What is “Face to Face”?
The “Face to Face” is a time of consecration before the Lord and with one another. This is a personal AND corporate action. After a time of consecration before the Lord, our appetite for God’s presence will have increased! If we recover our hunger for God, and return to Him in humility and righteousness, He will draw near to us in a tangible way. Then the presence and reality of Jesus will be in our midst, bringing forth life and making us effective in reaching the lost and bringing transformation to the community.
Seeking God’s face is an essential component in renewing covenant with God (2 Chron. 7:14). Our faces represent the essence of who we are. Therefore, seeking God’s face is drawing close to Him personally. Jesus addressed this principle in the Sermon on the Mount when He said “seek and you will find”. Jeremiah 29:13 addressed the same principle: “you will seek Me and find me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Seeking Him with all our heart is an undistracted pursuit, giving Him our full attention.
This time of consecration is intended to restore us to covenant relationship and intimacy with God. We are asking participants to follow God’s own “prescription” for returning to covenant in 2 Chronicles 7:14. This daily devotional process with the Lord should be applied on four levels: (1) personally in our own walk with God; (2) within the context of our families; (3) together as a congregational family; and (4) together with other believers corporately in congregations or on campuses.
Our focus will be humbling ourselves before the Lord, recognizing His greatness and our weak spiritual condition, and appealing to God’s mercy to deliver us. We must pray and seek God’s face for increased intimacy with Him, and we must turn from our wicked ways. This means real change from the ways of this world to the value system of His Kingdom.
The “Face to Face” consecration process prepares us for the presence of God so that He feels welcome in our hearts, lives, families, congregations, businesses, and communities. The first stage of presence-based transformation is focused primarily on prayer, repentance and seeking God’s face in intimacy. Some key passages of Scripture to prayerfully consider during this stage are: 2 Chronicles 7:14, Joel 2, Hosea 4, Isaiah 59, Rev. 3, etc.
The 21-day consecration process is a “fast” from the status quo; it is unto consecration and greater intimacy with God. We can do this by:
• Using our time in a way that is more conducive to connecting with the Lord
• Removing regularly scheduled programs and non-essential activity for a short period of time
• Repenting of sin and compromise in our lives, turning back wholeheartedly to God, and applying the lifestyle principles of Jesus’ Kingdom (Matthew 5, 6, 7) to our lives.
This 42″ flatscreen TV was brought and left at the altar during the consecration in Peoria, IL. Other items representing the spiritual “housecleaning” that occurred are laying around it!
Setting ourselves apart and returning to covenant with the Lord, examining ourselves in light of His holiness, and departing from the spirit of the world to pursue life in His Kingdom, are critical first steps in the transformation process of a community.
The goal Face to Face is to prepare the Church to become a dwelling place for God’s presence so that His glory and life would be reflected resulting in salvation of the lost and transformation of the community. This necessarily involves spiritual disciplines such as: prayer, worship, fasting, unity, reconciliation, repentance, forgiveness, pursuit of holiness, health, and healing (emotionally, spiritually, and physically).
This process with the Lord and the fruit of our convictions should be applied on 3 levels: (1) personally in our own walk with God; (2) within the context of our families (3) together as a congregational family.
Biblical Foundation for Consecration
The concept of separation from evil is fundamental to God’s relationship with His people. According to the Bible, separation involves two dimensions—one negative and the other positive: (a) separating ourselves morally and spiritually from sin and from everything that is contrary to Jesus Christ, righteousness and God’s Word; (b) drawing near to God in a close and intimate fellowship through prayer, worship, the Word and loving service. Separation in this twofold sense results in a relationship where God is our heavenly Father who lives with us and is our God, and we in turn are his sons and daughters.
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I receive you. I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
(1) In the OT God’s people were called to be holy, different and separated from all other peoples in order to belong to God as his very own. One key reason God punished his people with exile into Assyria and Babylon was they persistently accommodated themselves to the idolatry and wicked lifestyles of the nations around them (See 2 Ki 17:7-8 & 2 Chron 36:14).
(2) In the NT God calls believers to be separate (a) from the corrupt world system and from unholy compromise (John 17:15-16; 2 Ti 3:1-5; Jas 1:27; 4:4), (b) from those in the church who sin and refuse to repent (Mat 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:9-11; 2 Thes 3:6-15), and (c) from false teachers, churches or cults who teach error and deny Biblical truths (Mat 7:15; Rom 16:17; Titus 3:9-11; 2 Pet 2:17-22; 1 John 4:1; 2 John 10-11; Jude 12-13).
(3) Our attitude in separation must be one of (a) hatred toward sin, unrighteousness and the corrupt world system (Rom 12:9; Heb 1:9; 1 John 2:15), (b) opposition to false doctrine (Gal 1:9), (c) genuine love for those from whom we must separate (John 3:16; 1 Cor 5:5; Gal 6:1; cf. Rom 9:1-3; 2 Cor 2:1-8; 11:28-29; Jude 22), and (d) fear of God as we pursue holiness (2 Cor 7:1).
(4) The purpose of separation is that we as God’s people might (a) persevere in faith (1 Tim 1:19; 6:10,20-21), purity (2 Cor 7:1; Titus 2:12-14) and godly love (Heb 13:1-8; 1 John 2:15-17; 3:11,14-18; 4:1-12); (b) love God with an undivided heart (Matt 22:37); and (c) be light in a dark, unbelieving world, testifying about the truth and blessings of the gospel (John 17:21; Php 2:15).
(5) If we separate ourselves properly, God himself rewards us by drawing near with his protection, blessing, and fatherly care. He promises to be everything that a good Father should be. He will be our counselor and guide; he will love and cherish us as his own children as it says in 2 Cor 6:16-18.
(6) The refusal of believers to separate themselves from evil will inevitably result in the loss of fellowship with God (2 Cor 6:16), of acceptance by the Father (6:17) and of our rights as children (6:18; cf. Rom 8:15-16).
Copyrighted material: Excerpt from Life in the Spirit Study Bible (Zondervan)