Wednesday 8 August 2012

When Churches get money right (Jack Fortenberry)

What would the church look like if it served the Lord as Priests in the Melchizedek Order?
What would the church look like if it was supported alone by Christ's Life lived in and through her saints?
What would the church look like if it cut itself adrift from preaching some Law mixed in with the free gospel of Christ, and quit doing a dosey do with the Old Covenant practices of paid priests and tithing? Supposing everything did hang or fall on the idea of giving voluntarily according to Psalm 110
Your people give themselves freely in the Day of Your Power

A Painted Picture from the beginning of Corinthian Elders by Jack Fortenberry

It had been days since the missionaries left the makeshift airstrip and climbed through the jungle following the river upstream. Spirits on the team were controlled and resolute. Who could have foreseen the unfolding of history during the last twenty years? From closed communist communities in China and Cuba had come such a witness from God working within the hearts of believers that the entire world had taken notice.

First it was only a blip on the screen as Christian charity from these developing countries began to overshadow humanitarian aid from huge industrial economies as the United States. While denominations analyzed the phenomenon for clues, the surge continued from the change in the lives of those communist believers. The character of churches began to change all over the world.

Church goers, hungry for the Spirit and with hearts set on the Kingdom, had left their favorite pew in order to ‘be the church’ and not ‘go to church.’ Less and less were heard the words, ‘good sermon’, and more and more was the love of the brethren observed in local assemblies. Evangelism was occurring across backyard fences instead of from pulpits. Dots of small assemblies permeated neighborhoods, countries and continents in numbers amazing even to the believers themselves.

Where once denominational differences had absorbed time and expense, many differences simply did not arise as brothers in Christ focused on who Christ was, what He had done and what He was doing. Other differences were discussed circumspectly with open Bibles on kitchen and patio tables.

As pastors had reconsidered Scriptural teaching on the role of elders many moved to church planting missions. This caused evangelism with unreached people groups to explode. Some pastors had sought to serve politically or as teachers and the social landscape of every country had been affected.

Funds previously spent on maintenance of church buildings and church staffs were flooding into mission agencies and hospitals. When in past ages greed and selfish motives had been ascribed to the church, now giving and serving was seen so purely selfless not even detractors of the gospel could whisper against her.

Not that sin in the world had ceased; just the opposite. But the contrast caused the light of the gospel to shine even brighter. The influx of faithful men and resources had charged like an army into the darkness of all societies but especially unreached people groups who had never before, except from shadowy tribal legends, heard the special revelation that God had come to earth as a man, fellowshipped with us, suffered and died for our sins. From conversions of tribesmen had arisen tribal elders, deacons and evangelists who in turn knew of souls dispersed throughout the mountain jungles and previously unknown tribes were found for advancement of the Kingdom.

Was it possible we were closing in on all unreached people groups with the gospel?

Our mission team had departed from civilization knowing the martyrs that previously attempted to reach these souls. There was absolutely no evidence the outcome would be any different this time, but the team continued knowing in their heart the joy and peace of serving a loving Father.

The encounter with the tribe was sudden and completely unexpected. Hearts pounded as the interpreter explained the reason for the intrusion. Throughout the night discussions were held around outdoor fires; while around the globe prayers were offered. Then an all powerful God took pleasure in the salvation of His children.

Missionaries and tribesmen alike thought dawn was breaking on the mountain when they turned as one gasping at the beauty. Then they joined the rest of mankind in bowing every knee.

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