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We're in the middle of a mission at the moment (prayers always welcome!).  One of the things we're doing is door-knocking our neighbourhood and we've seen people turn to the Lord even on the door-step.  Praise God!

In our morning meetings there seems to be one kind of prayer that recurs more than any others - that God would prepare hearts so that when we arrive they are open to the gospel.  Now I'll give a hearty Amen to all such prayers and, in His grace, God may well grant this.  But when we think about hearts opened, wouldn't it be better to pray that the word itself will open hearts, conquer unbelief, awaken faith?  Is it possible that we're separating word and Spirit by conceiving of evangelism in these terms?  Is there a danger that the power is thought of as separate from the gospel and not as the gospel itself?  (Rom 1:16).

I think I'd rather pray, "Lord, though the people we meet be stone-hearted, blind and lost in sin and blackest darkness, bring life and immortality to light through your gospel.  May your word do its almighty work and bring life from the dead."

I'd certainly rather conceive of evangelism in those terms.  When we tell the gospel we're not basically hoping that some have previously enjoyed God's power.  Rather, we're going with the power of God which is unleashed upon all, every time we speak of Christ.

 

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Penicillin.

arf arf.

But seriously folks... Nick Cornell, fellow Eastbourne curate, asked us last night at our joint prayer meeting: What do you give to a people who already have everything?

Because Ephesians 1:3 says we are that people.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places

We have it all.  So what does God our Father give to His children who already have everything?  Ephesians 3:14:

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 

That's what God gives His children who have everything.  A deeper understanding of what they already have.

Isn't that a brilliantly simple and powerful description of the Spirit's work?

Good one Nick.  Somebody give that man a blog.

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The post is about something else, but I liked this from NT professor Ben Witherington.

[A] student... came up to class one day frustrated and said "I don't know why I need to do all this research, and writing and studying of the NT. Why I can just get up into the pulpit and the Spirit will give me utterance." I rejoind: "Yes, you can do this, but it is a shame you are not giving the Holy Spirit more to work with."

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