You may have noticed that I changed the title of my website a while back.
For a while, I called my site Random Thoughts From The Revolution, and that’s still the subtitle. A few months back I made the change for a couple of reasons, but largely because the Occupy movement was heating up and I didn’t want to be confused with them when they co-opted that terminology.
The word revolution is powerful. People across the political spectrum overuse it. Advertisers wear it out. It’s a rallying cry in so many ways. But I can’t help but think that people don’t know what’s truly revolutionary because we’ve overused the word.
The truest revolution began around 2,000 years ago when God Almighty sent His son Jesus to be the atoning sacrifice for sin — then raised Him from the dead. Jesus began to change the world by leading others around Him to follow Him.
At Eastridge, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks in a series entitled Revolution. The idea behind the series is that the revolution is to finish the work that Christ began. Our revolutionary call is to make disciples who love God, love people, and reach the world.
This Sunday, our Lead Pastor Scott Moore shared an engaging, audacious vision to create 100 campuses in 25 years. Many of these new campuses will be across eastern Metro Atlanta and north Georgia — campuses that will require large budgets and teams of volunteers, but many of them will be located in India — campuses we’ll support for a mere $150 a month until they become self-sustaining. It’s a staggeringly large vision, and it’s downright exciting.
As I said before, the revolution is to finish the work that Christ began. It’s the greatest revolution ever sparked, and it’s worldwide. It goes beyond politics, beyond culture, beyond anything we can imagine or put in its way.
It takes revolutionaries to reach the world. I want to be a revolutionary.
Last week, we lost our mail carrier. I’m not sure if Mary was transferred or if the left she Postal Service altogether, but she left us a note letting us know that she’d miss us and hoped to run into us around town from time to time. When she ceased being our mail carrier, we lost a level of service that was far above the norm. Since my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and I live within steps of each other, all our mailboxes are next to each other. We got to know Mary pretty well over the years in which she delivered our mail. Continue reading Uncommon Service
I want to share a new blog from a friend of mine. I’ve had the privilege of literally watching Brandon Daniel grow up; he’s a godly young man with a heart that’s second to none and talent and intellect to spare. He’s taking a solo trip this summer to explore some of God’s creation, and he’s blogging about it. Check out http://brandondaniel22.wordpress.com/; I have a good feeling he’s going to have a lot of good things to say in the coming weeks.
2009 has been a fascinating year at Eastridge Community Church. I’ve seen God do so much (for a bit of information about what He’s done, see this earlier post of mine). In the midst of what is certainly the worst economy of my lifetime, He has taken care of us. For the first time, we’re able to track and keep up with guests and those who make decisions. We’ve seen our people reach out to the community in unprecedented ways. And I believe it’s just the beginning.
Last week, we launched a campaign called Life’s Healing Choices. We’ve done quite a bit to promote the campaign: signs all over Newton County, thousands of invitation cards; Colleen Jackson even wrote a terrific article in today’s local paper. But even our best efforts were hampered by the budget.
What happened as a result? On Sunday, 22 first-time guests came to Eastridge. Nine people accepted Christ. Nearly 200 people who were willing to admit that they have a need that only God can fill. Seventy small groups full of people sharing with each other about the hope that only comes from Jesus Christ. (My group met tonight for the first time; it was cool to spend time and share with old friends, new friends, and family.)
God deserves all the credit for what is taking place at Eastridge. None of this is about us; it’s all for His glory. And He’s doing such great things because our people…not just the pastors, staff, and elders, but the bulk of our people…are surrendered to him. God is going to move when His people stay in His Word and in prayer and live lives of surrender to Him, because only in surrender can we step out of our way and allow Him to do His work unhindered.
I’m grateful to the people of Eastridge Community Church for being willing to live in surrender to the One who gets things done.
Today’s reading from Acts 8 contains a couple of my favorite New Testament episodes, and both of them involve Philip, who is sort of a minor player who does big things in this chapter.
