Acts 16:16–34 (NIV84) Paul and Silas in Prison
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
Welcome to our future.
Imagine if… you will …a church, duplicatable, agile, mobile that can literally be where God wants to reach people through each individual within community. Not just in one location, but many locations. Each lead by a pastor who is present in community, being more about reaching than keeping. Not just a broadcast from a megachurch complex, but actual people just like you and me inspiring each other to impact individuals within our community.
Honestly I see it! Being here today is not where I anticipated two years ago when we were two weeks into a three week stint praying to determine if we were supposed to plant a church in Bonney Lake. I first envisioned a building, where people came together and worshipped God and experienced His presence. I actually envisioned a service instead of a movement. But when we said we were willing God immediately restructured our already missional living hearts and we began to realize the big thing is the service, but that’s not the only thing. We needed to get outside the building and reach the unreached, the intentionally disengaged…those in detox from the church, or those who had never discovered what was missing without a growing relationship with Jesus.
Being moved in this direction lead me to disengage from the concept of a permanent facility based church movement. Yeah, there will some day be a hub, a café type office center with space for community to happen, a counseling space and stuff that is necessary to do all the during the week operations maybe even the space for an acoustic café worship environment, but the reality of not having a place to hide during the week is sexy. It forces the mission to be lived outside the church and within community. Where people can observe, listen in, take notice of the life that demonstrates the gospel.
Throughout generations, lives have been transformed who were first onlookers, eavesdroppers of the faith. Those who listened in just to find themselves at the center of the story. I believe our going mobile will put us in more places where others can listen in than ever before. Able to locate to more communities and impact even more families as we multiply in the future. And we develop that culture now. If we lock ourselves into the model of being solely a Theater Church, we limit the communities we can reach, but if we are truly mobile, able to meet wherever facilities are available…we can reach so many more communities.
The next season of Open Life is one of rediscovering how to do things in a mobile fashion. Setting us up for a future of reaching even more communities through an easily replicated strategy. We come even closer to the residents of the 88% in order to engage each individual in a growing relationship with Jesus.
Engaging more of the Listening
Last week I was taking down the power and projection in the booth and the opening manager was playing on her phone the song “In Christ Alone”. The words are:
In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone
In Christ alone do I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
For only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness to my need
And now I seek no greater honor in just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord
I thought to myself how to inquire about it as she put it on repeat. Finally I asked…”What song is that” She said, “in Christ alone” it is such a powerful song. I asked what she liked about it. She replied, “Everything…just makes her day better to listen to it.”
I explained how I used to listen to that song done by Steve Green when I first chose to follow Jesus and how it would encourage me. I asked her if she went to church or had a relationship with Jesus. She said, “no”. She just listens in to Open Life from the booth on Sundays. At that moment she got paged off to take care of something and the dialogue ended.
One example of the Listening.
In this passage in Acts every prisoner remained because they overheard the prayers, the worship and understood therefore that the source of the miracle was the one whom these disciples sought after. The result was salvation for all and the family of the jailor.
Who is imprisoned that will be set free this year by the prayers we lift today? Who is in need of deliverance, healing and freedom that we can bring before the Lord?
What would happen if we prepare the way for what God will do in the coming weeks, months and years today through prayer and surrender to Jesus?
I want us to first take communion together, then I would desire for us to make this place a place of prayer.
Now maybe you have never been in a prayer meeting before, let me instruct. Prayer is simply speaking to God your thoughts and desires for others, yourself and this city, nation, etc…as they come to you. Speak that out loud in Jesus Name. Again…people can’t listen in if they can’t hear you pray!
If being led in prayer, you pray along. It’s more of a choir than a solo!
I tend to pace, but some of you might find better focus sitting, kneeling, or laying on the floor. There is total flexibility and freedom in the next few moments of prayer. If you find your weird meter going off just give it a moment and see what God is stirring through His church…His word promises it’s for the common good and building up of His church that we come together in His Name!
Pass out the elements and hold them for us to all take together
Joshua 3:5 (NIV84)
5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
Jesus practice a modern day ritual passed on to us, communion. That we consider our relationship before the Lord and take the element of bread as a symbol of the body of Jesus sacrificed for us on the cross. In the same way he took the cup and said it was a symbol of his blood, shed for the washing of all our sin. Thus we through Jesus have been consecrated through faith. We take these elements today as an act of consecration and preparedness for the great things ahead tomorrow! Here at this school and other venues God will open to us in the future. We know He is the answerer of our prayers!
Let’s Pray…the whole room is open. Let’s seek the Lord, let’s call on him together.
In your hand is 3 cards. While we pray today I want each of us to write the name of someone, three individuals. Three cards per person who you are going to invite and pursue to make a decision to follow Jesus. Whose life needs to intersect with the gospel and your life so that transformation may come?
Write these names for your reminder on your notes as well.
Put the name on a card and place it on the stairs name up. One name per card…THREE CARDS
…we will pray over them at the conclusion of our time today. As God brings a name to you…come and write it as we are praying and place it on the stairs.
God is going to use this moment to soften the hearts of many for His fame!
Over the next month we will pray for each of these cards at our weekly staff meeting.
Job 22:27–28 (ESV)
27 You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you, …28 You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.