Summary: There are four major foundations that need laid to build a great church: prayer, power, proclaimation and passion.
Foundations to Build a Great Church
August 29, 2010
On December 2001, the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” was finally reopened to the public, after having been closed for almost a dozen years. During that time, engineers completed a 25 million dollar renovation project designed to stabilize the tower. They removed 110 tons of dirt, and reduced its famous lean by about sixteen inches. Why was this necessary? Because the tower has been tilting further and further away from vertical for hundreds of years, to the point that the top of the 185-foot tower was seventeen feet further south than the bottom, and Italian authorities were concerned that if nothing was done, it would soon collapse. What was the problem? Bad design? Poor workmanship? An inferior grade of marble?
No. The problem was what was underneath. The sandy soil on which the city of Pisa was built was just not stable enough to support a monument of this size. The tower had no firm foundation.
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31
The first foundation that the early church built on was prayer. The church was continually spending time in prayer. Prayer was a major component of the church and it was key to their long term success. One of the major issues in the church today is that the church and Christians fail to spend time in prayer. God cannot and will not move in a church that does not spend time in prayer.
What exactly did the church mean by prayer?
The Greek word used here means to pour one’s whole heart and entire being out to God. The act of praying was more than a quick prayer said over a meal. Praying was to give everything over to God and trust Him to care for every need. The understanding was a complete dependence on God because He is able to provide for any and every possible need.
The book of Acts is filled with examples of the church seeking the Lord through prayer.
* Replacing Judas as an Apostle - the church prayed
* When the church was filled with the Holy Spirit - the church was praying
* When the apostles were arrested and beaten - the church prayed
* When Peter was awaiting execution - the church prayed
* When Ananias was told to go to Saul of Tarsus following his conversion the proof of conversion was seen in the fact that Saul was praying
The word pray and its related terms appear 32 different times in the book of Acts. There is no doubt that the church depended on God and that God came through. The modern church often depends only on what they themselves can do. Is it surprising that churches are not seeing the hand of God move among them?
When the early church was in trouble, they poured their hearts out to God. When the early church needed direction, they sought the Lord. When the early church needed power, they surrendered to the will of God. When the early church had any form of issue or need, they went straight to God.
The church today needs to learn a valuable lesson. When we are in trouble, we need to seek Jesus. When there is a need, pour out your heart to Christ. When we want to see God’ power move, we need to pray. When we want to see lost souls saved, we need to pray.
The moment that the disciples ended their prayer, the place was shaken. The whole building they were shook as a sign of the power of God. Peter and John had just been dragged before the Sanhedrin. Imagine making an appearance before Congress to answer for witnessing. Peter and John are told to no longer share the gospel. When they arrive back with the disciples, what does the church do? There was no emergency board meeting. Committees were not formed to deal with the situation. The church called a prayer meeting. When they were done praying, God answered. The power of God rumbled through the church. Christ let His power and presence be felt in a physical manner.
The word here for shaken or shook. Means to see motion created by wind or a storm, to agitate or to stir or to disturb. The reality of the situation was simple, God was moving in the church in power. Can you imagine ending a prayer meeting and the church shaking with the power of God? The church could use God shaking things up.
When God begins to shake the church, things begin to happen. In fact, the church needs to be moved by God on a continual basis. God needs to start shaking us from our complacency. Jesus needs to get us away from our own self satisfaction and our pride to be used more for Him. Jesus needs to start shaking us out of our routine. The biggest threat to God moving in a church is an unwillingness to change. The truth is that God has better things for people but they hang on to old stuff so long that God cannot move the way He sees fit. Jesus needs to agitate our desire for a deeper spiritual walk. Jesus needs to stir our spirit and disturb our thought patterns, Jesus just needs to shake things up a bit within the church.