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A garden hose and church

The garden hose

Recently I had to replace a garden hose. It was no fault of the hose. I just ran over it with a lawn mower. I do think that maybe it was just tired of life, laying out in the heat and cold, and that it jumped out in front of my mower. Unfortunately, I will never know since the hose can’t speak for itself.

So I went and purchased a new one. I got the best they had: 100 feet, USA made, non-kink, lifetime warranty. That garden hose looked so great that I thought that my lawn would be really proud to get water from such a fine piece of equipment.

But you know, the lawn doesn’t care what hose the water flows through. The only real need it has is good, clean water that gives it life. The best water hose in the world doesn’t guarantee the best water. It’s the water source that the hose is connected to which counts. The hose is just a secondary participant.


The church

So just what is the connection between a garden hose and a church? Recently, because of this COVID-19 thing, a lot of people are not able to meet at a physical church. In the place of offering their usual opportunities for services, many churches have just stopped meeting altogether. Some offer services online, but that is like showing a picture of flowing spring water to a dry and parched lawn. Not much good in meeting the need of “living” water.

The church hunt is now on

Some people are now looking for a church, much like I did in searching for a garden hose – the external values. Like how impressive the facility looks; it’s presence on social media, especially online worship services; how many different ministries it lists on their webpage; how many people attend (or did before the pandemic).

They will be looking for the external qualities rather than what is flowing from the inside out to the world. They will be judging the book by the cover, not concerned about the contents.

Trouble with this is that, as in my own journey attending different churches looking for living water, there are many choices, from ones that appear to “have it all together” to ones that seem to be quite humble in appearance.

The ones which drew me to attend them was not based on their physical appearance so much as what was on the inside – the flow of “living” water that gave me spiritual life.


Believers are now waking up

God is using this current devil initiated pandemic to stir up believers who desire the presence of the Lord, group worship and fellowship, and discipleship training. They are hunting for a church that is still open, or is in the process of reopening, as they want their connection back to the presence of the Lord.

There are some who now have come to realize that the church they used to go to is not a big missing part of their life, mainly because it didn’t offer any “living” water, and their life without that church is currently no worse off than when they attended.

This is a time of spiritual discernment. Reactions to handling this pandemic have exposed the hireling and faithless pastors, who have closed their churches because of fear rather than faith in God. The dead water that they have been giving out has been recognized for what it is.


Living water is the deal

The lawn does not care what hose is used, as it only has a desire for the water, because the source of water that the hose is connected to is more important that the hose. The lawn can’t live off contaminated or polluted water very long. The best chance for survival of the lawn is real clear, clean water – water that brings life.

So the source which a church is really connected to is more important that the facility it meets in. Half connected to God and half connected to the values of this world lead to only offering polluted water. A watered down gospel is no gospel at all, since death is mixed with it. It’s the “living” water that people need, not another way to die.

Once you have tasted the “living” water, where the Holy Spirit is free to operate, you will never settle for the dead, polluted water given out by the majority of churches today. Even a majority of mainline denominational churches that once were noted for the Holy Spirit’s display of God’s glory have fallen to this state of spiritual death.


So if I am looking, what kind of church or assembly group should I look for?

The dilemma most people face is this: do I go back to the church I had been going to, or do I seek out a new one?

A church or assembly that is led by the Holy Spirit, which promotes the carrying of that Spirit beyond the four walls that the group meets in is what you should be seeking. Don’t be looking at the outward appearance: look for its heart! Your spirit within you has a spiritual thirst, a longing that can only be truly satisfied in the presence of God, manifested by the Holy Spirit.

The great Azusa street revival of 1906-1915 did not take place in some fancy church building, but took place in an old dilapidated stable. It was the Holy Spirit who was present, giving out living water through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that created the revival. People came from around the world, being driven by their thirst for “living” water, as they heard that the glory of God was being revealed there through the Holy Spirit.

The same was true of the “Toronto Blessing” revival, which started in 1994 in a Vineyard Church, which was meeting is an airport warehouse.

Recorded in John 4:13&14 we find our Lord Jesus speaking to the woman at the well in Samaria these words: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Then, in John 7:37-39 we have these words. “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”


Church purpose is to reveal God

Just like a garden hose, whose purpose is to deliver the water from the source that it is attached to, so today’s church, just like the early church, is to deliver the "living" water, containing the Word of God, Spirit filled worship, and the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is the essential part of any organization, whether it be a large church, or a small home cell group. Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” Not only in building the church, but sustaining it.

The Holy Spirit should be leading the church leadership in prayer, discipleship, and ministry. Jesus was always in prayer, getting direction from the Heavenly Father for His ministry. Also, he did not start His ministry until He was baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16&17). His direction for His disciples to carry out the great commission was to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with power to carry out that commission (Acts 1:4-8).

Even the Apostle Paul’s ministry was solely dependent upon the Holy Spirit using him to glorify God.

In I Corinthians 2:4&5 we find his words, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

The problem with most churches is that the leadership does not involve the Holy Spirit in what they are doing. Falling to the false concept of them being in control rather than yielding to the Holy Spirit, they have not been giving out “living “water, which produces the abundant life, beyond just salvation, that Jesus promised (John 10:10).


This current church shaking has a purpose

Things have changed concerning the church services and ministry as we have seen it for most of our lives. The power that has been the mark of the early church as well as recent movements of God, revealing His glory, is what people are wanting. Most are tired of the lifeless services, marked by monotonous repletion of useless rituals, and where they just look on and don’t participate.

God is changing the way believers look at church. As the prophet Samuel as looking at the outward appearances of the sons of Jesse to find the one to anoint as the next king of Israel (I Samuel 16:1-13), God had to correct him as to what God was looking at. God was looking at the heart of the one He had chosen. If God was looking at the heart, maybe we should be looking at the heart of a church or assembly that we should join.

Proverbs 4:23b, “for out of it (the heart) spring the issues of life.” Just as the heart of a person determines what is said and done by that person, so the heart of a church or assembly should be filled with and directed by the Holy Spirit. He is the one who gives out the “living” water to which all can live abundantly.


It’s your choice

While you may choose which hose to buy based on how it looks to you, the more important part for the lawn is which water source you connect to.

If you are one of the many who are looking for a place to gather, look for the signs of “living” water, for then you will know that they are connected to the right source.

You have limited time on this Earth to accomplish what God has ordained for you to do, which can only be done by the Holy Spirit, the “living” water. Anything other than “living” water is dead, contaminated water, and giving out dead water won’t give any hope of life to a dying world.

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