a satisfying level of ministry and life. 

Throughout these years the call upon my life was to be involved in church planting, leadership training and overseeing mission teams in Asia, and more recently in an international role with WEC Betel International. Whilst at a conference in Brazil in 2008 God spoke so clearly to my heart: “It is time to go on a new journey, to walk down a new road”. This was not about a new ministry direction or location, but a challenge to my heart. A seed of revival had been planted.

Initially two things spoke powerfully to me. First, I realised that I cannot drift casually into the purposes, calling and future plans of God, no matter how able and capable I may think myself to be. Second, it is time to be changed, and prepare to seek the Presence of God and move forward; yes, out of the desert! 

Exodus (chapter 33 in particular), God’s planned journey for Moses and the people out of the desert, became the setting where He spoke powerfully and personally to me, especially in the context of reaching this world with the Gospel. What I have shared in this book is not the product of study so much as an opening of my heart to what God has personally been doing in me over these last few years (p 77).

New Encounter

This new journey for Moses (and indeed Israel) required a new encounter with God, clearly documented in Exodus 3. Brazil 2008 was for me a very humbling and renewing moment (p 3). God wanted to equip me for this journey, and the preoccupation with ministry had the potential of making me miss God’s moment for my life. Why would I need a new encounter with God after all these years of ministry and missionary life? It soon became clear:

  • Because no matter how gifted we are, that is never enough!
  • Because God needs to catch our attention.
  • Exodus 33 provides the setting for the next move: “Leave this place and prepare to go up into the land”. 

A Fresh Revelation

A simple yet profound statement hit me hard: “God is more important than any ministry or calling; we cannot go out of the desert without Him. God himself needs to be at the centre, in the heart and ministry of anyone desiring to serve Him. A fresh encounter is followed up by fresh revelation. 

1. Take off your ornaments (Exodus 33:5,6)

Pride rears its ugly head and confronts us at crucial times of advance, and the temptation to create an image of maturity and wisdom when the truth can be anything but this. We each have our particular “golden calves” we struggle with. At the same time some are common to all, and none more so than impatience. How tempting to use the energy and initiative of the flesh to shine our work for God!

2. My way or your way? The choice is yours!

God brought a challenging word in Exodus 33:1-4 saying that He would give them what they wanted and provide an angel to go before them, but He would not go with them. What would their (and our) response be? Just think of it: our dream and ministry fulfilled…..and yet God not with us. The choice may not be so simple and straightforward. The choice was success or God’s Presence. 

3. A heart pierced

We enter a critical stage: what kind of heart does God prepare for His new journey? A heart that mourns and repents at the sudden realisation of how hard and selfish we have become. After 35 years of mission and ministry as God has turned my heart towards revival, repentance has been at a deeper level than ever before. The struggle is to take off the ornaments of “misplaced affections”. God’s word reminds us, “I will not share my glory with another” (Isaiah 42:8).

Preparation as we leave the desert resounds with Moses’ strong voice challenging both himself and the nation.

  • “Teach me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour with you.”
  • “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”
  • “Show me your glory.”

No more wandering in the desert. Prepare to move!

WEC International

WEC International takes the good news to the peoples and nations who have yet to hear it: the good news that Christ came to bring forgiveness of sins and peace with God, and to displace hatred with love.

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