What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Church”?
If you are like most people, you think of buildings, clergy (professional ministers) rituals and programs. This is the working definition that is deeply embedded not only in our country, but in most places of the world. It has been the way people have thought of church for ages.
How inspiring are those words to you? Do they feel life-giving and transformational? Does this description sound or look like what Jesus said or did?
Chapter 4, of the Book of Ephesians, gives us a much richer understanding. It mentions 5 “Ascension Gifts” or spiritual enablements that Jesus wired into the identity, calling and resources of the church when He ascended to heaven.
“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the...
I can remember it very clearly, as if it were yesterday. I was seated in a room with nearly 500 elderly people, listening to a presentation of the significance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The man speaking was also drawing an elaborate picture with chalk pastels. I had heard many of the “facts” before, I had even heard some of the stories, but I had never really understood the significance of Jesus ascending into heaven.
Recently, on May 26th, was the celebration of what western church historians call Ascension Day; the celebration of Jesus being carried or taken up into heaven. (The story is recorded in the books of Mark, Luke and Acts.) I am reminded how on that evening many years ago I came to realize that when Jesus ascended into heaven, it opened the way for me to have a relationship with Him, the living God-man – and nothing has been the same ever since.
Do you believe that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after He was crucified and...