22 September, 2012

The Dinner Bell

For the past couple of months the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me on a personal level about what we call "ministry." I don't mean to diminish the preaching that is done on Sunday, but the truth is, the biggest impact we can make (not just pastors, but all of us) is done in those settings and times outside of the church. I know pretty much everyone would agree with that, and even say that this is no new thought. Well, it's not. But where God has been dealing with me is not about doing this, but HOW I do this. I happen to live in a town where one of the most liberal minded colleges in the United States is located. In the eight plus years that I have lived here, I have found myself in more debates than I could count with students and a few faculty members from this school as to the existence of God. If you know me at all, you know I am certainly not one to shy away from a good debate. But the truth is, nothing is usually accomplished through such debate. Both sides state their opinion, and truthfully, more times than not, those on the other side become angry and walk away. Some would say that this is good, that I "won" the debate. But did I? Has there been a change of mind or thought? If not, then I've failed. 
And this is exactly where God has been dealing with me.

For weeks, actually more than a month now, I've felt God challenging me to stop trying to debate and just "walk it out" before the world. I've gone back and read, and re-read the book of Acts. Seldom was there "debate" but rather, there was demonstration. The power of Christ was displayed, and it was this "power display" that caught the attention of those outside the church. God is calling his church back to a New Testament church. I've heard people make that statement, but what they were referring to was the social environment within the church. I believe they've missed the boat on that view. The new testament church was just crazy enough to lay hands on the sick and expect for miracles to happen. And guess what? They did! When people witnessed the power of God, they began to wonder what was different with those people, and when they drew near to investigate, they discovered the Savior. John Osteen (Joel's daddy) wrote something years ago that is so true. He said, (quoting from memory so it may not be completely accurate) "Healing is the dinner bell for salvation." What he meant was that when people were healed, it got people's attention and drew people near and people were saved. John was right.

It's time that the church once again begin to walk out their faith in open display of the power of Christ.

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