The Enemy Cannot Stop the Church
[Joni Michele Jackson is the daughter of Bishop Harry Jackson, known for his ministry of racial reconciliation. Michele is one of the three lead-pastors at Hope Christian Church in Baltimore, MD. Last Thursday, she shared with Cindy Jacobs the perspective their team has taken to get their congregation through these unusual days.]
“When this began we sought the Lord together and we decided that we were going to be people of the Word, people of His Power, and people of His Presence. So, like other places, Maryland closed down because of the coronavirus. People have been able to exercise their first amendment rights to protest against the racial injustices they have had or are experiencing. At the same time, we know that we are called to be an apostolic sending place of Deborahs, Esthers, Josephs and Daniels. So, we are doing what a multicultural set of believing people do who have encountered systematic racism, who have even come from foreign nations where they may have been oppressed, who have been set free and are being set free by the power of the Gospel.
“Let me share a couple of scriptures with you. One is from Romans 12:3-6. It talks about the privilege we have to be a part of the equipping center of the Church. The Lord has granted us special functions and special gifts, special assignments, special graces and special anointings. While the churches have been closed, we, the Church, the people of God, have never been closed. This is our finest hour.
“We could get on board with many messages right now. There are so many voices and so many faces, but the One that is eternal, the One that will never fail, the One that will accomplish what it was sent to do is the Word of God. So, we have determined we will be people of the Word, people of His Power, and people of His Presence. We still cannot meet in our facility until at least mid-July, but this has not stopped us from conducting Bible studies and honoring His Word among us.
“The other scripture I want to share is Ephesians chapter 4:11-15. It talks here about the gifts—apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists. These have the responsibility to equip and build up the Church, the Body of Christ. A building has nothing to do with our assignment and our mandate. The anointing of God is able to reach people across distances. People need food and shelter and jobs. They need to see hope and a future for themselves. They need to see their gifts activated. People need to see Jesus. There are people in America that have never heard the Gospel. So, I think that it is strategic that the Lord would allow what the enemy meant to divide us, with coronavirus and all these other things, would be what would cause people to begin to search and find His message being ministered through the airwaves by true anointed leaders God has raised up for such a time as this.”
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13; NIV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
- Thank the Lord for the power of HIs Holy Spirit, which is not bound by our church buildings.
- Thank Him for the shutdowns, because He is using this season for His purposes. He is maturing His Church and prepping them for the work of service.
- Thank God that He is filling His people with the Word, His Presence, and His Power.
- Intercede for those equipping gifts He has called forth for such a time as this. Pray for those Esthers, Daniels, Deborahs, and Josephs. Pray for the Peters, Pauls, Timothys, and Marys. Pray everyone gets in their places and does their part.
- Ask the Lord what you need to be focussed on right now. Get ready! That harvest is coming in!
A prayer you can pray:
Father, thank You that Your Holy-Spirit-filled-Church is not bound by walls or buildings. We are finding this out in these COVID days. We have a mandate to share the Gospel with the lost, and You are drawing them to us by Your Holy Spirit. As we have had to get online, You are causing searching ones to find us. We can’t go seek them out, and they may never have walked into our buildings. However, in the privacy of their own homes and at a time convenient for them, they are finding You in our messages of encouragement to the Church.
Lord, don’t let the Church forget our mandate as we navigate these rough and choppy times. You tell us in Ephesian 4:11-15, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Keep us equipping the saints, so that when we come through this, we will be stronger, filled with faith and sold out to You. We can hardly wait to see what the Ekklesia looks like on the other side of this. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
God is quietly equipping the Church in America to be people of the Word, people of His Power, and people of His Presence.