We have been blessed this weekend by the anointed ministry of the Denney family. Spending time with them at Friday night service, a full-day Saturday Music Ministry seminar and Sunday (two services!), they brought us back to the heart of worship. It’s all about Jesus. Let my heart be set on “receive”.
The world isn’t interested in what the church has to offer. Talk about coming to church and nobody willing to listen to you or be your friend. Heard this before? More importantly, do you believe it?
In reality, most people we assume are rejecting the gospel are not rejecting the gospel at all! They are possibly rejecting the packaging of the gospel that has been presented to them, pushing back against the man-made version of the gospel that the world has twisted. Whatever is not of God will never fill that empty part of the human heart.
Truth is, there is a God-shaped piece in every person, built and designed to accept and embrace truth. Take a look at the contemporary fiction bookshelves or browse through the latest movies playing at the cinema—it’s clear that human beings are desperately hungry for the supernatural.
So let me ask you this: why would we give them anything other than Jesus Christ?
Jesus is the supernatural in its purest form! Let’s give them what they are searching for. Let’s give them apostolic experience. Let’s give them truth.
Truly living the apostolic culture is so attractive and so enticing that society will literally run to the church to get a hold of what we have.
Stop and think about that for a moment. Do you believe it’s possible?
Consider the church in the book of Acts and how they turned the world upside down (or rather, right side up!) with the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:6). Everywhere they went, it was either a riot or revival breaking out in the streets.
In the book of Acts, we have a blueprint example of what the church should be like – and it’s not an unrealistic unattainable legend! It is the church as it was created to be – and we can be that church today. The message of the first century church is our message! Their Holy Spirit experience is the same Holy Spirit experience we have today! We need to be a book of Acts church in every way possible.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-15 (NKJV)
God did not call us to live a hidden and selfish life. The ministry of Jesus was always that of giving and reaching out to those in need, invisible and lives that want to be changed. We are called to shine before all men, to make them thirst for God, to preserve the world from judgment. Just as salt adds flavor to food, we are called to add true flavor to this world’s starving diet of humanistic philosophy and man-made religion. Bring the gospel that tastes awesome into that tasteless mess. I guarantee you that people will come running.
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
Apostolic culture should shine brightly, a distinctive and compelling presence before the world. Wherever apostolic people go, transformation should follow. Step into a restaurant, look around and ask God, whom in this place am I supposed to meet today?
Seem impossible? Most of the time we don’t see transformation because we lack the power of transformation ourselves.
2 Timothy 3:5 says it this way: “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” When do we lack power? When we try to live life through empty religion without a relationship with God. When we see the world through our natural eyes. God, help us to see through the eyes of the Spirit exactly that you want to do in and through us.
So, my brothers and sisters, before we can change the culture of the society we live in, we must change our church culture. What is it not? It is not a culture of powerlessness, accommodation and compromise.
On the contrary, it is the message of power to overcome sin and this world. We must carry a culture with us that has the power to transform.
What does apostolic culture in the 21st century look like?
We are a church of forward-thinking people. We need to be relevant and connected to today. We do not dilute the gospel message or sacrifice moral values but we find new fresh ways to introduce the truth to each new generation.
We are a church with the manifestation of the power of God. We believe in the full gospel, the whole book, all the miracles, all the signs, all the wonders, all the power. We can receive a download from the Holy Spirit anywhere we go!
We have a culture of punctuality. This means being where we’re supposed to be when we’re supposed to be there. When God says go, we go.
We have a culture of participation. Worship is not entertainment. Worship calls for active involvement – we will not receive any more out of it than what we put into it and that’s the truth. The more we plug in, the more God speaks to us. Get involved!
We have a culture of acceptance that releases freedom. The church is a place where anyone, regardless of how much money they make or what they look like, can find unconditional love. True apostolic culture must be free of bigotry, racism, legalism and any other –ism that causes prejudice. The church needs to possess an acceptance that frees people to be who they are and at the same time challenges them to become the people they are designed to be. When God calls people to the light, don’t you believe He is able to change them? Acceptance does not mean permissive love or coddling people in their sin. We confront wrong because we love. An atmosphere of acceptance ensures that any confrontation is done in love and because we want those we love to be whole.
We have a culture that embraces order. God is not an author of confusion but of peace. We must resist the mentality that God needs a chaotic atmosphere before He can move. That being said, unrestrained extravagant worship is always in order.
A church with true apostolic culture has power: life changing, earth-moving, identity-changing, priority-rearranging, turn-your-world-on-its-ear, God-fearing, meet-your-need, move-of God apostolic power. That’s what the world is hungry for and that’s what we need to have in order to give. You choose your culture. You change the atmosphere. Choose to create apostolic culture and watch the atmosphere change around you – it’s worth it.