Saturday, January 22, 2011
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV).
Amazing how we Christians hold to the authority and truthfulness of Scripture in theory but not in practice. Take this passage, for instance. Do we truly believe Ephesians 3:20-21? Do we see our circumstances, situations, problems, or even people bigger than God? Do we trust Him to work abundantly in us? He’s not talking about the trifles of this material world, but working in us an eternal good for His glory.
Perry Noble is a pastor at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. This church is 10 years old and started with 115. It now has numerous campuses (six, I believe) with 14,000 in combined attendance. He recently wrote an article entitled, “Forgive Us, Lord.” I’ve included it below:
Dear Lord, please forgive us, YOUR church…
#1 – For praying small prayers. We read in the Scriptures where YOU sent FIRE from heaven, you healed sick people, you brought the dead back to life, you put interstate highways through the Red Sea, you slayed giants, you enabled people to walk through fire, you spoke and the world EXPLODED in creation and you said we would do greater things in John 14:12…yet we refuse to pray and ask for BIG things because we believe that somehow Your reputation is on the line. May we pray BIG PRAYERS!
#2 – For allowing Disney to out dream us! They have a mouse, we have Your Holy Spirit and yet we have seemed to drift towards the normal, boring and predictable. You said in Ephesians 3:20 that you are able to do WAY more than we could ask or imagine…and maybe you are, maybe the best we can imagine is a few people in a room talking about things that the rest of the world does not care about. However, I refuse to believe that a company without YOUR Spirit should be able to trump YOUR church who does have YOUR Spirit when it comes to big dreams. We should have THE BEST artists in the world…may we recapture that!
#3 – For allowing Apple to out innovate us! You are the Author of creation…YOU! And since Your Word is clear that we are created in YOUR image then it is so clear that YOUR church should be leading the way when it comes to innovation and creativity. You are FAR from dull and boring…your church should be as well! May we STOP doing poor work and then blaming it on Your Holy Spirit.
#4 – For allowing a rising stock market to celebrate more than we do. For some reason in church world it is ok to celebrate when our 401k’s increase in value, but it is NOT ok to talk about/celebrate when people repent of their sins and trust Christ as their Savior, despite what YOU said about the angels celebrating in Luke 15. For some reason we don’t like to celebrate when a church sees people turn their lives over to you. We don’t like to celebrate it when another church grows. The truth is we want great things to happen in OUR church…but not in someone else’s.
#5 – For allowing credit card companies to out market us! We all know the phrase “what’s in your wallet” because they market their product so darn well; however, all too often we seem to be content sitting back and “trusting You” when in actuality You have entrusted and empowered us to go and reach the world with the Gospel…that takes “marketing!” We have the greatest message on the planet…may You continue to reveal the best methods in regards to how to get it out there more and more.
#6 – For allowing MTV to reach a generation that we’ve seemed to forget! Forgive us for the fact that in many of our churches there is more money in the cemetery fund than there is the youth and children’s budget. Forgive us when we neglect to see that the age group that is under 18 is the ripest mission field in America…and so instead of investing heavily in them we force them to sale doughnuts, have car washes and make hot dogs to do the things the church should be making a priority in the first place.
#7 – For allowing missionaries to use culture on foreign fields to reach the community in which they are in…but when that same approach is done in America we call it compromise! We tell missionaries to not criticize the culture in which they live but rather to learn it, understand it, and then leverage it to introduce the Gospel. We think that is the best way to do it “over there,” yet when that approach is used here we become angry and accuse churches of “watering things down” (AS IF YOUR Gospel could EVER be watered down) and/or compromise. May we not stick our heads in the sand but rather admit where we are and use the world that people live in as a tool and resource to introduce them to Jesus.
Forgive us Lord…may we RISE UP and be YOUR Church, the ONE YOU have called, equipped and enabled us to become! When we are focused on You, talking about You, pointing others to You and doing exactly what You say to do…then…
- Your power is undeniable!
- Your people are unstoppable!
- Your presence is unexplainable! And…
- Our potential is unimaginable!
May we be YOUR Church!
While one may quibble with a few things in this (yes, I believe there are ways that the gospel may be watered down), one cannot quibble with the fact that Noble believes in a big God! Do we?
Do we really believe Ephesians 3:20-21? Write that passage out on an index card and commit it to memory. God aims to work an eternal good through you in Christ Jesus.
Read John 13.
Pray for yourself and the three people who need to know Jesus.
Fast to disconnect from the world.
Journal your journey.
- Today marks the 38th anniversary of the ominous ruling by the Supreme Court that permitted abortion on demand (Roe v. Wade). Kevin DeYoung writes an insightful article entitled “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” You can read it here. He makes some comparisons about how children were treated 2,000 years ago during Jesus’ time. May we pray for and help these defenseless ones. The safest place in America was the mother’s womb–may it not become the most dangerous (if it hasn’t already).
- Ligonier Ministries has also put out an interesting article: Abortion: The Great Debate, taken from the Prologue of R.C. Sproul’s “Abortion.” This article shows the inroads the pro-abortion movement has made in both politics and even churches.
- This coming Sunday, I’ll be preaching from James 3:1-12 on “Taming the Tongue.” Read up, pray up, and get up and come to church to be fueled up for your week!