Last Sunday we had our second service at Blazing Grace Church.
I read an excerpt from Francis Chan’s “Letters to the Church” to start us out, where he told a story of a Chinese pastor who led a group of passionate, prayer-filled underground churches and then decided to try building a large “above ground” public church. The public church quickly grew to several thousand members, but they discovered that when people were coming just to listen to a sermon, it put them to sleep spiritually. When the Chinese government eventually starting persecuting churches and shut the large church down, he said they were glad because of the sedating effect it was having on the believers there.
Then we looked at –
* Why expecting a worship band to “warm people up” to the message is the wrong approach. On Sundays, when people connect with each other through sharing and praying for each other, and as a body we spend time in prayer, church becomes about relationships with others and God, and there is no need for “a warmup,” just as there wouldn’t be if we were going out to a meal with a friend whose company we enjoy. (At BGC we are forgoing a worship band to spend time breaking up into small groups of 2-3 to share and pray for each other, and then we pray together as a church.)
* We walked through the book of Acts and saw why we must be a body devoted to prayer on Sunday and during the week, just as the early church was (and how they changed the world because of it), then went to Luke 22 and saw how it is our most powerful spiritual weapon – prayer is the only tool Jesus gave His disciples to use in what was the probably one of the most powerful spiritual battles of all time, from the garden of Gethsemane to the cross.
* Employing prayer during temptation, and bringing it into our marriages.
I love the parts of our time together where people are ministering to and praying for each other, and our time praying as a church body, and how it bonds us together.