Eugene Peterson on The Book of Acts

Acts is not a manual with blueprints and a set of instructions on how to be a church.  Acts is not a utopian fantasy on what a perfect church would look like.  Acts is a detailed story of the ways in which the first church became a church.  A story is not a script to be copied.  A story develops a narrative sense in us so that, alert to the story of Jesus., will be present and obedient and believing as we participate in the ways     that the Holy Spirit is forming the Jesus life in us.  The plot (Jesus) is the same.  But the actual places and circumstances and names will be different and form a narrative that is unique to our time and place, circumstances and people.

Churches are not franchises to be reproduced as exactly as possible wherever and whenever – in Rome, and Moscow, and London and Baltimore – the only thing changed being the translation of the menu.

But if we don’t acquire a narrative sense, a story sense, with the expectation that we are each one of us uniquely ourselves – participants in the unique place and time and weather of where we live and worship – we will always be looking somewhere else or to a different century for a model by which we can be an authentic and biblical church.  The usefulness of Acts as a story, and not a prescription or admonition, is that it keeps us faithful to the plot. Jesus, and at the same time free to respond out of our own circumstances and obedience.

Eugene Peterson – The Pastor: A Memoir (HarperOne, 2011).

Andrew Murray on Answered Prayer

I missed my attempt to have “sundays with andrew murray post – so here is the quote for today:

In connection with this there is another truth that has come to me with wonderful clearness as I studied the teaching of Jesus on prayer. It is this: that the Father waits to hear every prayer of faith, to give us whatsoever we will, and whatsoever we ask in Jesus’ name. We have become so accustomed to limit the wonderful love and the large promises of our God, that we cannot read the simplest and clearest statements of our Lord without the qualifying clauses by which we guard and expound them. If there is one thing I think the Church needs to learn, it is that God means prayer to have an answer, and that it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what God will do for His child who gives himself to believe that his prayer will be heard.  God hears prayer; this is a truth universally admitted, but which very few understand the meaning. or experience the power.  If what I have written stir my reader to go to the Master’s words and take His wonderous promises simply and literally as they stand, my object has been attained.

With Christ in the School of Prayer, Kindle Edition