Saturday, 17 April 2010

are our churches anything like the New Testament church??

April 14, 2010

Acts 13:1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers… 2. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for Me Barnabus and Saul for the work to which I have called them. 3. Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4. So being sent out by the Holy Spirit….

(This doesn’t sound much like most churches I’ve been part of… You were so much in control, and the church wanted that!) (Papa???)

(I would sure like to be set apart by You, Holy Spirit… and know it, like they did!)

… 12. Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.

(Over and over, belief came out of a combination of preaching and signs: which are both included here in the term, “the teaching of the Lord” … once again, You were in control!)

… 52. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

(Can that be said of us? Of me? … I want it to be… please? Holy Spirit? Father? Jesus? Please!)

… 14:3 Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands…

(Father, Papa – why does it seem like You don’t so much “grant that signs and wonders be done” by our hands today? Some people say that was just in the early church to get it going – and they even think that anything like that nowadays has got to be evil, actually… I don’t believe that, because I have seen Your power!!! But I wonder – is it because we just do not rely on You when we speak? (even if we “speak boldly” which we don’t much – well, I don’t much, that’s for sure – and a lot of our “bold” speaking is from our own efforts, I’m thinking…)

…14:21 After they [Paul and Barnabus: apostles, preachers/ teachers, encouragers, disciple-makers, church planters (of new believers, not of transplanted “fish from someone else’s aquariums”)] had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22. strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23. When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

(more about how we do not seem to do things very much: reaching out to unbelievers, making disciples, strengthening, encouraging, entering the kingdom through tribulations (ha! we do not want tribulations! We don’t want the cross for ourselves…), the church planters appointing elders (having prayed with fasting) and then commending them to the Lord (reliance on You – again!), and then moving on… coming back occasionally (or writing letters) to encourage them..)

…24ff (and then moved on to other locations)
…26ff (and then back to their “home church” from which they had been “sent out” at the direction of the Holy Spirit – and brought back reports on what “God had done” with them)
…28 (And then spent a long time with the disciples at their home church – until they were sent out again)

…15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…

(always: reliance on YOU!)

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