Why GOD CRUSHED ME by Andrew Strom

When I was in my early twenties God took me to the ‘school of
hard knocks’ for a little while and taught me a few basic lessons.
The things I learned have stayed with me ever since.

At that time we had been doing a lot of Bible study and I felt I was
truly starting to get a handle on Book-of-Acts Christianity. But I
was about to learn that ‘theory’ alone was not enough. Our outreach
team at the time decided to start our own little fellowship – to “put
the book of Acts into practice” as we thought. We were all Spirit-
filled Christians, used to street evangelism. The fellowship we
started held prayer meetings every morning, we had “plurality of
elders”, we baptized people in the sea and had communion and
spiritual gifts operating (to a degree) in our meetings. We thought
we were pretty cool. In fact, we thought we were “it”.

We did everything we could to copy the book of Acts as we
understood it. We had seen some success as an outreach team
and we had every reason to assume that God would bless what
we were doing now. After all, we were so “scriptural”, right? We
were so much like the Book of Acts, we thought – God was just
BOUND to bless us.

And what was the result? Absolute abject failure. Nothing worked,
nothing much happened, and our growth was virtually nil. I was
shocked and devastated. What were we doing wrong? Couldn’t
God see how “scriptural” we were? Why on earth didn’t He bless us?

Being young, it took me a while to come to grips with what the
problems really were. (Quite a few years, in fact). These are the
things God showed me:
(1)  We had an outward “form” of the book of Acts, but the “heart”
was almost totally lacking.
(2)  We were more interested in getting things “technically” right
and ‘growing’, rather than truly loving and caring for PEOPLE.
(3)  I had no true ‘Revival’ anointing, and without it a lot of my
“Repentance” preaching was a waste of time.
(4)  I don’t think we ever experienced true ‘koinonia’ at all in that
group, even though we were doing many of the “technical” things right.
(5)  I was self-righteous and proud that we had so many things
“correct”, when in fact all the most vital things were missing.
Personally, I realized later that I was a total ‘Pharisee’ – a proud
religious zealot about “outward things” while the ‘weightier matters’
eluded me.

It took years of brokenness and ‘crushing’ for all these things to begin
to be truly broken down in my life. It took years for me to start valuing
PEOPLE more than technical correctness. It took years for me to
see how much more important LOVE is than outward ‘form’. And
it took years for me to learn that it was the massive FLOWING of
the Holy Spirit that made the early church what she was – NOT
having all the “structural things right”.

For years this crushing and brokenness was used by God to
break down the self-righteous pride and ‘religion’ that I was steeped
in. It was the very essence of ‘wilderness’. And when I came out of
that period I found that I was utterly changed.

These days I am under no illusions that we can simply do the
“right things” and produce the Book of Acts. It is what we ARE,
and not what we DO that is the crucial thing. I am under no illusions
that simply getting everything outwardly correct will do anything at
all. If it is done in the power of the Holy Spirit then it can be very
powerful. But otherwise it will achieve very little (if anything).

We need a Revival! We need the power of the Holy Spirit to sweep
through. We need love and true ‘koinonia’. We need a great
‘Repentance’ anointing on our preaching. Only then is it possible to
see the Book of Acts happen again. And only then will changing our
STRUCTURES on a large scale become truly worth doing.

This is why I often find I have a lot in common with some of my
friends who do not share my convictions on the structure of the
church. It is their ‘heart’ that matters to me. If these people are
praying and longing for Revival, for instance, or loving and feeding
the poor and preaching a powerful ‘Repentance’ message, or
ministering powerfully in the Holy Spirit, then could it not be that
they are over half-way to the Book of Acts already? For Acts was all
about getting the “heart” things and the ‘Holy Spirit’ things right, far
more than the structural ‘forms’. Jesus did not go around preaching
about the coming structure of the church. He preached repentance,
love and the kingdom of God. He healed the sick and dealt with the
heart issues – sin and pride.

No wonder God felt the need to break me and humble me. I was
blind and could not see. (And of course, this was only the
beginning of such lessons).

Special blessings to all,

Andrew Strom.

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