Post by: Colin Thornton

Your experience might not reflect this truth, BUT… the church is the most dynamic, exciting, challenging, transforming, worshipping, powerful and authentic community that has ever existed. After all, the church is the body of Christ and Jesus is certainly all of these things in abundance!

Likewise, that sense of optimism, purpose and power were defining marks of the early church. Of course, the early church had its fair share of challenges as do we… false teachers, figuring out its identity, understanding its purpose and facing persecution etc. However, it seemed to thrive off the challenge of the culture around it, and far from being an irrelevant voice or relegating itself to a sidelined sub-culture, it was a deeply immersed subversive entity, a powerful danger of transformation to the world around it.

In just thirty short years from the small beginnings of a rag-tag group of men & women who ‘had been with Jesus’, the message of the good news of the kingdom of heaven was lived out and brought transformation ‘to the ends of the earth’. So it makes me wonder why on earth in the west we are so often happy to settle for a church culture where faith is all about me, salvation starts and stops with my ticket to heaven, transformation changes me only to look the same as the rest of society, Sunday faith is enough, mediocre worship, limp prayer, clique community, ineffective witness and power less than that of an AA battery?

At Gateway this Sunday we are starting our new preaching series: TRANSFORMATION. We will spend this autumn term digging into the book of Acts mining for gold nuggets, the defining marks of the early church, asking ‘what of their’ repentance, confidence, enthusiasm, optimism, sense of purpose, sense of identity, generosity, worship, community, power and purpose etc. These were their defining marks which the Holy Spirit worked through to truly bring about transformation in lives, communities, cities & nations. In stark contrast the church in the west is plagued with apathy and lethargy, so the exciting (and painful) part for us at Gateway over these next few months is that we get to hold up the mirror (that is the Bible), look at our own reflection and see how it compares with the defining marks of the early church that brought transformation to the world!

 

So my call to you for this Sunday is this…

If you tick one or more of the boxes below, you really need to be there:

☐ If you think there is no way your life can be transformed or count for anything

☐ If you believe the church is irrelevant to your life

☐ If you are disillusioned with church

☐ If your faith in Jesus hasn’t transformed your life

☐ If you often think you need to do The Alpha Course over and over because you still think ‘there must be more to life than this’ (!)

… Come along to Gateway this Sunday ready to allow God to bring transformation in your life, that you might live ‘life that is truly life’.

As far as I am aware, God’s plan for the church hasn’t transformed, it is still God’s purpose that lives transformed by Jesus through his Spirit, will in turn transform the world! Therefore, we need to be transformed, and it starts with letting our ‘prophetic imagination’ begin to run wild and believe that a truly transformed people might truly transform the world in our generation.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Colin


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