Overflow is a concept that began at Hay Hill in 2010 as a number of people’s feelings for what God was saying coalesced into something central to our understanding of purpose. It grew and was refined until we started to realise that Overflow was a way of expressing the whole Bible, or at least a crucial strand of it.
Psalm 67: The first Bible reference that felt important also felt “wrong”… to ask God to “bless” us when we only have to think for a short time to know that we have so much. But this one makes sense in the context of the others.
Ezekiel 47: In a leadership team meeting, the next important passage of the Bible emerged. Ezekiel has a vision of water flowing out from the temple, and to cut a long story short (v9) “where the river flows, everything will live.”
John 7v37: The following Sunday, the visiting speaker at church spoke from John 7, when Jesus stood up in the temple and said: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” It was quite startling to be there making the connection in my head that Jesus was making to the gathered crowd on that occasion: an extension and fulfilment of Ezekiel’s vision through him, and on through us.
These three together, then, formed the basis for how we encouraged people to live out their faith in real life. We wanted to see God filling us up (with Spirit, love, courage, blessing) and allow that to overflow into the lives of others and our communities.
We had postcards on which we tried to help focus that through three questions: Who is God bringing to mind? What is God showing you? What does God want you to do?
And also three parallel principles: Praying for particular people. Looking outward. Listening leading to action.
At some point another tag line was added to Overflow: Blessed to be a Blessing. Regrettably, the word and concept of “blessing” is used more or less exclusively within the church!
We came to understand that right from the beginning, Abraham and the nation of Israel were given a purpose, and it was this very same purpose. They were chosen to represent God to all other nations on the earth; to bring his blessing to all people, and indeed the entire planet.
It is that calling, one which has been habitually messed up, misunderstood, wilfully twisted and at times entirely forgotten by the people of God over countless generations, which is our inheritance today. Let's look to overflow love, life and hope into our communities.