When I was the Business Librarian at the Richard Ivey School Of Business Administration I heard a wonderful story about defining “what business you are in” as a key to business focus and success. The Adams Adding Machine Co. was a small US company making pre-computer adding machines. The son took over and decided they needed a more ambitious name for the coming computer age. He chose International Business Machines - which is still one of the most sucessful computer companies in the world. The Readings this Sunday teach us we are in the business of healing and Reconciling people to God.
- The Church is to be Holy Spirit Led
- King David wanted to build a temple to house the Arc of the Covenant. His motive was to honour God and give the people a visible reminder of their covenant relationship with God. He prayed to God and was told very clearly no - his son would build the temple.
- In stark contrast with many modern churches which pray but are not really willing to give up their authority to God.
- Has not worked well as these churches are declining
- Many churches have tried to avoid the Biblical teachings about the authority of Holy Spirit as this might upset people
- We need to help people overcome their fear of the Holy Spirit - and the supernatural worldview of the Bible
2. Build on the Reconciling Work of Jesus
To reconcile is to bring together, to re-connect people to God. The reason they are separated and not well connected is they have never heard the good News of forgiveness and healing - or they have chosen to reject it and do their own thing. Canadian research has shown that thriving churches:
- Have Orthodox teaching that connects people to God - orthodox evangellical churches are growing and more liberal / progressive churches are declining rapidly
- Have Outreach programs that intentionally connect people to God - members need meaningful things to do
- Have Community where people connect to each other - in lockdown we have learned to value of a community to share our hopes and fears and find comfort
- Have Relevance to the needs of the Community - they try to meet the real needs of the people in the community
3. We Are In the Healing and Reconciling Business
Healing includes healing whatever it is in life that has separated people from God and made them in need of reconcilliation through the work of the Holy Spirit and the Cross of Jesus. This is by definition a supernatural ministry that can not be intellectualized, sanitized and reduced to teaching notes that avoid conflict with the culture or the supernatural. Jesus explained this clearly in Luke 4.18-19:
- The spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me (v. 18) - we must first be called and anointed
- “To proclaim Good News to the poor” - the good news of forgiveness, healing and reconcilliation through Jesus - the poor are those that do not have this good news
- “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners” - includes people imprisoned in ignorance, false religion and mental strongholds (all the isms)
- “and recovery of sight for the blind” - most of whom are spiritually blind - (ALWAYS INTEPRET JESUS SPIRITUALLY)
- “to set the oppressed free” - includes people who are politically, militarily, religiously and spiritually oppressed (see notes for July 4 on spirituallifeteaching.info)
This work takes tremendous faith and courage. Church leadership is not a place for social cowards or people who just want to be liked. Churches are for is people who are broken, hurting, confused, fearful and lonely.People who want something more in life. It is a place of healing and reconciliation where they can be loved back to life, develop courage, discover their spiritual gifts and an eternal life of love, joy and peace.