Thursday, December 16, 2010
The Answer to Church Conflict?
Just as I prepared to write some more about church conflicts I received a letter from Van Cochrane, Pastor of the Vineyard Church Northwest in Cincinnati. I think Van has covered some of the main reasons why we have so much conflict in many congregations; too much about our control and too little about the control of the Holy Spirit.
My Friend Thom makes some of the same points in his comment about the last post. Be sure to read his insights. Now take a look at Van's letter.
It's hard to believe it's been this long, but close to 30 years ago Laurie and I sang in a Christmas Cantata. It's hard to believe, but I sang one of the tenor parts. I was a little miffed that I didn't get a solo, but oh well. One part of the cantata has always stuck in my mind - "and when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son. Born of a virgin..." I can still hear the melody in my mind. That line was based on Galatians 4:4, not always seen as a Christmas passage - yet it is. And it's a powerful presentation of the of the Gospel message. Take a moment to read through it slowly. Ask God to speak to you. Listen.
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:4-7 NIV
He came to free us from the power of the law.
He came to make us full sons and daughters of God.
He came to release the Holy Spirit to indwell us.
He came so we could know our heavenly Father.
He came to share His inheritance with us.
Take another moment to read the passage. Which of these blessings is God speaking to you about right now? Thank God for it right now!
The past few weeks I've been listing some of our foundational values for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our church today. In addition to 1-4, here are numbers 5 and 6 this week.
1. First and foremost we are a church that believes in the present day power of God released to and through all those who embrace the Gospel of Christ, because this is what the Bible teaches.
2. We believe that people need to experience God the Holy Spirit in a felt way in order to move into the fullness of all God calls us to be, because that is what we see in the Bible.
3. We believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit when properly exercised release the power of God to reveal the Kingdom of God, including the gift of tongues as a prayer language for many believers according to the Bible.
4. We believe that God is speaking today to His people, that learning to discern God's voice is a critical part of Christian maturity to be pursued by all believers, and that pursuing God's voice is part of full maturity in Christ, because the Bible teaches this.
5. We believe that all mature Christians should, first among other things, be prepared and equipped to engage in prayer ministry and under the leading of the Holy Spirit to welcome in the KOG (God's presence, power, and rule) because that is what the Bible teaches - Luke 9:1-2; 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; 2:4 & 17.
6. We believe that prophetic gifting is alive in the church today; that it is to be pursued above all other gifts, and that all believers are able to operate in some level of prophetic gifting through the Holy Spirit, because the Bible teaches this.
Acts 2:17-21; I Corinthians 14:1-5; 24-25.