Dear e-News friends and church family, Loose That Man And Let Him Go
Jesus gave this instruction to the watching crowd just after He raised Lazarus from the dead.
Lazarus was up and walking around, but still wrapped up in the grave clothes, probably hopping his way forward towards familiar voices that he could hear but not yet see.
The divine supernatural power of God seems so often to have the comical human frailty element wrapped around it. Jesus gave Lazarus life (the difficult part) but the people present had to remove the mummy like bandages from off his face and body (the easy part).
God sent His Son to die for us (the hard part), and then told us to tell everybody about it (the easy part).
God’s power heals sick people (the hard part), but we are told to lay hands on them (the easy part). God’s grace forgives the most unworthy (the hard part), but we are told to get out there into every place and share it (the easy part).
But instead, we so often make the easy part hard, and want God to do that also. So, we the church meet within the four walls of our buildings and pray for God to bring them in. We pray that God will save our families but so easily avoid the important conversations, praying someone else will take up the talking.
Sometimes, we see our friends or family come to Christ, they truly get saved, but they get stuck. They are up and walking, but walking around in the grave clothes of anger, bitterness or disappointments.
Sometimes, they just think that the live-in girlfriend will meet their inner need, or the new boyfriend will take them past their last relationship failure. Perhaps yet to learn that their own history will keep repeating itself until the grave clothes are taken off. The grave clothes of attitude (someone else’s fault), pride (I can fix this myself), loathing (I hate myself so how could God love me). As we have been learning, it’s God’s power that restores souls, but the genuine love of God’s people can help get those grave clothes off.
Right now, through church online many people are coming back to God, it’s like a spiritual phenomenon, we are hearing from so many every week. And many other churches are too!
Perhaps they were too embarrassed (or too angry) to walk in, but they can tune in anonymously. Then, once they get to hear the word, and the Holy Spirit gets to work through His amazing love and grace, the new life that was already in them is slowly and steadily released. The grave clothes are coming off.
I was looking for a product in my house the other day –sticky stuff remover, I needed to get the residue of a label off a product that I had bought. As I picked it up, I thought, this is what God has been doing in this season, He’s been removing ‘sticky stuff’ that glued us the church to the spot, and glued people to their past instead of releasing them to their futures.
We need to discern what God is doing and work with Him in this season.
This is how:
1. If Facebook were a nation, it would be the largest on earth, with over 1 billion people connected. Facebook is the most used platform to watch church online at the moment. God has sent us all as missionaries into the largest nation on earth!! So, use your social media like never before to invite and reach. Do this before Sunday, AND during the broadcast via FB parties or other links on your favourite platform.Re-tweet/like/share information that is coming out from our church life.
2. Then, if you get to connect with returning prodigals, please exercise the same grace that God has shown you. Don’t ask them where they’ve been, or how long was it since they were last in church (augh!!). We have to get grave clothes off not tie them back on.
3. Offer to chat further and meet up for a(virtual) coffee.
4. Introduce them to your other friends at church.
5. See if there is any practical help that you (includes all the church has and is doing) can offer.
6. Offer to pick up a phone and pray with them.
So many great things happening right now, here’s some news:
35,000 people have looked in on/connected with our brand-new Romanian language church online within last 2 weeks. With several saved.
This season will soon pass, and when it does, we want to look back and be able to say look at the amazing things God did in that hour. We want to see new friends connected and old one’s home. We will want to say God did the impossible difficult things, but we played our part in the possible things.
We love you guys-see you at church on the weekend. Andrew & Sue