Babies become toddlers. Toddlers become walkers. Walkers become talkers. It’s exciting to watch a child go through the changes of life so quickly. They don’t resist the change they embrace it. They embrace it with a great many failures, bruises and sometimes even a trip to the ER. Parents, grandparents, friends and family encourage these changes. It is an exciting time when a child rolls over, crawls, walks and talks for the first time. As they change we celebrate. Our grandbabies can’t talk yet but they know celebration. They know when they receive great approval. Gray (14 months) will clap her hands and repeat celebrated behavior. Grady (6 months) just shakes all over.
When do we get to the point that we do not want to make progressive change in our lives? Why not seek to advance? Why not try something new? Why not change the routine? Why not do it differently? School aged children are each pushed into the same mold and if they don’t fit something is wrong with them. Why? Scripture teaches that God crafted us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). Scripture also teaches that we are to be moldable in the Father’s hand (Jeremiah 18).
What if God called you to something different? A different expression of Christianity? A different expression of church? A different expression of life?
Jesus provided a worthy sacrifice for the salvation of all humanity and He wants us to be involved. He is the gatekeeper not us.
Are you willing to change? Change the way you do life? Change the way you express Jesus through the Church?
Let us celebrate change as Christ Jesus changes everything.
I have had people ask me a short question that really has a simple short answer. In fear of oversimplification here is how it goes:
Question: “Why did you start a new church?”
Answer: “God said to!”
The Calvinist would say, “He did not have a choice but to start a church. It was predestined to happen.”
The Armenian would say, “He made a clear spiritual decision to start a church.”
Well, I agree with both of those and I am not sure how all that works and neither am I interested in debating it with anyone. While I was reading Ephesians one day God gave me a clear direction to start a church and for it to be named “One Church” while I added “Tuscaloosa”. Again you see the mix of me and God, mostly God. God does His work. I get to participate. God has demonstrated His infinite love for me and my family of which I can never repay, nor does He desire that I try. So, God is starting a church in Tuscaloosa called One Church. You ask, “What is One Church about?” It is about Jesus – making much of Jesus. Just take the time to read Ephesians 1:1-14. Paul knew how to make much of Jesus. We will seek to reach into our communities culture and lift up Jesus – make much of Jesus. We believe that if we make much of Jesus, He will draw people to Himself. We seek to partner in making much of Jesus around the world. We simply want to do the works of God which is to believe in Him whom He as sent. (ref. John 6:29)
This morning I heard Anthony Evans (Dr. Tony Evans’ son) being interviewed on the Catalyst Leadership Podcast and he told of something his dad taught him. His dad said, “Anthony, you don’t go to a football game to watch a huddle you go to see the difference the huddle makes.” At that point my mind began to race with thoughts. I’m not sure what he said after that but you can go iTunes and search for Catalyst Podcast and listen to the August 8th podcast. Here is what the Spirit began to teach me.
- That is what Christians do when they worship together – So huddle.
- That is what a Sunday School class does – So huddle.
- That is what the purpose of a LIFEgroup is – So huddle.
- That is what a small group is – So huddle.
- That is what a youth trip is – So huddle.
- That is what a bible study is – So huddle.
- That is what a restoration team is – So huddle.
- That is what a Christian concert or conference is – So huddle.
- That is what a prayer group is – So huddle.
- Christians must come together – So huddle.
BREAK THE HUDDLE
Run the play
Live the Life
Let Christ Be Your Life
Most Christians spend their life in a huddle and never run the play.
Some things are so much a part of us that we struggle to unlearn it. The way in which we are raised puts patterns in our life so deep that we might never consider their impact if continued. It is not necessarily bad things, just not the best way to live life. This past week I became very concerned about the state of Christianity in America and the authority of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and the Word of God. To live under the authority of Jesus seems foreign to our church culture at times. The great commission, (Matthew 28:18-20), is clear that Jesus has “authority in heaven and on earth”. He instructs us to “go make disciples”. This is a non-negotable. That is where my concern is, “making disciples”. To make a disciple is to reach them with Jesus, baptize them and teach “them to obey everything” Jesus commanded. How many of us are doing that? How many are spending intentional time investing in the life of another by reaching, baptizing and teaching them to obey all of Jesus’ commands. My fear is that we are teaching an American church culture instead of all that Jesus commanded. If we don’t sit down and open the Word of God and bring everything in life under His authority we will have troubles that are tied to our fleshly desires. I encourage you to unlearn what is not right. The areas of your life that are not under the authority of Jesus – unlearn what you are doing. Unlearn how you are living. You will only succeed at unlearning it when you learn what Jesus said and make the needed adjustments without conversation. Just do it. Today, I encourage you to bring everything in your life under Jesus’ authority. Bring your singleness, marriage, parenting, finances, works, entertainment, etc. under the authority of Jesus. Your flesh is going to push against these adjustments, but the price is too high for us to live life with a mixture of what we want and what Jesus commands.
