We want the church to remember that there is something worse than death and something better than human flourishing. If we hope only for renewed cities and restored bodies in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied.
The Holy Spirit comes on Jesus when he is in the passive state of submitting himself to God’s will in baptism and while he is praying.
The effects of the Spirit in the life of Jesus are evident in what follows: the power to resist the wiles of Satan, the power to recall and apply Scripture, the power to see God’s plan and purposes and to proclaim the Word boldly, the power to withstand hostility, and the power to minister to and heal the oppressed. The Spirit in the lives of believers can do the same things.
Researcher, Jim Haney on the habits that result in fruitfulness in multiplying movements of disciples and churches.
Ghanaian Proverb—“If there is anything between you and power, remove it.” Fruitful practitioners deal with the things that prevent the Holy Spirit from empowering them.
Share the Gospel often, and invite people to receive Christ on the spot.
Gather those you share with into groups, whether they are believers or not.
Plan for groups to become churches.
Do not overly complicate witnessing, discipling, and forming new churches. Jesus said, “Follow me; I will make you fishers of men.”
Train for what you want; follow up for what you expect. If you are a leader who sends people for training, guarantee that they have opportunity to use their training and report their results.
Speak so they understand.
Scratch where they itch.
Expect and plan for results. If you abide, fruit will come.
Live among those you want to reach. How close? As close as Jesus was to his disciples.
The flip side: Ten habits that stifle a movement.
Interview with Jim Haney.
Acts is the only historical book in the New Testament that deals with the life of the church.
Normally a church history would focus on the internal life of the church — organization, theological disputes and development, church and culture. They aren't the main story. They stay in the background.
What is the main story? According to Harry Boer,
Acts is governed by one dominant, overriding and all-controlling motif — the expansion of the faith through missionary witness in the power of the Spirit.
Restlessly the Spirit drives the Church to witness, and continually churches rise out of the witness.
His book on Pentecost and Missions is a classic. If you're quick you can get a second-hand copy for $2.
Right now, if you’re someone who is faithful to the teaching of Scripture, and you’re living in the enlightened West (UK, US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada), I hope you feel like you’re standing on the wrong side of history.
The illusion is over, you can’t be faithful to the historic Christian faith and your culture any more.
But why are we surprised? This is what Jesus promised would happen. When it comes to the world expect trouble rather than transformation.
I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history . . . .
God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. [We] believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, saviour of the world and head of his body, the church.
Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.”
The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end. It’s on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters.
God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.
I want Christianity to influence culture as much as anyone. I want families intact. I love that the explosion of Christianity led to a revolution in human dignity; in hospitals and university. I want a renaissance of high culture that produces aesthetic wonders emanating from Christianity.
But if influence reduces merely to terms of human flourishing and the Common Good, we are not preaching the gospel. A flourishing culture that likes the trappings and benefits of Christianity, but not its kernel, isn’t biblical Christianity. A true gospel will be met with resistance because it overturns the accepted patterns of the world. New Testament Christianity assumes that a follower of Christ is well acquainted with scorn (2 Tim. 3:12).