In the New Testament age God dwells in the hearts of His people through the person of the Holy Spirit.
(John 15:26-27) 26When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
And in John 16:13-15 Jesus states: 13But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
Thus we see that the “comforter” that we know as the Holy Spirit is meant to produce Christ’s witness in us. So can we observe that when people outside our church see that Jesus dwells among our members that people will be flocking to our church? And you (and I) say really? Aren’t WE* already there? Haven’t WE* all arrived? What more could WE* do?
Consider! Retired Senior Minister Bob Russell, Senior Pastor Dave Stone and Teaching Pastor Kyle Idleman shared the pulpit for the celebration. (2012: A look back Southeast Christian Church (SECC) in Louisville, Kentucky celebrates 50 years.
Consider! Retired Senior Minister Bob Russell, Senior Pastor Dave Stone and Teaching Pastor Kyle Idleman shared the pulpit for the celebration. (2012: A look back Southeast Christian Church (SECC) in Louisville, Kentucky celebrates 50 years http://www.southeastoutlook.org/news/features/article_4728e8e0-4f6b-11e2-b8da-0019bb30f31a.html) where the following statement was made: “The life of Southeast over the past 50 years is the story of lives transformed, marriages saved as people spent time with Jesus,” Stone said. “We are a collection of everyday folk who connect with Jesus—we pray, we give and share our faith. We hope people see Jesus in and through us.” Each weekend, more than 21,000 people worship at Southeast’s Blankenbaker, Indiana and Oldham campuses. Yet that number pales compared to the one that tells the real story. “In 50 years, 26,854 people gave their lives to Christ,” Stone said. “Southeast is a place where people’s lives are changed. No one can argue with changed lives as ordinary people fall in love with an extraordinary God.”
We say that God dwells in our hearts in the person of the Holy Spirit WHEN we are Baptized (Restoration Doctrine of Saved by Grace through Faith at Baptism for Good Works). So when WE* compare ourselves to Southeast Christian Church can WE* say we’ve “all arrived”?
My first question would be what are we expecting of ourselves and what are we expecting of God? And secondly – what would prospective visitors be asking themselves when they visit our church? I’m not suggesting that we first of all concern ourselves with numbers. But I am suggesting that we become ordinary people who fell in love with an extraordinary God! And when we do that we’ll see lives transformed! And when ordinary people visit us they’ll change their questions to “how do ordinary people fall in love with an extraordinary God?”
In the quote above from the SECC the simple formulas was “we pray, we give, and we share our faith”. Notice that I underlined just the first phrase “we pray”. Nothing effectively happens if we don’t start there. So for all of our prayers – how often is the issue of lives transformed on our list? Do we have actual names on our prayer list for this? Have we meant any of our visitors? Are their names on our list also? If we were ordinary people who fell in love with an extraordinary God wouldn’t we share the same passion for the lost people like SECC does and have specific names that God desires to be on our prayer list? Are we on the list for already being transformed or haven’t we thought about ourselves at all?
*WE includes wayocross
We all need to rely on Jesus and His transforming power – wayocross