Time for New Wine

Could the church be coming to a fresh, and prayerfully prolonged season of new wine?

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John 2:9 – When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

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Having retired in 2014 from a 28-year pastorate, I have the freedom to travel to many churches, fellowship with so man brothers and sister, some of them good friends of long standing.  While I have no problems with the various styles of music, lighting, stage-craft, and many high tech modalities of presenting the Gospel (in truth, I wish I knew how I might use some of those things, especially technology, in the furtherance of the Gospel), there are many things I see that give me pause in my thinking and cause me to wonder.  Has the church begun to depend more on its tools and technology than on the strong presence of Holy Ghost?  Is it possible that our sticking to a schedule has replaced sensitivity to Holy Spirit?  Have we become more like observers of performance than participants in the sacrifice of praise? 

Once again, I do not ask these questions to cause controversy, or to criticize the leadership of any church?  I merely ask them to open a fresh door to thoughtful consideration.  Take another look at our Text for Today.  Jesus did something that was the reverse of the norm for the day.  He took water that had been drawn, had it placed into vessels for carrying, and turned that carried water to the best wine of the feast. 

I wonder what would happen on Sunday morning if fresh water from the well (the Word of God drawn from the well of salvation) would be poured into vessels for carrying (that is the hearer of the Word), and that water was carried forth to people who are in need of a fresh awakening, a fresh stirring.  Could it be that on the way from the point of being filled with freshly drawn water, to the point of delivery of that freshly drawn water, we would see again the miracle of water being turned to wine?  Somehow in my spirit, I am convinced that if those who fill our pulpits on Sunday morning (or any other time) would bring forth freshly drawn water, and pour it to the filling point into the lives of those who hear, that such water being delivered to those who need it, would be much more than water.  And then, receiving of that which has been carried forth, would we see the same result?  That result being the calling forth of the bridegroom, the bridegroom of this hour being Jesus.  Could we pray to that end, trusting Father to do again that which has already been done?  Oh, come, my friends, and let us pray.

Manna for Today – John 2:1-11; John 14:12-14; John 17:18; John 20:21; Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22;  Luke 5:37-38; Acts 2:13

Sent to Where

Does the Superbowl take place in a gymnasium?  No.  You must go to the right venue.

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Mark 16:15 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

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Do you go to a gymnasium for the Super Bowl, or the Rose Bowl?  Of course not.  No gymnasium is large enough.  As ridiculous as that question may seem, why do we go to church expecting to see what should be happening in the world?  Just a thought.  Yet it seems, as least from my personal observances in the past few years, that the church has adopted that very mindset; we go to church expecting to see what the Lord said would happen in the world.  Could it be that we’re missing the point?

Allow me to offer some thoughts for your consideration. 

·         When Jesus was speaking to the crowds, it is often recorded that He preached to them.  Yet when He was speaking to His disciples, His team, He taught them. 

·         Jesus healed everywhere He traveled, as long as there was faith to receive; but the vast majority of His healings took place OUTSIDE houses of worship.

·         Jesus would cast out devils anywhere He encountered them, but that work took place predominately OUTSIDE houses of worship.

·         Throughout the Scriptures, the mightiest (not all), but the mightiest manifestations of God’s power took place outside, often far removed, from houses of worship.

When you consider our Text for Today in the light of the more complete passage (Mark 16:15-20), where did Jesus send the disciples?  The world.  Where would they find the most people who needed to be saved and baptized?  The world.  Where would signs and wonders follow them, predominately?  The world.  Where would they most frequently cast out devils?  The world.  Where would they primarily speak with tongues for the first time?  The world.  Where would they most frequently need manifest power over various elements in the world that would try to kill them?  The world.  Where would they most frequently lay hands on the sick?  The world.  Do you see a pattern here?  And yet in the Christian experience of the modern era church, we see little of this in the world.  The majority of such manifestations of God’s power and presence are seen within the walls of houses of worship.

Should we see such things in the house of worship?  Yes; when they are needed.  But Jesus sent us into the world where such manifestations are ALWAYS needed.  It is God’s will that the believer live in health.  Believers cannot be demon possessed.  The house of worship should be on of the safest places a believer can attend.  Speaking in tongues in the house of worship should be a regular occurrence.  The house of worship should be that; a house of worship; a place of training. 

Manna for Today – Mark 16:15-20; Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:12-14; Mark 11:22-24; John 17:18;       John 20:21; 3 John 2