For all you basketball fans out there, and I hope there are some, this should bring back some memories. Notice how the present is still tied to the past. Enjoy!
We are nearing the end of our 40 day Negativity Fast here at The Point. We have set the thermostats of our hearts to refrain from being negative to engage into a deliberate feast of positivity. It is so easy to be negative about the world around us, the economy is in or near recession, unemployment is high, families are struggling, the earth is warming up, our politicians are trying to devour each other, Islam is trying to take over the world, nations are either at war or on the brink of economic collapse, marriage is facing redefinition by homosexual advocates, and the church seems divided and weak. Wow, it is so easy to be negative and there seems to be an unending list of topics from which to enforce our negative stance. But it really should not be so with the people of God.
The Scriptures never guarantee us a trouble-free life or world in which to live. They very clearly point out the destructive debilitating effect that sin has on the world. The great news for us as Christians is that we are not dictated to by that kingdom but in the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus who sits enthroned above all the goings on in this world. He has finished His work in bringing salvation to many sons and daughters and has broken the power of the evil one. He sits on His throne waiting, watching, and aiding His church to administer the victory that He has already won. We, the church, are the hope for this world. As such, we should have hope for this world because we know Him. We know His power, His goodness, His calling on our lives, His heart for all mankind, and we are convinced of His absolute victory. We should be positive in our outlook on life, on our view of the future, and on the current circumstances in the world because we know Him who holds it all in His hands. As you worship Him, feel His presence, and look into His face, how can you be negative? Join us in changing your approach to life. Put a smile on your face, hope in your heart, speak faith from your lips, and let’s change this world.
Here at The Point the tag line on our literature states, “Authentic Church for the Modern World.” Now, we believe it is much more than a cute tag line or, even, wishful thinking. It is our endeavor, our aim, our motivation, and our mission to be an authentic church in our city in our day. This has caused us to look at what the scriptures say and show us about the incredible entity which is the church. Jesus only mentioned the word church twice in the Gospels, but His revelation of the New Covenant, of grace, of the Father’s heart and approval, and of the indwelling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit gives us ample material to begin seeing authentic Christianity. In Acts and the epistles we see how these revelations were manifested and came alive in the lives of the believers.
They didn’t always get it right and we shouldn’t long to return to their day, but what we certainly can learn from them. Their dedication to the Lord and to each other, the demonstration of the power of God in their midst, the love that was displayed to the communities in which they lived turned their world upside down but, also, serves as an example for us. Real believers, in love with the Lord, expressing His love to one another and to the world, operating in the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, bringing the mind of Christ into every situation, and representing Jesus to the world is authentic church.
Are we there yet? Probably not yet, but our goal is not to have a good tag line. Our desire is to be what we have been called to be, His bride. The church is the pinnacle of His eternal purpose, to have a people who represents Him truthfully, authentically, powerfully, and compassionately to the world. Our goal is not to compare ourselves to other churches, but to be what we know we were called to be. It is an exciting journey; our destination is sure, our joy is our strength, our foundation is true, and our Father is good. Come join us.
Father’s Day is this coming Sunday. So if you haven’t shopped for a suitable, outrageous, completely extravagant gift there is still time. (I wonder if my kids read my blog?)
It is a day I look forward to because I have great children and a wife that honor me. I get to choose what we do and, if you know me, I chose relaxing, simple things. We will probably barbecue, watch the U. S. Open, and then go get some ice cream. What a great day.
The day also brings memories and a sense of loss due to the fact that my wife and I have both lost our fathers. There isn’t the sharp edge of grief or a huge chasm of regret and unfinished business. We just miss them. We were blessed to have them lay a good foundation of love, security, belonging, responsibility, and encouragement to be who we were meant to be. Even though we still would prefer them to be here in this time and see us and our family, to see the lives we have led, and to see the continuing fruit of their involvement, we know that their lives are still having an impact on us in their absence. They were successful fathers that have affected not only this generation but next as we continue to discover and embrace the wisdom, care, faithfulness, and love that was in them.
My encouragement to all is to rejoice in the role your father has played and still may be playing in your life. A father’s job is never finished. If possible, drain all the fatherness from him that you can because there are some things that can only come to you from a father. If you are a father like me, let’s find every opportunity to love our kids, protect them, offer provision, make them feel secure, teach them responsiblity and the value of hard work, and in every way show them that they have a heavenly Father that loves them. As fathers we have the best job on this planet. Keep up the good work!