After Stephen’s death, the church scatters. Philip heads to Samaria, where he does miraculous signs, leading people to Christ. He creates such a buzz that Peter and John come down to check out what the fuss is about and attracts the attention of a sorcerer who tries to buy Jesus’ power. (Who says the Bible is boring?) Then, Philip follows the lead of the Lord to travel down a desert road, where he meets up with an Ethiopian eunuch who is reading from the Old Testament; he uses this passage to tell the eunuch about Christ, and then Philip baptizes him. Talk about a divine appointment…
In these two episodes, Philip practically singlehandedly takes the Gospel out of Judea, into Samaria, and on its way to the ends of the earth, following exactly Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8. Philip’s evangelism to the hated Samaritans and to a foreign official set the stage for what comes later on: Peter taking the good news to Gentiles, and Paul travelling to parts of Asia and Europe, sharing Christ and changing lives. In time, the Gospel has travelled literally to the ends of the earth, and we are both the beneficiaries of Philip’s work and the bearers of his legacy.
Philip fell in line with the revolution, and two different cultures were affected because he obeyed God’s calling on his life. Imagine what we can do if we obey Him…
There’s a saying that was used by radicals in the 1960s & 70s that summed up their commitment to their cause: “the personal is political.” The gist of that simple, four-word sentence is that these radicals were so committed to their cause…whether it be feminism, Black Power, the anti-war movement, or any other cause… that everything they did they considered a political act.
We who are believers in Jesus Christ can learn from such sold-out devotion, especially since ours is not a temporal cause but the eternal cause. Most Christians could stand a little dose of radical fervor. (Don’t get me wrong…I’m not advocating the politics of these groups or the means they used to achieve their ends, but there’s something to be said for a passion that permeates all we do, when it’s used in the right manner and for good.)
As Christians, we often need to be reminded that our relationship with Christ is meant to permeate all we are and all we do. Christianity isn’t meant to be compartmentalized. Our commitment to Christ shouldn’t be something we put on and take off, like a hat or a pair of shoes. It is meant to be our entire being.
Jesus himself talked about the kind of commitment it takes to follow Him. He said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23, NIV, emphasis mine). He doesn’t call us to take up our cross on Sundays, during business hours, when it’s convenient, or when we feel like it; he intends for us to be committed to him every day.
I want to be consumed by my love and devotion for Christ; I want to be driven by His heartbeat. I want everything I do to be a spiritual act. Will I truly be this way all the time? Not as long as I’m human. But I sincerely hope that I can align myself with the heart of Christ more and more.
Perhaps this could become a rallying cry for the revolution: the personal is spiritual.
Probably my least favorite song of all time is “Imagine” by John Lennon. That may sound like sacrilege to some people, given both the esteem that some people have for the song and the fact that I’m a major Beatles fan. When you get past the bland melody and unexciting production, you get to the crux of what I hate about the song: the lyrics.
John Lennon puts forth a utopian ideal that is socialistic, humanistic, and godless. And above all, it’s boring. His lyrics fall in line with utopians throughout history, from Robert Owen to J. H. Noyes to countless others before or since, a vision of gauzy harmony that would put insomniacs to sleep. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live a life of passionless passivity simply to achieve temporal harmony.
The revolution I want to be part of isn’t a bunch of people holding hands and singing “Kum-ba-yah”; rather it’s a body of people engaged in action and driven by the momentum of eternity. It brings about a peace that can’t be measured by the standards of the world. It calls for passion (channeled wholeheartedly into the things that please and honor God), excitement (in the things that matter for eternity), and freedom (anchored in the rock of Christ). And it’s never, ever boring!
(Note: this post is not meant to be a political discussion, despite the use of some political language. Any comments attempting to debate politics will not be approved by the author.)
I know that God is moving at Eastridge Community Church. Because He’s moving, we know that we can’t “do church” the way it’s been done for far too long. Around Eastridge, and particularly among the staff, we’ve been using the word revoluton to describe what’s taking place.
A revolution is a dramatic shift in the way things are done…a revolution sends inevitable shockwaves in all directions around it…a revolution can be messy…a revolution is undeniable.
I don’t want to sit on the sidelines while God performs His amazing acts of transformation everywhere I look. I don’t want to miss out on the excitement. I want to be a part of His story…His neverending, earth shattering revolution.
Care to join me?