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From Caretakers to Disciple Makers

Relevance of Local Churches

It has been decades since we have witnessed widespread Christian revival in churches in Europe and America. During this time, the Church has quietly but methodically transitioned from proclaimers of Good News to caretakers and groundskeepers. For the most affluent or financially endowed churches, their exteriors have been maintained and upgraded into beautiful edifices with sumptuous gardens, marvelous stained glass windows, and meticulously manicured woodwork. Yet, these churches echo when one enters their sanctuaries, for they are devoid of humanity.

For the less affluent churches, they simply crumble and are being sold off for homes, business offices, or torn down to make room for parking lots. Indeed, the Church universal has been bleeding membership for such a long time that we now have several generations of people that have never set foot in a church except for a wedding or funeral.

These millions of unchurched people have woven their own religion by taking bits and pieces of everything from Buddhism to Marxism. But this decline is ending. Jesus no longer allows His Bride to be a prostitute, selling Herself to anyone at any price.

Past Christian Movements

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 27:19

In the 1700s, Charles Wesley and two students started the Holy Club. Charles’ brother John joined them. The result was a movement that transformed England and was transplanted into America, resulting in a dramatic growth of relevant local churches with Biblical veracity. In the 1800s, a movement led in part by D.L. Moody swept America with similar results.

During the 1900s, America and the world experienced multiple renewals. First, In 1905, William J. Seymour, a one-eyed 34-year-old son of freed slaves, began preaching in a shack located on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Out of this tiny church was birthed the Holiness Movement and revitalized Baptist, Mennonite, Quaker, and Presbyterian denominations.

Then, in the mid–1900s, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham came on the scene. From the services of these evangelists, churches across America and England saw dramatic growth and renewed vigor. Towards the end of the 1900s, the world experienced terrific revivals in Toronto, Canada, and Pensacola, Florida.

Now, during the 2000s, astonishing church growth is witnessed in such unexpected places as Sierra Leone and Albania. This new move of God is taking hold in America. It has surfaced in Arkansas and a few other places. But it’s time for Christians across America to come into this movement. It’s time for us to stop being caretakers and become disciple-makers.

From Caretakers to Disciple Makers

Let’s remember that a local church is not a building. Instead, a local church is a congregation, a group of Christians that have gathered and established a common community, wholly submitted to the commands of Christ and accountable to a proven Christian bishop (overseer1). A primary work of a local church is making disciples. The word disciple means a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher. Every Christian is a disciple, for we follow Jesus and continually strive, as dedicated students, to learn more and apply more of God’s Word in our lives.

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2

As a disciple, Jesus has equipped us to make other disciples. The old way, like “pact a pew,” no longer works. However, people are more desperate than ever for a personal, relevant relationship with the one true God. We have the right message, and Christ has commissioned us for this work. What remains is for us to physically get up and go out and do it – to make disciples of Jesus.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12

Not every Christian is gifted with oratory skills, but every believer has a personal testimony. Telling people your testimony is how most people begin their journey to salvation and discipleship.

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Overseer: Philippians 1:1, Acts 20:28, Titus 1:6-7

Clouds In My Coffee

Clouds In My Coffee

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Today is National Cappuccino Day, so I can use coffee in my post!

I’ll bet you can’t remember who sang a song with the phrase “clouds in my coffee.” There are no fair Googling lyrics! I was listening to that song today, and the “clouds in my coffee” phrase caught my attention. I mean, it says “coffee”; how could the song not be a hit?

I got to thinking about clouds in my coffee. I nearly always drink my coffee black. However, when I pour cream into my coffee, it does look like billowing clouds. That is, until I stir it. Then the coffee and the cream are indistinguishable from each other. 

The Holy Spirit Does Disrupt Us

Just like cream clouds are disruptive to black coffee, so is the Holy Spirit when He comes into our lives. I think “clouds in my coffee” is a good analogy for receiving the Holy Spirit. When He first comes in, He does disrupt us. 

We all receive the Holy Spirit at the time we are saved. Suddenly, God is inside us, and we are energized new Christians. We run around to all of our friends and tell them our good news and encourage them to accept Jesus. This usually severs those old friendships because we no longer have the same worldview or interests. 

People are often afraid to teach about the Holy Spirit, which is disappointing. There are some basics that we need to know. For example, when we talk about the Holy Spirit, we often use the Old English word “indwelt.” The definition of indwelt means to be permanently present. A Christian indwelt by the Spirit is indwelt by God. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Ephesians 2:22)


We become Christians because we become hyper-aware of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus and our wretched condition. That hyper-awareness is called “conviction,” and the Holy Spirit is the Person of God who does this for us so that we see the truth of the Gospel. (John 16:8–11)

The Holy Spirit unites believers with Jesus and places believers into the body of Christ; the body of Christ is the Church. The Holy Spirit also unites believers with Jesus in His death, enabling believers to live victoriously over sin. (1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 6:1–10)

We receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of our rebirth. And the Holy Spirit sovereignly endows spiritual gifts or abilities for service to every believer. ( Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4) However, there is more that God makes available to believers. If we become hungry for God, God will give more of Himself to us. The Bible says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

Recognize the Holy Spirit of God lives “in” every believer. However, it’s like that cream you pour into your coffee. You have a cloud of God in you, but God may not be in all of you. You may be holding on to things of the world or shutting God out because you want to be in control of your career, your lifestyle, and your money.

God Will Give Us More

However, when we ask for more of God, God will give us more of Himself through the Holy Spirit and stir us up. One of the things Jesus does is baptize with the Holy Spirit. We know this because John the Baptist testified,” ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'” (John 1:33)

With a greater fullness of God within a believer, the Holy Spirit guides and empowers the believer who yields to God and submits to God’s Word. (Romans 12: 1, 2; Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16) When we meet these conditions, the believer lives in the power of the Holy Spirit and produces the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16, 22, 23)

Aspects of Salvation

See, that wasn’t so difficult. Of course, many aspects of salvation, sanctification, the works of the Holy Spirit, and so forth often cause separation between believers. This separation is unfortunate.

It’s good to embrace the understanding that God has given us, but we should not shut out fellow believers who emphasize other aspects of salvation. We should fellowship with all Christian believers. We are to be known by our love. But, we must not bring into the Church people that embrace heresies, doctrines not found as truth in the Bible.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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