True ministry begins not with giving but with receiving. We need to be filled up before we have anything to give to others.”
Joshua Choonmin Kang in Deep-Rooted In Christ
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Acts 4:13 NIV
We live in times of low expectations. Institutions, organizations, and individuals that previously commanded respect, are now met with suspiciousness. Some of our highest profile positions in government, corporations, and the church are filled with people of questionable character and instead of demanding accountability, we simply lower our ethical standards or spend time defending and deflecting attention from the poor character.
Even in our churches, our expectations are often dampened. Most churches no longer expect the supernatural, the powerful, the unexplainable, or a new spiritual awakening. We work hard to be “decent” but don’t understand that we are created to be “dynamic”.
No pastor intentionally wants to lead a church that isn’t dynamic, does not produce fruit, and is declining. No church member desires community irrelevance and spiritual impotence. Yet, this is often the unstated expectation for churches. Unhealthiness becomes the “status quo”.
This is not what Jesus died for. Jesus died so that we could have communities that are hosts for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and instruments of God’s grace. Religion, detached from the presence of God, becomes drudgery. It has been said that discipline without desire is drudgery. That is, to feel obligated to God without a deep love for God is a heavy burden, that Jesus came to lift (Mt 11: 28-30).
Jesus came to challenge the status quo of first century Palestine and every generation after that who have developed low expectations. Jesus explicitly states that he came so that we may have “Life and life more abundantly”. Abundant life is what we are created to experience. Jesus would talk about his movement as “The Kingdom”. Jesus would teach his disciples to expect to do even greater things than what he did in their midst (John 14: 12). Jesus teaches that the only way to participate in ongoing fruitfulness is through connection with Him (Jn 15:5). Fruitfulness is a metaphor for the outcomes expected when we are connected to Jesus and accept His invitation to His liberating, life-giving mission of love.
The Apostles were not the most educated, most spiritually mature, or the most gifted, but what they had was a connection with Jesus, and that is more than enough.
Over the next year, you will be hearing a lot about movements, in light of the FM board of Bishop’s statement that they are seeking to “ignite a spirit-fueled movement”. The theme of our 2023 Leadership Summits is Launching and Leading Movements. A movement is simply a sustained and organized challenge to the status quo.
The foundation of a Spirit-fueled movement requires one to be spiritually rooted in order to be spirit-filled. This is not just an admonishment for individuals, but also for entire churches. Churches who are prayer-saturated, Bible-informed, Christ-centered, and Spirit-led can expect to be part of transformational movement of God that impacts families, friends, co-workers, neighborhoods, cities, and nations.
So, as we begin 2023, let’s have an “Expectation Check”.
- Are you expecting a dynamic move of God in your life, in your church, or better yet through your life and church?
- Have you allowed yourself to get into survival mode instead of pressing into that “abundant life” that Jesus desires to give you?
- Are you spiritually rooted, in a posture of openness to the power and presence of God so that you can fully participate in the life-giving, liberating mission of love?
- Are you praying surrendered, passionate prayers to see tangible expressions of “thy kingdom come” in your life, church and throughout your sphere of influence?
- Are you praying with a sense of “Holy Expectation” that God is going to honor your request?
The movement begins when we are spiritually rooted. It is the only foundation capable to launching a movement that is this substantial.ional health as a way staying connected to the secular market place where Jesus needs a voice.