When Jesus was raised from the dead and was declared to have all authority in heaven and on earth he sent his disciples to the nations with a message of repentance and forgiveness. Amazingly this message, so despised by so many, has been the means of turning millions and millions to the Lord Jesus.

The gospel message spoken by disciples and empowered by the Spirit is what changes people and saves them. Some want short cuts – using so called “spiritual warfare”, or modern sales methods, or better techniques of persuasion, or appealing to what the hearers find acceptable.

But at the time of the greatest expansion of the message (the century after Pentecost) none of these short cuts was used. In fact they were rejected. In favour of the power of the gospel itself.

One of the reasons for the poverty and weakness of the church is its neglect and patronising of the Word of God. Let us be alert and listening during the Bible reading, asking God to speak to us during the sermon, getting so used to reading the Bible that we don’t need to use the Table of Contents.

There is one thing that changes lives and churches, it is God's word, taken by his Spirit into the hearts and minds of his people by their own reading, and by their being exposed to it by the equippers God has supplied.