In part one of this article “Church for babies & goats” we observed how Abraham prepared his son to take the helm of the way of faith he had forged. Abraham walked by faith and set an example of faith.

In Gen. 24:7 we see that Abraham took his most trusted servant aside and put his faith before him in such a way that his servant took on the faith responsibility in the very important task of finding a wife for Isaac.  He entrusted himself to the One who judges righteously walked to an unknown destination north and eastward. 

In the this very long journey (approx 600 miles) Abraham's servant was sent to select and purchase a wife for Isaac from a specific group of people, ancestors of Abraham's father - Terah.  Of the line of Shem, not the line of Ham.  Interesting isn't it?  Bloodlines matter to God.  If they matter to God then they should matter to us.

Abraham made his servant swear an oath, that he go to a certain place, and there wait upon the Lord to select a bride for his son. His journey was successful because he trusted solely in the God of his master.  He submitted His entire journey and effort to the God of Abraham. He trusted in the same angel that had guided and preserved his master all the years that he knew him. He believed that he was in the perfect will of God. 

If you take the time to read the entire account you will also observe how he worshiped the Lord once his journey led him to Rebecca. How often our worship is dictated by the steps we take. Watch a person worship who has given his life to serve the Lord and then watch a person worship who is living a religious life. 

After Abraham's servant performs his oath and finds beautiful Rebecca, he repeats to Laban (Rebecca's father) the words of master Abraham, “And he (Abraham) said to me, 'The Lord, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives, and from my father's house.” Gen.24:40

The capstone on Abraham's life can be reduced down to a compound sentence: 

The Lord --- before whom I walk --- will send --- His angel --- with you --- to make --- your journey successful!

Are we gathering people who want to chase after Jesus?  Who will walk before the Lord like the father of our faith?  Are we raising up leaders that know the Lord's voice?  Are we seeking to model and replicate the same faith that our father Abraham revealed in his lifetime? 

Did you see how the baton passed naturally from Abraham to his servant as they worked in unison to select the best wife for Isaac? If Abraham was not deeply connected to His God, life-connected, would his servant felt the same pressure to select God's choice for Isaac?  

A wife who could join with Isaac in perfect matrimony to carry on the seed of faith life and way, so that a living faith could rightfully pass to the next generation.

This matter of finding a wife for Isaac was intimately connected to Abraham's walk of faith. All the ins and outs and ups and downs of his walk before His Father's eye were known. The heavenlies were involved in his every step. For righteous Abraham, the way of faith centrally involved pleasing His heavenly Father.  

At this critical juncture a proper marriage for his supernatural son was the most critical, in former times, finding the Lord's will involved different issues, sometimes it was to determine the best place to dig a well, fight a war, make a trade, or flee to Egypt for water and food to protect his wife and servants from certain death. 

Sometimes Abraham chose to fight battles to save family members from death, as it was in the case of Lot (Gen.14). It was at this time Abraham reveals to his seed how to pray over a city. Abraham put his life in the hands of the Judge of heaven and earth to save a city that his nephew Lot dwelt in. 

Abraham's most demanding act of faith can been found in that occasion when the Lord asked him to carry his son all the way to the summit of Mt. Moriah to offer him back to God who gave him to Abraham. That same son that would insure Abraham would be the father of nations as the Lord promised at the outset of his journey to the land of Canaan.

By this time Abraham had received his promised inheritance, about 25 years, another 16-18 years of loving his special son had passed and Abraham continued to trust the same Lord who richly gave him his supernaturally born son. At this point in the narrative, Abraham knew instinctively that He would raise him up, should he kill him.

This kind of powerful faith would also visit his son and be perpetuated to the generation of Jacob and his children. I call it the death experience. When God gives us a ministry to perform, it seems it has to die a proper death to us to become a resurrected ministry totally in and under the Lord's control.

Can you see the point I am making here?

Oh, for this kind of grace and simple obedience to return to God's people today. This kind of simplicity and raw and uncomplicated love for God. When we place Our God at the center of our churches, we will become more sensitive to His will regarding how to build and how to operate His church. 

Quite naturally, without forcing our views on people, we will want the Lord God to be intimately involved with our choices. Marriage, elders and deacons, youth pastors, and all those who we are to send to the mission field and so forth will be naturally under His rightful control.

In turn we will naturally draw the kind of people who also have given themselves away, completely surrendered to the will of God. You and they will experience the gracious and awesome power of God Almighty moving in our culture. 

In doing so, we will experience more success in building a spiritually mature church. Our God will own and operate His church by the power of His Name. Why wouldn't our God, the maker of heaven and earth not bless a completely surrendered and called out man or woman?  Why wouldn't He bless them with grace and power to perform His will? 

