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Evangelism

I started answering the question “What did it look like back in the day at Calvary Chapel when Christians got together, for a bible study and other gatherings?” in my post on Sept 24. I started by explaining that the answer is found in who we were because that resulted in what it was like. This is part 2 of my answer.

In addition to everything that I wrote in this post here.

We abided in Christ.

We lived in Christ, we lived for Jesus, we lived “Hour-by-hour abiding in Jesus. We were obsessed with Jesus, we praised Him continually, talked about Him obsessively.

And just like with Jesus out of His personal union with the Father (John 10:30, John 5:19, Luke 22:42, John 14:9 ) came His words (John 12:49) and His works (fruit), which manifest the character of God and His mission on earth. Out of our union, our abiding in Christ, abiding in His word, came our works (fruit) and Character of Christ in us, resulting in us living on His mission (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20).

So imagine what it would be like for two or more people in a union (abiding) with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the word of God just as Jesus was in a union (abiding) with the Father coming together. Think of the results in the life of Jesus, the fruit He manifested, everything He did on His mission. Look at the life of the disciples and the fruit in their lives from abiding in Christ (Book of Acts). Now maybe you’re getting a glimpse of what it was like when we came together. What our daily lives looked like.

We proved daily that John 15:1-11 is true. “……he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, “. Our lives, what happened when we came together were the result of us abiding in Christ all day, the fruit from abiding.

Calvary Chapel May 5, 1973. Hundreds gather at Corona del Mar beach for baptism.

We were all part of the same church.

In the late 60’s through the 80’s Calvary Chapel held their baptisms at the beach, they had to because they were baptizing as many a 500 people in a single baptism. Those people were not coming to Christ because of some church event, or program. But because every one of us took Jesus to the streets, everywhere we went, we carried our Bibles with us and shared Jesus with everyone we met, each one of us was an evangelist. We did not invite people to come and attend a church, we were the church everywhere we went inviting people to come to the wedding feast, to Christ (Matthew 22:9).

This is who we were, the Christian culture we were reborn into, what Christians did, we opened our Bibles read what it said, believed it and lived it, we acted, we just did what it said. Thereby we made Isaiah 55:11 a reality in our lives. We were living on mission, talking about Jesus to everyone. It was that way for the first church, it was like that for us back then and it should be the same for us today.

We were all part of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. What was Calvary Chapel like, try to imagine thousands of followers of Christ who are passionately in love with Jesus. Coming together to worship Jesus, study the word, and have Koinonia with each other, who are expectantly waiting for the return of Jesus (Matthew 24:44, 1 Thess 5:6) and wanted to tell everyone about that Jesus. This was not a church of Sunday Christians, church attendees, a give me ten minutes of worship, a quick twenty-minute sermon and let me get out of here kind of people. This was Jesus people, Jesus freaks (as we were called), followers of Jesus coming together. People who actually loved to be with other followers of Jesus and talk about Jesus. To us it was not just a one hour Sunday morning event, in addition to the Sunday morning service, we had Sunday, Monday and Thursday night bible study services that lasted 2, to 2 1/2 hours each. Plus we went out for dinner afterward with bibles open talking about the study for another couple of hours. We were not just attendees of a church, Sunday Christians, but people in love with Jesus, and the body of Christ, the word of God and so we came together to be in the word, love on each other and love on Jesus.

I believe the essential part, the key to being part of Calvary Chapel was that it was a teaching church, an equipping church, and a sending church. We were taught the word of God (1 Timothy 4:6, 2 Timothy 2:15), equipped to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16) and sent out to preach the gospel and make disciples (2 Timothy 4:2, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8) and that is what we did. It was not about starting programs, it was about making missionaries of all of us.

Somebody once asked me where I went to church, I said Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, They responded: “Wow, going there is like going to seminary, you really learn the Bible”. And they were right, we not only were taught the Bible verse by verse, cover to cover, but we were also taught how to study the Bible ourselves, we were equipped. Thereby we were able to fulfill 2 Timothy 2:15 “Earnestly study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.“.

