Our worship pastor, Daniel Bashta, refers to our church RiverStone as “The Stone”. I kinda like that nickname so I think I will adopt it. Last night as I was writing, I was anticipating what would happen today, and I was not disappointed. Worship was awesome. The presence of God was just so strong. You see, it’s not about the songs, the band or the worship leader. It’s really about Him. So when you have a worship leader that knows how to really worship and not just perform then he or she can take the congregation into His presence. That’s why I really don’t like choirs, because it’s normally, not always, about the performance. Today we went into the presence of God in worship. The whole room seemed to be there at one time. It was really amazing. Tom’s sermon was about creating a “culture of opportunity” which leads to a “culture of expectancy” which brings a “culture of reality, Kingdom reality”. I can’t do it justice just talking about it. You need to go to www.riverstoneonline.org and listen to it. In my opinion it was one of those sermons that shifts the atmosphere over the church and causes breakthrough in the Kingdom. It was probably one of the best that Tom has ever preached.
This brings up a point that I have been thinking about since Albany. What makes a good church? What churches are really having an impact in their community? Why are so many churches more like social clubs? These are all legitimate questions and all I can give are my opinions. However, my opinions are based on Kingdom principals, so I think that they have a good chance of being right. So, what does make a good church? I believe a church should be Kingdom focused. It should be about transforming the community and releasing revival. In other words, it should embrace the core values that God is Good; anything is possible; Jesus won the ultimate victory and each member is significant. Of course I could write a book on just these values. The church leadership should also be about equipping and releasing its members into the ministry. It’s not the leadership’s job to do the ministry. It’s their job to empower, activate and then release the members into ministry. We need to acknowledge the gifts of the Holy Spirit and also the fact that there are Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelist today. None of these has passed away. All of the gifts are for today. How long will the church fight the battle with its hands tied behind it’s back? The church is where we are equipped to go out. Going out, getting outside the four walls is the key. Until we go out, nothing is accomplished. That’s the main problem in America today. Each church has become a fort. It’s safe inside the fort, so we had better stay in and stay together where it’s safe. No wonder most people consider the church to be irrelevant. We have to go outside the walls to have an impact in the community. We send missionaries to foreign countries; we need to send missionaries to our schools, our places of business, our malls and grocery stores. Everywhere we go is our mission field. We learn inside, we give it away outside.
So, how many churches are impacting their community? I’m afraid that the number is few. Even “The Stone” is just now beginning to have an impact outside. The best example that I can see is Bethel Church in Redding CA. There a church has not only impacted its city, it is impacting the world by doing the things I just talked about. I know there are more, but I’m not aware of them yet. We will see more come into view over the next few years. I pray that we can be one of those that have an impact on their city.
I am so glad to see God beginning to work in all denominations. He is calling His church to awake. I know that many will awaken over the next few years. We have to if we are going to impact our nation. My prayer is that all of our churches would become equipping centers where people come to be “sozoed”; saved, healed and delivered. So that they can be filled up, and then sent out like an army to change the community and release God’s kingdom here on the earth. Tom’s sermon inspired me even more to believe it can be done.
As I went to bed last night, I remembered that it was my mom’s birthday on the 5th. I could see her and Julia laughing together. Today was one of those days that I knew Julia would love so much. I know that she was at the front cheering us on, but I sure did miss her by my side. I do miss her very much but lately the pain hasn’t been as bad. That might be a shift, I don’t know yet. Time will tell. Well, it’s back to work tomorrow. It has really been a fun five days. I want to dream tonight. I want to dream about what Atlanta would be like if all the churches would begin to release the Kingdom of God in their neighborhood.