In 2013 a Carnival Cruise Lines ship, the Triumph, lost power for 4 days off the coast of Mexico. Hundreds or maybe even thousands of the 4200 passengers became sick without running water and no air conditioning. The scene on the boat was terrible, as vomit and waste became unmanageable. Obviously, Carnival’s motto, “All for fun and fun for all” simply didn’t work on this trip.
This reminds me of a spiritual truth that relates to life and ministry. When we abide in Christ (John 15:1-11), we experience His joy, we have prayers answered and we get to see the good fruit of His life working in us and through us.
When we cease to abide, however, while He doesn’t change, our experience does – dramatically! We have no spiritual power, thus we lose joy, dry up in our fruitfulness, and preclude the world from receiving the blessing of what should be shared through us as His people.
As my friend, Abe Kuruvilla, author and professor of homiletics at Dallas Theological Seminary, says in his book, A Vision for Preaching, “When the power goes out, the party is over.”
Have you felt a little dry lately or have you sensed that the life in your church is not what God has in mind? Let me encourage you – before you do anything else, make abiding in Christ your top priority in life and ministry.
Here are 3 suggestions:
- GIVE UP! Christians cannot produce spiritual fruit by determination; but when they abide in Christ, He produces an ever-increasing harvest.
- SIMPLIFY. Pastors and parents are skilled at putting on a good face and continuing our work, but there is no greater responsibility for a Christian leader than modeling what it means to abide for the people we lead.
- CALL FOR HELP. Prayerless churches are powerless churches. Churches that become study centers or social clubs with the name of Jesus attached have become like the Triumph and gone adrift, missing their purpose and their intended destination while people on board experience sickness instead of strength, despair instead of joy. Grab a few friends and begin praying for God’s presence and power to be recognizable in your midst.
*Note: In early 2017, Dr. Abe Kuruvilla will be coming for a one-day preaching seminar with our Eastern District pastors in Princeton, NJ. More details to come. You can learn more about Abe at www.homiletix.com.
Consider also this encouragement from Pete Scazzero to focus on the Lord to be renewed.