The church of the future… the church that endures… the church that is standing in the end, is the church that leads from her knees. She fights the enemy outside, instead of her family inside her walls. She is quick to reconcile and restore, not exclude or ostracize. She offers healing and restoration, spirit, soul and body.
This church is not a hospital for disease research and nursing the infirmed, it is a healing source; a healing room filled with the presence of God, where the sick, the tired, the broken come and are miraculously healed renewed and restored. They are filled with strength to go and bring others to this healing source. This Church understands she is the vessel but He is the healing water; it is her hands extended, but He is the healing balm.
She walks into the darkness of evil, but never loses sight of the light of His grace. She constantly touches the unclean and dirty, but remains pure by the washing of His word.
She is always generous to the poor, yet never diminishes her wealth. Her resources are continually spent, but never run out. She daily walks in abundance and manages well the inheritance of His kingdom. Yet not, clinging to these things, she is ready to sacrifice all for His name sake.
This church operates in the power of God yet rests in the peace of God. She stand in awe of the greatness of her God yet walks in intimate friendship with Him. She knows her God in His Love and His Might.
This church travels to the ends of the earth, yet daily stays in the house of her God. She shouts boldly the good news of the Gospel, yet quietly endures rejection and persecution. This church runs with swiftness to rescue the lost and dying, yet sits patiently to hear His voice. Her arms are strong and prepared for battle yet in them she tenderly cuddles the newborn. This church is a mighty army, always marching forward, yet she is still a beautiful maid in waiting.
This church is not built with human hands but by the Spirit of God Himself, for His glory, for His purpose. He brings His building materials from the four corners of the earth. He builds her with the enduring qualities of faith, hope and love.
This church is without singleness of color, commonness of culture or unity of language, yet walks in such harmony that the whole earth will acknowledge her God as the one and only true God. There is room for all who come, none are turned away. She daily takes in the ugly, despised and rejected; the discards of the world… yet she is so beautiful that Jesus Himself will take her to be His bride.
I love the way The Message version of the scripture brings out this truth. Read it and see if you don’t think Paul is writing as if he were alive and writing to us today.
Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.Ephesians 5:11-20 The Message
In an age of busyness and a multitude of possible pursuits we need the light of Jesus to shine in our lives to give us discernment, discretion and direction.
We can usually see the obvious frauds and the blatant scandals that try to entrap us. But these are not the traps that easily snare us. It’s the subtle indirect thoughts and actions that come creeping in through our culture. We can be taken off guard if we are not continually living in the light of Jesus and Thoughts of hate, envy, lust. The obsessions of indulgence that are promoted all around us can seem so enticing, we don’t see clearly the long-term consequences.
1.) Watch your step. Let the light of Jesus, the Word of God, illuminate your path. Read His word daily. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him
2.) Use your head. Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. Romans 12:1-2 Says to renew our thoughts by the Word of God (See passage below)
3.) Make the most of every chance you get. Keep your focus on the positive solution and direction provided by your Heavenly Father. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
These are desperate times!
Blessings to you in all your pursuits…
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 The Message
Don’t you find it strange to call the crucifixion of Christ “Good”? Why would we call the memorial of the tragic death of anyone, good? Some Etymologists say the word good at one time meant holy, so it would mean Holy Friday. Some say because of the similarity of the two words “God” and ‘good” the words were confused.
I don’t know if the above reasoning is valid. I am not educated in such matters. What I do know is this. Jesus’ death created heartache, fear and confusion for His followers. Many of the same people who hailed him as their king only days before, now, caught up in a mob mentality, called for his death and the release of a criminal. On that day nothing appeared to be good. It was everything but good.
Three days later Jesus rose from the dead, came out of the grave and visited his followers on numerous occasions over the next 40 days. After his resurrection, when he appeared to his followers, they most often did not recognize him and doubted his appearance. I can only imagine that the “badness” of the previous Friday completely blinded them to the supernatural reality that their dead leader was now indeed their Risen Savior.
How often does the “badness” of our past blind us to the “goodness” of our present? How often are we blinded to our “ever present help in time of need“. With our finite understanding we are blinded to the purpose and plan of God . Only in hindsight did his followers understand Jesus died for their good. He took pain and punishment for their sake. Jesus’ death was not a tragedy, it was a victory for all of mankind. It was a part of God’s plan.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:11-13