Thursday, October 12, 2006

More About Seeds

As I was reading over the last post, I realized that the coffee shop/bookstore idea is really only one in a long series of manifestation of the emerging church. While that statement is painfully obvious, I want to try and put my spin on it. As I study the history of Christianity (which I am doing) I realize that there have been so many valid and vital expressions of the church through the ages. Even though there are periods of lethargy and dryness, as well as periods of Church history we wish we could erase, there always seems to be a renewing influence that causes us to see ourselves and God in a whole new light.

As a Pentecostal, sometimes I think our movement thinks it discovered something in 1906 that had been lost since the book of Acts. However, in my readings so far, almost every recorded saint and significant Christian movement since the book of Acts displays some evidence of the miraculous and even the spectacular (including visions, prophecies, healings, changed lives of course, and yes, even tongues). In my seminary class we began to quote Solomon - there really is nothing new under the sun.

My point is that God has placed inside of us a deep hunger for Himself. We want a real encounter with the living God. Without that encounter with God religion is overbearing and literally deadly (do I need to mention the crusades or the inquisition?). But where the living God shows up anything is possible. There is currently such a significant groundswell of people dissatisfied with a religion that doesn't lead to encounters with the living God. We recognize that we were made for something other than going to church. We were made to fulfill a high calling, a grand purpose following a Mighty Leader (who is good and just) and to do it in partnership with people we love who spur us on to greatness.

The emerging church, these new expressions of church, are just the first inklings of what it is God wants to do. There is a renewal movement coming that we can't see yet. It will incorporate the true and the real of past tradition - but in bits and pieces. For someone to boldly proclaim he/she knows what it will look like is folly. We actually only have a collection of seeds in hand - that need to be planted and watered to see what kind of harvest God causes to come up. Interesting that the seed needs to die before the new plant can start to grow. What are you planting?

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