Now as then reminds us that some things have a way of coming around again. Think about the ‘new’ 50’s-style furniture or the world of fashion. Bell bottom pants were fashionable in the 70’s (I wore them!). They made a comeback with different colors and fabrics but they were still bell bottoms! I didn’t participate.
Men’s ties go from wide, to narrow, to striped, to paisley, and then it all starts over. Argyle socks came around again and it seems they morphed into Happy Socks. That’s what one sales clerk called these very colorful socks when she suggested I buy some. I got the ‘happiest’ ones I’d dare wear! And if all that makes you dizzy, just try to keep up with women’s fashions and all those comebacks! Now as then applies to fashion! And in a more serious way, it connects us to Christ. How?
Now As Then – Gethsemane
Each Gospel records Jesus being arrested after Judas’ betrayal. The Gospel writers included various details that collectively give us an in-depth picture of the events. We learn Jesus went willingly. He declared He could call legions of angels to rescue Him, but He didn’t do that.
Mark’s account tells of a young man (probably John Mark) who ran naked from the scene. Another detail is the disciples fleeing from the scene; and from Jesus! Peter and John followed from a distance, but Peter denied Jesus. You know the story.
Judas was present in Gethsemane with Jesus. But Judas was far from Jesus’ heart. The other disciples were also present at Jesus’ arrest. They, too, were far from His heart. They left His presence not wanting to be identified with Him. How is that possible? Where is the love Jesus prayed (John 17) to be present in the hearts of His followers? And, do these things recur? Jesus’ arrest in the Garden does not recur. But…
Sunday: A Visit To Gethsemane?
One aspect of that night recurs far too often. What is it? Being in His presence and then not wanting to be identified with Him. can find on this pageDisagree? What else accounts for the decline of church after church in our society? And has anyone noticed the direct correlation of the declining Church and the decline of society as a whole?
Somehow people have deemed it OK to gather for worship (present with Christ) but scatter from the Sanctuary (the Garden?) not wanting to be identified with Christ. Now as then, there is a disconnect. The Church is God’s idea. And we have a divine mission. If that God-ordained mission is to be met, then the Church must:
- Give up the go-to-church model
- Become the Army of the Unashamed Monday through Saturday
- Answer Jesus’ question to Peter: Do you love Me more than these? (John 21:15)
Now As Then – Returning
The original version of this post was published in 2013. And if anyone ever doubted my belief in the things above, the years since then have been full of teaching, preaching, and equipping believers to BE the Church. NOBODY has done ‘the God thing’ by sitting through a sermon and leaving unchanged. Actually knowing the Word of God is evidenced by being a doer of the Word (see James 1:22). And those weak disciples did become doers of the Word. They were leaders in the Army of the Unashamed.
Now as then, there are many embracing God’s mission. There is an awakening to the need to rethink this thing we call Church. And the future of this ministry is to aid that process in any way possible. But it will take many hands and voices to get the job done. So, how do we equip believers to re-engage a Kingdom mission? A short list includes:
- Prayer for wisdom & provision
- Continuing to teach and train pastors internationally
- The E-quip.Us School (more about that below)
- Pastor Sponsorships
- E-quip.Us Store
After continued prayer support, the most urgent need is Members – join here. Why? Your membership extends to a pastor. Each member has full access to the website and discounted access to the E-quip.Us school and store. And if you’ve looked in the school, you’ll notice that the first course we posted is, The Essential Nature Of The Church. That’s no accident. Now as then means returning to Jesus’ vision for His Church.
In production is our 23-session course, The Sermon On The Mount. If you’ve never taken that kind of in-depth look at Jesus’ famous sermon then I encourage you to sign-up for the course when we get it ready.
While you sign-up for membership, lift many prayer concerns, share blog posts, and help engage others, you are enabling very important work. Specifically, I am sharing our vision and resources with as many pastors as I can. The reasons are all over this post. Again, this can’t be done without many more ministry members. We could have endless classes for anyone and everyone. That’s OK and some of that is happening. But there’s a bigger vision.
The huge ‘multiplier’ for all our efforts is engaging the pastors who will in turn equip many more. It’s the model set for in 2 Timothy 2:2. We adhere to it in our international pastor training school. I want to equip the equippers! And the goal is to equip the greatest number possible. It’s obedience to the Word – both to equip and to work while it is day and we have opportunity. But it can’t be done nearly as well without you. Will you help? Pray about it and sign-up to sponsor a pastor. And I’ll ‘see you’ in the next post!
Soli Deo Gloria!