Cover to Cover: The Church

16
Apr

The Church Is Powerful

By Dawson Huss, Teaching Team
The Church Is Missional

Are you trying to live your life under powered by your own steam? Are you attempting to make it through your week by pulling yourself up by your boot straps? When life drains you dry and empty, are you trying to fill yourself back up through the people and things that only sometimes make you feel good?

In Acts 1:4 Jesus tells the disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” Later, in verse 8, He tells them about that gift, which is the Holy Spirit, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus tells his disciples that they have a mission to be His witnesses throughout the world, but in verse 4, He makes it extremely clear that they cannot simply rush out and start completing their mission. There is a critical piece missing without which they will not be able to do what Jesus called them to do: the power of the Holy Spirit.

The good news is that the rest of Acts and the New Testament that the Holy Spirit was not just a one-time, special gift to the disciples; the Holy Spirit comes permanently on every believer when they put their trust in Christ. The question to consider is whether or not we are putting the gift of the Holy Spirit to use. Jesus lets us know that the work that God has given us to do cannot be completed without the power, gifts, and presence of God that the Holy Spirit makes possible.

So let me ask you a question. In your present life, what do you need the Holy Spirit for? What can you not accomplish without Him? Do you feel Him supply you with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) as you face circumstances in your life that require them?

Jesus told the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came on them, but you don’t have to. The Holy Spirit is here. He came on you when you put your trust in Christ. Are you attempting supernatural ends by natural means? Or are you putting the Holy Spirit to good use?

To learn more, check out the message, "The Church Is Powerful" by Dawson Huss and download this document with resources and references on the Holy Spirit.

09
Apr

The Church Is Missional

By John Heflick, Missions Pastor
The Church Is Missional

One of the most confusing parts of entering any country is the paperwork. For instance, when you enter Belize, the customs form asks you to enter your port or “city of embarkation.” That sounds like a teen fantasy book, not travel instructions. When I asked the flight attendant what that word meant, she explained that it’s just another way of indicating what city you left from.

Embarkation is the first step in any journey. Jesus understood this simple word.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 29:19-20

The focal point of this verse is making disciples, but the first action is embarkation. We tend to think that discipleship comes before going. That’s not the way it works. The verb tense is more literally translated, “as you’re going… make disciples.” It mandates action and assumes that the motion will never stop.

There’s no mention of becoming perfect before we embark. There’s not a hint of being fixed first. We’re not discipled first and then we reach out. This is not a linear, sequential process. Look at the verses preceding this one and you’ll quickly see that some of those who received this call still had their doubts that Jesus was who he said he was. God’s mission is most often a beautiful, jumbled mess of grace that only God can make sense of. He knew all this and told us to go anyway.

Why is this so important? I’ll let the Bible unpack itself.

“He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So, we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20.

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14.

Our role is to embark, roll up our sleeves and open our mouths. The rest is up to God who promised he’d be with us no matter what. No need to worry about being ready for this. No one is ready. Just embark and represent Jesus wherever he takes you. The Church is missional. How else will the world around us meet Jesus?

To learn more, check out the message, "The Church Is Missional" by Steve Musto.