Growing up

by | Jan 14, 2010

Bride in Training

Why is it that little girl’s dream of weddings? I am on the frontlines of observation in this fascinating question in that I have two girls and will soon be expanding my research to include another member of the little girl subset of humanity. I cannot remember doing anything with my girls that was all that different from my son which would have encouraged this bizarre delight in anything to do with brides. Indeed from almost day one, like many father’s of daughters, I have valiantly fought a vain guerrilla campaign to discourage the very idea of some other male swooping in and removing from my kingdom one of my pink swathed princesses. However deep inside I see the fight is a vain one, I realize I am just trying to delay that day when Dad ranks as No 2 in the order of important men in my daughters lives. Already in my eldest “little” girl there are times when I can perceive the rough-hewn form of the woman she will be, at those moments I catch my breath, or rather it catches me, as it struggles to get past the lump that appears unbidden in my throat. Then, breathless, I know that there is a wedding somewhere in her future, and as emotional as it will be, I expect a wonderful, joy filled day as my child steps over that threshold.

I am convinced that in heaven God the father sees with great joy and anticipation the day when his son will marry. His eye is on the church, the bride of Christ as she has grown in wisdom and stature, maturing into the beautiful spotless bride that he will one day unite to his son. This should be the focus of most of our prophetic literature if we would only view history from heaven’s eyes. With this day in view I have pondered developments in the church and I believe that we are seeing the beginning of a fundamental shift in the way we do church. Even as the way a father must adjust his leadership of his children as they grow older and mature to prepare them for the responsibilities that adulthood will one day give them so the way we think about the church will need to shift as the Church emerges into the maturity and responsibility of being “the Bride of Christ” a consort fit for the King of Kings. Jesus is not returning for a child bride, he is returning for a mature, powerful, beautiful and spotless bride.Some of the primary differences between children and adults are the issues of freedom, power and responsibility. A child has limited freedom, power and responsibility. Adulthood brings greater freedom and power and with it the weight of responsibility. It is the same way in the church. We have grown used to a church in which there is great limitations on freedom, very little power and enormous irresponsibility. That is not the Bride that Jesus is returning for.  The Holy Spirit is preparing a free, power-filled bride who will  release heaven to earth thereby fulfilling the mandate given in Eden. It is the day spoken of in Joel 2 and restated by Peter in Acts 2 when God says 

I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

The picture which emerges is of a church in which the whole church old and young alike, men and women, those who work for the church and those who work outside of the church-all full of the power of the Spirit. Since that first pentecost we have seen revivals come and go, the church has grown and filled many parts of the earth, she has walked in varying degrees of power but we are yet to experience this level of manifested anointing, maturity or responsibility. However the Holy Spirit is steadily bringing about this transformation of the church. In the same way that as children mature they need different degrees of government the Holy Spirit is , I believe revealing new wine skins appropriate for the increased power and responsibility that he is wanting to give the church. Miracles, signs and wonders have always been part of the history of the church. As much as certain theologies tried to relegate them to the apostolic age in every time and age some people arose to give the lie to the idea that God was not doing the “power stuff” any more but we are about to see what the mature bride will look like. We will be a church which is moving in unprecedented power, glory and responsibility where all christians are doing signs, wonders and miracles in fulfilment of Joel’s prophesy and not just the few anointed men of God.

This will require a radical rethink of the wine skins we have become used to. How do you build a church that assumes all people are powerful, responsible and not just those who are leaders. What would leadership look like then? I am not sure I have the answers yet but these are some of the thoughts we will explore here in the next few weeks, as I experiment with a government that maximizes power and freedom in the pews whilst not surrendering the apostolic responsibility to lead. Stay tuned in it should be fun.

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