Lloyd Ogilvie gives some great advise both to us pastors and the people we pastor on the need to be connected to the person and POWER of Jesus Christ. The following is a quote I read at the Wednesday’s Bible Study that meets in our home. We were studying Acts chapter 18 and the discussion was, “Introducing Religious People to the Grace and Power of Jesus Christ.
“Our churches are filled with good, moral, respectable people. They have domesticated the gospel into a set of rules and regulations, rites and rituals, which can be accomplished with little contact with, or need for, the Lord. The church for them has become a culturally conditioned institution of cherished programs, traditions, and procedures. The result is a practical agnosticism. Daily pressures and demands are confronted as if Calvary and Pentecost had never happened.
The secret of the renewal of our churches lies in liberating religious people who don’t know Christ personally. All that we long to have happen to our churches in new life, mission and evangelism, and courageous stewardship is dependent upon enabling these people to discover how to live the adventure of the abundant life.” – Lloyd J. Ogilvie
I can’t help but think of how many of our churches limit themselves by functioning and trying to get by in their own strength. I mean let’s face it, much of what the church attempts to do today can be done with “little contact with, or need for, the Lord.”
That’s where I think our Charismatic brothers and sisters have something we can learn. You can say what you will about their antics and YES sometimes they do get carried away, but you got to give them credit. When they get together they REALLY expect God to MOVE in their midst.
Do we really expect God to move in our lives? This is really an important point. I mean if you don’t really believe God is going to move in people’s lives, what’s the point in coming together? Do we gather to pay homage to a God that is powerless to change lives or do we gather to worship the God that makes all things possible for those who believe? What would happen if we came to church with a real anticipation that God is going to move in our church.
Matthew records a time that Jesus comes into his own hometown. He preached in the synagogue and everyone was blown away with His teaching… but He wasn’t able to do many mighty works because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58) I don’t think it was that Jesus was powerless do any mighty works, but rather not many came to Him to do mighty works.
Don’t we do the same thing? Too many times we treat God like a spare tire… only to be used in an emergency. I’m afraid that if God actually showed up in a lot of our churches a lot of us wouldn’t know what to do. Our tendency is to try to put God in a box and tell Him exactly what He can and can’t do in our lives.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:20 that we serve a God who is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or even think!” and yet how often do we really believe that? How often do we sell God short of everything that He is capable of doing? This Easter let’s let God out of the Box. We can’t confine Him there anyway. He might allow us to have the illusion of being able to put Him in the box, but that’s not where He dwells. He dwells in a temple not made with hands. He dwells within the human heart.