http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jimperdue13&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1434767957&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr“Are we dependent upon self or are we desperate for His Spirit?” This is a question that every believer in Jesus Christ must answer. It’s a question that every church must answer as well.
It has become very easy in today’s ecclesiological climate to operate the church according to a man-made formula. As long as you have a rocking band, a cool pastor who “connects” with you, a sweet-looking logo and some “relevant” sermon series then you have the makings of a mega-church.
By no means do I want to detract from the genuine move of God in many churches that are growing supernaturally. Nor do I want to sound like a pastor who is jealous of those churches that are “growing.” God has blessed at Crosspointe in a mighty way and we continue to see growth year after year. He alone deserves the credit and receives the glory!
My point is simple, I want to remind us all that the church is not a human invention or creation; it is solely a divine creation. And can we really call it a “church” if it exists without the power of God? We are absolutely, totally and completely dependent upon the Spirit of God for the existence and advancement of the church. Someone once said, “Before Pentecost the disciples found it hard to do easy things; after Pentecost they found it easy to do hard things.”
We have begun a four-part series at Crosspointe entitled “Forgotten God: reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit.” The title is borrowed from Francis Chan’s excellent book but the content is considerably different. It is my contention that in most churches and in the lives of most believers the Holy Spirit could be absent and we would never even notice.
Is there something considerably different about my life because the Spirit of God dwells in me? Is my church characterized by clever ingenuity, marketing, advertising and catchy slogans? Or it is marked by an overwhelming sense of the supernatural power and presence of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit? He alone brings life!
Here’s a very interesting article entitled, “What the Great Recession Has Done to Family Life.” The New York Times takes a fairly counterintuitive approach to the economic turmoil surrounding us at this time.
Comparing the “Great Recession” to the “Great Depression,” the Times points to the changes that occurred after the depression and what might come about as a result of this recession. Could it be that some “things” have to be taken away from us to truly see the value of family? Could it be that through the difficult economic times we are encountering, we could gain a new perspective regarding prosperity and materialism? Could it be that actually losing some of the things we depend on for our “happiness” will reveal to us the foolishness of our ways?
My prayer is that our nation, and specifically the people of God, will learn some serious spiritual lessons through these tough economic times. I pray that we will forsake the materialism that plagues and characterizes this age and we will cling to the gospel of Jesus Christ and its supreme sufficiency. In the words of David Platt, maybe this global financial crisis will serve as a wake up call for Christians to “take back our faith from the American Dream.”
I just finished an incredibly helpful book entitled, Helping Children to Understand the Gospel (published by Children Desiring God). Because children are so impressionable and will easily “repeat a prayer” or “raise their hand,” it is important that we clearly communicate the truth of the gospel in a way that is both simple and accurate.
This book offers ten devotionals that you can go through as a family, with a group of children, or even with parents of small children. Here are the ten topics that accompany the devotions.
1. Truth One: God is the sovereign Creator of all things.
2. Truth Two: God created people for His glory.
3. Truth Three: God is holy and righteous.
4. Truth Four: Man is sinful.
5. Truth Five: God is just and is right to punish sin.
6. Truth Six: God is merciful. He is kind to undeserving sinners.
7. Truth Seven: Jesus is God’s holy and righteous Son.
8. Truth Eight: God put the punishment of sinners on Jesus.
9. Truth Nine: God offers the free gift of salvation to those who repent and believe in Jesus.
10. Truth Ten: Those who trust in Jesus will live to please Him and will receive the promise of eternal life – enjoying God forever in heaven.
As a father of three (soon to be four), I am earnestly praying and passionately seeking the Lord for the salvation of my kids. This devotional tool will help me communicate clearly the truth of the gospel in a real, practical and powerful way. I will soon be teaching these truths during family worship!