Over the past several weeks, Andrew has been preaching on the necessity of us carrying and demonstrating the power of God in our lives. True Christianity means we are sent in the same way that Jesus was sent and that we do the same works as He did and even greater. There isn’t an option where we are to do less than He did. His church is to display and demonstrate His great love and His great power. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead now quickens our mortal bodies.
What would that look like if a church would begin to walk in the fulness of this power? What would the Sunday meetings be like if all the sick would be healed and the people delivered from every stronghold? What would life groups look like if miracles were performed at every gathering? What would this city be like if Christians would be willing to pray for those they meet at work and on the streets and the power of God would come on them? I believe it will turn this city upside down.
When Paul came to Thessalonica in Acts 17 they noted that the men who have “upset the world” had come to town. The early church turned the world upside down without a Bible, well rehearsed sermons, or seeker friendly meetings. They expressed the Father’s love, healed the sick, and cast out demons. Our meetings, our homes, our life styles need to change and begin to reflect more and more the power of God. As these changes take place we will see ordinary and extraordinary miracles, signs, and wonders that make us look to Him in adoration. We need to see this happen! The church that Christ died for must reflect and exhibit the same power that raised Him from the dead. We are not representing Him properly in the world if we do not display His power. Even though the world has changed from the first century, people still need to hear and feel His love. They still need to see His power deliver them from oppression, worry, fear, addiction, and depression, They still need the power of God to flow through their bodies and heal every one of their diseases, large and small. The world still needs God’s people to demonstrate His power and bring the reality of the Kingdom of God to their lives. We are that people.
We are privileged this week to have Richard Anniss with us this week. He is from Manchester, England where he leads a growing network of churches. He carries an apostolic revelation of the Kingdom of God which comes out in everything he teaches. Last night at our Easttown meeting he encouraged us to reflect on the greatness and majesty of Jesus. We were reminded of how Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one, represent His Father, and bring the fullness of the Father to this world that needed Him. In the same way that Jesus was equipped, empowered, and sent by His Father, we are sent by Jesus into this world. (John 20:21) Christ in us is the hope of glory! We are the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. We have a great mission to complete while we are here in this world. We have the necessary weapons and tools, we have our Father backing us with His love and power, and we have Jesus in us, the hope of glory. Let’s be about our Father’s business.
For the past few months we have been looking at the topic of ‘increase’ during our time together at The Point. We looked at many aspects of ’increase’ but focused in on how our love for one another must increase more and more. Andrew brought some hard-hitting, well-aimed sermons to challenge us to be the body that Christ died for, that is, a body that loves each other.
This past week I added to his series as we looked at the passage in II Cor. 3:7-18 where we are being transformed (metamorphosed) into His likeness (image) with an ever-increasing glory. Paul in this passage compares the old covenant that came in glory, yet faded, to the new covenant that comes with a glory that lasts. The new covenant comes with a surpassing glory that outshines that of the old. So often we look with longing and delight at the scriptures that describe the glory and presence of God as He manifests in the old covenant: Moses receiving the 10 Commandments, and the commissioning of the Temple. We read these scripture with curiosity and wonder, yet Paul states quite emphatically that the glory we read about there is nothing compared to the glory available to us in the new covenant. The very presence and glory of the Lord now resides in and on His chosen Bride. “And we, with unveiled faces all reflect (as beholding in a mirror) the Lord’s glory, are being transformed…” When we want to see the Lord’s glory we can find it in many places, in the throne room where He sits enthroned, ruling and reigning, in the beauty of the cosmos and creation, in the manifestation of His power when He saves, heals, delivers, and matures His people, and in His people themselves as they function in faith and love and do the works they were created to perform.
Glory is anything that causes one to notice, respond to, or worship the King. It may appear as some supernatural phenomenon or as a very natural act, but both will cause to bring attention and praise to Him. As believers we should be performing acts, both natural and supernatural, that bring attention to our Father. Not only will we be bringing glory to Him, but it will be and ever-increasing glory as we mature and grow in faith. There are exciting times ahead for us as we grasp who we are in Him and begin to be the people we were created to be.