“The Little Church That Could” (part 3)

January 23, 2009
“The Little Church That Could” (part 3)

“We’ve been set free to be!”
One of the members of the little church expressed that one Sunday morning. It was a call of affirmation and exhilaration. It expressed the new hope that was a part of this little group of God’s people. Each Sunday when they would gather to worship there would be the sharing of stories. For a long, long time the stories of changed lives and ministry had always come from some distant land through a missionary that the church supported financially. Or the stories would come from someone who had read something in the newspaper about someone in some other place.
Now the stories were close, heart-wrenching, and personal. The people believed that God still was using people in different places and distant places in ministry, but now the church was seeing the validity of their own faith and calling. God was calling on them to take a look around them, and they were experiencing the freedom, the unchaining of their spirits, to be who they were called to be.
Freedom is not just being allowed to do what others have not allowed one to do. Freedom is being who one has kept himself or herself from being because of a deafness to the voice of God. Freedom is being given permission to see the possibilities that one’s life can have.
There was a lady from the church who made pot holders out of old socks. For years she had given them to her friends as Christmas gifts. She had always had a hampering of any thought that came to her that she has a purpose in God’s plan.
And then someone asked her if she would consider making pot holders to be given as “We Love You” gifts for Valentine’s Day to the neighbors who lived around the church. She reacted with an expression of uncertainty, and then asked “You want me to…to help?” When the answer was “yes” there was a sudden change. Like rainwater seeping into the ground after a hard shower, “The Pot Holder Lady” realized in the depths of her spirit that God gave value to her craft and handiwork. There was an unbinding of her diminished spirit. Pot holders were new additions to almost everyone of the kitchens within blocks of the church. “The Pot Holder Lady” worked night and day to make sure all the neighbors received this simple expression of love.
She had been set free to be!
The gospel encourages one’s potential instead of keeping it hidden.
A paradoxical statement: Surrender releases freedom.
The little church became the little church that could. As God led there was the freedom to go! In going out, there was a gradual unbinding of the community. The spirits of oppression, hatred, poverty, and defeat were rooted out as people put in miles and miles of prayer walking up and down the streets.
No one knew when hope moved in as the new landlord replacing hopelessness, but it happened. Brightness replaced the dismal. Relationships became evident instead of divided people. Walls crumbled as evil foundations disappeared.
By the power of God, people were changed, and it began when His people were seeking to be who He had called them to be.

Going back to the first church, the fences got higher for protection. It resembled an aging fortress instead of a church. Hopelessness took up residency. Pastors came and went, until they stopped coming.
And the second church, the little church that could, began praying for the first church- that first church that had once been the place of prominence, where people went to be seen. The earnestness and authenticity of the second church’s prayers were heard by the Lord, and a long time later things began to change.
But that’s a different story for a different day.

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