Extravagant Worship: When we meet Jesus...
In the final part of a series of posts, we look at the story of Mary anointing Jesus' feet with perfum in John 12:1 - 8. Something of this act of extravagant worship thrilled Jesus but at the same time had a provocative impact. Judas Iscariot, after witnessing this, went to the chief priest to plot his betrayal. So what can we discover from this extraordinary event?
3. Why did Jesus want everybody to know about this?
Personal devotion to Him that looks almost eccentric thrills Jesus. What we think as a waste, Jesus wants preached everywhere the gospel is preached.
Sometimes an act of obedience may seem a waste but, beloved, He’s has beaten death! We’re all going to live forever! If that doesn’t blow away all sorts of rational thinking, then what does? Are we saying we’ve found a religion that is very nice? That we’ve found in Jesus a character that is attractive? Or are we saying ‘I’m going to live forever in a new earth and new Heaven that is pure and beautiful?’ The future is phenomenal, filled with things that are even beyond our imagination! That should change your thinking fundamentally and erode the normal way you evaluate.
When we meet Jesus and really understand the Gospel, everything changes. We abandon our former value systems and embrace a whole new world view. Down through the ages this radical attitude has led to gospel advance. This kind of devotion is almost incomprehensible. There should be something about the life of a believer that people simply don’t understand.
Now you might say, ‘Terry, I’d love to give more but there’s the mortgage and the kid’s education’. Thats ok I understand. ‘I’d love to be at the prayer meeting but at the moment it’s difficult’. Thats ok I understand. ‘ I’m not tithing regularly because at the moment we’re in difficulty’. it’s ok I understand.
You, I understand.
It’s Mary, I don’t understand.
This post is adapted from a sermon preached at King's Church Kingston called Extravagant Worship
New ground in the Netherlands
Newfrontiers has been involved in the Netherlands for decades. Harold Owen, of the Coign in Woking, visited frequently and became a father particularly to the church in Berkel, near Rotterdam. Over the years, I've enjoyed my regular visits and appreciated their long-standing commitment to attending first the Downs Bible Week, and later Stoneleigh, often being involved not only in the bible weeks themselves, but also in the setup weeks.
Lydie Geurts has been a very special friend translating several of my books into Dutch, and most recently translating The Spirit Filled Church, which is now available.
Last week, Wendy and I very much enjoyed a five day visit, including time with two comparatively young churches. The first being in Maastricht
and the second in The Hague
. It was such a blessing to speak to churches and to leaders, and to pray for the sick in both places and see many healed.
I am so delighted that Newfrontiers is involved in church planting in continental Europe, what many call 'the forgotten mission field'.
Although statistics tell us that church going is shrinking alarmingly throughout Europe, we were delighted to visit bright, robust, enthusiastic believers, in excellent churches in beautiful cities full of history and modern secularism.
Praise God they are there and they are growing. Very soon I will be posting video interviews on my website. I'm sure you will enjoy learning more about these pioneering churches.
Building in Brasov
Wendy and I so enjoyed the privilege of gathering with hundreds of enthusiastic believers, for a conference in the ancient and beautiful city of Brasov in the mountainous north of Romania. Driven from Bucharest airport, in the flat southern part of the country, eventually snow capped mountains came into view as the winding road began to gain height.
Brasov itself, one of Romania's largest cities, had changed noticeably since my last visit ten years earlier. More cars were evident as well as the Romanian equivalent of 'Boris Bikes' lined up in the large city square. Warm spring weather drew crowds into the streets and the square where many open air cafes flourished.
The Spirit Filled Church
The conference, held in a lovely modern hotel, took its title from my recently translated and published ‘The Spirit Filled Church’
, and our preaching essentially followed related themes.
We were delighted from the first day, when we saw many healed and crowds coming forward, to receive the laying on of hands for empowering from the Holy Spirit.
Four sessions a day meant a crowded program but it was good to grab time to visit the impressive building that the believers are constructing for their church to serve the local community. About two thirds constructed, it would be great to see a further release of finance to complete what will be such a significant advance to the Kingdom of God in Romania.
The team, led by David Holden
, included friends from the Netherlands as well as Hastings and East Grinstead, and conference delegates had gathered from many parts of Romania as well as some from Bulgaria.
Impressive godly elders and a gifted band led the meetings excellently and interpretation of the preaching was superb. Friendships and partnerships in the Gospel were strengthened during out times together. A crowded lunch in the home of one of the elders, and a packed, enthusiastic Sunday morning service brought our visit to a conclusion.
A nation, not long ago held in frightening subjection to Ceausescu's totalitarian authority, is enjoying a growing freedom that only the gospel can ultimately bring.
Lets keep praying for and encouraging our friends, as they make Jesus known to their friends and glorify God in this beautiful country. I thank God for the progress being made, by the various teams, scattered around the world that now make up Newfrontiers.