So image a group of people who along with everything I said in part one of this post, they believe in the same Jesus (Biblical Jesus), are madly in love with, abide in Jesus, who talk about Him with everyone they meet. Who are anxiously awaiting His return (Matthew 24:44, 1 Thess 5:6), and with urgency told everyone Jesus was returning. Who love the word of God so much that they study it every day, meditate on it all day, and talk about it with everyone. Are in unity in what the bible says (theology). Who love the body of Christ, and live to one another the body. Who exercise their Spirit-given gifts when they come together. A people that live on the same mission, to go make disciples. That believe in the same gospel and preach it to themselves and everyone they meet every day. We were filled with, empowered by the Holy Spirit, who is enabling, gifting and leading them. Are Charismatic (Not into Charismania).

We were a people that are of one accord, one Jesus, one gospel, one bible, one mission, a people who read the bible then do, act on what it says in the power of the Holy Spirit.

That’s is who we were, a group of people who met the one who died for their sins and rose again and live as if they did.

It was Just Normal Christianity

In other words, it is normal Christianity according to everything I read in the NT as to how Christians live, the normative for a follower of Jesus Christ and how we live and do church.

So what was the result of a group of people like that to coming together? Whether it was 2, 20, 200 or 2,000, I think the only way I can convey what it was like is just to say: It was a Jesus explosion, a Jesus celebration. It looked like Acts 2, like Ephesians 5:16, and 1 Corinthians 14:26. It looked like a group of co-laborers in the mission (Matthew 28:19-20), who were stirring up one another to love and good works, spurring on one another in the good fight of the faith. It was like what normal Christianity is supposed to be like.

Honestly, you have to have lived it and experienced it to truly know and understand what it was like, what happened when we came together. If you were not part of the Jesus / Oneway Movement in the 60’s – 80’s, especially in California and particularly at Calvary Chapel (where it began), you truly cannot understand what I’m talking about.

I can also say for sure that you cannot make what happened back then happen today with a “how to book”, a “checklist of things to do”, or “church programs”. No man-made list or program can duplicate it. Nor can it happen with a church or group that’s full of Sunday Christians. People that think a church is something you just attend.

Just as Calvary Chapel did not make it happen with programs or manuals. It was God, the work of the Spirit and a people passionately in love with, abiding in Jesus and in love with each other. Chuck’s part was that he lifted Jesus up, taught the word of God and equipped the people for the work and sent them out. He let God and the Holy Spirit do the rest. God filled us with His Holy Spirit, and Chuck filled us with God’s word, and the word and the Spirit together did the rest.

I think the last part of Acts 17:6 best describes the gatherings back then “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” because they really did.

Read part one here.

 

In my Friday morning men’s group, I was asked what it looked like back in the day at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa when Christians got together, for a bible study or other gathering.

And I have been thinking about that since he asked that, and I’ve had a hundred memories running through my head while trying to think of how to answer that question.

And I think the answer is found in who we were, how we lived daily. Because without that any examples don’t make sense and are truly unduplicatable. Because that is the foundation, was the catalyst for what occurred when we met together.

Like the trinity we had a three-fold purpose and that ultimately was one purpose, Jesus, the Word, and the mission. And it dominated every aspect of our daily life, our thoughts, our actions, our purpose for living. Sub purpose along with those was Koinonia, (fellowship) and Maranatha, (the second coming of our Lord Jesus).

Because Jesus, the word of God and His mission were our lives, the most important things in our lives, the priority of our lives, what happen when we got together happened because of that. Jesus, the word of God, and the mission dominated our thoughts, our conversations, they affected everything we did every day.  So, when we came to gather it looked like the book of Act’s chapter 2, like Ephesians 5: 19-21, and 1 Cor 14:26.

When we gathered together all we talked about was Jesus and His word, because for us “to live is Christ” was how we lived. We did not have to switch to “church mode” or start acting like Christians when we came together, we were living it out daily. We talked about Jesus all day with everyone.

I must start with the elements, the foundation that created what happened when we came together?

The Mission: We all joined God in what He was doing every day, and so we had daily stories about fresh encounters with God, with what He was doing, stories of us joining Him in what He was doing. Stories of preaching the gospel, the sick being healed, the blind seeing, people being saved, people repenting, people being delivered. That is we had testimonies of Mark 16:15-20 “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Even stories of receiving persecution for preaching the gospel, and testimonies of prayers being answered.

