Good morning Jesus, I’m starting my day in you so I can look back on my day tonight and see where I was led by you.
"Now on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria......Now those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word." vs.1, 4.
The early church in Jerusalem, was forced to scatter, to leave the only "church" they knew. This scattering, caused them to preach the tell the Gospel to new people, new neighbors, and plant new churches. Later in chapter 11 we will read:
"Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch" (11:19)
Those early disciples were forced to leave their "first church", this lead to planting of other churches, including the great church in Antioch! The persecution and scattering the enemy meant to destroy the church, God used it to grow and further establish his church. The church was designed to be a movement. To scatter then gather, scatter then gather again. When the church ifs forced to leave and takes with it nothing but Jesus is when it is most effective.
I am learning that the church is at its best when it is fluid, underground, subversive, and countercultural. It is the unknown, quiet, humble stealth acts that the church changes things.
Pray over your life, the life of our church and the life of your ministries. Have you been stuck, complacent, or comfortable in a season of “gathering”? Pray that the Holy Spirit will motivate you and guides you into a new season of scattering. Pray God leads you, leads us as a church and reveals to us our new “Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antiochs in which to start new house churches and ministries.
As you start to fulfill your plans you have made for this week, remember God has set his plans he has made for you and needs you to fulfill as well. His plan is to release you and I, ordinary people in the church out into our communities to do extraordinary things in the kingdom. Just like in Acts 8:1. It was ordinary, un-named Jews, just some people, that scattered and spread the Gospel, lead others into salvation, made disciples, and grew churches.
God’s plan this week includes the scattering and sending of you and I. People are saved, disciples are made, lives are restored and churches grow not through programs, but through ordinary people spreading the Gospel. Spreading and sharing the Gospel is not about bringing people into a building to hear someone speak, but sending people out of a building to speak it into the world. Armies of ordinary people in the church, empowered by the extraordinary power and presence of the Holy Spirit, speaking life, truth, and transformation to those they encounter in their day.
Lets all commit to get rid of any spectator mentality we may possess about our role in Christ’s church. A church after the heart of God does not simply focus on its seating capacity, but its sending capacity. Because I believe at the end of the day that is how God is going to judge the church.
A change in spectator mentality won’t happen accidently. Just like setting aside and scheduling time in your day and calendar is required to fulfill your other plans for the week, setting aside time and creating margins in your day and calendar is required to fulfill God’s plan for you to do extraordinary things for his kingdom. It requires intentionality.
My family, I pray and challenge you to open your calendar for the week and look at where you have scheduled times to release yourself in your community and spread the Gospel. Not scheduled times in a Bible study, prayer gathering, church meeting, or small group (though these are good), but intentional times of release, sentness into an area of your community with no prescript expectation or outcome but sharing your testimony and the Gospel. If you do not have times set aside and scheduled for this, for fulfilling God’s plan for you, it won’t happen. Luther said, “Delay is the sharpest arrow in the enemies quiver.” Don’t delay.
Please share your reflections and prayers with us on this blog in the comment box below.
Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower
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