Thursday, May 26, 2011

Planting Time

Last night we had our second Crossroads Community Church transition team meeting.  We're getting a lot done on necessary details.  As I've mentioned before, the Biblical basis of this team is found in Acts 6, where the early Christian church found it necessary to appoint certain people to take care of getting things organized. Important to do.

But life goes on, and we can't wait until everything is all in place to be praying and acting in faith!  Before last night's 7:30 meeting, there was a time for prayer.  As we heard last Sunday, prayer is the most important thing we can do.  As we pray, we open ourselves to the purposes of God and allow Him to speak to us, urging us on to those actions and plans that God himself chooses.  Please, as a matter of first importance, be in prayer for all, including for Crossroads Community Church.  Please gather with others for prayer as you are able!  Jesus promises to be with us in a special way when two or three are gathered together in his name!

We began last night's meeting with a reading of several Bible verses quoted in The Custom Designed Church -- a book we will soon be looking at in more depth.  I then read the following passage from the Brazilian Lutheran author Lindolfo Weingärtner. In this book, entitled Planting Time (Tempo de Plantar) the author introduces us to a young Lutheran pastor (Orlando) who is just returning to work after a long hospital stay--he had been badly injured in a car accident and was on his way toward a full recovery.  The book follows a pastor through the ups and downs of his work in a multiple-point parish in southern Brazil, an agricultural area where generations of Lutheran Christians have lived since the 1800s. 
No sábado, além do casamento programado...

On Saturday, besides the wedding that had been planned for that day, Pastor Orlando led worship at one of his small congregations -- and on Sunday he led three others in different locations.  Because Orlando still had his broken leg in a cast, Avelino drove the pastor to each church in his pickup truck, and Orlando asked him if he would participate actively in leading worship, reading scripture and the prayers.  At the last service, in the afternoon, in Pedras Brancas, the blacksmith (Avelino), at Orlando's suggestion, stepped up to speak to the congregation, improvising what he said at the moment.  He gave a wise and clear personal testimony, using words that were simple and down to earth.  It was the first time he had spoken at worship. 

Pastor Orlando noted that Avelino, who was accustomed to beat red hot iron with a heavy hammer in his work, spoke with great sensitivity, using words that carried weight with the people, bearing the authority of someone who had lived as a real every-day Christian man.  Orlando realized that there could a lot of benefit for a church in having the pastor laid up at times.  His deficiencies had encouraged Avelio to actively engage in the public proclamation of the Gospel.  If Avelino had felt that the pastor already had everything ready, in his notebook or in his head, ready to exercise the theological monopoly of an educated man, it would have been difficult for him to gather the courage to open his mouth.

It would be necessary to continue in this direction.  There were many spiritual gifts among the people of the church, but also many that had atrophied from a lack of use!  The Lutheran tradition, in this area, was not good.  That tradition practically restricted the preaching of the Gospel to the pastor.  Such a monopoly was not biblical, it was not apostolic.  It would be necessary to awaken those suffocated gifts and allow them to bear fruit for God!
What parallels can you find between their situation and ours?  How can we encourage one another to step out in faith even before we have everything all put together?  Can we, like Avelino just "do it," trusting God to supply what we need? 

It is spring!  It's time to plant!  The fall will be here before we know it!  Talk and PRAY with others about what the Lord lays on your heart, and let's go!

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