First-hand stories, so that no matter who we talked with, set down next to when a conversation started we had a steady stream of God stories about what He had done. We prayed daily for God to use us, lead us where He was working, let us join Him in the mission. And when we prayed it, we meant it, we put everything else on the back burner. So then we brought those stories, testimonies with us when we come together, our part in the mission, in what God was doing on earth (Matthew 28:19-20, 10:7-8, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 9:2).

The Word: We had daily fresh encounters with His word and what it said to share, not just a list of isolated Bible verses committed to memory from some list memorized we just repeated. But a daily fresh encounter with the word and the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the word it for that day. We started our day with our Bibles open digging into the word, we finished our day in it, and every minute in-between that we could. We carried our bibles with us everywhere, we were reading it and sharing it every opportunity we had. We were set on fire for and by His word, encounters with God in His word. And if we did not share what we had received, we would have exploded I think. And we wanted to share it with everyone. We had burning bush encounters with God in His word. You cannot keep that kind of encounters with the Lord under a basket, you must shout it from a rooftop, and so we did, to each other, to everyone we encountered.

We all carried our Bibles with us if we were going to a restaurant to eat alone or with somebody, it was with us and open. When going to somebody’s house, because whenever we gathered together we always open our bibles and shared the Word. Even work because we never wanted to be far from it or miss any opportunity we had for sharing the word with others.

Jesus: And we abided in Christ and He in us, our thoughts were consumed with Jesus. We preached the gospel to ourselves all day, keeping the cross and resurrection fresh in our thoughts, to us it was if Jesus died for us and rose from the dead that day and we praised Him for it and had to tell others about it. We walked and talked with Him as if He was standing right next to us all day long because He was, we were consumed with Him. God became a man, suffered for our sins, paid our debt, died for us, and rose from the dead. And when we die He is going to raise us from the dead, give us His ring, robe and sandals. And we will eat with Him at His banquet table. What is there to talk about that was more important than that! Therefore, we talked with everyone about Him, I mean everyone. Our greatest joy was to talk about Jesus, we would rather talk about Him than anything else with each other and with others.

And we were also about Koinonia, the word means; 1contribution, 2fellowship, 3participation, 4sharing. We used the word a lot back then to describe our gatherings because It denotes the active participation or sharing of what one has in common with others. Koinonia is a very special kind of sharing—entering into what the apostles experienced with Christ. And that is what we did when we came together, “active participation or sharing in what one has in common with others” and that was Jesus, the word, and the mission. We entered “into what the apostles experienced with Christ.” That is why we wanted to be with the body of Christ in the first place.

Maranatha, the word means; “Our Lord comes” or “Our Lord is coming.” Jesus told us “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matt 24:44) So we reminded each other to be ready, we did not want to be found asleep in the light. Paul said “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess 5:6-11 NKJV) And so when we came together we “comfort each other and edify one another” and we keep each other awake. And alerted others that Jesus was coming again.

And the Holy Spirit, I cannot leave out that we were all filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, baptized in/with the Spirit, however, you want to label it. It was not us doing these things in the power of our flesh, our strength, something we learned from a “How to” church manual. Not man made plans, schemes or programs, but by the Spirit of the Lord. We lived surrendered to, lead by the Spirit. It was not as much as us doing as it was us just Going and letting God do something through us, letting the Holy Spirit work through us. We let the Spirit equip us, work in us and through us when we were Going, and when we came together.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31-33, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6), “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  John 14:26, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7,  and 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and on and on, we lived out, or maybe I should say the Spirit lived out through us.

Those things defined who we were and thus cased what it looked like when we came together, it looked like the book of Act’s chapter 2, like Ephesians 5: 19-21, and 1 Cor 14:26 I really think it looked like what it must have been like when the disciples came together after a day of joining God in what He was doing, a day of living on mission. A day of Going into the world and preaching the gospel, teaching what Jesus said even onto persecution.  Each one with their stories to share of going. A bunch of people who were crazy about, passionately in love with Jesus, the word. A people obsessed about people getting saved, even unto death, coming together as co-laborers for the Kingdom of God, encouraging one another in Christ, in the word, in the mission, filled with, equipped and empowered by the Spirit.

