Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Mighty Throng - (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

Psalm 68:11. “The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NRSV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eight handy ways to spoil the renewal of the church - Part 1

This is the first part of a series about renewal in the church. The series has four parts in total and is posted once a week, on consecutive Tuesdays.

What if we did not want to reach to new people?

What to do if we want to avoid the renewal in our church?

Or even spoil it?

Here are eight handy ways to do it:

1. Organize different kind of services on every Sunday

There is a good organized way to offer services in the church.

And then there are the everything-goes-services.

When everything is organized and people can know what kind of service to expect this Sunday, it is easy to come.

And even to bring friends with you.

Other way to do the Sunday services is to surprise people, never let them know what to expect and what exactly will happen the next Sunday.

This is a good way to even lose the people who used to be loyal members of a church.

2. Do not give a role to the youth

It is good to have young people in the church on Sundays.

But as everyone knows, if you really want to spoil your renewal, you should see a young person, not hear them.

This is why they should leave the service as fast as possible, maybe to a different room.

They can have a youth service of their own, completely apart from the rest of the church.

When they do come to the Sunday service, make it very explicit that they are expected to behave, be quiet and accept everything exactly as it is done by the people who are older, and wiser, than they are.

It is even better if the young people are not given any kind of chance to participate in the organization and the program of the Sunday service.

Young people might otherwise have a fresh view of things and bring new ideas to the church.

Or even get other people infected with new ways of thinking, which could, in the long run, lead to a renewal.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What is revival?

10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
    I will be honored by every nation.
    I will be honored throughout the world.”
11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
    the God of Israel is our fortress.

Psalm 46:10-11 (NLT)

To understand what a revival is, we need to understand who God is.

When we know God we can lower our own weapons and be still.

We can honor Him and trust that He is our fortress.

Who God is then?

God awaits the opportunity to pour us His love and blessings, so that we would understand that not with our power but with His. 
But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:8 (NLT)

So that we could understand that we are sinners and Jesus is true, holy and full of love and mercy for me.

Even for me even though I am such a failure.

We have the grace to reach the point in our life where we truly lower our own arms, where we see how useless the weapons we have been using are.

The point where we leave behind our own achievements and accomplishments.

The point where we see how small they have been, how inadequate, and how that does not matter. 
10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

1 John 4:10 (NLT)

The point where we can meet our Master, Jesus Christ, the point where the Holy Spirit clarifies the sacrifice that Jesus did for me.

Where we can pray at the feet of Jesus and receive His love and acceptance.

Where our hearts are broken and our wounds are cleaned and healed.
That is when we can truly understand who God is.

When we are able to experience how good God is, it changes us and it changes our attitudes so that we become more like Jesus.

We won’t do good deeds out of fear of the punishment or because we want to have the retributions and prizes.
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

Romans 2:4 (NLT)

We do the will of God because of the love that God gives us, even when we don’t deserve it.

The goodness of God draws us towards Him.

When we have the experienced the mercy to live in the radiance of God, it starts to change us and seep from us.

The people around us began to sense that God accepts them, even though they have sinned.

They are not punished, because the Christ has suffered the punishment.

Jesus gives them the power to change, and that is a revival.