PenHOP’s Journey: The Circular Ascent

by Carolyn R. Boin

People often ask me this question of where PenHOP is at currently. It's actually very easy to answer this question by just stating the obvious. Besides, everything is pretty much spelled out in our website. Just click on the “Upcoming Events” section of the page, and you'll get to see for yourself what we would possibly be up to in the next few months. Yet, people are not looking for what PenHOP is doing now, rather which season we are in right now.

The knowledge of seasons is important. For instance, farmers need to have it ingrained within them so they don't end up sowing seeds in winter – thus, doing what seems agriculturally right at the wrong time of the year. To know seasons – in a spiritual sense – requires prophetic wisdom. It requires not just one person to seek the Lord for PenHOP, but a whole praying community to wait upon Him to show us how and when to move forward. Most importantly, our hearts need to be humble and obedient to move when He moves, or wait when He calls us to rest.

I like to tell people this when they ask me about where PenHOP is at right now:-

People hike up mountains and hills two ways: they either use all those intricate climbing gears of ropes and ice axes to climb vertically; or they can hike around the mountain in a circular way until they reach the peak.

After completing seven years, we are now at level two of the mountain. Yet, we have been going up using the latter method, perseveringly walking around and upwards on the foundational themes of intimacy, loving one another, the wholehearted pursuit of God, and obedience to His purposes.

We’re back at that old One Thing* thing again. It was earlier this year that the leaders of PenHOP sensed the Lord directing us to focus our worship sets solely on ministering to His presence. Yet, at level two of this mountain, we see the very purpose why it is crucial that we heed this call again. For the past seven years, many have been gripped with the call of going to the deepest, darkest places on earth as messengers of the Good News, whether it be in evangelism or to simply build Him a resting place. A heart that is not steady in intimacy with God and is not hungry for His presence can easily be taken out in fear as threat arises. The “yes” from PenHOP will eventually lead to revile of man. Yet, a heart that is burning with love cannot be quenched, even by trials and tribulations at this hour.

Thus, as we move forward in being forerunners to the Church and the nations, what will hold our souls together in these last days is wholehearted love for God. Nobody graduates from love. You just keep walking in it, moving upwards till you reach the pinnacle of it all: the return of the Son of Man who, for the sake of love, will rule and reign forever in righteousness and truth.

All this can be summarized in one word: faithfulness. Who knows how many levels this mountain has, and how many times we have to go back to Psalm 27:4 again? But Hebrews 12:1-2 says it clearly,

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

And following the example of Paul the apostle in Philippians 3:14,

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Seven years and counting. May we never lose our wonder.

*We use the term One Thing to describe the call to gaze upon God in His temple. See Psalm 27:4.