That’s the starting place, the foundation of what caused what occurred when we gathered together, part 1 of the story.

Read part 2 here.

 

 

encounter-small

I attended the YWAM Together (YWAM is Youth With A Mission for you none YWAMers) here in Kansas City on Monday, its a week-long conference that YWAM  holds every two years Monday was open to the public and it was awesome in so many ways. First gathering with YWAMers from all over the world, being a YWAMer, being with YWAM three years back in the late 80’s, it was like going home. There is a saying in YWAM, once a YWAMer always a YWAMer, I can testify it is true.

 

It was so great to hear YWAM stories, people sharing what God is doing all over the world, getting to share my stories with other, priceless.
Seeing and hearing the leaders speak, like Loren Cunningham, John Dawson, who was the leader of the base I was at when I was in YWAM, and many others.

 

To hear all the new technology that is being implemented to spread the gospel around the world.

 

To hear that by 2020 that the Bible will be translated into every known language in the world, and YWAM will have a base in every country in the world, fulling the bible verse Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.”

 

When I was in YWAM I got to go on the Anastasis Hospital ship the largest of 3 ships they had at that time, today they have 8 ships, praise God.

 

Bottom line I miss YWAM.

 

ywam-together-2016-2

 

 

“Follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And, there was a abundant amount of fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

Week after week, month after month, and year after year, these who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, wrote book after book about fishing, how to fish, the different types of fish, the best places to catch fish, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.

Continually, they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. They created witty slogans and displayed them on big beautiful banners.

These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings called “Fishing Headquarters.” The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do, however: They did not fish.

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. But no one every went because there was always a family activity. A football game to watch. A movie to see. Work around the house to do. A career to advance. So the board even hired staffs and appointed committees and held many meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, what it would look like if every one fished, and to decide what new streams should be thought about. But the staff and committee members did not fish.

They engaged in all kinds of other occupations, some felt their job was to relate to the fish in a good way so the fish would know that they where loved. Others felt that simply letting the fish know they were nice, land-loving neighbors and how loving and kind they were was enough.

But eventual they stopped teaching that everyone was to be a fisherman, no longer talked about how to fish, no longer taught them how to fish even. Instead they started teach that everyone was to simply invite the fish to come to the “Fishing Headquarters”, let the fish know they where welcome, that even preparations where made to make them feel welcome and at home in the “Fishing Headquarters”. But no fish ever come, just others that call themselves fishermen who where looking for a nicer “Fishing Headquarters” than the one they where at.  

Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. Some world rub the scent of fish all over them so the fish would feel comfortable around them, feel like they where one of them. They suffered the ridicule of those who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never fished.

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if, year after year, he never fishes? Is one really following if he isn’t fishing?

I ask again,  Is a person following if, year after year, he never fishes? ….“Follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  So Is one really following Jesus if he isn’t fishing?

220px-Catherinebooth

I read this and found it of great encouragement, such a truth that I had to post it, if only that I might read it over again and again myself. This is what  Catherine Booth, wife of the founder of the Salvation Army, instructed her fellow workers as follows in the winning souls.

"Do not tell anybody they are saved. I never do. I leave that for the Holy Spirit to do. I tell them how to get saved. I try to help them to the way of faith. I will bring them up as close as ever I can to the blessed broken body of their Lord, and I will try to show them how willing He is to receive them; and I know that when really they do receive Him, the Spirit of God will tell them quickly enough that they are saved. He will not want any assistance about that. I have proved it in hundreds of cases. Nobody knows the soul but God. Nobody can see the secret windings of the depraved heart but God. Nobody can tell when a full surrender is made but God. Nobody can tell when the right hand is cut off, or the right eye plucked out, but God. Nobody can tell when a soul is whole-hearted but God, and as soon as He sees it, He will tell that soul it is saved." Catherine Booth

Word on keyboard

These are three key things I now ask about a church, three questions I ask about a church, and  require of a church before I would be part of it.

I ask these three questions about a church…..

