Reboot

God seems to be laying a foundation for yet another of His periodic, history-changing interventions in the affairs of man. Over the last two thousand years there have been many such paradigm shifts, and it’s naive to think that our current, settled status quo will somehow be exempt from the unsettling but progressive advance of His Kingdom.

Paradigm Shifts

This newest paradigm shift is starting with pioneers who realize that God’s primary goal in history is to change not only individuals but also whole cultures and nations — as per the Great Commission.

Likewise, as with all prior interventions in history, His will is being applied to more and more aspects of His creation here on earth, just as it is in heaven — as per the Lord’s Prayer.

We also are coming to realize that the Kingdom of God — His will being done on earth (including all spheres of human endeavor) as it is in heaven — is bigger than the church. Nonetheless, we are beginning to understand that His Kingdom is not going to advance much further unless the church re-discovers her New Testament roots.

Admittedly, there is comfort in the familiar status quo of “church” as we’ve all come to know it. Some, however, are so hungry for God’s Kingdom — as it continues to progressively advance through history — that they’re willing hit to the reboot button and look afresh at God’ s purposes.

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Following God’s Presence

Today in the jail, after two hours of powerful ministry between the men one to another, they stopped and said they decided earlier this week to do something for me. They then stood around me, laid hands on me, and prayed the most wonderful, tender prayers of blessing I’ve ever heard.

I cried as I realized what they were doing, because they’ve learned – maybe with some of them for the first time in their lives – to give rather than always take or receive.

After months of mentoring them on “being” the church (see my blog, The Church in D Pod), they heeded God’s gentle call to new pastures. As a result, they now “get” it and wonderful life is flowing between them and from them – even to me!

How many church leaders – who so closely guard the microphone and the prerogatives of their front podium as they try to direct even God himself during their closely scripted and controlled Sunday services – have ever experienced the joy of being just one of many?

Do they realize they have no monopoly on the many spiritual gifts God wants us to give as acts of worship, to Him and in fellowship one with another?

If not, then they are missing the blessing of letting life and ministry flow under the prompting of the Holy Spirit – not simply from them, but to and around them.

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The Church in D Pod

This Sunday, like most Sundays, I will be fellowshipping with the “Church in D Pod” at the local jail.

D Pod is a unit housing around a hundred men, and God has been pouring out his new wine in an exciting way among those inmates.

A couple of months ago, I started shifting my focus from “conducting” church services “for” the men. God was challenging me to start mentoring and training them instead to “be” the church by learning to minister one to another.

At the same time, God sovereignly arranged for two brothers from Africa — where Christians generally are way ahead of their American brothers and sisters on these issues — to be jailed in that unit. They, too, understood the concept of ministering one to another and started fostering authentic fellowship among the men.

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The Sunday “God Show” at Your Friendly Podium Church

When did “church” become a podium-focused “God Show” watched by passive spectators for an hour or so each Sunday morning?

Where do we even find that in Scripture?

I believe that the days of the “podium church” and the Sunday “God show”are passing — where we gaze each Sunday past the back of the head in front of us to passively watch carefully scripted ministry delivered from a front podium through a tightly controlled microphone.

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New Wine Sucks

As God brings forth new wine in a new generation, there’s a fundamental dynamic that can’t be ignored. To put it bluntly, new wine sucks!

In my younger days, I was an amateur wine maker. So I know what Jesus means when he says, “no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'” (Luke 5:39)

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New Wine And Old Skins

Here’s an interesting article, reprinted below, on how people will stick to what they believe or think even in the face of contrary facts or circumstances. As I’ve watched people react to challenges and controversies Something Newover the last couple of months, and to God bursting old wine skins as he brings forth new wine, I can believe it!

Isaiah 9:6-8 tells us that God’s Kingdom, from the incarnation onward, has been and will continue to be ever advancing. As such, God is constantly fermenting new wine — and providing new wine skins to contain it — as his progressive plan of redemption moves forward from one spiritual generation to each successive spiritual generation (which can include individuals of all ages!). God’s active and ever expanding intervention in history is clear, and his tendency to discard the old while bringing in the new is repeatedly seen in Scripture.

Yet it never failed to fascinate me, as a graduate student in church history back in the 1970s, to see how — time and time again — most Christians reject God’s new wine of new anointing for new generations. Instead, they choose to stick with their old wine and old wine skins.

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