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It’s time for the Church to rise up and be the Church!

LGMHD11 It’s time for the Church to rise up and be the Church!

Dr. Lonnie G. McCowan

Words to Live by
By Pastor Lonnie G. McCowan

The greatest need in the world today is to release the do nothing attitude in believers who are doing nothing for the Kingdom of God. It’s time for the Church to rise up and be the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ; but it seems like our hands and feet have been amputated, and most of the time we’re just a big mouth. It’s time for the Church to stop being known for what we’re against and start being known for what we stand for: grace, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, and new life in Jesus Christ.

That’s why we began re-thinking our mission strategy at The Miracle Center. Jesus tells us to “go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15).“Go” is a key word for believers. You can’t spell “Gospel” without “go.” You can’t spell “Good News” without “go.” You can’t spell “God” without “go.”

Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NIV). What is a witness? Its real simple: A witness is somebody who tells his or her story. A witness just says, “This is what I saw. This is what I heard. This is what happened to me.” Nobody else can tell your story. You don’t need any special training to do it. Just tell people what Jesus has done in your life.

Jesus also said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Now what does that mean for us? Jesus was laying out a plan of ever-increasing influence. When he said go to Jerusalem, he was saying start in your own backyard. Start with your family, your friends, your co-workers. “In Jerusalem” means start in your own city and neighborhood.
Then he said you go to Judea and Samaria. Your Judea is the region where you live. Then Jesus said go to Samaria. Samaria means people who live in your area but who are culturally different from you. Do you know anybody like that? Of course you do. They might even live next door to you. Jesus was saying, “Just go to people who are different from you.”

And then he said, “Go to the ends of the earth.” That means go to everybody else. Love demands that we move beyond our comfort zone. Love demands that we go to people of different backgrounds, languages, and cultures. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a).
What are we supposed to do when we go for Jesus Christ? We’re supposed to do what Jesus did. He gave us the model. What did he do? Jesus didn’t just preach. He also cared for the oppressed, the poor, the sick, the aged, the blind, and the lepers. He cared about the mentally ill, the orphans, the widows, the imprisoned, and the homeless. Jesus cares about the people that the world wants to forget.

The biggest problems the world faced in Jesus’ day are still the biggest problems the world faces today: spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy. These are problems that affect not just millions but billions of people. How did Jesus take on these problems? He did five things:

  1. Jesus planted the church to reconcile men to God and to one another by teaching the message of grace, and faith in God.
  2. He equipped leaders by training his disciples to serve rather than be served.
  3. He assisted the poor not just with a hand out but with a hand up.
  4. He cared for the sick.
  5. He educated the next generation

To do this we have to work together it’s about churches partnering with churches to take on the problems in the communities. It’s about turning are Sunday audience into an army, that works together for the kingdom of God.

Lonnie G. McCowan is pastor at The Miracle Center of Ventura, in Ventura, CA. He can be contacted through email at lonnie100@msn.com or by visiting www.miraclecenterventure.com.

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