READ: Acts 16
When is the last time someone “showed up” for you? Not just in a text message or emoji prayer hands 🙏, but actually showed up in person—flesh and blood— at your door?
For me, I can’t help but think about November 12th, the worst day of my life. The young Rolesville boy who died in the flash floods was my child. My son. As I fought to catch my breath, comfort my other children, and get myself off the floor… people came running. Family, friends, North Wake Elders. They hugged us, wept with us and prayed for us. There wasn’t much they could “do” but somehow their actual physical presence comforted and infused strength.
I was thanking one of these friends for coming to the house that day. After all, it takes a lot of courage to enter into someone’s suffering and feel their pain. She said, “my dad always taught me: you just go.”
This week in preparation for Entermissions, the question before us is this: “why plant churches?” One BIG reason is because the world is deeply suffering and our Dad tells us: “go (Mt 28:19).”
Our God holds the title: “the Father of Compassion and the God of All Comfort.” (2 Cor. 1:1) His heart is drawn toward the mourner, the sick, the oppressed, the weary, the orphan, the widow, the destitute. He sent his son into this world and anointed him for this ministry: “to proclaim good news to the poor…to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)
God has “shown up” in our suffering. He has come—in flesh and blood—knocking on our door. Not as a salesman trying to pitch us something we don’t need, but as the very friend we have been waiting for. As a skillful doctor with the true antidote for rest. The wise counselor who teaches our soul how to lament and heal. The good shepherd who guides and protects. The savior, in bodily form…with hands that touch, eyes that weep, and flesh that bleeds.
He didn’t just “kinda” enter our suffering – He entered into our suffering to the point of bearing its full weight—the wrath of God, the arrows of hell, and the guilt of man—alone. Standing in our place. In his death, death’s authority was commanded to let go; the stranglehold of sin and suffering broken from our necks.
And this was not it! Three days after his curse-breaking death, he breathed again! As the stone was rolled away, the power of God and new life RELEASED! Brilliant light shines forth into the hearts of all who bend their knee. From the floor he lifts the sufferer, promising His presence, always.
And isn’t it his presence that changes everything? Someone’s suffering looks a whole lot different when God is in the midst of it—molding the darkness to somehow bend into light. His promises bolstering hope, his word strengthening and comforting; His Spirit unfolding His love, layer by layer, into our wounds and broken hearts.
Church, why do we plant churches? The same exact reason why the first church was born. Quite simply, because of the the gospel…the good news that God has shown up! Love incarnate has come to save us.
God’s heart of compassion for the “harassed and helpless (Matt. 9:36).” has not changed. But now He sends us to herald the good news. The church is the body of Christ and he tells us… “go.”
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..(Mt 28:19).
- Is there a particular city or people that you are burdened for? Pray big prayers. Perhaps Northwake could plant a church there. Perhaps you might be the one leading the way.
- Healthy churches plant healthy churches. How can you more faithfully use your spiritual gifts to strengthen and mature Northwake?