Why would they under the influence of His power usher in a revival and a restoring of what we have come to accept as bad church?  The Lord Jesus is coming back for a mature church. A beautiful Bride that He refines personally. To those wise virgins who planned ahead for a delay (Mt 25).   They listened to the voice of God and carried the necessary oil needed to sustain a signifigant delay. 

Their reward was their preparation for His arrival in the darkness and still of the night. Let's not lose what is obvious in the gospel account of the wisdom of the 5 virgins who were prepared, they were different kind of people then the other 5 who did the right thing on the surface (went out to meet the Bridegroom), but were not heart prepared for the delays that were sure to come.

The final thought here is this, do we really want to be mature? Don't we reveal our immaturity as spiritual babies when we walk before the face of our culture and its many self-satisfying voices in media and entertainment who demonically train our youth to blissfully select wives and husbands from the Canaanites nations we dwell among,? 

Sadly, we experience the same results as as our forefathers, the Israelites and our worldly church, the scourge of divorce destroys our land from the inside out. We don't need to worry about nuclear attacks as much as we should keep our eye on the way we conduct church, how we train them, how we model faith to them and so forth.

To determine the best ways to impact our culture, we must craft divine strategies in the power of the Holy Spirit. He will guide us and influence His People to lead our churches the way He wants His church to be led. A sure byproduct will be maturity. 

If we follow the Lord and establish communities based in the livingness of active faith, like unto the faith of Abraham, a true spiritual house of God's dwelling will emerge. At this point, our life together in the house of God (house comprised of people who love God) will be faith-filled and saturated by His presence and love.

Our vocation will be chosen by means of our sincere faith through determinaton to discover the will of God for us. We press forward until His peace enters our heart and a path emerges before us. 

Where we live is also Lord's prerogative. By getting trapped into the game of gathering more people then the others, we end up taking on more goats then we can handle. 

If our churches require smaller and more intimate settings then so be it. If the Spirit of Christ is determined to improve the quality of His people in our time, then a small remnant of true believers will get much more done then large clumsy megachurches geared toward the need of keeping the enterprise going.

If entertainment is our chief focus, then we can only expect our fellowship in the Spirit and our effectiveness in changing culture will be diminished. Until we finally give up on impressing people on our coolness and trendy relevency, we will not experience the growth toward maturity we need so desperately in our churches. 

We must be careful not gather folks around doctrinal arguments or method-focused ministries. This approach will keep us immature and unprepared for Christ's return. Arguing a specific doctrine or style of worship is a sure way to make your work a one generation wonder. 

If we are truly serious about” doing” faith, as I have sought to reveal through the life of Abraham, we must “model” faith to the culture we are called to reach. By proving our love for Jesus by obedience, by giving Him our life, as we give ourselves away, He will mold our character and our way to make great impact on our culture, just like He did. 

Our God is so patient and very kind to sinners, we must know His Love first, we must them walk out that love expression so that the culture around us sees clearly the real stuff of faith. 

If we primary focus us upon our outward moral behavior and our political agenda, as the Pharisees did in the days of Jesus, we fall short of our desire to turn our world back to God. People politics divides. 

Our Lord reserved some of His harshest words of rebuke toward this spirit of self-righteousness and pride of life. Outward behavior is a shallow way to be different and to stand out. Our culture is so broken by our sin they have lost the strength to pretend. We must operate in the ways of God, by loving our neighbor and by doing what the Spirit of God leads us to do, we hit the mark in establishing mature churches.

In the accounting of the life of Abraham, we saw that he had a reliable servant managing his estate. Since Abraham modeled a “real” faith to his culture, he became an attraction to the kind of people that God wants to be part of His kingdom. Abraham's faith showed his reliability to His God, so in turn God surrounded Abraham with faith-filled men. 

Abraham was assured that His most high-ranking servant would not deviate from the oath he made with him. Why? because his servant knew the same God as he, and his servant saw with his own eyes the power of Abraham's God. To build mature churches today, we too, must lay a foundation of holy God-arranged decisions in every area of life. 

Since we live in a climate where the message of the gospel has been so dumbed down, we attract goats to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, we now have worship services made palpable for goats.  

I would even dare to say that in many cases, a muslim or a buddhist offers more to our society today then a self-righteous religious christian gathering. Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples, “unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees, you are not worthy of the kingdom of heaven”?  

Since our modern day believers have come to assume that faith has to do with being seen in the right place on Sunday, our voting the right way, our culture remains distant from us. Who knows what God could do if we changed our approach? 

By selecting Abraham, God changed the world that we live in, by changing on the inside, our father Abraham changed our world! He modeled faith and so must we, indiscriminately, without pretense, and without rancor.

