That great preacher of Scotland, James S Stewart, used to talk about the Church in Acts as “seething and surging in power”. He meant that the Christians’ lives depicted in that book were red boiling hot; and that they had an energy that propelled them in mission.
These two words (seething and surging) are not the way I’d describe Church life now - and not just because COVID-19 has restricted us. To be honest, I am not sure any church I have ever known could have been described in these ways. Maybe ‘seething’ with anger at one or two points; and perhaps surging for the doors when the service is over!
So I am grateful to the late Jim Graham ( so many of my heroes are with the Lord now!) for his descriptions of what a church given over to the power of the Spirit might look like:
1) new sense of God here and now
2) awareness of dynamic reality of God’s power
3) immediacy of God’s kingdom
4) fresh experience of the gifts of God’s Spirit
5) spontaneous rise and response in praise and worship as the Church submits and surrenders to the Lord of glory and grace
6) new unity of heart and spirit
7) increasing desire to witness
8) increased generosity
9) a desire to follow godly leadership
10) a hunger for more - always more.
So this Lent let’s pray for the Church that it might know afresh this renewing power of God.