Tag Archives: future

Walk in the Light You’ve Been Given

flashIn Judges Thirteen, an angel appeared to a Danite woman named Zorah, wife of Monoah. The angel promised this barren woman that she would conceive and deliver a son. This is how the story of Samson begins. The information she was given by the angel was pretty sparse. It includes the promise to conceive and instructions for her to follow during the pregnancy, along with a command to raise the child from birth as a Nazirite. The angel finished by saying, “He shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5 ESV). As is to be expected, she quickly reported this to her husband.

The husband prayed for the angel to reappear and teach them more. When the angel reappeared, his responses to the questions of Monoah were interesting. In verse twelve, Monoah asks, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” These questions are only natural. We all want more information. However, the angel’s answers are telling.

The angel responded without giving any more information. He simply reiterated the commands she was to follow during the pregnancy. He gave no answer whatsoever about the mission of the child. It is natural for us to want more guidance. We want God to tell us not only our next steps, but to lay out future direction. All humans have a natural fear of what the future holds, and we want access to that information. This is why fortune telling and astrology are such big business even today in the twenty-first century. Zorah and Monoah, like us, wanted to know more about the child’s future—especially more about what he was to do. It is easier to get the future right if you know the direction God wants you to take. “Lord, do you want me to go to the right or the left? Am I to preach? Am I to teach? Are you calling me to start a business?” If God would tell us which way to go, thus assuring us of his blessing, life would be much less confusing, and the future less frightening.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we ask or plead for direction and more information, God often responds by reminding us to simply obey the commands we have already been given. He has given us a great deal of direction in the Word—instructions for morals, foundational beliefs, etc. We are to continue in these and walk day by day knowing he has a plan. We may not know his plan, but we can still put one foot in front of the other and walk in obedience.

We always want more information. We want to know more about God’s plan and about his purpose for us. We forget that the information we have been given is the information we need. If we needed more he would give more. If we needed to know all, then he would show us all. The fact that he has not shown us more, is evidence that we have the information we actually need. Walk in the Word already given. Obey God with the next step, letting him worry about future steps and the final destination.

So, does this mean we should simply be satisfied with the guidance we have and not ask for more? Of course not. We should continue to seek more information from God. We do this through prayer, through studying the Word and through the input of other believers. God will show the way, but it is usually just one step at a time. One example of this is my personal call into the ministry. Years ago, I was sure I had been called to preach. Beyond that, he gave no other information. Friends confirmed it, the Word seemed to confirm it, but nothing else came—where, when, to whom? It was years before I finally got to preach my first sermon (which helped to confirm the call). It was still more years before he showed me where. Over the years he has moved me from place to place. Sometimes, I have feared that I stepped out of his will by leaving one place and going to another. However, he has shown that in each place, at each step, he was in control and guiding me invisibly behind the scenes.

Pray for more guidance. But expect God to give you only what you need and accept what he has given as all the information needed. Walk in obedience of the light you have been given and wait upon him for more light as needed. Spend time in the Word, pray, speak to believing friends and observe opportunities. Trust him to guide you and don’t sit frozen waiting for more information. Obey what has been given; trust the rest to him.

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Our Journey, The Next Step

Our last Sunday in the Danbury building will be January 18, 2015. Interestingly, many people ask questions showing a misunderstanding about “church” and about what is happening. Often I hear questions asked which imply that once the building is sold we will no longer exist as a church. This could not be farther from the truth of biblical teaching.

The word “Church” in English is actually a very different word from the one used in the New Testament—they are not even related. However, there is some cross-over. Our word “Church” comes from the German word kirche. This word finds its origin in the Greek word kyriakon. Literally it expresses the idea of “The Lord’s house” kyri-a-doma (Dictionary.com). The New Testament word for church is ekklesia. This Greek word defined an assembly of citizens called together to make decisions and take action. It was the meeting where civic body acted in concert. The New Testament church is the gathering of God’s people acting in concert in service to God.

By looking at the different words you can see the problem. The New Testament idea of church doesn’t assume a special building or place of meeting. It assumes a collection of people called out from the world coming together as the local expression of Christ. The modern English word “church” is very hard to separate from the concept of a building where special services are held and functions are performed. The modern idea would have reminded the apostles of the Jerusalem Temple. However, the temple was a picture of the assembly of the people. We are the temple of God and no building can usurp that role.

Yes, we are selling our building. We will, for a time, not have a regular facility dedicated only to meetings and services. The board has decided to spend some time meeting in a home. This means we will likely go “from house to house” for a time. This is actually biblical and more in keeping with the New Testament. Will this be our permanent condition? That is up to God. He has to guide us into his plan for the church.

During this time, keep in mind that we are still a Church in the New Testament meaning—we are an assembly of believers called out to be the local expression of Christ. Also, keep in mind that Christ promised to be in our midst wherever two or more are gathered in his name. He didn’t say, “When you gather in a suitably dedicated building, I’ll be there.” We could gather in a house, in a barn, in a tent, in a field and Jesus would still be there among us. The important thing is continuing to love one another in the name of Christ and to live out the gospel where he has us.

After January 18, we will no longer have a building. However, we still have a temple. You and I are each stones in that edifice built by God. It is a living temple, built of the people of God. When we gather together Jesus is with us. The Holy Spirit still empowers us to minister.

How long will we be without a facility? That is up to God. I am not giving up looking. This is where we are now—and we go this way in obedience of God. However, as one who has experience in house church I know we can be blessed while in this condition. Blessing comes to a congregation through being the Church, not through bricks, sticks, stones and mortar.

If being without a building undermines our dedication to each other, we would have to admit we were never an actual New Testament church. I don’t believe this is going to happen. I see this as an opportunity to get weaned off of love for place, and restore a fresh love for one another. Turn your gaze from the building and look for the presence of Christ among your fellow believers. God stopped occupying buildings when he came to live as a man (Christ) and then poured out his Holy Spirit on all flesh. People build and occupy buildings; God builds and occupies people.

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