When I was about 12 years old, I went out with some family and friends for a lazy Saturday floating the river; I had on those goofy water shoes, embracing the opportunity for my white arms and legs to see the world. A friend of mine flipped over my tube and as I was about to dart up to inflict my revenge, I found myself trapped in a netting of roots from a tree near the riverbank. In that moment every fiber in my being was on fire, my brain was screaming out: BREATH, BREATH, BREATH! I can still remember the relief that set in when finally I was able to get loose and broke the plain of the water gasping for that first breath, greedily sucking up as much air as my lungs would allow. Stories like mine happen every day, some end tragically—others end up inspiring change. USA Today told the story of a young lady who had the tools necessary to respond when getting a breath was a matter of life and death. www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/10/03/inspiration-nation-6th-grader-saves-life-with-cpr/16649841/ What a great story when a classmates can keep a birthday party from turning into a funeral processional. CPR made all the difference.
Maybe you’ve seen what it looks like when the church struggles to breath—Paul describes the church like a body—sometimes it is church buildings that have been repurposed into banks, awkward shaped houses, bars or community centers. The Francis A. Schaffer Institute crunched the numbers and found that each year 4,000 churches close their doors for the last time, gradually fading away, and only 1,000 open to replace them. There is a need for spiritual CPR. Oftentimes, this is more than a statistic it is a reality that we have lived—seeing people slowly trickle out the back door of the church—gasping for new leaders, new direction, and new hope. There is a need for Spiritual CPR.
I promise you that Spiritual Resurgence/revival doesn’t come in the form of something new and trendy, but instead comes through scripturally in a form that is powerful and consistent. Roll back the clocks of the 1st century church and the hope for fresh air can be seen in Acts 2: 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Spiritual vitality didn’t come solely through a Sunday morning; it came also through a small group. Maybe small groups sound like just another thing to add to your schedule, another burden or thing to make you feel guilty, but I want you to hear today how they have the potential to be a breath of fresh air in your life rather than just something else to leave you breathless. An essential part of your faith journey rather than an extra part!
Why small groups? Small groups act as Spiritual CPR because they begin with the heart of Jesus prayer in John 17: My prayer is not for them alone (not just my current disciples) I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe you have sent me.
Small groups offer us C-Community— Continue reading “Spiritual Resurgence- CPR”