Is it realistic to expect to change our world ?
I am having this inner argument with myself. I have been a Christian for over 30 years. When I first got saved I was so impacted by a vision for God’s glorious church that I went around telling people that in 10 years they would be thinking differently about the church and the nation would be changed because of the incredible things God would do in and through the church in the UK. I was 18 years old and had no idea what that would look like, or what huge roadblocks were in the way – especially ones in the church.
So we are a little behind my schedule, but should I now become a realistic 50 something and modify my expectations? Our culture is so ‘post Christian’, so ‘anti Christian’, so persuaded by the atheistic and post modern world view that my hopes were, on reflection, just the excited wishes of someone who knew no better. The hurdles in the lives of Christians and the Christian community are huge. Even ‘born again’ people can be reluctant church goers, reluctant prayers and occasional Bible readers, whose faith is stretched by getting themselves and 2 kids to church on time 3 out of 4 weeks.
So you can see I have a good argument for calming down, not to mention a few decades of relatively slow progress (when do I get to really be like Jesus!). But before we cut our wrists and wring our hands, or more likely settle for a less than Biblical mediocrity, let’s think about the God who can win with any hand he is dealt! Is the ‘same old, same old’ the way it’s going to be? Do you have a glimmer of thirst for something better? Do you have even a whisper of hope, a suspicion that there could be greater things? That’s the Spirit of God.
Of course He can change the world through a few, it’s already been done. Here’s an early anti Christian observer’s comment on the effect of the first apostles: "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,7and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus." (Acts 17). Interestingly they were not branded as ‘preachers of a new message’ or even ‘doers of miracles’ although both were normal ingredients in their mission. Such was their impact that social structures and norms were being shifted and challenged….and this was 2 guys!
The death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus Christ heralded and implemented a total shift in the (invisible) power structures that rule the visible world. Jesus sent the Apostles to ‘disciple nations’ not simply to make disciples of people in nations. He said it because it had become a doable task; because He finished His assignment they could have success in theirs. But they could only embark on the task when they had received power from heaven. The primary force for revolution of culture is powerful people, whose power emanates from heaven not earth. You don’t need an amazing intellect, just be clothed with heaven’s resources as a true offspring of your heavenly Father.
God is re-invading His church to re-equip us with sickness healing, inner life transforming, demon defeating power. This means radical interior redesign for us, as churches and individuals because we have lived below the spiritual poverty line for so long our lifestyle, reasonings, habits and hopes reflect minimum expectations. Pastors are reluctant to fan expectation in case people are disappointed, ‘let’s be reasonable’ they say, and leave the rest to the sovereignty of God.
Contrary to all good sense my expectations are rising to Biblical proportions. I was raised to believe the Bible and realise I edited some stuff out that I had no experience for. I am now wowed by the unedited version. I realise I have a word from God that promises His Glory in his church until it covers the earth like water covers the sea. I also see signs of outbreak everywhere: the IHOP meetings in Glasgow, the Glasgow mission school, new outbreaks of miracles in the ‘bay of the Holy Spirit revival’ (see ‘you tube’ for testimonies) in the States, the culture and miracles flowing out of Bethel Church. I have friends praying for any sick person they can find, friends being freed from years of depression, and worship that takes your breath away because of the intensity of His presence. Hours spent in prayer rooms day and night, all through the night. I see intoxicated people, drunk with joy in God, young and old alike, sometimes for hours on end. And a heart that cries ‘MORE!’ The Glory is returning to His Church, look out UK.