18/04/2007

God's radiant church

One of the privileges of being away is the opportunity to visit other churches and see what the Lord is doing elsewhere in the land. Last Sunday we went to Church of Christ the King (CCK) in Brighton.

Simply being with 1000+ worshippers was so inspiring. But there were three special things that spoke to me.


A vision for the next generation

CCK is blessed with outstanding musicians, including the worship leaders that are known through the Stoneleigh and Brighton CDs. There must surely be a temptation to use these musicians every single week, but they were all sitting in the congregation worshipping the Lord while some younger guys were leading.

So, the leadership there are determined to release the younger generation into ministry - so important. Also, they are free from being caught up with celebrity status. Some might say "people will come if we have these famous worship leaders playing each week." But CCK are saying - "God is here - so people will come and meet Him."


A vision for the community

Part of the service was set aside to explain their Urban Impact iniative for 2007. The initiative started around 4 years ago, through serving the community in practical ways. 

The Church is here to make a difference to the community. We are called to be salt and light. CCK is savouring the community through loving service. Doors are opening and people are being brought into contact with church who would never normally do so.

This is a stirring example - a challenge to every church - do we have a community vision?


A vision for God's people

The message last Sunday was a wonderful pastoral exposition of Romans 8v5-11 by John Hosier. {Edit 2013: Here is the download.}

The message was entitled "Life in the Spirit." John Hosier carefully contrasted life in the flesh with life in the Spirit. He brought such encouragement. Most believers at some time or other experience doubt and discouragement about ongoing sin. But here was the reminder, we may sin "But you are not in the flesh." We are therefore not condemned, we have not lost our salvation (in fact we cannot). Even though we may sin, we are still saved.

John Hosier gave a powerful contrast. There are those who can look very much like Christians but are not in the Spirit, just like an artificial flower may look very impressive but it is not real. A real flower can look very unimpressive and withered, but it is still a real flower. As believers, we can fall and become deeply discouraged - but we are still real believers. We need to go on being filled with the Holy Spirit, we need to be revived, but we are still believers.

A true believer will believe that Jesus is Lord. We may fall in all kinds of ways, but we still know Jesus is Lord. A true believer will pray - albeit weakly. A true believer will know that God's Word has the answers, even if he or she doesn't read as they should. We may fall short in all these areas, but if these things are there in our lives, then it is a sign that we are alive.

Our body is dead because of sin, but He will give life to our mortal bodies - new and glorious resurrection bodies. What a joy to look forward to!

So - we must not be discouraged, even if we feel incredibly withered. We need the Holy Spirit to fill us again, but the life is there.

I praise the Lord that He will never let us go. But I want more, more, more!

At the end there was a time of praying for those who knew they needed a fresh touch from the Lord. And the offer of prayer for healing to which a number responded. Newfrontiers is taking seriously the challenge of praying for the sick with faith (see Dan's post on the most recent Newfrontiers Magazine).

All round a wonderful time - this is a church on the move and it was a privilege to be there.

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