An Unusual Sunday


I am out of state ministering at the church of a friend of mine.  He is one of the most authentic people I have ever met and he does third level synchronization at an amazing level.

We both knew a year ago that I had a date with his church but we waited patiently until God said it was time.  A month ago I had a sense that it was time.  I pinged him, he confirmed and we planned a fun weekend of my ministering to his leadership team over the weekend, and then today to his congregation.

We both felt a high level of excitement not just because we like each other, but because we were sure we had hit God’s time and it was therefore going to be an over-the-top Kingdom weekend.

I arrived on Thursday night and he shared that his mother had taken a bad fall and was in the hospital, unconscious, with trauma to her brain. I shared his ache then he assured me that our time was the right time and the weekend would go on.

It did, although it was marked by the addition of hospital visits and constant calls and text messages.  I went with him to the hospital at times and he went more often, even late at night after dropping me off in my hotel room, since she was not progressing.

We reminded each other a couple of times that it was still the right time.

This morning I was scheduled to preach at his Mercy church.  I knew last night that the message I had planned on was not going to happen, so I scrolled through the stuff in the files to see if there was something else that would fit better.

This morning there was no sermon and God told me that the pastor and his wife would spend the morning at the hospital, not at church.

I began church with a clear word from the Lord as to what I was to share but shortly after worship started, the hospital called so the pastor and his wife left.  As he left, he told me that he had confidence in me, I was to lead and I had complete freedom.

That was a bit of a jolt since there were four other staff pastors there, but I accepted the responsibility and began to ponder where to go with the morning.

It seemed so insensitive to just carry on with church.  I wondered whether there was healing in the room and we should scrub the message and just war together corporately for the life of his mother.

I wondered if it was simply a time to step into the Mercy heart of the church and to pour out prayers of compassion for the pastor and his extended family.

I lifted those two plans up to the King for direction and was quite bluntly corrected.  He said, “I am his God and I can handle this.  You are my Servant.  Deliver the message I bought you here to deliver!”

So I did.

I shared with the congregation my rebuke from the Lord, then explained the concept of redeeming the family line.

Revelation was flowing like a river today, so I called out one family after another and showed them what God was redeeming in their family line and how the current challenges they were facing were His set-up to remove some generational issue or another from their kids’ Pandora Box.

It was a powerful day.  Lives were changed.  Perspective was received by many.

But at the end of the day, we all got a good lesson in Mercy season dynamics.  It is not only about keeping up with the King and going where He is going with third level synchronization.

It is also about not doing what He has not called us to do.

And it is especially about not being God to someone when He wants to be God to them.

Copyright August 2011 by Arthur Burk

From a hotel room, far from home.

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16 Responses to An Unusual Sunday

  1. Christopher F. says:

    arthur, this past weekend was amazing! more than anything, i thank you for your sensitivity, obedience, and trust, for through it we had an awesome encounter with God!

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  2. Sonia says:

    Thank you Arthur!
    I laughed, I cried.
    I am leaving your blog to celebrate with our King third level synchronization!

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  3. D'Arcy Young says:

    Thank you for the post “An Unusual Sunday”. I began writing more, but that’s really all I wanted to say. 🙂

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  4. Anthony Tanjoco says:

    Arthur, I had the same response as Teresa, reading this entry…”third level synchronization?”…OK, so I figure Mercy season -alignment with the King and what he wants, thus cutting out distractions, etc…but please elaborate a bit on the phrase…

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  5. Kathy says:

    Ditto Teresa’s request. Just when I think I’ve picked up all the lingo, a new-to-me one (this time, “third level synchronization”) comes by. Thank you!

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  6. Teri Johnson says:

    I really feel the Good Lords pleasure on you and your friend and your friendship.And the refreshing simplicity of you both following, flowing with and trusting Holy Spirit. Thanks for sharing and May you be encouraged and strengthened by our King.

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  7. Tracy says:

    In reading your post today, what landed particularly clearly for me was how often we are tempted to meddle and how very often we fall into that very trap. Our humanity rises up and we seek to placate, pacify and fix. This is all very sweet and seemingly helpful, however, if it’s not God-directed, we step into very dangerous waters. What strikes me most poignantly is how I need to still be hearing from Him clearly and obeying without delay. In so doing, I become part of a very well-oiled and efficient plan and not the proverbial “spoke in the wheel”. Essentially I need to hear Him, then trust Him and then obey Him. So simple.

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  8. Taylor says:

    I’m on vacation as I write this, sleepless, pouting about the extended family troubles I left behind for a week and I wonder if these challenges in my family are Gods set up to remove some junk for my kids future. Just a thought. This crummy feeling I have is a familiar one, meant to make do something like go to the hotel lobby to read a few articles.

