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Oct 22, 2022 06:00am
Has The Church Settled?
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If you had to summarize your faith with only one word, what would it be?

For those of us who call ourselves Christians, hopefully that word would be “Jesus”. He is the one thing we have that other faiths do not. He is the beginning and the end. He is the all-powerful God whose power should be evident in and through His followers.

Now go back and read that last sentence one more time.

Then ask yourself if the power of Jesus that should be evident is really evident. Is the Jesus we and our churches display really the powerful and transformative God the world is looking for? Do outsiders see evidence that Jesus is real and powerful in our lives?

Or have we settled for something less?

Have we settled for a faith that hypothetically believes God can do the impossible, yet we don’t expect Him to actually do it? Do our communities stand in awe of what is happening through our local churches, or do they not give us a second thought?

We live in a world where many resist accepting the message of Jesus without some proof. Just like the apostle Thomas, they won’t believe until they see the evidence for themselves. Like it or not, they need to see Jesus working, before they accept that he does. And our job is to set the table for Jesus to work powerfully and miraculously.

Or have we settled for something less?

Are there identifiable areas where we have settled for less than what God offers? Do any of these areas present opportunities where we can better set the table for Him to work powerfully and miraculously?

1. Provision
I recently heard someone share about the miracle where Jesus fed thousands with a few fish and pieces of bread. Just like that boy, we each have something we can offer up for Jesus to use. And just like in this example, Jesus can use each of our offerings, no matter how small, to do miraculous things. The provision and miracles are up to Jesus. We offer him what we have.

2. Revelation
When we read about the early church, we are told they spoke with authority and great effectiveness. God powerfully used their words to bring revelation to their listeners. But somewhere along the way, many have settled for merely an academic understanding of His word instead of personally experiencing its transformative power.

3. Healing
We proclaim that we believe in divine healing, and hypothetically we do, but gut level honesty would force many of us to admit we often have low expectations. One of my biggest faith failures is when we hesitate to pray with people for healing because of fear that God will not answer that prayer, and somehow His credibility and mine will be damaged. However, those results are not our responsibility. God does still heal, and our job is setting the table for Him to do so by earnestly asking.

4. Transformation
There is no power on earth like the power of God to transform a life. I have seen it in others and experienced it personally. All around us, we see the devastation of violence, addiction, sexual abuse, and every other form of evil, yet many have settled for letting those outside our churches fend for themselves. While we have many ministries for our own people, we often have little to offer the outside world. The only way we can set the table for Jesus to work in their lives is to set the table “out there.” Unfortunately we often settle for being churches of the churched, but that was never the model nor intention of Jesus.

5. Love
Perhaps nowhere is the outside world critiquing the Church more than on the issue of love. They’ve heard all the words about loving our enemies, but how many of them have actually witnessed it. Many communities out there consider us fake. The words they sometimes hear from us don’t line up with Jesus’ model to love unconditionally. We will never be effective at setting the table for Jesus to work until we tamp down the judgment and ramp up the love.

6. Salvation
The story in the Bible where 3000 people came to faith in one day gnaws at me continually. Why are we not having those types of experiences today? One reason could be that Peter was not preaching to those already in the kingdom, but to those who were not. Do we resist sharing Christ with those who don’t know Him because it is uncomfortable? How did we ever get so far from the model of Jesus?
“For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

7. Unity
We will never be effective at setting the table for Jesus to work as long as we are setting a divided table. The outside world is drowning in disharmony and disunity, and they often don’t see the church as a refuge. Our doctrinal conflicts prevent them from seeing Jesus, whose closing prayer request was unity.
There are many people who want to know if God’s power is real and, if so, how they can experience it. It is our job to set the table for them to experience this Almighty, Powerful God. Let’s not settle for less!

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