1. How many churches has the church planted?

2. How many missionaries have they sent out?

3. How many baptisms do they do a week?

What I am look to learn, find out, is the church actively fulfilling the great commission, about Equipping and Sending, that is Making Disciples and Going into the world and Baptizing people. ( Matthew 28:19-20 , Mark 16:15 )

Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”, so then as followers of Jesus, as the church we want people to become both disciples of Jesus and to Go and make disciples for Jesus. That is what the church is for, to make disciples, to equip them to be disciples of Jesus, and to go into the world and make disciples of Jesus. That is what Jesus did with the twelve disciples, He equipped them, then sent them to do the same thing.

If a church has been around for more than tow or three years should have a list of churches it has planed, missionaries they have sent out. A church that has been around 10, 20 or 30 years that has not planted a church is a dead church. Any church that’s not equipping, sending, and planting churches is not taking Jesus, nor the great commission seriously. It’s not doing its job to equip and send out.

Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa got it right, it is one of the few church in the last four decades that got it, when I was left there in the late 80’s Calvary had planted over 2,000 church around the world. Chuck Smith understood its all about teaching the word (verse by verse), equipping the body and sending them out to reach the lost of the world, planting churches.

If you entered ministry you where expect to Go, no one was to be on staff from more than three years, after that you where expected to Go and plant a church. I went out from Calvary as a missionary with YWAM.

So I have returned to my roots so to say, to the root of Jesus’ mission for His people, His church, to Go, to Go preach the gospel, to make disciples and to baptize, every nation. Every church should be doing that, must be doing that, the church’s  very commission by Jesus was all about Going, Making all about Multiplying.

The gospel should so compel us that we are never satisfied to attend the same church every Sunday year after year and set on our pews. As a pastor you should never be satisfied with one church, growing in numbers of pew warmer, people who keep coming year after year to just sit there and admire you. Or with growth coming from transplants from other church, no one getting saved, just other church goers switching brands. You should burn to have a line of people to be baptized every Sunday, see the gospel go forth and soles get saved. That every Sunday there are names to be read of those who are Going, being sent out as missionaries and church planters.

Jesus was passionate about Going, spreading the gospel and so I’m going to be passionate about Going, taking the gospel to the world. And I want to fellowship with those who have the same passion as Jesus. Be part of a church that has the same passion. It was Jesus’ last words on earth.

If the word is being preached and the gospel being proclaimed then naturally the people will be Going into the world, people will be getting saved and therefore churches are being planted.

So now when I meet a pastor, or talk to others I ask, How may churches has your church planting? How many missionaries has it sent out? How many baptisms do they do a week? If the answer is none, my next question is Why Not?

And honestly the way I feel these days is that any church that is not doing those three things should stop calling it self a church, perhaps call it a Christian entertainment center, or Christian Community center, but certainly not a church.

Any church that is not “making disciples of all nations, baptizing them”, “Going into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”  why would any follower of Jesus want to be part of it?

2-5-10364 Days and Acts of Mission, that is for 365 days I will do at lest one act of Mission. Be Missional.

As I mentioned Wednesday when I blogged about my new commitment to doing 365 Days & Acts of Love, that it had brought to mind other things I wanted to do for the next year.

Project two is 364 Days and Acts of Mission, that is for 365 days I will do at lest one act of Mission. That is the mission of Jesus that was passed on to His people, to His church. Living missional as we say, but now with deliberate actions and intent daily just as I am also pursuing deliberate acts of love each day. (read here)

This will be doing things like sharing the gospel with strangers, make disciples, baptizing others, bringing healing to others, planting a church, acts that bring and build the kingdom of God to earth. That spread the gospel to the world.

I am not seeking to add another thing to my schedule, but rather making my existing schedule, life style missional. Everything from eating meals, going to the gym,  work, grocery shopping, trip to the library, getting a haircut and playing basketball, will all be done with a missional intent. It is simply looking at what Jesus did and do what He did, looking for what Jesus is doing each day and  join Him in it.

Simply put, mission and the gospel will be part of every activity I do, but I will do at least one distinct, intentional, bold act of mission a day, and I will try to blog about one of the acts each day to share with you.

The gospel component can be added in a natural but intentional way as I converse throughout the activities of my day. The mission is simply me living as Jesus did, everything He did and said was to further the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom message of reconciliation and healing to the world. (He said we will do everything He did and “even greater things” John 14:12 I am simply holding Him to His promise)

To sum it up ~ I will do 365 acts of Mission for 365 days of the next year.

