Temperatures here in southeast Massachusetts were in the middle 70's. New England summers and falls things of remarkable beauty. Sandy and I took a couple of friends with us and went for a ride to adore the spectacular foliage that God blesses us with in this part of His world.
It's funny how we sometimes think the grass is greener (or in this case the trees are more colorful) on the other side of the fence. Our time behind the windshield took us on a 126 mile loop into central Massachusetts and back to Norton. Yes, our excursion gave us some glimpses of nature's artistry, but we saw the most exhilarating sights within ten miles of our home! Our Creator's Autumn colors are inimitable -- his imagination intriguing.
Also . . .
We are continuing with a series of messages called -- Advancing the Kingdom. This morning I took a chance and drew a starfish and a spider (more about the spider later) on a huge flip chart. Did you know that nearly every kind of starfish can grow back one of its legs if it is severed? Did you know that in some starfish species the severed leg can grow into another starfish?
The passage in focus was Acts 8:1-4. There we are told: Stephen was martyred, and following his death a great wave of persecution, led by Saul of Tarsus, broke out against the church . . . the apostles remained in Jerusalem, but the believers were scattered and took the message of the gospel wherever they went.
The point? It is plain to see that the success of Christ's church did not hinge on the presence of the apostolic leaders -- they stayed in Jerusalem -- as the scattering Believers brought people into the kingdom. Wherever they went. Without them. God's people, in their very essence and new nature, had everything needed to ensure the kingdom's advance. Severed and slashed, they simply became the DNA of a new Body.
Nothing has changed. Christ never intended that his people lean on and depend upon a few gifted leaders to be the sole governors and guides of the advancement of his church. Leaders are a gift. Leaders have a significant place. But leaders also come and go, and yet, Christ's church moves onward and forward. Why? Because like the starfish, the church Christ is building is indestructible, and inconceivably adaptable, and in every person whose life is Jesus!