Throughout the autumn at CCK weâ€™ve been showing videos each week of various CCK members sharing stories of how the gospel has changed their lives.
These videos have served as excellent demonstrations of the tangible evidence that Jesus changes our lives, heals our broken situations, lifts us out of our addictions, carries us through times of difficulty or illness and offers us complete transformation. There are so many examples of God’s faithfulness and care in the stories shown in these videos, and they point out that the gospel is impacting people from all walks of life; whether you are an ex-rapping drug dealer or a woman provoked by the miracle of Â her newborn child.
They are excellent tools for evangelism and would make great viewing for those who would find these testimonies helpful or provocative. These videos are like seeds that can be very easily sown. That’s why we have put them all together in one place! It’s really simple to forward this page on and share these stories to those who may need to hear them.
Transition is a popular theme at the moment as certain people reach a certain stage of maturity! So it was fascinating on Sunday to speak on the theme of Elijahâ€™s preparation and release of Elisha as the one who would take on his mantle.
I have been occasionally speaking at CCK on the life of Elijah over a two-year period, and began on Sunday by pointing out that, though individual life stories can be fascinating, in reality they are not the whole story. Though one life or ministry comes to its conclusion, Godâ€™s story, the one that really matters, continues.
As a nation, Israel gave high priority to passing on its heritage to the next generation. Honouring your parents and being wise sons who obey parental counsel was hugely significant. Their world view was shaped by the rehearsing of their history and anticipating their future inheritance.
So Elijahâ€™s disciple needed to be equipped for a ministry that would be wholly consistent with what went before while also developing new dimensions.
Elijah responded to Godâ€™s command and initiated what proved to be a loving, open-handed and respectful relationship. Elisha was wholehearted in his response, â€˜burning his bridgesâ€™, saying goodbye to his past and throwing himself unreservedly into his God-appointed training programme, which proved magnificently fruitful as he ultimately entered into his own particular God-given role, similar yet different, discipled but not cloned.
Jesus told his disciples, â€˜go and make disciplesâ€™. The apostles obeyed by starting churches, not for mere â€˜church-goersâ€™ but where individuals could be â€˜apprenticedâ€™ by others who lovingly accept them because Christ has, yet also take responsibility in â€˜one-anotheringâ€™, mutual discipling, encouraging, admonishing, restoring and equipping.
Maturity and fruitfulness are the goals of a discipling relationship. We need to emulate Elijahâ€™s and Elishaâ€™s great example by embracing life-imparting friendships in local church life that develop us into our full potential in God.
Elishaâ€™s final request, namely a passionate appeal for a double portion of the Spirit that was resting on Elijah, is a great reminder to us that we will never fulfil our Masterâ€™s ambitions for us without the same promised outpouring of the Spirit on our lives.
How can we continue the work that our Master started without the power that He enjoyed? Praise God that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for us and for as many as the Lord calls to be his disciples (Acts 2:39).
Throughout the Autumn at CCK we’ve been working through aÂ preaching series from 1
Corinthians entitled – Alternative City.
This series by Joel Virgo began in September and will continue into the new year as Joel continues to explore the letter of Paul to the Church in Corinth. Relating Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians with our own 21st century experience of life in a city such as Brighton, the series has touched on issues like ‘alternative attitudes’ and ‘alternative fathers’. A brief summary of each week so far, as well as links to the audio and video content is listed here…
In this letter to the Corinthians Paul sometimes speaks harshly but he is not trying to make them feel ashamed or bad. He wants to admonition them as beloved children. He speaks firmly and corrects them but only in love. This should be our attitude also, we need robust care for one another.
The church is not to be a lecture hall, admonishment is not solely the preachers job. We have a collective responsibility for each other and we all need to preach at, encourage, admonish one another.
We can’t change on our own and we can’t change by just listening to sermons. We, all of us, need small groups, zones, discipleship. We need community to grow.
The thought of opening our lives to other people can be difficult, particularly if weâ€™ve had previous bad experiences when doing this, so we should always look to restore people gently. As a church we need to grow in this.
Power, Not Talk
Paul is utterly confident in the power of God. There is lots of â€˜talkâ€™ that we hear and can even engage in ourselves but the test should be how much power comes out of it? If there is no power there the talk is worthless. We should be on guard against foolish talk. The power is in the Gospel not in the talk and Jesus is the only one with genuine power not just talk.