This past Sunday’s meeting was a little special because we had a lot of people from Ann Arbor join us for our gathering. We had the Board of Directors (people that I am mentoring) and Christina’s mentoring group come out to see what God is doing in this new church plant. The energy in the room was awesome. In fact, I told Christina that if we had this number of core committed people, then we would be able to do a lot of things. It was encouraging to see all of us together in the same room (old school and new school).
Since the room was too crowded for the number of people who were there, I decided to share from a passage instead of breaking up into smaller groups. There were several things that I focused on:
1) God uses people to do His ministry – In Ac 19:11 it says, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul.” Isn’t it amazing that even though God had all the power in the world to accomplish His purposes by Himself, He chose to demonstrate His love and power by using people? This is the heart of the incarnational ministry. God does not want us to come as idle spectators, but He wants us to be active participants. In effect, it is God’s call for every believer to embody the Gospel message to a lost world.
2) God uses humble people who are willing to pay the price to do His ministry – In Ac 20:19 Paul says to the elders of the church, “I served the Lord with great humility and with tears.” There are many references in the Bible where Paul realized that he was nothing before God. If anything good happened, it was only because of God’s grace (1 Ti 1:12-17 is a good summary of this mindset). If we are serious about seeing a church being planted in Chicago that will commit to transformation, then we have to be willing to pour out our tears in prayer.
3) God uses people who are resolved in the mission to do His ministry – In Acts 20:24, Paul says, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” How can you stop people who are that committed and resolved in finishing God’s assignment? It is my prayer that we will be more concerned about finishing the race and completing God’s task than about our future, leisure and our petty self-centered concerns. Then we will be an unstoppable force.
4) God uses people who are generous to do His ministry – In Act 20:35, it says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is a principle that is like the law of gravity – if you violate it then you will fall. In a consumer generation, it is hard to be serious about this kind of teaching in the Bible. The natural human tendency is to think that we are blessed when we receive something, but the way of the Christ’s disciple is to be blessed when we give. In many ways, this is an avenue to reflect God’s heart. Do you remember in the most memorized verse in the Bible (Jn 3:16) – “For God so love the world that He gave…” The more we learn how to give, the more we learn how to reflect the heart of God. But the amazing part of all this is that when we do give freely and joyfully, God, in an incredible way, blesses us by giving us more – crazy! We need more generous people in the church today, not just with their money but with their time and talents as well.
After the study, I felt led to pray for various groups of people represented in the room. We first prayed for all the marriages that were represented. We asked the Lord to strengthen the marriages and use the couples to reach out to other married people in the area. Then we prayed for our beloved single adults and students. I know that this is often times one of the most difficult stages of life; therefore, we prayed for God’s anointing on their lives. Then we closed out by praying for other prayer needs for this new church plant. It was a sweet meeting. God still has not failed to amaze me!