Do you think Paul would make a big deal about a person's appearance or religious affiliation? Do you think James, the Lord's brother, was beholdened to the rich of his culture? We know from his epistle, James 5:1-3, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” NASV

Do you think Jesus cares where we gather, how big the space is, or where the space is located? What of his preachers? The Lord's prophet was told to wear a loin cloth and eat locusts and wild honey.  What are the multi-colored stage lights for? We need them to shine on an elevated platform, which infers to all who attend, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. 

Some of the greatest messages ever preached were in the spoken in the streets, wheat fields, ship decks, and on the doorstep of institutions of higher learning.

It isn't wrong to use modern devices to make the message clear, but realize this, the next generation will feel like this is necessary part of a worship experience. But is it? Of course not. 

Our monies need to be focused on the people the Lord seeks to save – the most broken of our culture, why? because they are ready. 

Is. 61:1-2a “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me. Because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord..”

I believe that the Lord is going to bring dead works to impress dead people to an abrupt end. I truly do not believe, in our times, that a new building is necessary for the establishment of a local church. We have so little time. 

If you are going to have services every day, and at all hours of the day, then buy or rent a space, but to borrow money and have a mortgage to meet twice a week doesn't make any fiscal sense.

A place to gather is all we need, does it have to carry a mortgage? If your building is used to counsel, feed, cloth, educate your community, then purchasing is vital, but for the simple gathering of spiritually dead people who are coming to place where nothing eternally positive happens?

Do we need to aquire space where knowing your neighbor is nothing more then a wave of the hand or a short-lived handshake, spinning around and dancing to a band that is paid to worship? To me, there is no need for multimillion dollar facility, simply no need.  

I believe I have the Lord's mind on this matter of how we spend our money in the Body of Christ.

Larger spaces and megachurch settings are suited to keeping people in babyland. 

We must bring the newly saved into a place of service, a large gathering is not condusive to building saints, not condusive at all. The first century church leadership went from house to house encouraging the early, very brilliant jewish and greek converts to relinquish control of their lives and give themselves to each other and the cause of Christ in the earth. 

The more professional and eloquent the speaker, the more pretty and talented the praise band, we think, we got it now, we believe that we will gain more people and in turn members, but will we entice more people to the place we call “church” or will we just entertain them for awhile until they find someone who will really train them in the way of faith? 

I ask you and I challenge myself, “are we gathering the spiritually mature or baby sheep that can drink only milk?” 

Its time to take a long and serious look at what we are projecting to our world. We must ask ourselves the question, “what should we be doing right now, Lord”? 

These are sober questions, they will affect our influence on the world in which we are called to live. Taking the time to answer these questions indicates how serious we are about heaven and pleasing our God. 

What does our current culture think of us? What have we set before them to observe? They see what they see, they can tell what we are all about. Isn't it true? Where our money goes is where our hearts are? 

We should work hard on how to present a clean and appropriately decorated environment. We should work at the highest level to offer a clean and warm environment. But can any of us beat an outside service on a clear sunny day? God's raw and unmitigated natural beauty far exceeds anything our poor hands can make. 

I leave you with the words of Jesus found in Mt. 28:18-20, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Amen.

Our work is the work of the Great Commission. Nothing more and nothing less.

Let us work to know what this great statement of Jesus means for us today in 2010. How should the Great Commission be applied in our world right now? We must answer this question today, before it is too late.

Soon the Lord will return and ask you and me with His all-seeing and very searching eyes of fire. Then what will you do? It will be then that you and I will either be in whole lot of real regret remembering not having done His basic commandment of going, baptizing, and teaching His people, or we find our final vindication. This because we pressed His kingdom forward even when we felt like we were doing very little. Even when we were but holding on to our very little expression of faith.

Let's get back to the basics of what it means to be a New Testament believer the Son of God. Let's just do what the word of God is telling us to do. As we plant churches and reestablish churches in His Name, let's build spiritual houses that attract the spiritually mature.  

To gather the sheep of Christ is very important.

Finally, it is so very clear to me and all of you that if we take the time to answer this very serious question, “how can you make a disciple of Jesus unless you are a living breathing disciple of Jesus yourself?” 

The simplicity of this statement is stark. If we study it's implications, I believe we will be driven to seek Christ with all of our hearts and inspire a generation to serve Him with their whole hearts like our father Abraham was able to do for his children and servants. 

We could never be a disciple of Jesus just by our education, or by our head knowledge. Our bloodlines and denominational pedigree doesn't validate us. No, our “walk” of faith will be the final analysis that will measure you and me on that fateful day when we appear before His throne. 

In Christ's Matchless Name,