November 2, 2009

Religion or Revolution?

This is a copy of my guest blog post at from last Friday. It's a little longer than my normal posts, but when you might only have one shot you need to leave it all out there.

I've been in church most of my life. I grew up in a church where our pastor screamed & yelled to the point that we all feared he would have a heart attack. I've been to camp, sung the songs, raised my hands, & done all of that stuff. As a pastor, I've even led those camps. Yet a few years ago, I asked myself, "Is this really what Christianity is?" Is Christianity nothing more than going to worship every week, & if you're really holy, going to your small group every week? Or is there something more? Could it be that we've been called to a life that is bigger than worship services, Sunday School, & potluck dinners? I found the answer in an unlikely place: the words of Jesus!

In the book of Acts, Jesus blows away all of His disciples' ideas about what it meant to be associated Him. They were thinking about marching on Jerusalem & throwing the Romans out. Actually, they were thinking about Jesus doing that; they would just be there to share in the spoils of victory! They were expecting a revolution that would set them free from the Roman oppression over Israel. Jesus had something very different in mind.

Jesus envisioned a revolution too, but it was a revolution of faith not politics. And Jesus wasn't going to be the one to take it forward. It was going to left in the hands of this rag-tag bunch of disciples who had a loud mouthed fisherman named Peter as their leader. Not only were they going to be the ones to take this thing to the next level, Jesus said they would take it global. Think about that: global? Most people in the first century weren't going to travel more than a few days from home, & these guys from the backwoods of Israel were going to take a story about a Jewish carpenter into places like Rome & Athens? Yet these guys believed it. Not only that, they actually did it! Within a few decades of Jesus' words, His followers had managed to take the gospel to every corner of the known world. These guys believed in the revolution. They believed that Jesus really wanted to change the world through them. Now years later, I wonder how many of us actually take Jesus seriously here. Do we really believe what Jesus says?

Do we really believe we are the agents of this revolution? Or are we content with simply "doing church"? Jesus says that by the power of the Holy Spirit we are going to be a part of a revolution that is global in scope & eternal in significance, yet so many of us live lives that are consumed with me, myself, & I & the here & now. Do we think Jesus was just giving us a pep talk before He went back to heaven?

If we want to be a part of something more than just a religion, if we want to be a part of a movement, a revolution of faith, then we have to embrace the words of Jesus. We have to let go of the excuses. The excuses have to melt away in the shadow of the power of His Spirit. We have to be consumed by the call that challenges us to leave an impact on the entire world, beginning right where we are now. If you find yourself doing religion & not participating in a revolution. throw off all of your preconceptions about what Jesus can do or wants to do in you & simply start being the agent of Christ in this world.

What excuses do you need to abandon? Where do you need to be that agent of Christ? How can you be a part of Christ's global, eternal revolution?

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