A city of 20,000 needs 15-20 starter house churches whose minimum goal should be to reproduce X10 each. This over time becomes 150-200 house churches that represents at least a tithe (10%) of the city. At this point a church starts to shape the community, if members are discipled. Non-discipled people influence little.
Today, men face truth square in the face yet fail to act, holding onto their secure ecclesiastical seas of tranquility. Viewing truth as if it were optional, the Mugwumps remain among us.
Have we forgotten who the Holy Spirit is? If Jesus could look at 11 people and say, “You’re going to get the message to the whole world without Internet access,” then we can grab 11 people and reach these three or four blocks. It’s the same Holy Spirit.
God values the integrity of His Name and Word above all things, including the security of people who are unfaithful to His Name and Word, even if they externally claim to be His Church. Reverses for “christian” regions and churches may have less to do with the Devil and more to do with God’s judgement or resistance. He will remove the “lampstand” as He wills.
David Brainerd’s time of ministry spanned less than five years, yet by his closing age of 29, he crated such an example of self-sacrifice, prayer and devotion that his own journal, published after his death, would inspire hundreds to become messengers and bearers of the cross of Jesus Christ. Although his ministry was brief and his converts, small when compared with the great evangelistic campaigns of today, hundreds of missionaries were propelled into the harvest by his example and hundreds of thousands brought to Christ as a result. “Lest a grain of wheat falleth into the earth and die, it abideth alone.”
The greatest gift we can lead anyone into beyond our initial confidence of salvation in Christ is the amazing, joy-filled experience of setting your life apart for God, moment by moment, seeking God in a prayer and adoration.
God seems to be in the business of delivering His Church from a Babylonian captivity of religious bureaucrats and controlling spirits into the public domain, the hands of ordinary people made extraordinary by God, who, like in the old days, may still smell of fish, perfume and revolution.
With each fresh visitation of God comes a heaven-sent impetus to proclaim truth to one’s generation. If this impetus has been true with each restoration move in previous generations, how much more is it true for those to whom the ends of the ages have come?
The church typically assembled in many homes, in diverse neighborhoods and at diverse times. Some were small gatherings, small enough to fit into a Roman apartment, others could be as large as several hundred if they met in a wealthy persons home.
Role models for renewal are much in demand as we face the prospects of entering the Third Great American Awakening. Two questions face us: How do we stimulate revival resulting in mass repentance and faith; and how do we conserve the harvest of regenerated souls that result? It appears that a consensus is emerging among church leaders that our churches becomes more than nurseries and diaper changing stations. No longer do we desire to perpetuate what Juan Carlos Ortiz calls the “eternal childhood of the believer” where the pastor stands in front of the congregation coaxing them to open their mouths wide while squirting a stream of milk from a bottle. While many are scurrying around hunting up innovations, a helpful example can be found in the pages of church history.
Never before had the Christians in a city been divided on a basis other than locality. The previous two hundred years did not witness the interjection of a competing or separate church organization within a city area. Novation, in his attempt to create a purer church, laid the ax to a united church. His crime was not heresy, but schism. Pandora’s box was opened and remains open to this day.
The truth is that as regenerate, born from above, blood-washed people, we are now in possession of God’s love, approval and acceptance. That is not to say that there is not more outworking of His character needed in our lives. It is saying that the blood of His Son, which is applied tour lived by faith, has already brought us near and His presence in our lives is an accomplished reality not subject to our feelings or our failures.
As more and more Christians have VISION for the fulfillment of our dominion mandate, we will through off our myopic shortsighted blinders that are so enmeshed in our maintenance perspective and lifestyle. More and more will make radical moves that speak of farsightedness. We will plant more churches, send more people, and allocate more finances to accomplish the long term. The Lord of the harvest will cause the increase. The exponential growth will fill the earth with the knowledge of the Lord, to the same degree that the waters cover the sea.
“Since the establishment of the Church of God does not wish to perpetuate miracles even to our day, lest the mind should put its trust in visible sings, or grow cold at the sight of common marvels,” wrote Augustine, the fourth century bishop of Hippo. Fifteen centuries later, this position regarding the miraculous is still widely held among churchmen throughout the western world.
We are a people who have been predestined to good works and as we make ourselves radically available, His purposes come into focus. It may take five, seven, or ten years for it all to make sense, but our lives are being woven into the larger tapestry of His sovereign Kingdom purposes. We may only see a part of it now, but someday it will prove to be a glorious gift to give to our King.
We are commanded not to forsake assembling together (Hebrews 10:25) We seek God together and labor to serve one another. Dropping out is not an option. Coals burn the brightest when they burn together.
The sixteenth century witnessed the winds of reformation sweeping through Europe with fresh understandings of rediscovered Biblical truths. Justification by faith alone was heralded by Martin Luther, the sovereignty of God by John Calvin, apostolic simplicity by Ulrich Zwingli and many other fresh, valid emphases by many other lesser lights through this reformation. The focus was clearly centered on issues of Biblical understanding and dogma, yet often in an unyielding, graceless manner.
The gospel is never a private affair. When Jesus is received in the human heart a ripple effect occurs. All aspects of society were impacted by the fall and all aspects will benefit from the leaven of the gospel. Poverty, crime, broken relationships and broken communities are primarily spiritual problems. The gospel compels us as servants to engage the broken places of life bringing mercy, and the wisdom of the scriptures. This is not to be seen as top-down political change but is a call for personal sacrifice and servanthood that brings bottom up transformation.
There is but one place in the entire New Testament that a set of doctrines are referred to as foundational and necessary for preparing for maturity.
I'd put students through endless hours of hands-on service to the sick and dying, physically dangerous evangelism, frequent preaching and teaching the Scriptures, and days on end of fasting and prayer. Seminary would either make them or break them.
While truth is immutable and perfect, our understanding and practice of truth is not. Just as it is possible for one generation to depart from truth and obedience, a subsequent generation may rediscover neglected truth and obey it. That is the impulse behind reformation, renewal and revival movements. In this spirit we are called to “remember the former things” (Isaiah 46:9). The sanctified life is one were we are continually discarding old ways and embracing God’s ways, progressively, as we learn and discover His ways. Our understanding of Church life should flex in the same way.