living with the last chapter in mind

Some additional thoughts along the same vein as “entrepreneurial energy” after seeing books coming out from the simple church crowd about getting churches to multiply faster with the small, “micro-church” model:

The foundational idea of the multiplication drive, to grow the kingdom of God quickly, is flawed and dangerous. It quickly puts you right back into the seat of today’s traditional church model, and living a script for which there is “no Holy Spirit required” where it becomes all about what man or woman has the clever ideas to carry the day. This church growth energy is not seen cultivated among the new testament followers. There is no scriptural support for thinking that faith in Christ “should be” happening in people at any particular pace, fast or slow. But it’s what the Holy Spirit empowers for any particular time, place, people. It’s not so much that we’ve come to a wrong answer here, but rather a case of asking the wrong question. For example, can you imagine Peter or Paul saying, “how can we get these church groups multiplying faster?” But in the NT we see Christ himself initiating, leading his followers moment by moment. Too often today we are still thinking we need to scheme on how to do his work – watch out that we don’t find ourselves beginning in the Spirit and trying to finish in the flesh. There is great danger in the simple church ranks in seeing all that is happening as a “green field” of opportunity to run with human cleverness among ranks used to working with it. When we dig down to the root of that drive, I have found it to be the flesh, not the Lord. We must be wise today so as to truly find and hold the path of the Spirit-led life, dependent upon his moment by moment leading, and not fall into the scripted paths of man’s wisdom.

With all the “re-thinking” that God is stirring up in the church today, it presents an incredible opportunity, for all who will see it, to abandon the cleverness of man (do we really think we’re expediting the work of God?) and put a renewed priority on hearing and obeying him alone. Apart from him we can do nothing, right? Let’s test the spirit behind the behavior patterns we so easily fall into, and find out what will happen if together, as his bride, we learn anew how to follow the voice of Jesus. Even though we start with baby steps. Even if it takes years to unlearn/relearn. Even though we don’t see the immediate results we’ve come to expect in our fast-food, microwave, instant-gratification oriented society. The alternative is that we keep bumbling down the road of flesh effort, never progressing to the spiritual maturity he desires. We don’t find out how he squares up our obedience till the final chapter.

(My thanks to Chuck for his help fine tuning this post)

4 Replies to “living with the last chapter in mind”

  1. I know exactly what you’re talking about, and I completely agree. It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking that this is just the latest “model” to getting outward results, which ultimately only serve to glorify ourselves, rather than God.

    Lately I’ve been thinking about this whole issue of “visible” church vs. “invisible”, which I know has been discussed for ages, but it really seems to be at the heart of so much of this. If we really accept that there is truly only the “invisible” church, the Body of Christ which ultimately cannot be defined by an affiliation with any individual or agency, but only Christ Himself, then it seems that we become free of so much pressure to try and show “results”. If the Church is really His, and not ours, then we are free to do away with any attempt at building our little religious “fences” by which we try and claim the work of God as our own. We don’t have to lworry about labeling things, to make sure that some “ministry” gets the nod for what God has done. When you think about it, it’s about as silly as flying to the moon, and sticking a flag in the moondust, as though we could really “own” the moon. Such an action serves no real purpose other than to feed human pride, and like you said, we have to be so careful than we do not get wrapped up in such kinds of endeavors when it comes to Christ’s Kingdom…

  2. Thanks Daniel! Honestly, I’m not terribly familiar with the visible/invisible discussion, but it sounds interesting. If you have any pointers to an overview of the subject, I’d be interested to see more. I wonder how what we know of the early church, both from biblical and other historical texts, fits into the discussion? In other words, were they mostly invisible?

    Thanks again, bro.

    Page

  3. Wonderful words of life. Well said from the biblical, heavenly perspective of Truth as it is in Jesus. Almost 100% “Amen.” The only thing I might question is when Page wrote, “The great invitation I see the Lord handing his church today is to give him the reins, let him be the head, no matter the results (in human terms), and no matter how wise or foolish it may seem.” I’m so thankful for the immutable sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty. Our faith crumbles if not founded on His infinite and perfect sovereignty. If He’s in any way subject to our follies, we’re sunk. So, I’m probably just nitpicking in terms of what brother Page meant, but I’ll risk it, and say, the Lord has the reins firmly in hand, He’s not waiting for us to relinquish them; He is the Head, and does not await our letting Him be the Head. His invitation to us today is, as it always has been, to believe Him, to follow Him, to trust Him as the Head, to trust Him to hold the reins unerringly. I really think that’s what brother Page meant, and I’m probably just slicing and dicing words too finely, but, then again, maybe he didn’t. Regardless, I’m immensely blessed by the undiluted Truth and godly loving tone of his posts.

  4. Nice catch, Chuck. I love your worship of our Heavenly, Awesome, Mighty, King Jesus. Already, I deeply appreciate the work he is doing, and has done, in you. For me, I think it was a lazy use of common colloquialism, without appropriate attention to whether it was communicating the right message. I’ll happily work on a better way make my point, and post inline above.

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