kingdom momentum

For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth.” –Genesis 7:17

It happened yesterday … the earth’s baptism became ours. Let me explain.

We’re twenty-three days into the academic year. Each morning, we begin our day with pledges, prayers, and a time of meditation in God’s Word. Thus far, while our sessions have been lively and often full of questions, I haven’t felt a building momentum within my students’ hearts for the masterpiece that is God’s Word. Certainly, they’ve been willing to receive it, but absorbing it at a deeper level—the level where the Holy Spirit turns the key in the lock to open up the secrets of the kingdom of God? Well, I’ve been waiting. Yesterday, I saw it … felt it for the first time … in their eyes and in the temperature of the classroom.

We’ve been building up to the story of Noah – a story so familiar to most that the wonder and mystery often gets buried in translation. In the past four weeks, I’ve talked often about the issue of “movement” away from Eden – God’s original home for his original people. In that discussion, we’ve drawn a conclusion together: the further the people moved away from Eden (both in time and distance), the more wickedness there was in the world. By the time Noah arrives on the scene, sin abounds. Gone are the days of perfection; come are the days of deep iniquity.

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:5-8)

And so God’s flood—rains falling from the sky and waters rising up from the earth to fully engulf all that had “the breath of life in its nostrils” (Gen. 7:22-23). Indeed, how it must have grieved the Father to bring this judgment so early in those beginning days, to wipe out his image-bearers and to (in a sense) begin again with fresh brushstrokes on a re-created canvas.

At this point in the telling of the story, I asked my students a question. In doing so, I felt the shift in my spirit and in theirs. I hadn’t planned on the shift – it simply and profoundly arrived, begging my participation.

“Kids, can any of you identify one of this week’s spelling words that might best describe what God was doing to the earth at this point in history?”  

A few of them grabbed their spelling books to peruse the list. One of them, however, caught it immediately. With eyes as big as saucers and a light exploding therein, she dispensed with the hand-raising formality and blurted out …

“Baptize. Mrs. Olsen, he was baptizing the earth!”

And they got it – all of them. It was probably only a moment of stunned silence, counted in seconds rather than minutes, but it felt like more than that, like time stood still as this eternal truth took hold and embedded itself deeply within the soil of their souls. The earth’s baptism became ours, and I’m thrilled to report that spiritual momentum has arrived for the fourth grade!

That may not mean much to you, but it means everything to them … to me. Folks, there needs to be some depth to what we’re doing, how we’re spending our lives. Regardless of where God has you in this season of your life, every now again, you need to feel that momentum—that shift in your spirit that validates your station in life, your purpose for being here. Too often we lose that sense of purpose; we muddle through our existence because we have to without realizing that, along the way and as we go, we can build momentum for the kingdom of God. With our attitudes, our obedience, our words, and our willingness to authentically live therein, we can move the kingdom forward.

I’ve waited four weeks for momentum to take hold in young hearts; some of us might have to wait a bit longer. But in the obedience to dig for it and to prayerfully expect it, when it arrives we understand that it wasn’t an accident. Rather, we know it was and is an intentional work of grace by and from the Holy Spirit. God, the Creator of everything that has life and breath in its nostrils is faithful to baptize our hearts and the work of our hands with the fresh wind of his Spirit as we are faithful to bathe our lives (and to live our lives) in the truth of his Word.

So in gratefulness, and with expectation, I pray …

Let it rain, Lord. Not just in me, and not just in the fourth grade, but let your rain pour down into us and within us, baptizing us with newness of life and with a fresh revelation of your presence and your purpose for our tomorrows. Cleanse us from the wickedness that seeks to strangle us and that keeps kingdom momentum from accelerating in us and through us. Lord, we long to be part of your plan, to surrender our lives for your many good purposes and to know that our obedience is yielding a fruitful harvest. We applaud your faithfulness. We honor your Lordship. We delight in your companionship. We welcome your baptism. So rain on us, Lord. Humbly we wait for your waters today. Amen.  

16 Responses to kingdom momentum

  1. Wow. This truly touches my heart and soul, Elaine. It proves, yet again, how God has chosen you to teach – each day providing opportunity for that shift of spirit, leading the children into the realization of who He is.

    What a blessing it is to know you, my sister-friend.

    I love you.

    • God has chosen us all, friend, to be planters of kingdom seed. Thank you for all the many ways you continue to plant well, and thank you for being my kindred friend. I love you right back. See you soon!

  2. Praying & longing to feel that momentum—that shift in my spirit that validates my station in life, my purpose for being here. And should I never feel a thing, I’ll claim it!

    Thanking God for your breakthrough, Elaine, even as I pray and believe for many, many more in the life of your students and in YOU! ♥

    • Praying it for you as well, Rebecca. As my friend Alicia Chole so eloquently states, “Focus on what is near, not fall … small, not big.” This is where I’m living these days, and like Paul, I am learning what it is to be content in all things. I will follow your lead.

  3. My, my,my! This>>> Folks, there needs to be some depth to what we’re doing, how we’re spending our lives. <<<<

    As I walk in a new season of ministry, I am seeing the importance of one-on-one interactions. Mentoring, loving, encouraging. It is very much how ministry looks for me in these days. And it is good. I echo what Beth said….you are where you are for God's purpose and plan. Bless you, friend.

    • Our seasons have shifted some in the last few years, Leah, right? It’s all good; I know you applaud the many ways our Lord is moving you toward deeper faithfulness … sometimes hard to see on the front side, but it is beautiful when it arrives. Keep to it.

  4. Oh, how my spirit resonates with this! Since last March, my breath prayer has been, “Wash me with water; bathe me with oil.” Miss you so much! Love you, Susan

  5. Praising GOD for this revelation of his life changing Truth. How we continually need His affirmation and the momentum of His Holy Spirit. Blessings to you, your family and your class.

  6. Dear wifeforthejourney:

    How the Lord continues to confirm in and through your classroom experience that you are right where you need to be! I know there are still things that test your patience about teaching, but the fruits remain so evident. Whether in the 4th Grade classroom, or at home, at church, or your blog – thank you for answering God’s call on your life.

    Love you,


  7. Loved your prayer, Elaine, and this last part of your last paragraph – “baptize our hearts and the work of our hands with the fresh wind of his Spirit as we are faithful to bathe our lives (and to live our lives) in the truth of his Word.” Amen and amen! (and what great news about how God is working in the lives of your students!)

  8. What beautiful imagery and insightful truth! Yes, I pray that the Lord *floods* me with Himself, and that I pass on His love and grace to others!


  9. I have followed your life for the past seven years or so. And though we have never met face to face, you are a real life friend to me. This evening I read some of your recent posts. I shed a few tears while reading your post on your fifth year after cancer. All beautifully written, heartfelt… inspiring…

    And this one is so special. I had goosebumps when that young one blurted out what she felt God was doing when it rained so hard. What depth of insight that student had, but as you said, it was a Holy Spirit moment for all of you. He just broke through the shells of every heart. There is something so special going on, Elaine. I loved the prayer at the end. May God’s healing rain fall on you and your class. I continue to pray for K… Do let me know how she is doing. Much love, Lidia

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