Into the deep

Drop guard, follow God to new places, pastor tells New Wilmington Mission Conference

August 6, 2010

NEW WILMINGTON, Penn.

On the morning of July 30, the Rev. Saleem Ghubril took a walk around Brittain Lake on the campus of Westminster College. He was taking some time for solitude and reflection before delivering his final speech at the New Wilmington Mission Conference, where he had served as the daily morning speaker.

As he walked, he came upon a cluster of geese. Ghubril decided to see how close he could get to the group before the geese would move. He began approaching, and at a certain point, the group moved a little farther away. This happened again and again until finally the geese swam away.

Ghubril likened this scenario to our interaction with God. Sometimes we fail to experience God’s love because of our own stiffness — we don't let God draw near because we are uncomfortable or feel unworthy.

"Drop your guard, sisters. Drop your guard, brothers," Ghubril told the crowd.

"The spirit of the Lord is anointing you, equipping you to face enormous, gigantic challenges," he said.

Ghubril spoke of a trip his family took to the Pacific Ocean. Although his children played in the water, they experienced only a small part of the entire ocean. But God wants us to experience God fully — to go where our feet don’t touch the ground.

"God wants to take us to deeper waters," he said. "Do not be afraid of where He will take you."

Ghubril, who is from Lebanon, spoke about his experience of becoming a U.S. citizen in 1981. Then, it wasn't possible to have dual citizenship, so he had to let go of his Lebanese citizenship if he wanted to become a citizen of the United States. He had to show how much he valued his new country.

Also in 1981, Ghubril got married. This was another instance where he had to show his faithfulness, vowing to forsake all others for his wife.

We are also invited to say "I do" to God, Ghubril said.

"How badly do you want to see God reign in the hearts and minds of neighbors across the globe?" he asked. "The one who rose ahead of us will then rise within us and we too will rise with Him."

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