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  9. Carita Boshoff says:

    “And it is especially about not being God to someone when He wants to be God to them.” That sums up my latest lesson….happened Friday last….processed and understood yesterday and today. Too long to explain the whole senario, but that was my painful conclusion–I was trying to be the Holy Spirit in these dear people lives.. By my wanting so much to ‘help’ and they honoring and respecting what I was saying, teaching, suggesting, and trying to do what I said, instead of listening for themselves to what and how God wanted things to be, I sucessfully blocked for weeks what could have been built week after week on God’s agenda…..I am so disappointed in myself.

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  10. Teresa says:

    Arthur~
    I love your blogs-though sometimes it feels as though I am “behind” in the vocabulary
    and that it is just beyond my realm of comprehension 🙂
    Would you mind elaborating on “third level synchronization”?

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    • Julian F says:

      me too. I’m trying to guess what that means!!!

      But WOW, fantastic post : ]

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    • First level synchronization is when we know the product and the process. That is like getting on a train in Switzerland. You can look up on on the web a month ahead of time and know that if you get on the train from platform 4 in city A at 2:34 p.m. you will definitely arrive in city B on platform 9 at 3:11.

      There are a few things in our relationship with God that are that simple and structured but not many.

      Second level synchronization is where you know the product, but not the process. That is football. It is quite clear to everyone that the product is to get the ball in the goal. However, the process that the team will go through in getting the ball there is different every time.

      There is much in our spiritual walk that can be level one or two. Some churches have level one synchronization for their worship. The worship team practices on Thursday night, polishes two sets, and the pastor knows for absolute certainty that at 11:27 a.m. they will be done and he will be on. Other churches do second level worship. The team prepares and knows that the product is to celebrate God, but they have no idea how it will actually play out along the way, and each Sunday is different.

      The same applies to deliverance. Some teams have a sausage factory approach with a 98 page manual you work through sequentially. Other teams know that the product is freedom, but each one is going to be a unique art form.

      Back in the day, Dr Spock taught parenting as level one: this is the science of doing it right. In a more enlightened era, parenting has moved to level two: an art form, not a science.

      Level three synchronization is when you don’t know the product and you don’t know the process. You know the King wants you to move generally in that direction, but you don’t know why, or how far, and you start moving in obedience and in faith, waiting for the cue cards along the way.

      Abraham was called to this. God told him to leave town and the rest of the details came later.

      Often in my walk God will show me a picture of someone in the spiritual realm. That is all. I have to listen to clues and decode them to know if I am supposed to pray for this person, call them, avoid them or connect them to someone else.

      Third level synchronization is the basis of intimacy with productivity in our relationship with God. Level one is the best way for Him to get productivity out of us. Lay out the task and we will obey. But you can obey until the cows come home and have no intimacy.

      Imagine having physical intimacy by the book, with an eye toward efficiency. You do one step, then consult the authoritative manual, do the next step, check the book, etc. And at the end of a run, you do a critique and find the ways where you were a bit inefficient, so that next time you can refine the process and eventually you get so good at doing ir right that you can get it all done in under three minutes.

      By contrast, most people find level two to be much more intimate. There is a clear objective, but how the couple will arrive there has myriad variations and allows for much more intimacy.

      But take it a step further. Two people are in love with each other and are spending the day out in public. The “objective” of physical intimacy is not there, but in the vagaries of the day, as the initiative moves back and forth from one to the other, there is deep intimacy experienced. It is an emotional dance, enjoyed as much for the unscripted nature of the day, as it is for the actual moments of deep connection that burst forth from time to time in unexpected places.

      This is the life of the Mercy pastor I am with at present. His life is marvelously unscripted. He can turn on a dime and follow the King whenever the slightest clue surfaces. His dance with the King is a thing of immense beauty, and he incidentally gets a lot done in the Kingdom, but that is not what makes him get out of bed in the morning.

      And third level synchronization with the King is the goal of a mature Mercy season walk as a Noble Subject.

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      • Kathy says:

        Thank you–very illuminating!

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      • Rosa says:

        That sounds like an amazing couple of days. When I was in Uganda this summer, I met a young man from Romania that was serving in the war-torn part of Northern Uganda,close to the border of Sudan,and was committed to spending the rest of his life there…he displayed an amazing example of third level synchronization with God. I could have spent hours talking to him. Does that level of synchronization come easier for some of the RG than others?

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  11. Merry says:

    There has been a thank you inside me wanting out for a week. This thank you seemed for a specific I just couldn’ t quite place. All I know for now is this is the time and place. So, thank you God so much!

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