Ekklesia – The Called Out Ones!
On Sunday morning I gathered with a group of men in a sterile white room lined with plastic chairs in the Denver County Jail. The men dressed in blue sweat outfits with orange shoes are being held and awaiting a trial to determine their future. Some will soon be released while others may face years of incarceration. The fear in their faces was obvious as their lives literally hang in the balance of the court system. These men joined us for an hour in God’s Word and a time of prayer. For some this a brief reprieve from the prison pod was a new experience while others knew many scriptures by heart.
In the human all seemed lost. Once you are in the system you are a marked man or woman and even if you get out the chances are slim to none short of a miracle. So in my spirit I prayed over each individual asking for the Holy Spirit to defy the odds and do something supernatural in each of their hearts leading them to a life-changing encounter with Christ. As the large medal door closed behind me there was both a feeling of joy of encountering Jesus in jail but also an inner pain knowing that the path for most of them would be extremely difficult.
And on Sunday afternoon I gathered with a body of believers at church launch in inner city Denver. Avenue Church is birthed out of an Ethiopian church and this room consisted of multiple cultures and ages. I felt like I was back worshiping with my brothers and sisters in Africa. The pastor’s name is David and he preached a powerful message from Matthew 16:18:
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it.
Pastor David shared that the Greek word for church is ekklesia, which means to be called out. He said the word church is not linked to a building, a tradition, or a denomination, rather it means God’s calling out of a life of sin to a new life found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. These called out ones storm the gates of hell and together with Christ bring His Kingdom to earth in transformational power.
Pastor David can testify to the power of being called out by the Spirit of Almighty God. He spent time in jail and has a record as a convicted felon for several crimes. Yet in his darkest time he met a group of Ethiopian Christians who took him in and loved him. Through these grace filled called out ones he found Christ and was transformed and discipled to become the pastor of a gathering of called out ones, who Sunday stormed the gates of hell in inner city Denver.
Sunday night I went to bed thinking about the men I met in jail, Pastor David and the power of the called out ones to share and show the transformational love of Jesus Christ. Throughout the day Abba Father showed me the power of His Church, The Called Out Ones. Jails, addictions, racial barriers, religious spirits, and all the demonic schemes of hell try to keep people in bondage-but the Called Out Ones storm these gates. You and I are the church, the called out ones, called to storm the gates of hell, called to lead others out of darkness into the transforming light of Christ. Who knows, you may touch the next Pastor David by simply showing and sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
Amen my brother! As always challenging us in our faith. We are indeed Ekklesia, ‘The called out ones’ from our darkness into His light to proclaim good news to the poor and broken. We must be found in their midst not in the comfort of a building!
The ‘Church’ is me and you and those who profess Jesus as Lord…willing to lay down our lives for His name and Glory! He NEVER promised us comfort, but trials, tribulation and persecution he also faced.
A time is coming if we havent fully received the grace and power He has given us through His Holy Spirit, we will falter and fall!
“Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit” says the Lord! We are more than conquerers but we need to be in the battle! Thank you again for the reminder my brother. God be with you on this journey.
And thanks for helping teach me what “the called out ones” look like. Keep being the church in Cape Town and beyond.
Thank you, Tim, for this encouraging and convicting word. Called out.In the short time I have been with Prison Fellowship, I have felt that mixed emotion of joy and heaviness when walking out of the prison gates. Joy that Jesus is indeed working in incredible and supernatural ways in that place, yet heaviness in that the road before these inmates is not one of ease. Yet they walk us as far as they are allowed to go with smiles and telling us to have a blessed week. Called out. That is where I, too, want to live.
It is so awesome how God has brought you into prison to be the presence of God’s amazing grace. May God continue to bless you and fill you as you bring the “church” with you into the prison.
Thank you for sharing for loving on the prisoners and bringing hope,peace,love!!!