Thursday, 3 December 2009

Spirit-filled missional Church

Bill Johnson has had a huge impact on some Christians I hugely respect. A revelation of God's heart as a Father and his willingness to give more of the Spirit has seen his Church apparently explode with signs and wonders, healings and miracles every week. A New Frontiers leader spent three months over there. The town is about the same size of Exeter. He did not find one person who had not heard of the Church. He did not come across one person who had anything negative to say.

Mark Driscoll has had an equally large impact on Christians all around me. Teachers I hugely respect will often quote and refer to Driscoll. His church has reached into the thousands and his exaltation to mission at the New Frontiers Brighton Conference I thought was very helpful. I particularly enjoy his teaching.

I believe God calls his Church to be both filled with the Spirit and missionally effective. I am sad when a tension is felt between those who 'want the Spirit' and those who want to 'reach the city'.

I have been pondering the following...

The Spirit is poured our for mission!

Act 1:4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me;
Act 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

The Spirit is the most important person in the Church for mission.

Christians are to pursue the Spirit and His gifts...

1Co 14:1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts
Luk 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
Eph 5:18 be filled with the Spirit

Christian life is to be in the Spirit.

The Spirit loves unbelievers among us.

Part of catching the heart of the Spirit is also to develop awareness and understanding of the family of believers and unbelievers, not simply individual experience. (1Cor14v24) It was the Spirit who breathed out guidance in 1Cor14 to use His gifts in a way which pleases Him and serves all who are present in our meetings.

Spiritual gifts can be used in a way which does not please the Spirit.

The Spirit is not pleased when gifts are not used for the common good, (1Cor 12v7) or when people are impatient mean and rude. (1Cor 12v4) The Spirit is not pleased when we do not interpret tongues, (1Cor14v13) have too many tongues (1Cor14v27), too many prophetic words (1Cor14v29), or when people are left confused (1Cor14v33). The Spirit wants to be among us and bringing gifts in a way which is powerful, understandable, explained and helpful to all.

“We want the power gifts and the sense of security that good leadership brings as well.” Lex Loizides

I believe the Spirit wants to move in our meetings through good leadership anchored in what He has spoken in the Word. 1Co 14:40 “All things should be done decently and in order.” We don’t want to misrepresent God by the way we handle His gifts. 1Co 14:33 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” God wants to attract and convict people through his genuine work but we can be put off by our weirdness and poor handling of His gifts.

We want the power of God without the unnecessary, unhelpful trappings of irrelevant Christian subculture that mean nothing. Spirit filled meetings will surely be marked by a sense of faith in the people, gifts manifesting while managed in a helpful way for guests. Music styles, lights, venues, time of day, use of technology, or specific songs, meeting formats will change as the Spirit leads us to serve our cities better, but the power of the Spirit will be increasingly among us.

For me the 'L' plates are on to learn from others and keep in step with Him.

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