Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Revolutionaries

A new book entitled “Revolution” by the well known researcher George Barna is causing quite a stir. In his book Barna foresees massive changes taking place in the Christian landscape of America. He speaks of there being 20 million believers there who are no longer involved in traditional church models, but who are pursuing their faith in new ways outside institutional church and he declares himself an enthusiastic supporter of what is happening. He foresees that by 2025 only 30% of Christians will be involved in traditional local churches, and that the percentage of those expressing their faith in alternative communities will have risen from 5% now to 30-35% by 2025. Although there is little as yet written about it, is evident that here in New Zealand too there are an ever growing number of devoted followers of Jesus who are stepping away from the old models of church life to pursue their walk of faith.

Some seventeen years ago, not long after God called us out, I sometimes struggled with the question, “Have we gone astray? It is lonely out here. There are so few of like mind.” One day, as I wrestled with these thoughts, I had a picture come into my mind of a huge field which had been ploughed, harrowed and sown. Here and there in the field were a few isolated shoots of green. As each growing shoot looked around it was aware of the vast distances between it and the others. I felt Father say to me, “That is what you are like now, like those isolated far-separated growing points, but do not fear for I have sown the whole field and one day it will all be green.” Barna's book is just another evidence that what the Lord said to me is true. All over the world the field is greening. There is a mighty work of the Spirit going on.

A Scripture in Isaiah 59:19b (NIV) says, “He will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along.” And in Isaiah 60:22 , “The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord: in its time I will do it swiftly.” I wonder are we living in such a time?

If there is one question which haunts me about what is happening it is, will we simply let God do what He wants to do, seeking only to walk in obedience to Him and to the leading of the Spirit, or will there be men who step in seeking to rule, control and organize as has so often happened in the past? We need to give heed to another Scripture from Isaiah 60: 21 “Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot of MY PLANTING, the work of MY HANDS for the display of my splendour.” What is happening is I believe a work of the Lord's hands and we must be very careful not to take it into ours.

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