Yesterday, I read the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” and used excerpts from it as my blog post. My blog post this morning flows from my further reflection on his letter.
Good morning Jesus, I claim you as my way, truth, and light through the darkness today.
“Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.” (Acts 2:43)
“There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are”…. (MLK)
This paragraph by MLK cause is a source of reflection for me at many different levels. “There was a time when the church was very powerful.” Say someone new moved in next door to you and you met for the first time in your front yards. In your introductions with each other they said they would be looking for a new church to attend. If they asked what church you attend and what is what like, how would you describe it? You may say it is friendly and welcoming. It has a great worship band, a good children’s ministry and a wonderful pastor. But would you think to use the adjective “Powerful” to describe your church? And if you did use the word powerful and asked to describe why, how would you answer? When was the last time you witnessed something powerful take place in your church? How often? Do you walk into your church service expecting to see God through the Holy Spirit move in a powerful way and miracles to take place and lives deeply changed, including your own?
John Wesley stated, “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.”
“In the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed.” What is your church collectively suffering for now because of some injustice, abuse, or wrong doing it believes so strongly God has formed it to address? What injustice, abuse, or tragic situation in your community are you personally suffering and sacrificing for because of a belief and conviction from God? Have you ever suffered and truly sacrificed greatly as the result of an issue God called you to take on?
“Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators.” When was the last time your faith and actions caused a public scene and commotion because of an issue the Holy Spirit moved you to act on and you were “called to obey God rather than man”? Can you think of a calling by God you carried out and obeyed no matter what people thought or the cost or consequences? That you were so “God intoxicated” not to be intimidated.
The church described by MLK is one that is: powerful, rejoices at being worthy of suffering, sacrifices for its beliefs, transforms society, disturbs the peace of the status quo, obeys God rather than man, big in commitment, intoxicated with God and feels like a colony of heaven. It is a church I want to find and be part of! It is the church of Acts, the church as movement, the church after the Missio Deo (mission of God)! Is it your church?
Or is your church more like the latter one described by MLK, “Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound.” A church that is “silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are”
My family, I pray today you will seriously pray and reflect on this blog as if your church’s life depends on it, because it does! I pray the Holy Spirit will convict you, encourage you, fill you with revival fire, and compel you bring forth and be a living church of the Power of God. In Jesus’ name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!!
Please share your thoughts and reflections in the comment box below.
Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower
One Direction Community
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