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Churchquake :: Alan Day

When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.   Acts 4:31 (HCSB)
 
If you check out the website of the US Geological Survey, you will find a FAQ button, and then you will find a button indicating COMMON MYTHS ABOUT EARTHQUAKES. The myths are interesting, and I have heard many of them myself, especially recently.
 
For instance, some people claim that they can predict earthquakes—but there is no scientific evidence for this. Then there is the myth that California is one day going to fall into the ocean. I know some people who think that would be a good thing—but it’s not going to happen.
 
The most popular myth that I hear today is that the number and severity of earthquakes are increasing. This is only a perception because we have better information now than previously. 
         
“In 1931, there were about 350 stations operating in the world; today, there are more than 4,000 stations and the data now comes in rapidly from these stations by telex, computer and satellite. This increase in the number of stations and the more timely receipt of data has allowed us and other seismological centers to locate many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years, and we are able to locate earthquakes more rapidly.” http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learning/faq.php?categoryID=6&faqID=110
 
About 15 years ago, I personally experienced a small earthquake.   From that experience I can say without fear of contradiction that if you are ever in an earthquake, you’ll never forget it.  
 
Even more unforgettable than a physical earthquake is when God shakes his people. He shook the church house in Acts 4—a sign of answered prayer and a sign of the awesome presence of God upon their lives and ministries.
 
If you are ever in a churchquake, you’ll never forget it. God’s presence is palpable. God’s blessings are abundant. God’s people are bold. Those outside of Christ are attracted to the preaching of the gospel. Carnal Christians give up their sin. Casual Christians get plugged in to the mission of the church. 
 
The believers In Acts 4 were described as having “boldness.” That word is synonymous with “assurance” or “conviction.” It is not arrogant presumption. Boldness is Spirit-energized confidence that comes from personal experience.  
 
We need more positive Christians.
A young boy said to his dad, “I think I flunked my history exam today.”
 
The dad said, “Son, that’s negative thinking. You should be more positive.”
 
The boy answered, “OK, Dad, I’m positive I flunked my history exam today!”
 
Boldness comes from the Spirit of Christ. Twice in this passage we are told they were filled with the Holy Spirit. 
 
It is interesting to me that the focus of the Spirit’s ministry in the Book of Acts is not to make Christians feel good but to empower us for ministry and evangelism. Christians sometimes try to turn spiritual gifts into play toys and pacifiers to make them feel better. It seems to me that the dynamite of the gospel requires the dynamic of Spirit-filled believers who share lives worth living and then live lives worth sharing. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives authenticates our witness.
 
God-rocked churches are composed of men and women who have what the country preacher described as a “case of the ‘can’t help its.’” We see that in Simon Peter and John’s words after they were commanded by the authorities to cease sharing the gospel.  “But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it’s right in the sight of God [for us] to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.’” [Acts 4:19-20] 
 
One wag described some churches when he said that they were “a bunch of mild-mannered preachers telling mild-mannered people how to be more mild-mannered.” These God-rocked believers in Acts were anything but mild-mannered. They were not ill-mannered; they were persuasive and bold.
         
The text says that “when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken.” “When they had prayed.” Not “when they had complained to the authorities about the mistreatment they were receiving.” Not “when they had a protest rally to call for civil disobedience and political action.” God rocked this little band of believers after they had prayed. 
         
They didn’t say prayers—they prayed. They didn’t read prayers—they prayed. They didn’t quote prayers—they prayed. They stood before the Supreme Court of the universe and told the judge of all creation that they needed His help to do His work in His way. A sympathetic Savior heard such selfless praying and answered with a churchquake resulting in supernaturally empowered testimony and the conversion of multitudes.
         
Many Christians have never experienced a churchquake— a spiritual shaking that transforms the church from top to bottom. Perhaps if we had a few more “knee parties” rather than “Tea parties,” we might just find what we’re searching for. 
         
E. M. Bounds said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
         
Let us pray until God rocks our lives, our families, our churches, and our society. Societal and cultural transformation is not a consequence of an election; it is the direct result of God-rocked churches motivating God-rocked Christians to live Spirit-driven lives.
 
(copyright 2010, Alan Day)
 
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Author:Alan Day
Issue:Volume 11 :: Issue 03

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