“When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the disorderly crowd, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but asleep.” And they began making fun of him” (Matthew 9:23-24)
Curtis Sergeant is an amazing man who has planed thousands of churches around the world, and consults with NGOs (Non Government Organizations and CPMs (Church Planting Movement) leaders around the world. He told me the story of when he was over in Asia in a secret location, where CPM leaders had gathered from around the world to pray, train and equip each other. Curtis said they had just gathered, when news came to one of the leaders that two of his church planting operatives in a city had just been put to death. The leader told Jesus he had to go back immediately. Curtis told him he was so sorry for what had happened, however he said all who had gathered had traveled great distances to get here, and great security and secrecy had been in place to allow this meeting to happen, could the leader just stay for a few hours of a day and fly back tomorrow. The leader looked at Curtis and said, I need to go back now to pray and see if Jesus will raise these dead men. Curtis thought to himself what he would do if a couple of his operatives were martyred and put to death. He would notify their family of the incident. Inform his board and discuss who they would send in to replace them. Contact the media to control and get a media story out. However, flying out immediately to go see if Jesus would raise his dead operatives back to life would not be on his list. The leaders faith and expectancy of the poser and ability of God both amazed and convicted him.
If I were to ask you, ask those in the church the question, How many believe that God can raise the dead?” I think most if not all hands would go up. If I asked the question, “How many expect to see God raise the dead today?” Many fewer, if not all hands would remain at people’s sides. Having a belief that God can raise the dead and expecting that God will and is raising the dead are two very different things.
Our simple, maybe even strong belief for many in the church that God can raise the dead comes out of our cognitive brain. It is a fact or data we hold to be true. It is like our belief in the fact that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the USA. What impact does your belief in the fact that Abaraham Lincoln was the 19th president have on your live today? None. What does your simple belief that God can raise the dead have on your life today? None. The churches simple belief in the fact or truth that God can raise the dead has not and cannot impact on our daily life today without an expectancy that God will and is raising the dead today.
In Matthew 9:18-26 is the story of Jesus raising a young girl back to life. When Jesus tells them he was going to raise her back to life the crowd around him did not believe or support him but they laughed at him. If someone told you after the death of someone that they were going to pray and see if God could raise them from the dead, and if they asked you to come pray as well, would your thoughts be similar to those of the crowds?
The church is the place that professes Jesus is Lord, but it does not do “Jesus is Lord” well. Can I say that? We say Jesus is Lord the same way we say Lincoln was the 19th president. We say it absent for the most part of any expectancy of power and presence in our lives.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism in which I am an ordained clergy said before he died looking into the future of the church, “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.”
Read Matthew chapters 8 and 9 and see the expectancy and power of Jesus. Then I am asking you to enter into a discipleship covenant with me in 2017 of I.R.C.O. 111.1
Immediate: Do not delay on what you hear God calling you to do. “Luther said, “Delay is the sharpest arrow in the enemies quiver.”
Radical: Rooted in Christ and imitating him and him alone.
Costly: No matter what the price or requirements
Obedience: In every area of your life, Jesus is Lord. “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” John 14:15
1: Commit to fast one day a week in prayer over your indwelling of the Holy Spirit, your ministry, and that of the church.
1: Commit to spend at least one solid hour a week in un-interrupted prayer.
1: Meet one time a week in a Band with 1 or two other same gendered people for true accountability.
.1: Tithe at least 10% to the ministry of Christ and The Church.
The next few days I will expand on this discipleship covenant of IRCO 111.1I want to encourage and awaken a movement of God in your life and your community full of power and expectancy!
Please share your thoughts and reflections in the comment box below.