by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 2012.
Newness for Those in Spiritual Need
This is the true newness that will permeate the uncommon church. It is an expectation and invitation for people to be transformed physically and spiritually by a reunification with their loving heavenly Father (and among a community that embraces such newness). Figure 7.1 gives an overview of why and where supernatural newness comes.
Figure 7.1 An Overview of Newness for Those in Need
God cares about those in need.
|· “I know that the LORD will take up the case of the poor and will do what is right for the needy.” Psalm 140:12
· “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in distress,” Isaiah 25:4
God wants to bestow upon those in need a spiritual and physical newness
|· Jesus declared, “I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest” (John 10:10)
· “So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
Christians are to provide a fellowship that fosters and anticipates this newness
|· “True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.” James 1:27
· “Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. And you will be blessed because they can’t repay you. Instead, you will be repaid when the just are resurrected.” Luke 14:13-14
In the previous chapters we saw that the term missio Dei describes God’s quest to be reunited with his wayward offspring. Once this reunion is made, a real newness in personal lives emerges, a newness toward which the uncommon church will be orientated. Though growing O.U.T., S.M.A.L.L. and L.E.A.R.N.ers are part of the process, a church will not become uncommonly supernatural unless it welcomes and expects spiritual and physical transformation.
People today (but probably no more than in any other period) are in search of newness. They want to alleviate bad habits, overcome harmful enticements, curb destructive behavior, be more loving, kind and generous. But something deep inside of each one of us seems to pull us back toward bad actions. The cure, the real, long-term cure for uncommonness is a church where supernatural encounter and expectation is woven into the fabric of the congregation. And so, an uncommon church will exhibit many of the characteristics of Figure 7.2.
Figure 7.2 Church Patterns That Welcome Transformation
|The uncommon church||· Expects miracles to happen
· Expects people to be changed in positive ways that no human effort could accomplish
· Expects people to show signs of growing in their dependence upon God rather than dependence upon humans
· Does not put its trust in programs, pastors, the past or trends; but daily increases in their dependence upon God’s supernatural assistance to meet physical and spiritual needs
Excerpted from ©BobWhitesel, Cure for the Common Church: God’s Plan to Restore Church Health (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2012), pp. 125-126.