Yes, the church can be intimidating

Churches have a problem.

How do we win people to Christ and still please the culture around us?

Sometimes we can’t. Sometimes a church that’s ‘on fire for God’ intimidates unbelievers. That’s why they avoid it.

Notice what happened in Acts chapter five when the apostles demonstrated the supernatural power of God:

“And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.”

Did you see that?

Outsiders felt intimidated by the supernatural activity in the church, but it didn’t stop the growth.

And the supernatural events continued to happen:

As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.”CPPLogo

That reminds me of a passage in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25:

“But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!’”

Despite the intimidation factor, that’s what unbelieving seekers want.

They want an encounter with God!

That means that we—the church—must encounter Him regularly. If not, unbelievers won’t be intimidated (or won) by a timid church.

Stop apologizing for being the church. The unbelieving culture will never understand us (1 Corinthians 2:14). But when they encounter God and His love through usWow!

 

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What Would God Pray?

No doubt Jesus was a man of prayer.

By my count, seventeen times the gospels show him praying. And at least fifteen times we see him teach his disciples about prayer. We even know a lot about the content of his prayers, especially from John chapter 17.NASA Gates of Heaven

But I wonder what he prays about now. He is praying now, you know. He sits at the Father’s right hand and right now continually prays for us (Romans 8:34 & Hebrews 7:25).

And I wonder what the Holy Spirit prays about now. He’s constantly interceding for us when we groan in prayer with heart-issues that language can’t touch (Romans 8:26-27). I wonder what the Spirit prays right now.

Yes, God “prays”. He is relational – the Father, Son and Spirit. He is love. He communicates within the Godhead, the Trinity.

Remember the second Psalm? Before time began, the Father said to the Son “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance…”. Even on earth, the Messiah bathed himself in prayer. And the conversation continues in heaven.

So what’s God “praying” about now, what’s His heart-cry, His deepest desire?

PEOPLE. God converses about lost people. There’s “more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7 NIV) And God converses about born again people. Jesus and the Holy Spirit both intercede (talk to the Father) for the church constantly.

So every time you pray in Jesus’ Name, you join that “Divine Conversation”. The Father lovingly listens, Jesus leans to his left and speaks into the Father’s ear, and the Holy Spirit intercedes from the human heart level. And then our squeaky little voices chime in.

Amazing!

So – how does joining that “Divine Conversation” change your prayers?