Sermonette & Blog Local Church Waiting On YOU
Local Church Is Waiting On YOU!
The Power Of Congregation
Are you a part of a local church congregation yet? No, really are you plugged in or just skirting the outsides with an occasional visit on Easter or another favorite holiday? Or are you dutifully going because that’s what you were taught to do as a young person? Either way, I have great news; there’s some powerful yet wonderful reasons to get involved in your local church and why I believe this is the time to do it…
Let me start by saying, a huge chunk of what Jesus did in our lives when He redeemed us was to bring us into the family of God where we belong. The nature of sin and our selfish nature is to isolate and make us focused in upon ourselves whereas the work of redemption brings us into a family. Then it makes us more and more outwardly focused.
When I was a young woman just starting out, my mother was always telling me you need to join a local church. In simple language, she would urge, “This will help you take the focus off yourself and your problems, meet people and do things…”
So as one of the mothers in the Body of Christ, my intent is simply to encourage you as a Christian about the benefits of being an active part of the congregation of God. Upfront, I can tell you my plan is that you’ll get so thirsty and hungry to be a part of this great plan God has for you, that you will find your local church and join or belong like never before.
The Kruger Video Story & The Congregation
Now that you know my intention, let me start with a story about the power of the congregation. In 2004 an amateur video was made in Kruger National Park, South Africa, during a safari guided by Frank Watts that caught the attention of the world. The eight minute video was posted in 2007 to YouTube.com and became one of YouTube’s most popular videos to the tune of over 66 million views and 79 thousand comments by 2011.
In the video, to the right you can see a small pride of lions crouching in ambush style ready to pounce. Then to the left you can see a congregation of buffalo wandering into a watering hole. Now it’s a known fact that buffalo have poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell. Even to my eyes, the lion pride looked similar to the rocky landscape in that part of Africa. Assuming the wind was not in the favor of the buffalo, they didn’t have any idea they were headed straight for an ambush. They kept meandering forward until they walked right into the ambush set for them.
As soon as they get close enough the lioness pride attack stance is confirmed. They storm at the herd cutting off a baby buffalo. In the rush to capture their prey, they all fall into the watering hole including the baby buffalo.
After falling into the water, a crocodile or two got in on the action playing tug of war with the buffalo between the lion pride. The lions win and drag the buffalo onto the banks to feast. But before they can get started with pulling the buffalo apart as lions are known to do with their prey, the massive congregation of buffalo reemerge on the scene.
In the video, the herd’s intent and the power of congregation was clear. They came to rescue their own. The re-organized and furious herd moved in, charging and kicking at the lions. After a fight in which one lion is tossed into the air by a buffalo, the baby buffalo – to everyone’s surprise was still alive and runs into the herd. The re-vitalized buffalos then chased the rest of the lions away.
Now this is what I want to talk to you about. In a similar way, there’s power in the congregation of God’s people. Just like the congregation of buffalo there’s safety in numbers, there’s the power of rescue against a formidable foe and more. During my study, I came up with at least seven powers of the congregation to encourage you with. In addition to the power of numbers, the power of rescue, there’s the power of congregation, the power of unified one (I get to tell you why I believe the year 2013 is the Year of the Congregation), power of Sabbath, power of agreement and the power of community.
1. The Power of Numbers. It’s a life lesson, that there’s power in numbers. You can know there’s safety among the congregation. Then when you factor in God’s multiplication, it grows exponentially. Remember, in the kingdom one puts 1000 to flight and two puts 10,000 to flight. (Deuteronomy 32:30) Knowing this principle, we can realize why the enemy of our soul tries so hard to get us, the Body of Christ splintered into tiny fractions. Or as an individual he pushes us into offense so that we walk away, give up and go it alone. Don’t give up; stay with the congregation.
2. The Power of Rescue. Another life principle, I saw acted out by the animal kingdom on the KNP video was the power of rescue. You may have noticed that the herd (congregation) of buffalo came together to get the baby buffalo. A lone buffalo may not have been able to get the job done against a pack of hungry lions. A couple of buffalo on the front charged the lions but they were backed up by the herd.
They successfully broke up the lion pride’s feasting party and recovered their young one. From Rev. Brown’s testimony last week, we can say we’ve experienced the congregation’s power of rescue. When the enemy threatened to tear us apart through unexpected sickness, God’s congregation rallied and prayed us through. We praise God and believe our story could have been very different if it had not been for the Saints.
