It’s thrilling to realise that the New Testament churches multiplied rapidly, grew every day and “turned the world down” (Acts 17:6) – and did so without any church buildings! How? By meeting in small groups “from house to house” and discovering that their homes were the most suitable settings for the presence and power of God! In the story of the church we find salvation, healing, freedom, commissioning, church-planting and many other things all happening in peoples’ homes. The home is the frontier of Kingdom-advance; the glory of God will fill the earth, from house to house!… These truths provide a vital foundation for our churches as we come into a new season in which our house-church meetings will play such an important part of our life and mission. So, let’s stir our faith and embrace this opportunity with great expectation!
Toward the end of Matthew’s gospel, hours are unfolding before us. Jesus, the great Shepherd was to be struck and the sheep scattered, as Zechariah had foretold (Zc 13:7). Even though Jesus had promised never to leave nor forsake His disciples, they were separated. It was during this traumatic time that Peter and the others had to face their FEARS, FLAWS, and FRUSTRATIONS. All of this was necessary – for Jesus had promised to go on ahead of them to Galilee (Mt 26:32), where they would be reunited and restored (Mt 28:16), so they were ready to receive His great commission (Mt 28:18-20). During times when the Shepherd seems far away from us, He has not abandoned us, but He has gone on ahead of us, whilst doing great things within us; beyond which is always reunion and restoration.
God is so generous and kind, He gives the best gifts! The Holy Spirit wants enable every believer to speak tongues, and we look at why this gift is so important and how we can use it well.
In today’s Gospel Encounter, we meet a man oppressed by the devil to the extent that he had seemingly been robbed of everything, including his own identity. Until, that is, he encountered Jesus, the restorer of dignity who brought healing and a new commission.