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Tuesday

The Death of Church for The Life of Kingdom

As some of you know, I have been meeting weekly with other pastors here in Rome to pray for one another and pray for our city.  We pray that God will do remarkable things here, things that we can't take credit for and things that people will be talking about for generations.  I think these are good, God honoring prayers and I hope that I am here to see it happen when God pours out His Spirit on Rome, Georgia.

One thing I have noticed in my own prayers that I need to be careful of is the almost unconscious assumption that when God decides to answer my prayers for revival, He will answer them by using me and my church.  Maybe that is His plan.  Maybe He intends to use me to begin a great awakening at Northside that will in turn lead to a great awakening in Rome.

But what if He doesn't?  What if He decides to move in a truly God sized way but uses someone else and another church to do it?  Would I be able to rejoice that lives are being changed and that revival is happening if I see none of it in my own ministry?

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. -- John 12:24
We read these words of Jesus and we know, at least intellectually, what He is saying to us individually.  He means that we must let go of our own hopes, dreams, and expectations of life and surrender them all to Him.  We must allow His hopes, dreams, and expectations for us rule us. We replace our ideas of success, usefulness, etc. with His.

I wonder, though, how often we think to apply this principle to our churches. Are we willing to sacrifice the plans, hopes, and dreams we have for our church at the foot of the cross.  This can be especially difficult for pastors because we put so much of who we are into our ministries.  But unless we allow our ministries to be poured out as offerings before the cross of Christ, then they will never become fruitful.  Unless we allow our expectations and dreams for them die, they will never be used to bring life to the Kingdom.

So, when we look across the street or across the city and we see a church that God is doing mighty works in, what is our response?

As pastors do we celebrate with them as God transforms lives and stay the course with the ministry God has granted us?  Or do we allow or competitive nature to kick in and try to change everything we are doing so that we, too, can be blessed?

As church members do we celebrate with them as God transforms lives and keep our hands to the plow at the church God placed us?  Or do we jump ship so we can get in on a move of God and a more successful church?

God uses us as individuals and as churches when we die to everything apart from Him.  When we surrender everything about us and everything about our churches to Him, then we will see life come to our cities, our churches, our families, and our lives.

Are we willing to see the dreams for our church dead and abandoned if that is what it takes for revival to come to our city?

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Sheldon Clowdus

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