A Bold Encounter at Flourish Conference 2023
by Julie Dibble
We know we are called to love God first in our lives, so I shall tell you of a significant bold encounter with Him this past weekend. God opened the door for me to lead all who would still be there Sunday morning to the Lord’s table for Communion. A privilege I had not yet had in front of a larger group of His children.
In praying and researching Scripture before Flourish, I was focused on Jesus as our friend and what that meant. As someone who speaks for Him regularly, I am very careful to hear from heaven ways we apply His truth to our lives. He expects us to change, transform into the likeness of His Son.
In between my home and work responsibilities, I texted Kelly from Emmaus Road to see if they knew the song by Casting Crowns, “Jesus Friend of Sinners”. The answer was a clear no. I should have known then the Lord would take this in a different direction. Kelly graciously shared the four songs the band would sing Sunday morning. However, in my flurry the week before the conference, I didn’t look them up to listen.
Fast forward, Saturday’s events at the conference are over. In the later evening hours, the Lord spoke to me the wedding supper of the Lamb. Mind you, I was just sitting down to review the message I had written about Jesus, our friend.
The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8).
And again, I heard Him … the wedding supper of the Lamb.
Ok, Lord, I will read Revelation 19.
How beautifully He then wove together themes from the weekend. Dr. Dave Draper talked to us about rehearsing and remembering, through trials, yes, but through our walk with Christ at any and all times. The Lord Himself uses the word remember as He led His disciples in the first Communion.
For our Lord Almighty God reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear (Revelation 19:7-8).
This picture of His Bride, all who believe in Christ, in bright clothing is one to behold.
I say, yes Lord. I lean into His whispers, His steadfast love, His wisdom and omniscience, for He knows each one who will be present Sunday. He knows them by name, and He searches their hearts.
As we worshiped Sunday morning, Holy Spirit broke open floodgates I didn’t know I had in my soul. We sang, “Jesus bled and died for me. I see His wounds, His hands, His feet.” The words lingered upon my tongue, His presence stationed around my heart. Overcome, I surrendered to the release He was bidding me to. Streams of living water, I pray, ran down my cheeks. His sweetness sustained me.
Only my Father in heaven could put me at a table with a full box of tissues. What love He has lavished upon us! What boundless grace covers our finicky nerves seeking comfort rather than bold opportunities …
I believe because I allowed Him to empty me, He filled me to do His will. As I led the sisters and brothers in the room to imagine their walk to the Cross, together we sought forgiveness and the exchange of our dirty rags for the Bride’s clean linens. God spoke through me as I had no words in my flesh for teaching those who had not received Jesus and therefore could not come to this meal He prepared.
After we tarried, in spiritual unity we responded to this invitation to remember what the King of glory did for us. Every wedding, but especially the wedding supper of the Lamb, requires rehearsal.
Sisters, we do not need flashing lights and pounding drums for a bold encounter with the Lord. Often, gentle leading brings us to our spiritual knees. A bold encounter with Him includes, but is never limited to, entering in as we are, clothed in mud and dirt. That’s all of us. Stand naked before Him. Strip down all that has burdened you and separated you from Him. Like Eve, Jesus will cover our nakedness with an outfit pleasing in His sight. As we leave the bold encounter wearing wedding white, may we pray earnestly for more boldness, more wisdom, more divine appointments.
He doesn’t cleanse us to look pretty. His cleansing is meant to be multiplied.
But the word of God continued to spread and flourish (Acts 12:24).
Julie Dibble is a servant of her Lord Jesus Christ. Together with her husband Jason, they have two sons, Braedon 17 and Jackson 15, and one rescued pup named Rocko. Julie preaches, writes, hikes, and prays for God to use her daily in this broken world. Currently, she is on staff at Newberrytown Church of God as Director of Outreach and Evangelism.