The purpose ~ To not just talk about the mission of Christ, but be about doing the mission of Christ.

The goal ~ To live a life on mission that will spread the Kingdom of God and the gospel, the work of Christ on earth and inspire others to live the same.

110309 An estimated 1.5 million evangelical Christians joined Brazil’s annual "March for Jesus" on Monday in Sao Paulp, Brazil, an event sponsored by a church whose leaders recently returned after being imprisoned in the U.S. for money smuggling.

Now in its 17th year, the march unites faithful from hundreds of evangelical churches and attracts dozens of Christian bands, preachers and local celebrities.

It is organized by the powerful Reborn in Christ Church, whose leaders said they had hoped to draw 5 million people to gather around a central Sao Paulo plaza where the main stage was located.

74 percent of Brazilians identify as Catholics, down from 84 percent in 1990. Fifteen percent classified themselves as evangelical Protestants, up from 9 percent in 1990.

"It’s one giant party for Jesus," one participant said, standing among a noisy throng of revelers.explo72

Associated Press writer Bradley Brooks in Rio de Janeiro. read full story here.

I remember the good old days here in America when this type of activity was a regular event, being a child of the 70’s. I remember the Jesus movement well, when thousands of followers of Christ held marches on school campuses, streets, rallies in parks an schools campuses, and filled stadiums. I miss those days when love and passion for Jesus was so white hot, when every follower of Jesus was passionate about sharing Jesus, proclaiming the gospel, and the result was we baptized hundreds at a time. Church where growing so fast we where taking over closed stores and warehouses, sadly today churches are closing, dying off, and I do believe there is a connection. We need to get that fiery hot passion back, for Jesus for the lost.

 

Photo from Expo 72 in Dallas, TX

flashforward-logo The new TV show Flash Forward (ABC Thursdays at 8:00 pm ET) debut last night, with an interesting show plot. If you did not see the first show, the plot is that everyone in the world blacks out at the same time and has a flash forward to their future. And while blacked out they see for two minutes and seventeen seconds, his or her life six months in the future on the same day. What they where doing on that day, what their life was like. And a FBI task force sets out to find out what or who cause it and why it happened.

One of the character points out that everyone was changing how they lived and how they have a different outlook on their lives based on what they saw about their future. People where beginning to change the way the lived, their outlook about life. Those who saw a bad future on that day where now seeking to change that outcome, create a different future for themselves, avoid the for seen event.

And I thought about that, how the author of the book that the show is based on, understood if we could see the future, even a single day, it would effect our life choices now, how we live now. How true that should be fore every follower of Christ, for we have seen the future, not just ours but the future of the all mankind, all of creation. How the story will end as they say.

We followers of Christ have had our own Flash Forward, only we have seen more than two min of the future. We do not know the exact date of events like in the show, they had a time line, we do not, it could be tomorrow, next month or ten years from now.

So my question is has it really changed the way we live compared to those who have not had a Flash Forward, seen the future. Has knowing the future really changed what we live for, what is important in life, what our life priorities are? Do we really live in light of our Flash Forward?

repent In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,  "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Mat 3:1-2

That was the message of John the Baptizer, he spent his life going around call on the nation of Israel to repent and be baptized.

In Luke 7:28 Jesus says of John:  “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

That was quite a statement for God to say of someone, I know I certainly would love to be such a person that God would say that of me. And John had lived his life doing only two things, declaring repent and be baptized.

 

 

Twenty five times Jesus says the same thing in verses like:

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  Mat 4:17

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 

Jesus makes is very clear that repentance is a requirement for salvation, this is why I believe John was crowed the greatest, because he was doing the most important step need for salvation, repentance.

And in verses like John 8:11 we read what Jesus said to an adulteress woman, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." To go and sin no more is to repent, we could insert repent, “go and repent” that what repent means, to turn from sin, leave your life of sin.

But yet strangely enough I do not ever here repentance proclaimed in the post modern church today. Never hear a pastor tell people the must repent. Never hear Christian share that necessary step with others.

I believe we need another John the Baptizer, that it is time for God to send another to go about proclaiming His message “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Someone who will shout repent not only to the world but to the church.