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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

how popular is Jesus in our church?

 Last night our church had our first attempt at corporate prayer, a gathering for the entire congregation to pray together as a family. It is encouraging to me that we are being stirred by the Spirit to cry out to God as a family in this way. I believe he is stirring our hearts and congregation for a purpose, and I am excited. As I have been celebrating and processing the night a quote from a book I read a long time ago keeps pricking my heart. From Jim Cymbala’s book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire he writes something like,

“You can tell how popular a Pastor is by who comes to a church on Sunday morning to worship. You can tell how popular a church is by who comes to Sunday School classes. You can tell how popular Jesus is by who comes to a prayer meeting.” (emphasis mine)

It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit stirs us in such a way that Jesus becomes more popular than both our church and our pastor(s). May this wave of the Spirit catch us all in the current. May the Holy Spirit be pleased to blow through us and move forward the boundaries of the Kingdom for his glory. But the Holy Spirit is like the wind, he blows where he pleases… so who knows?

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I want to tell you why we named this blog Go At A Walking Pace. It comes from a story in the book “Faith That Endures” by Ronald Boyd-MacMillan. MacMillan tells about meeting with one of China’s most famous house church leaders, Wang Mingdao. Mingdao had been imprisoned for 23 years because of his Christian faith. 

“The first time I met him he asked me suddenly, ‘Young man, how do you walk with God?’ I listed off a set of disciplines such as Bible study and prayer, to which he mischievously retorted, ‘Wrong answer. To walk with God you must go at a walking pace.” 

MacMillan says he didn’t understand the comment, and initially dismissed it. The next time they talked, Mingdao asked him a series of questions:

“When you go back home, how many books do you have to read this coming month? How many letters do you have to write? How many people do you have to see? How many articles do you have to produce? How many sermons must you preach?”

As MacMillan answered the questions, he grew anxious thinking about all the work he had before him. As he thought about the conversation, MacMillan had a sudden insight,

“I need to build myself a cell!”

Mingdao got excited and recounted his experience in prison. He said that in prison he was deprived of everything. He couldn’t preach, he couldn’t write, he couldn’t study his Bible, he was alone. He couldn’t even speak to his jailers. Everything that had given him meaning as a Christian worker had been taken away from him.

“Nothing to do except get to know God. And for twenty years that was the greatest relationship I have ever known. But the cell was the means… I was pushed into a cell, but you will have to push yourself into one. You have no time to know God. You need to build yourself a cell so you can do for yourself what persecution did for me-simplify your life and know God. “

So why did Mingdao say we should walk with God at a walking pace?

“Because He loves His garden!”

Because He loves us. Because He gave His Son so that we could be reconciled to Him, and walk with Him in His garden. He wasn’t telling MacMillan not to study, write, preach, or work. He was telling him, and us, that we have to be careful to not get so busy working for God, that we forget about walking with God. In a world dominated by schedules and to-do lists, with unlimited distractions and entertainment instantly available, we will have to choose to slow down and be quiet. This is our hope and our prayer, that we will be a people who walk with God at a walking pace.

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