This morning was one of those morning that I could not sleep. When the mind starts, the sleep ends. So, I do as always by making coffee, going to the toilet and wondering how to being the day. I needed something to challenge me in my Bible Study and I usually use some kind of book that has a specific focus. So, looking through my books that are not still packed up, I saw The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places1 by Nik Ripken. First sentence in the book:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.”
Matthew 10: 16
The first paragraph in the Forward by Brother Andrew:
“Warning: this is a difficult book.
Not because it is hard to read,
but because it make me uncomfortable.
The cold water wake up call was this sentence in the second page of the Prologue:
“Am I simply a member of the church or am I a true follower of Jesus Christ?”
We all must answer that question!
P.S. Always read the Forward and the Prologue
1 Ripken, Nik, and Barry Stricker. The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places. Nashville, Tenn.: B & H Group, 2014. Print.
I have gathered with the church in many environments in different countries and in diverse situations. However, this past Sunday was the first time I had gathered with the church for praise, prayer, preaching, giving and more in a local coffeeshop. Sitting around tables with friends and family over a cup of coffee and food is often what Jesus did (maybe not coffee but I think they might have). One of our best local coffeeshops, Heritage House Coffee & Tea, in Tuscaloosa rents us some space to gather. We turn a coffeehouse into a house of prayer and praise. It was refreshing. It felt real. It was amazing. When we gather in the name of Jesus, He does some amazing stuff. One Church Tuscaloosa is going to continue to gather in this fashion and I am so excited to see how Jesus is taking people deeper in His love.
We would love for you to be our guest. We gather for coffee, food and conversation at 10 and we begin our praise & worship at 10:30. Go look around our website to learn more about One Church Tuscaloosa. Be our friend on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram
If you would like to donate to the work of One Church Tuscaloosa click HERE.
As I sit this morning in a coffee shop that has become my office of late and enjoying my coffee, internet, listening to One Church Tuscaloosa’s playlist on Spotify with my Beats, read my Bible, have multiple color markers, cold water, my iPhone 6+ sits ready for anything while I type this on my MacBook, I began to feel conviction!
I don’t need to document more.
American Christians, including me and you, seem weak. We don’t have to go to Egypt, Sudan or India to make an impact, but some do. However, we all do need to step up for Jesus! Step out for Jesus! We need to quit whining because everything is not done our way! We must get back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and take it everywhere we go! We do a great job of salting salt, but we were called to be the salt of the earth. We seek to make the lit room brighter, but we were called to be light in the darkness. If we don’t change our approach to life and godliness we will lose the next generation. We must rise up! The Body of Christ is an army with unending power. She is a sleeping giant. Evaluate your heart! Stir up your friends! Piss someone off (I probably just did :).
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.