I have heard so much lately whether in bookstores, blogs, or in conversation regarding ways to do church. (Or the should I say the programs or atmosphere of services.) We question and discuss and write about ways we can enhance and put into action plans that will touch people’s lives, especially those who do not know the wonderful Savior. And I read how house churches in China are shaking that country, many who are uneducated (some who are), but regardless it is another Book of Acts all over again.
We here in the West, or for that matter north, south or east need a revelation on what twelve men had that they could shake the known world and rattle the most powerful empire at the time. They lived with passion, power, and presence. It backed-up and validated the message they were bringing. They had no problem with the issue of death for a Savior that lived in them every second, because they had already died to what they wanted and what they thought. He was their thoughts, and He was what they wanted. My question is, do you have a problem dying for Him if that is what He would want? That in itself is a sobering question.
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Therefore, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest fields."
Jesus tells us the key to seeing many people saved through a great harvest of souls is to pray for more workers. The more prayer, the more workers; the more workers, the greater the harvest-It's a simple equation.
Many have used these words to challenge believers to get out of the pews and into the fields. And it must be so. What will it take to get the workers out into the fields? The word Jesus used to "send out" workers is the same Greek word used of "casting out" demons (ekballo). It is a violent term as if the Lord of the harvest must grab us by the collar and thrust us out into the fields. Unfortunately, that may be what it takes for most of us Christians.
I no longer try to start simple/house churches. I think house churches are great. They provide a place for people to experience participatory, everyone-matters church life. They provide a way for people to really connect into authentic, one-another community. They often provide a place for people to recover from some of the pains caused by institutional church life. But house churches are no longer the end game for me.
Jesus invited us to join him, organically, in the reproduction of life. His church is a living, thriving, reproducing organism (Mark 4) that allows life-in-the-Spirit to spread virally from one disciple to the next. His church is alive as illustrated by a seed (Mark 4) that brings forth 30, 60, or 100-fold reproduction. That is the life of the kingdom. His life in me is passed on to the life of another (2-fold) which is passed to the life of another (4-fold) which is passed to the life of another (8-fold), etc. That is the way of organic/viral life and this is what the kingdom IS. This is ultimately what Jesus invited us to become part of: discipling viral disciplers.
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind (Rom.14: 4-5).
Oh, come on Paul; give it to me straight, should we worship on Sunday or not? Can we eat meat sacrificed to an idol or not? Don’t hem and haw, just give me the rule and I’ll obey. But he doesn’t; why not?
Jesus often comes to us in unexpected ways and unexpected means.
Think about how He came to Earth. For centuries, Israel had waited for a political Messiah. They expected Him to lead a rebellion and free Israel from Roman oppression. But how did the Messiah make His entrance? He came in a way that made it easy for His own people to reject Him. He came as a frail baby, born in a feeding room for animals. There He was. The promised Messiah who was expected to overthrow the Roman Empire and set Israel free from oppression. A needy Nazarene born in a manger.
When Jesus grew up, He ate and drank in their presence and taught in their streets (Luke 13:26). Yet they didn’t recognize Him. He was unassumingly modest. A mere craftsman; the son of a craftsman. He grew up in the despised city of Nazareth, fraternizing with the despised and oppressed. But more startling, He befriended sinners (Luke 7:34). As such, the people of God didn’t recognize Him. Why? Because He came in a way that made it easy for them to reject Him. And what about the disciples?
The miracle we need most right now is one that the Lord has freely given us already. It is the power of a changed life. The world is poised and ready to see the relevance and power of our message if only we would let them see it firsthand.
There is no power on earth more potent than the gospel in a heart of belief (Romans 1:16). Ed Silvoso puts it like this, in his book That None Should Perish, “The church has been entrusted with something that every politician on earth would give an arm and a leg to have: the power to see hearts changed.” We have been given this power, though we generally leave it unused. Our pews are full of “Christians” whose lives show little difference from those who are in the world.
We already saw in Chapter 1 that Jesus valued the power of a changed life when He called Matthew and immediately put him into service. The New Testament has many examples of people who have only just met Jesus, have little knowledge of His person or work and yet are already able to effectively stand up to others with a bold witness. They do so all on the irrefutable persuasion of a changed life. My favorite such story is found in the ninth chapter of John.
Circles are powerful. They shape identity, instill and reinforce values, and provide a variety of emotional, physical and spiritual support.
My question for you is this:
Do you experience the power of circles as an obstacle or an opportunity as you disciple the lost?
Your answer to this question reflects a small handful of factors, one of which is your disciple making strategy.
If your strategy is to disciple individuals, the power of their existing circle will often feel like a barrier to you. This is because discipling an individual places you in competition with their primary circle.
If your strategy is to disciple a whole circle, the power of the circle will typically feel like an opportunity to you. This is because discipling a circle makes you their advocate and champion.
About the Site
All across the world, people are gathering in small groups to serve and worship God, be family, and encourage and affect each others lives. These gatherings are called by many names including simple church, organic church, and house church. Whatever you call it, the people involved value incarnational ministry to the lost, living radically for Jesus and each other, and are willing to get rid of anything that gets in the way of being fully devoted followers of Christ.Detailed...