Daily Bible Reading

Power to the people

As a church leader, it always surprises me when I hear Christians say that they have no need of the local church. They’re good to worship God alone in the privacy of their own home. I don’t disagree with private and personal worship, but I strongly disagree with individuals distancing themselves from the group that Jesus himself ordained.

Reading through the Book of Acts, I am more and more convinced of the benefit as well as the need for Christians to be a part of a local body. In an article titled 4 Reasons Christians Need the Church, the following reasons are given:

  • We need other Christians. If you want to know what you believe, listen to what your friends say. The more time we spend around people who ridicule God, the more we allow their attitudes to affect our thoughts and attitudes. The more time we spend with God’s people and in His presence, the more like Jesus we become.

  • We need opportunities to discover our spiritual gifts, Every one of us has a skill God wants to use to help others know Him and follow Him. We will never uncover what God has equipped and called us to do if we don’t get involved.

  • We need authority. We don’t have to believe anything anyone tells us about God. He appointed men and women in the church to lead us and to teach us. God gave us the Bible and the church so we can know what’s from Him. Through the church’s authority structure, we can test and see what’s of God and what isn’t when we can’t tell on our own. When we’ve prayed, read the Bible and still aren’t sure what to do, the church is where we go for advice.

  • We never stop needing grace. Church people are not perfect people. No matter how long we’ve been following Jesus, we are going to screw up, fall short and sin. And when we do, we need a place where we can come to be healed, restored and renewed. That place is the church.

I believe there are a few other reasons why Christians need the church.

  • We need to see signs and wonders. That I can find, the Bible has no record of a single person going around performing miracles with absolutely no support system. Miracles, signs and wonders are always tied to a group of people serving God. When we see God move, our faith is stirred to see Him move in more and greater ways.
  • We need accountability. Try driving your car down road a dark night with no moon or stars, and no headlights to light your path. How long are you able to stay on the road? Our church family is there to help keep us on the road. Do we always like to be corrected? Certainly not! But it doesn’t mean we don’t need it. By walking out our faith together, we keep each other on the right path. Alone, people have the tendency to wander and get lost.

And finally:

  • There is great strength in numbers. Study revivals. Study the great evangelists of the modern era. When people gather with a common purpose, God moves in mighty ways. When God moves mightily, people will come to watch. Soon those people have been added to the Church and more people will come to see what’s happening. Yes, the church can grow by individuals discipling individuals. In fact, we need mentors. But we also need numbers. The Great Commission is not a solo project. It is a global project.

Meanwhile, the apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people… And more and more people were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women. As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came in from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.

Acts 5:12-16 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: Esther 1-3, Acts 5:1-16

Daily Bible Reading

Super-apostles

Did you know that even church people can be deceived? Gasp!

In 2 Corinthians, Paul is writing to the church and is worried that those who had already accepted the true Gospel of Christ might listen to and believe the words of other apostles claiming a different Jesus and offering a different spirit.

For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.

2 Corinthians 11:4-6 (ESV)

Lying lips can often spew what sounds like truth.

Psalm 119:11 talks about storing up God’s Word in you heart so that you will not sin against Him. This is why it is so important that you not only know God, but know His Word and how it applies to you. Even the devil quoted scripture to Jesus.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14 (ESV)

Know God. Know His Word. Know how it applies to you so that, when the super-apostles show up, you will be able to discern God’s truth from the devil’s lies.

Daily Bible reading:Ecclesiastes 7-9, 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

Uncategorized

Every Day

I’m not good at talking to people. Socialising is about the last thing on my list of things I enjoy doing. When it comes to sharing the Gospel, I’m usually at a complete loss as where to start.

And I’m quite sure I’m not alone in this struggle.

But I wonder what would happen if we all worked on it? How many people could we reach if we just started talking about Jesus. Not as some far off being we sort of believe in, but as a real person whom we have a real relationship with.

In the book of Acts, the apostles were imprisoned because they spoke of Jesus. When an angel came to let them out, he said:

Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.

Acts 5:20 (ESV)

Of course, we know that this Life is Jesus. They weren’t commissioned to speak some of Jesus’ words or just the ones that they liked, but all of his words.

By the end of the chapter, the apostles had been called before the council, beaten and let go, and told not to talk about Jesus. So what did they do?

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 5:42 (ESV)

Do you think that maybe we could work on talking about Jesus? And not just about him, but speaking his words. His words of Truth and Life. It’s going to be a challenge for most of us.

But if we don’t speak all the words of this Life, who will?

Uncategorized

All

ALL, adjective

The whole quantity, extent, duration, amount, quality, or degree; as, all the wheat; all the land; all the year; all the strength. This word signifies then, the whole or entire thing, or all the parts or particulars which compose it. It always precedes the definitive adjectives, the, my, thy, his, our, your, their; as ,all the cattle; all my labor; all thy goods; all his wealth; all our families; all your citizens; all their property.

This word, not only in popular language, but in the scriptures, often signifies, indefinitely, a large portion or number, or a great part. Thus, all the cattle in Egypt died; all Judea and all the region round about Jordan; all men held John as a prophet; are not to be understood in a literal sense, but as including a large part or very great numbers.

I don’t know about you, but when the Bible says all, I want to see all.

Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles… And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Acts 5:12-16 (ESV)

I want to see people from all over filling our churches and, not only expecting, but actually seeing miracles. I want to see all who come in added to our numbers. I want to see all who are sick healed.

In this case, I don’t think that wanting it all is wanting too much. It’s wanting what Jesus wants for his Church.

Daily Bible reading: Esther 1-3; Acts 5:1-16

Uncategorized

One heart and soul

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him were his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

Acts 4:32-33 (ESV)

Do you think it was coincidence that, once all of the believers were in unity, great power was on the apostles?

I don’t.

I believe that the Church is at its strongest when we are unified. When we are of one heart, one soul, one mind, one Spirit.

When we allow division to distract us from our purpose, we end up watering down the Truth we’ve been commissioned to proclaim. One of my Bible school teachers said this:

We get in trouble when we shout what God whispers and whisper what God shouts.

God shouts love. God shouts unity. God shouts that we need to abide in Him.

We, as the Church, need to remember to simplify the Truth and put out the lies.

Jesus said it. I believe it. That settles it.

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37