Studying Acts while being involved in church planting is opening up the meaning of the Book like never before. The latest revelation for me has been the pattern of expansion for the Kingdom of God in the first century compared to the one we see now.
Beginning with the very first chapter in Acts, there was a progression:
- Hear from Jesus/Pray
- God draws a crowd
- Explain what God did
- Many believe and become disciples
- (back to #1)
I couldn’t help noticing how different this is from what we do today. Now it goes something like this:
- Put together an event (we draw the crowd)
- Try to say something relevant
- Get people to commit
- Get them in a class
- Get them serving the event
Not that God isn’t at work among us anyway – even in our events, but there seems to be such a difference when the draw is God doing something rather than us – The challenge here is that it would require that we let go of our schedule. But maybe our deadlines do more to exclude the power of God showing up than anything. How does God draw a crowd? It seems that He would heal a beggar, set someone free from an evil spirit, or maybe just get one of His guys arrested and then break him out of jail. This is stuff we cannot program. To start with prayer/hearing from God – that is a gesture of dependence on Him. Every time I get impatient and do it myself, like Abraham, I end up with the fruit of my own efforts. Jesus was not descended from Ishmael – the child he make happen on his own schedule, but from Isaac – whose name (laughter) is a reminder of how we too often react to God’s timing.
A God event is something I cannot take any credit for – it is something others will not compliment me on because they know I didn’t make it happen – something that leaves them struggling over why they haven’t believed in the only explanation for what they just saw. I would rather wait for God’s event, because I would rather end up having to explain what He did than have to explain my own actions to people.