When reading about the church in the fifth book of the New Testament, it’s fascinating to read about the excitement and unity they shared. In Acts 4, Peter and John were threatened by a bunch of religious thugs to quit speaking or doing anything in the Name of Jesus. Peter and John then went back to their gathering of Christians and they all prayed for courage to keep speaking and to do wondrous things to bring honor to the Name of Jesus. When they had finished praying, God literally shook the house, as if to say, “You bet!” and filled them with a greater measure of the Holy Spirit so that they could accomplish what they prayed for. People were tired of the world and its disappointments. The world was what they had to do and they did what they had to do so that they could get back to where exciting things happen: The Church. Their identity was with the Good News and they loved to be together with Good News people. What a relief that there’s something so much better than this world! And what God was doing was amazing –so they prayed for more… and more… and more! They believed Jesus when He told them to pray and they would have what they asked for. And what did people want and need more than anything? More of God’s Kingdom! Less world and more Good News! So they prayed… and prayed… and prayed… for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven. They prayed for people to come to salvation. They prayed that the powers of the world would be overcome by the power of heaven and they prayed for more grace to get the job done –and God gave them what they asked for.
Now, two thousand years later, a lot of people are tired of the church. Some feel like they have to do what they have to do for the church so that they can get back to where the real excitement is –the world. This is a tragedy in too many churches. Church isn’t the place to be for many people because their fellowship isn’t asking for the power of heaven to radically change the world. Houses aren’t being shaken and fuller measures of the Spirit are not being poured out. And there is a lack of courage. It’s time to turn things right-side up again. It’s time to ask for grace to come down. It’s time to ask for courage to overcome the world and for courage to speak the Name boldly. It’s time to pray for the lost to be saved in great numbers. It’s time to shake the house to bring honor to the Name of Jesus. And it’s time for it to be that radical Good News that it always has been again.
The Church is a house of prayer for all nations. The Church is more than a shelter; it’s the staging ground to fight battles that win wars. God’s power is unleashed through our asking and believing. But when our asking and believing centers around sharing the Good News and bringing honor to the Name, then the house is shaken –and the world become what we “have to do to get it done,” and the Church becomes our identity, our preoccupation, our joy and our real life. We believe and by God’s grace we SAY THE WORD.
Pray with confidence,