God's Good Future / Day 2

BIBLE READING

Ephesians 4: 11-13

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Acts 13: 1-3

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 15: 22-28

Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings.

We have heard that some went out from us without our authorisation and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul – men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us....."

REFLECTION

When we think of the great figures of church history, it's easy to picture them as lone ranger type heroes, who single-handedly impacted their respective eras through their individual boldness and personal charisma. However, a closer examination of their lives often reveals that these great men and women were only able to accomplish their missions, achieve their goals and attain their greatness because they surrounded themselves with other people who shared their heart, passion and vision. They were a part of a team - dreaming, daring and demonstrating God's greatness together. When God said: "It is not good for man to be alone..." (Gen 2: 18), He was speaking about more than just male-female relationships and marriage. God created us to work best in partnership with one another, pursuing His purpose, listening for His call and carrying out His will.

We see this in both of the passages we read today from the book of Acts. Significant decisions were made collectively, as together God's people discerned where the Holy Spirit was leading them. In both cases we see that the church selected and sent out some of its best people in response to the leading of the Spirit. 

In our own case at Causeway Coast Vineyard, the Board of Directors, along with the Senior Leadership Team and Vineyard National Leadership, over time, collectively discerned the will of the Lord was that Neil and Janet Young will lead us forward as a church into God's good future. As they take on this new responsibility, we will also be sending Alan and Kathryn Scott, with their family, out from us, to their new assignment in California.

While this is a unique situation for us at CCV, it is by no means unusual from a Kingdom perspective. An apostolic church is by definition a church where there is ongoing, Spirit-directed movement and change, coming and going, seeking and sending. It is a dynamic environment, which is never static and sometimes unsettling. Jesus said this about the Holy Spirit: "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3: 8)

To keep in step with the Spirit means we are a community of people who have set our sails to move with the wind, even if we aren't quite sure what the destination looks like. That is simply the life of faith and to live otherwise leads to stagnation and getting stuck. Any place God is taking us, however the journey looks and feels, will always be infinitely better and more abundantly fruitful than anywhere we would have chosen to go without His leading. As John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard, used to say, “The economy of God's kingdom is quite simple: every new step in the kingdom will cost us everything we have gained to date.  We are spare change in God’s pocket, ready to be spent however He wants.”