March 19, 2009

REdefining "Church" Part 1

In my last post I shared that I was going to explore the book of Acts to find out what the original "Church" looked like when it first was born out of God's love, Jesus' obedience, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit... in our efforts to "re-define" what church should be like today...well let's start here...

1) Jesus taught & and gave instructions through the Holy Spirit to "those he had chosen" as well as giving "proofs" that he was alive.  Acts 1: 1-3

This reminds us that Jesus chooses his leaders 1st ... then he teaches them, gives instructions to them and shows them proofs.  If Jesus has chosen you to lead others, then HE WILL GIVE YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO DO THAT.  STOP WORRYING. 

2) After Jesus Resurrection, Jesus appears to those he has chosen to lead, and uses a strong and bold phrase that shows his authority.   "You will" be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 1:5.  "you will" receive power.... "you will" be my witness. Acts 1:8.  This phrases is again reflected in the Old Testament Prophet Joel that is quoted in Acts: 2:17-21 I "will" pour out my Spirit...Sons and daughters "will" prophsey...young men "will" see visions...old men "will" dream dreams...I "will" pour out my Spirit...They "will" prophesy...I "will" show wonders in the heaven and signs on the earth below...The sun "will" be turned to darkness...and finally, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord "will" be saved.  

These certainly are not words that lack confidence within them.  Many people in the world today speak "words" upon "words" that they can't back up.  What's that saying; "your mouth done wrote a check your butt can't cash".  In other words, we boldly talk words about what we can do, or will do, and the truth is, that we very rarely can back them up.  Jesus, on the other hand, can and does back up his words.  In fact, Jesus is the only one who can do EXACTLY what he says WHEN he says he will do it. 

This means that when Jesus says that his leaders, who he chose, who are in the process of being taught and instructed, WILL receive the power necessary to "be my witness in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and Samaria, and to all the ends of the earth".  Acts 1: 8. THEY WILL RECEIVE IT!!!!  DONE DEAL!!!!  By the way, this verse really connects nicely with Jesus' words in Luke 24:45-49 & Matthew 28: 19 & 20.  

3) Jesus' followers, that he called, DID WHAT HE SAID.  Acts 1: 12

4) Jesus' followers, that he called, "joined together constantly in prayer"  Acts 1:14

I'm not sure what stands out most in this selection to me..."constantly in prayer" or joined together" these are two areas that all leaders of Jesus should be doing, but many times allow small things to divide them or rob them of their prayers.  These are choices that Jesus followers must MADE for themselves... and the same is true today.  We have to MAKE this same choices as we begin to "re-define" what Church is.  

More to come tomorrow... as my friend Carl Blackburn says...PEACE OUT!

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