30.8.06

A winning heart - Jesus Army Life, Day 397

Photo by do.se of flickr.comRecently I asked God to teach me more about the power of prayer. I didn't have long to wait for my first lesson. The church had a three day festival coming up and I felt pretty desperate for God to do something in all the guys I take care of. So I prayed.

The weekend was certainly dramatic with healings and deliverances. The power of God was there. One of my friends was broken to tears, the first night, received the gift of tongues on the second and was bowled over by the Spirit the following day. Another two received effective and obvious deliverance from evil spirits that had afflicted them. I continue to pray for some of the other guys.

God touched many of the youngsters we had around in a variety of ways and one can but love Him for it. A week ago at Agape the leader spoke of winning our youngsters into real discipleship. He spoke from Matthew 18 about how we all get things wrong and have to be won into maturity by our brothers and sisters. We can't expect people to suddenly be perfect.

It was a beautiful message for me because for the first time I felt seriously able to bridge the gap between the pledge of baptism and the covenant commitment we celebrate as a church. Not every member of our church has made a covenant but every member is baptised. The difficulty is that, while they may not be seen as such in today's individualistic world, biblically entering into the new covenant with the church and being baptised are the same thing (as evidenced in Colossians 2 and 1 Peter 3). However while baptism is about initiation, covenant is about perseverance. How do our youngsters move from baptism into the maturity of covenant commitment? We win them - it's all about our love, and having big enough hearts to keep them, in spite of their imperfections and failings.

I hope you can see where I'm going with this. The power and strength of the church relies upon the sacrificial love of its core members. It's what we're called to.