Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Movements of Grace

"Grace is a gift that can only be felt when you are open enough to accept it." Joan of Arcadia
On Sunday we had three babies dedicated and eight baptisms! It was a really beautiful family time for CoHo. God's presence was so clearly evident, and His hand was all over the people who were baptized. What a great day we had together.

What does a church do when God shows up? Does everybody recognize it?
"Christians talk urgently about getting God back into government. Others talk about the need to get God back in public schools. What I’m most concerned about is getting God back into our churches." Steve Gaines
Gaines' book call, When God Comes to Church, gives a brief review on how God has moved in past years, from the First Great Awakening of the early 1700s to the Jesus Movement of the 1970s. It also highlights from Scripture how God revealed Himself to Moses, Jacob, David and the New Testament church.
"What happened back then tells me that there has to be more to the Christian life and to the ministry of a local church than most of us are experiencing. They didn’t have nice carpet. They didn’t have hand-polished pews…. The only ‘draw’ you’ve got is the Savior. And guess what - that’s enough."
Gaines suggests that churches need to focus more on prayer.

"Where prayer becomes the focus of a church, God’s power falls. Every church needs to be aggressive in prayer. (We also need to be spontaneous and receptive to the Spirit). I tell my congregation, ‘Don’t even think about putting a roast in the oven on Sunday morning. If you do, your chances of winding up with an Old Testament ‘burnt offering’ are good.’"
Do you expect God to show up? Did He ever leave? Is He with you at this very moment?

“I want a church where at least some things can be explained only by the presence of God.”

Ephesians 3:14-21
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.


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