WHO: What do you know about these 5 people?
- belonged to the one church in Antioch
- Barnabas – son of encouragement, picked up Saul
- Simeon – a black African (multi-racial)
- Lucius – from Cyrene = Libya
- Manaen - foster brother of Herod Antipas (now dead) who killed John and tried Jesus.
- Saul – a converted Jew & exterminator of Christians.
WHAT: were they doing?
- worshipping the Lord
- was it one off or regular?? Once a month?
- how long for? a day?
- how do you worship for a whole day? Sing, pray, sing?
- what did they not do (that we would normally instinctively do?)
- something else they did. . . listen.
- notice how this is different to our normal meetings or retreats.
WHY: did they do it?
Imagine you were inviting someone to this gathering, how would you explain its purpose.
- to build each other up?
- to make plans for the church
Why do we worship God?
- not to get but to give.
- not for self, but for God.
WHAT HAPPENED? One particular thing.
The Holy Spirit spoke. They obeyed. The world was changed.
All because of a little prayer meeting in Acts 13.
So what do we make of this?
1 An alive church is people who hunger after God.
2 An alive church has subgroups who get apart to fast and worship and wait on God.
How might this happen?
* The leaders might get together, not for a board meeting, but to worship God and intercede for the church.
* An inter-church group that meets monthly and prays for Tamworth.
* It doesn’t have to be leaders. You might choose to get together with a friend or two to pray together. It doesn’t have to be exactly the Acts 13 model, but be wary of automatically doing what you’ve always done. You might fast, or the fast might be that you intentionally quarantine a chunk of time and focus on God.
* What you do may have some structure (that’s for the teachers) and some unstructure (that’s for the prophets). But make sure you have some: worship, listening.
What we’re talking about may be radically different, even threatening, so just go with what you are comfortable with. But what I’m saying is take a step out of the usual. We so easily drift into a routine, and, if we’re not careful we can lock God up in a routine too. But you can probably think of a time when you did something different with God and it was precious.
Give God room to speak to you.
b) through another person.
About 20 years ago, my wife and I planned a weekend retreat with 2 other couples from church. None of us was in leadership, we were just core members of St. Paul’s. Nor did we have an agenda or even much of an expectation. We just wanted to get away and think/pray about church. We booked 3 cabins on a property outside Manilla, took some food and settled in. We went for walks and we sat around and talked about our own Christian lives and our kids and prayed together for them.
And then we talked about church. It wasn’t a winge session. It was more a dream sharing. Looking at the things our church was doing well and the potential that was in it, putting up ideas as they came to us. I can’t remember what those thoughts were, but I do remember this. We came back and we didn’t do anything because we weren’t in leadership. But a few months later, it dawned on us that our church had moved on. More than that, a lot of the things we talked about that weekend had actually happened. How did that happen!
That’s just one example. Two weeks ago, Katie shared of her time out with God at Leadership Conference. I want to give time now for others to share their experiences of a time whemn you and a few friends got away to wait on God.