THE GIFT OF COMMUNITY

Recently I attended the Australian School of Apostolic Ministry with apostle John Alley and his team and was reminded again of John’s teaching on Pentecost, i.e. that the primary anointing that came on the believers at Pentecost was the gift of COMMUNITY. Healing gifts etc were not new to the disciples (note the activities of the seventy two in Luke 10) but ‘community’ evaded them, as evidenced by the blatant ambition and self serving attitudes that they brought to the table on the very eve of Christ’s death.

However at Pentecost a sudden change. They are now ‘of one heart and mind and spirit’, a multitude of tables feasting around Christ, with the Lord happy to add to their numbers by the droves. And that ‘oneness’ did not come about because they ate together in homes, the simple church structure that many of us have been drawn into and love. That was a result of a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit, an outpouring that was much more about ‘community’ than about giftings.

As John shared I thought again of the Church at Corinth, rich in giftings but poor in love for one another, their meetings centred around the display of their gifts but their love feasts having disintegrated into a sham and their city now divided into denominational factions of which they seemed proud. As a result, says Paul, many are sick and some are dead!

This weekend the churches in Yeppoon are hosting John Mellor, an evangelist with a powerful anointing for healing. Our great hope is that that anointing will stay with us long after John has left. We too have our share of the sick and the dying! As William Booth wrote in the heyday of the Salvation Army, “We need another Pentecost!”

The question then is, will God send us one if our primary hunger is for the gifts, as urgent as that may seem? Or is He seeking a deeper work, a more costly one, one that cuts across every form of competition and local church ambition in our town? Can we really ‘in honour prefer one another”?  I suspect that unless we hunger after such a manifestation of God’s glory in our midst, we will be a long time waiting before we see the ‘signs that follow’.

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