When Nehemiah was called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he didn’t attempt to do it by himself, and he didn’t employ a ministry team to do it with him while the citizens of Jerusalem sat around watching them. The rebuilding was a community project where everyone got involved.
All worked together and each one’s contribution was vital. Some were able to build long sections while others could only deal with the part beside their home. But no matter how large or small the contribution, ALL was needed. Even the smallest gap left untended weakened the overall project.
I saw parallels with this story in 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul wrote about ALL believers being part of the body of Christ. Each body part needs to be enabled to function and not neglected. Each part is needed to do its work if the body is going to achieve its complete purpose.
The body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Can we make this a reality? Or at least can we consider whether our current ways are reflecting the working together approach described above?
2 Chronicles 12 says about King Rehoboam: “he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord”. (NKJV)
Or in the NIV “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord”.
How many Christians today are personally preparing/setting their hearts to seek the Lord – and how many are merely sitting in church to get their weekly sermon fix?
During my life as a believer I’ve been given two clear visions.
The first vision I don’t recall in enough detail to say much, apart from it included images of four lightning bolts, each with a word identifying different dangers to the church. The only word I can recall over thirty years later was “deception”.
The second vision was two different pictures of dough.
In the first image a pair of hands were stretching the dough outwards to cover the work surface until the dough started to get thin and break apart leaving holes and pieces separated from the main batch.
The second image was of dough with yeast left to prove. Over time the dough increased in size and covered the work surface.
I shared the dough vision with my pastor of the time and he started to talk about yeast (leaven) representing sin… I knew he was on the wrong track because the Lord had already revealed the meaning to me.
The first image was man trying to increase the Kingdom by his own efforts causing weakness and fragmentation.
The second was God’s way of enlarging the Kingdom, resulting in productive growth.
“[Jesus] told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
God’s ways work, to achieve GOD’s purposes.
“As many as one in five churches could permanently close as a result of shutdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, according to David Kinnaman, president of the prominent Christian research organization Barna Group.”
( 1 in 5 churches facing permanent closure within 18 months WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2020)
So maybe back to the example of the first church members.
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. (Acts 5:42)
(Note: the temple courts was a public meeting place, not the equivalent of a church building)
What do you do when you meet someone who is open to the gospel?
An example of God shaking apart worldly church systems and building the Church HIS way.
An excellent, documented healing testimony.
What a difference it makes to search the scriptures to discover what GOD reveals about healing instead of relying on church traditions and teachings (even those of a church that believes in healing).
Many years of worsening health were turned around when Mike Hoesch began devoting his time to finding what scripture reveals about God, health and healing.
My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
I wrote the article in the link below at the beginning of April. I feel that a lot of what I’ve seen and heard recently confirms the validity of it, with some of the controversy being created over restrictions to church services.
On YouTube there have been countless videos about John MacArthur’s challenge against the Californian government’s regulations regarding gatherings of large groups that are affecting his church. The commentary I’ve read about the situation in California has included some of the most abusive, rude attacks on other discussion participants that I’ve seen from professing christians.
In Australia, there are restrictions on congregation numbers dependent on the size of meeting place, as well as apparent bans on congregational singing. The strictest situation is in the state of Victoria where a second wave of covid-19 has led to the harshest lock down in Australia since the pandemic first hit. I’ve seen professing believers from Victoria berating the state’s “wicked, totalitarian government” because of the inconvenience.
I have also seen a growing devotion to conspiracy claims being made about the corona virus; that its a media hoax; it’s a left wing conspiracy; it’s danger is being exaggerated to control the population; the restrictions and lock-downs are an attack against religious freedom – it’s persecution. (See the above reference to John MacArthur who has also stooped to promoting QAnon conspiracy claims picked up from a Donald Trump tweet).
A significant irony is the way devotees to the extreme charismania (Rodney Howard Browne), and anti-charismatics (MacArthur) are becoming unlikely allies, brought together by political ideologies and their opposition to restrictions affecting their church meetings.
I see something very significant at play – a widening separation of man’s religious systems and its concerns, and the opportunity to experience and practice a type of gathering together that I believe has a greater biblical legitimacy.
Instead of large congregations lined one row behind another, all facing and listening to one man on a stage or behind a pulpit, smaller groups in homes can genuinely encourage each other (as per Heb 10:25) when they come together; each having a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation, all done for edification. Home groups involved with community ministry sharing a the gospel confirmed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is happening now is a mild foretaste of what is ahead, so how will we survive something worse if we’re shaken by this? We need to prepare for change and be willing to embrace it. The old ways and structures of building centred, leader focused activity won’t be suited to the changed world.
It is not the time to be angry about being denied the comfortable familiarity of a professional clergy dominated, often theatrically presented service where anonymity can be maintained if desired. Now is the time to take the opportunity to establish ourselves and our relationship with Jesus on a very secure biblical foundation. Making the most of the strange times and the upheaval being experienced to focus on GOD’S agenda and HIS ways, and not be distracted by worldly concerns.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Beware of Which Voice You Are Hearing.
God’s will in healing.
An excellent rebuttal of ill-informed arguments, as well as a clear biblical response about God’s will regarding healing.