This was posted by Kristi on her blog recently, as an open letter to The Gathering…

friends. you have been much on my mind. i speak to you as a sister and a friend. i know these words are nothing new, and much of them are the words of A. W. Tozer. but ultimately i hope them to be an encouragement to you as you continue in the pursuit of Him and His will for the community.

yesterday i began reading the pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer:

in this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing number of persons who religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. they are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. they are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.

the above quote captures the heart which drives the gathering – people thirsting after the Lord Himself.

Tozer continues (i will summarize – italics are his words). the problem, however, is in Church there is no lack of teaching on “right” doctrine – fundamentals of the faith – yet there is a lack of Presence. It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table.

the gathering was birthed out of a disconnect that was occurring between Church and our desire to know God Himself. something wasn’t working. starvation was occurring; we were hungry for more.

There are millions of people who hold “right opinions,” probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come the strange and foreign thing called a program.

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of the term… but it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not better for having heard the truth.

The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men and women to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him and they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

more than “right opinions,” searching, pursing, loving, worshiping the Lord must be the highest priority.

Tozer goes on to explain the reality of possessing nothing. losing life to find it (Matt 16:25). having everything, but possessing nothing.

we are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety. This is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends (our goals/dreams for a community). But we need have no such fears. our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.

i must be honest with you. i have seen too many people in Church fighting for their own agenda, and in doing so much was lost – not the least of which was the primary focus being the seeking/finding/worshiping of God Himself. and looking back i wonder – where was the sacrifice of self? and what was gained in possessing?

the Lord desires to be known. know Him. the Lord desires to be loved. love Him. the Lord desires and is worthy to be worshiped. worship Him. may this be your focus. may you not be distracted by your own agenda. your own vision.

But seek first His Kingdom all these things will be added unto you as well. Matt. 6:33

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be make more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus name, Amen