Most people seem to think that the Christian church was born on Pentecost day in Jerusalem, as described in the book of Acts. Ten days after Jesus had risen to Heaven, the Holy Spirit was poured out on over a hundred disciples and they started to speak new languages (Acts 2:1-4). After Peter had powerfully preached the Gospel, 3,000 were saved and baptised and suddenly there was a church in Jerusalem, in which everyone had everything in common, miracles abounded and people were converted daily (Acts 2:42-47).
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” (James 1:22-24)
Here we can see how closely doing, hearing and identity are linked. Sometimes we just need to be taken back to the basics – let’s hear what God’s saying and let’s do it.
A sure way to get an idea of what is really special to God, is to look at how much energy Satan puts into tearing things apart. For example: look at communities, cities. God loves cities – they are places where people of all nationalities come together. So they are under attack – any city in the world you’re going to find full of all kinds of evil and corruption. Another example of something that’s close to God’s heart is listening. Listening is so important to God. We live in the information age and our capacity to listen is under attack. Listening requires so much discipline.
In my first post in this series I explored the question “what is God’s mission?”, and the second post briefly answered “who are we and how did we get here?” in regards to our New Creation Christian Community. In this final post in the series I’ll set out to describe some of the new vision stirring in our community.
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Throughout our lives, God brings different ‘pearls’ of revelation to us. Some of these pearls are small; they help us to work out temporary situations. Other times, they are a lot bigger, brighter and longer lasting; they change the way we think about ourselves and those around us. Not long ago God dropped one of these very precious pearls into my hands.
We watched a typical gospel video on Sunday. It was about this criminal, Barabbas, whom the crowds opted to be set free so that Jesus might be crucified. The video explained how we are all like this criminal, Barabbas, deserving of death but set free so that Jesus might take our place.