3. The Power of Congregation. We should be thankful, enjoy and respect the right to assemble; for there are many that do not have this freedom. In many countries, our fellow saints are in mortal danger at each instance of congregating. In the letter of Hebrews, it is written, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
It’s one of the rights, we should teach our children to respect and not take for granted. Our ancestors fought and many died, that we might have the freedom to assemble. It appears in the U.S. Constitution as a part of the bill of rights, the First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law…interfering with the right to peaceably assemble…
4. The Power of Unity. Jesus prayed for His disciples and the generations of believers to come saying in essence, “Make us one.” (John 17:20) Led by the Holy Spirit, this has become my prayer more and more in recent months and years. Even, as I say that I confess I’ve sometimes wondered what a unified church (Body of Christ) looks like. Is it a church with all of our politics lined up in agreement? Or is it a church without regard of race, color or station in life? Or maybe it’s the Body of Christ coming together regardless of doctrine, modeling love for one another.
I wondered about this, because all of the above have painted a divided church until now. So where is the power of the united church? The power lies in God’s ability to unify us. The key is all we have to be is WILLING and receptive. Then our Father God can make us one. As we lay down our differences and pre-judgments, He’s bringing us to a place of such unity where all the above mentioned differences fade away.
Now, here’s why I believe the year 2013 is the Year of the Congregation. I know you know about all the superstitions that surround the number thirteen. In our society, we’ve seen everything from thirteen being absent on the elevator, most cringing on Friday the thirteenth for fear of what might happen on such an unlucky day and Hollywood’s Friday 13th horror movies.
In my studies for the We The Sheep Series, I discovered that the Jewish community believes thirteen is one of the holiest numbers. Thirteen is the number that bonds multiplicity into oneness. For example: There are twelve tribes that are bonded into their father Israel (Yaaqov). Israel is the thirteenth. The meaning of the number thirteen is the bonding of many into one. Some things are hidden from view of the world and reserved to be revealed for, through and to Believers, the Body of Christ, the Congregation. Join me in expecting, 2013 the Year of the Congregation – the year Father God makes us one more than ever.
5. The Power of the Sabbath. The power of the Sabbath for the Believer lies in the finished work of Christ. Jesus has fulfilled every type, command or ordinance in the Old Testament. Which is why we can say, Israel rested in the Sabbath day; we rest in the Person of Christ and His finished work. By faith, we are urged to enter into the Sabbath rest. (Hebrews 4) It’s all in the receiving now. Christ has completely paid the price for our redemption.
A number of years ago, I was working hard in starting a new business. I slipped into overworking until it was seven days a week. The Holy Spirit began to prompt me about entering into the Sabbath rest explained in Hebrews 4. I didn’t quite get it and kept working too hard. But He got my attention when my computer fell victim to cyber crime. It was hacked and destroyed. And yes, I had some things backed up but suffered great data loss.
Now don’t tune me out here; I’m not saying God destroyed my computer…What I am saying is about that time, I begin to listen closely to the Holy Spirit’s leading. (smile) It was like it became clear to me that it was a trust issue. I mean really why else would I feel the need to work seven days a week? Was it fear that said Father God would not provide for me, so I had to make it happen with working non-stop.
I repented and by faith entered in the Sabbath rest provided through Jesus. Won’t you join me in striving to enter in to the rest of God daily. The Hebrew writer said it best, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11)
6. The Power of Agreement. Jesus bestowed this power to us when He said, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19) I remember as a single woman many times needing the extra power and multiplication to surge through circumstances in my life.
I’ve experienced the power of agreement with a group or individual from the congregation in all the events, high points and valleys in my life. I’m thankful for all of them. So, if you’ve slipped into thinking you are all alone in working out a problem. I encourage you to use the power of agreement resident in the church. Jesus gave us (the Body of Christ) this power in your family, business and ministry to receive a burst of victory whenever we need it.
7. The Power of Community. One of the greatest needs of humanity is the need to belong. We all have an inherent need to belong to something larger than ourselves. Therefore, God has given us community in the local church to fulfill that need. I know you can get community many different places these days, especially with social communities and all the other kind of Internet communities.
But there’s something special to be said about what you receive in the community of God. For instance, the presence of God resides in corporate praise and worship in the church like no other place. Jesus committed himself to be in the smallest assembly of God’s people saying, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
And I couldn’t go without mentioning one of the benefits of the congregation as the Elders. The Apostle James instructs the church, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up..” James 5:14,15
If you haven’t plugged in already, don’t wait to get involved in your local church. Plug in today! There’s great blessings and benefits waiting for you in your church. Besides that the Body of Christ needs you in the congregation. With your presence, your talent and support, the Church could be reaching higher heights and achieving mighty exploits that will not happen without you. Be blessed and see you at church.
Arise & Shine: With The Power Of God
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