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July 23, 2016

Bravery

By Phil Metzger

Among the readers of NewChurches.com, I imagine we share differing views on certain elements of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. When a pastor starts talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit or the filling of the Spirit there are a multiplicity of differing views. I don’t want to argue any of those right now. But I would like to draw your attention to what I believe is an undeniable reality of God’s Spirit working in a person: Bravery.

Consider the disciples in the gospels and then the apostles of Acts. If it weren’t for the same names, we might wonder if these are even the same people! In the gospels, Peter is hiding his relationship with Jesus from a little girl. In Acts, he is standing before thousands of people preaching the gospel.

All of the disciples bailed on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. In Acts, they aren’t running from Jesus but for Jesus.

What could have possibly brought this kind of radical transformation?

Acts 2:4 says, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…” This moment marked a distinct difference in the ministry of the early Church. Up to this point, they were waiting for the “promise of the Father” that Jesus spoke of. They were waiting in an upper room when God’s Spirit filled each one of them.

And what was the predominant result?
Without question, it was a holy courage that took the Roman Empire by storm!

A group of scared followers of Jesus were unleashed upon a dark world and the Light was victorious. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and God gave them courage.

When persecuted and scattered they left Jerusalem but not their faith in God. Persecution became the wind that drove God’s people to go out and share the gospel in new places. Even in death, these early believers held on to their confidence in God.

They were brave.

You can’t contribute their bravery simply to a name change from disciple to apostle! You can’t contribute it to time either. It hadn’t been very long since Jesus had been brutally murdered. Certainly not enough time had passed for these people to go from scared to death to being willing to die.

There was something else happening. Or rather, someone Else working! God’s Spirit had filled them and they had a courage they had never had before.

Church planter, you need to be filled with God’s Spirit because you need to be brave. In most instances the scenarios are quite different than they were for our first century brothers and sisters. It might not be the same kind of persecution or threat of death that we are facing today, but we need courage nonetheless.!

We need courage to love.
We need courage to forgive. We need courage to continue.

I could keep going…but I won’t.

I used to have ideas to the kinds of people I believed God was going to bring to my new church plant. Cool people, smart people, rich people (or at least people with jobs!). You guessed it—that’s not what happened. Instead God brought broken people and hurting people who needed to be loved because nobody else would. And though this sounds great, it’s hard. It’s hard because these kinds of people make it hard to love them. I learned that I wanted to love the people that are easy to love. It takes courage to love the unlovable.

We’ve heard it said probably a million times: love the sinner and hate the sin.

It sounds nice, but it takes God-sized courage to do so. Forgiveness is one of the premier qualities of who God is so why would we think it would be easy? Church planter, you need bravery that comes from God’s Spirit.

You need courage to keep going. When nothing seems to be happening the way you thought it would, you need courage. When there are more problems than blessings, you need courage. When it would be easier to quit then to continue, you need courage.

There are no strategies that can replace being filled with God’s Spirit. Our cities need courageous Christians. Our churches need courageous pastors who will fight to love, struggle to forgive and never quit!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phil Metzger

Phil Metzger (@metzgerphil) is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Budapest, as well as, the ministry director of Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe in Vajta, Hungary. He has served as a full-time missionary since 1998. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he oversees Calvary church plants throughout Eastern Europe, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. His heart and ministry is focused on making disciples and seeing the church impact the world for Christ. He would like to see more churches planted in order to bring the Word of God to the lost. Phil and his wife Joy have four beautiful children: Niki, Karina, Judah, and Hannah.

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