At the first night at New Wine we were being led in Ŵorship by a great band with lights, smoke and the words on the screen, when suddenly the lights failed, the screens went blank and the sound went silent. After an awkward and unsure second or two, the song continued sing together but unaccompied, and just worshipped on our own without all the aides and props just us with what we had -our voices and each other… And what is more it w beautiful, precious and anointed.
In many ways this struck me as a great picture of Church… Often it feels like that first night at New Wine when we step out of an evening gathering with great times of Ŵorship, Teaching and ministry and you return to your reality of life, and you have that choice to carry on by ourselves without all the stuff to help us,
Recently we have been teaching my little girl to ride her bike without stabilizers, or without a parent running on behind, she has to carry on on her own.
I was thinking that this isn’t a bad picture of discipleship where from the place of security with scaffolding all around us, we step out of the comfortable and secure, we are moving out of the scaffolding, we haven’t got our stabilizers on and the team aren’t there, but the choice is to carry on ourselves when there is no band, no noise and no hype.
My great former intern Sam used to say how people found it so easy to be CHristians at Soul Survivor but didn’t manage it the rest of the year… And I can understand it us easy following Jesus for a week a year, but the value of that week is actually measured in the other fifty one weeks a year.
Is our idea of discipleship to give people what they want, if is it to train, trust and release them to do it themselves.
In the Christian life there I’ll be times when the band has packed up, and the structures give way, but have we learned and grown that when the storm hits and the technology fails we carry an with following Christ with barely a seconds pause.
I bet this must be how the disciples felt when Jesus ascended into heaven? Carrying on without him, doing it independently without the teacher like the first time you drive your car without the driving instructor sat next to you.
Yet the disciples did fulfil the great commission, they not only did what Jesus had taught them to do, they taught others to do likewise and so on until you and me now, trying to learn together how to do this stuff for real in our everyday lives.
Okay, let’s do it, let’s keep following Jesus, let’s keep speaking about him and sharing the good news of the salvation story, let’s pray for and heal the sick, speak prophetically and live a life of heralding in the Kingdom, not just in the crowd of a Chruch gathering, or even with just a churchy friend, but those moments when it’s just you and God and the caverlry isn’t imminently coming over the hill and the situation calls or the spirit nudges, what do we do?
Does all the stuff we do actually equip and empower us to live for Jesus?
Perhaps it is time to unscrew the stabilizers? -Paul said “by now you should be eating meat not still on milk” it’s scary riding without the stabilizers or the running parent but then the heart of faith is, I believe (and to quote John Wimber) is spelled R-I-S-K, but us risking doing the stuff ourselves in our normal everyday lives, and also God himself taking a risk on us.
Just like the baby eagle that is thrown from the nest by the parent to teach them to fly, only to be caught before they hit the ground, but the truth is they rarely hit the ground because they normally fly.
Is maybe Jesus encouraging/throwing you from the nest to see if you’d fly, just as he did when he called Peter to step out on the water? If so, remember that the Eagle does catch her young (but normally only just milliseconds before they hit the floor.
The parent runs after the child and catches them, picks them up, brushes down rh grazed knees, and puts them back on the bike to try again, and again.
Jesus put his hand out and caught/rescued a sinking Peter as he began to disappeared under the waves he was walking on.
Too often we are rather harsh on Peter in this story, because unlike the other eleven disciples, he at least got out the boat.
Peter is someone who in this instance was singing on his own without the band, the screen and the lights.