Easter attenders are not bad people.
I guess I have been to church most Easter Sunday’s in my life. I remember the trips to downtown Tuscaloosa to get Easter clothes (there were no malls). I have often heard Christians talk about people that only go to church on Easter and usually it is in a negative way. At some point in my life I am sure I joined in on the judgmental conversation and for that I ask forgiveness. Some regular church attenders will say, “If they are not going to come the rest of the year why do they come on Easter.” I have also heard those that have decided they will not even attend on Easter say, “If I’m not going to go the rest of the year, I’m not going to be hypocritical and go only on Easter.” I think both are wrong in their judgment. Here is what I have learn in watching Easter attendance swell in the church.
- Most people really believe their is a God.
- Most people really believe Christ Jesus was an actual person who walked on earth, died on the cross for the sin of humanity and rose from the grave 3 days later.
- Most people really believe they should worship Jesus Christ.
- Most people know what church they would attend.
- Most people know that church should be part of their life and family.
- Many people will be in church for Easter that feel real uncomfortable.
So, for all you regular church attender. Have grace, mercy and love ready in your heart as they come to your church this Easter. If you show them the love of Christ, who knows, they might come back before next Easter.
You are welcome at Harvest Church even if you will not be back until next year.
The first pastor I served under was a gentlemen by the name of Brannon Pinion, better known as Brother Pinion. He is probably the reason many people call me Brother Dan. He gave me a couple of lessons that have stuck with me for over 25. We were talking about some issue of which I do not remember and he said,
“You can’t die on every cross so make sure you pick your crosses.”
Here is the lesson. Everything is not worth dying for. Everything is not worth fighting for. You do not have to win every battle. Now, if you know me, you know I am very competitive. I do not like to lose, so this has helped me greatly over the years when I remembered to uses this bit of wisdom.
Think about these few situations.
Have you had an argument with your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend over something that really did not matter? Then it escalates because of the tone of voice one of you takes with the other. Then you begin to argue about or get your feelings hurt about what is not the original discussion but how the original discussion was handled.
Is every battle you fight with your children really necessary? Is it worth a fight to get them to eat all their food? Is it critical that they clean their room every day?
The examples could go on and on. Here are some example of people dying on the wrong cross.
- Lance Armstrong dying on the cross that he did not dope.
- Bill Clinton dying on the cross that he did not have sex with that woman.
- Barry Bonds dying on the cross that he did not take banned substances.
Here are examples of crosses worth dying on.
- A husband dying on the cross for his wife.
- A parent dying on the cross of being the spiritual leader of his home.
- A friend dying on the cross that they will not reject their friend because they are not perfect.
- A parent dying on the cross that church is important and the family will attend.
- A person dying on the cross that their finances will be under the authority of God.
- A believer dying to self so that Christ can live through them.
What crosses are you dying on?
PICK YOUR CROSSES
Lesson #1 – Jesus Is A Big Deal
Lesson #2 – Hold Your Rabbit
It is amazing how quickly we can “go back to normal”. Our nation has seen so many devastating events over the last 50 years. It began with the assassination of John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. We have seen Vietnam, Desert Storm, the current war in the Middle East and man more conflicts around the globe. We have seen millions of babies aborted, children abused and teen suicides. We have seen addiction destroy lives and homes. We have seen divorce continue to escalate. Substance abuse continues to plague so many. 9/11 was the first attack by another people group on the United States within our own boarders. There are so many other events that could be mentioned like Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, Virginia Tech and more. We commit to change after these events, then we go “back to normal”.
The moment of the event, the hours that follow, the first days of trying to grasp what has happened we pray and seek others to pray – everyone to pray. We begin to have a discourse about God in the public square. Churches fill with people seek God, answers, comfort and more. Then over time we forget. We go back to life as it used to be. We quit praying, talking about God, filling our church, and seeking spiritual direction.
God created us and warned those who went before us and also warns us.
Deuteronomy 4:9–10 (ESV)
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’
I think we need to create a new normal.