Categories
Christian Living

1-2-3 Jump

Photo by Carla MacNeil via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Moses. Abraham. David. Joshua. Daniel. Jonah. Isaiah. Nehemiah. [Insert your Bible heroes name here____.]

There is one important reason that you know their names and not the names of the thousands of people God may have called at the same time. People with higher status in their day. From better families. People who were probably more recognizable as they walked the face of the planet. 

God gave those men an opportunity to do something for Him.

And they jumped. They actually did it.

We don’t know if God had called others who didn’t listen first. But the point is that you know their names because they jumped.

They heard God’s voice in the desert or in a burning bush or through a prophet or in prayer or in the belly of a whale.

And they acted.

They could have heard God’s call and ignored it. And God, in His grace and benevolence, may have allowed them to live a very nice and safe life.

But they didn’t.

They heard God’s voice, turned around, and… jumped.

Here’s the thing that blows me away: That same rare voice heard in the desert or the belly of a whale or in a burning bush… He lives in us as we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

The question for us isn’t:Where will we have to wander to hear the still, calm voice as He lives inside of us.” The question is… “When He calls us to do something, do we jump?

I don’t know what God has called you to do today. But I have committed my life to the idea that when I hear the still, calm voice– sometimes loud, booming, audacious voice– that I will jump.

Jump first. Let God count the cost.

Categories
Church Leadership

Nehemiah vs. The American Church

Photo by Nick Chill via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I love the audacity great faith brings.

It’s idealistic. It’s over-the-top. It’s incomprehensibly arrogant simplicity. It’s stupid fun to be around.

And that’s why I love my church.

This little church in the city truly believes they can be instrumental in seeing a new San Diego rise up to be an amazing place to live.

Right now, we’re in a sermon series on the book of Nehemiah.

As I read the narrative I can’t get past step one.

Step one of rebuilding your city? Chapter 1… lay on your face and be honest in confessing to God.

O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. Nehemiah 1:5-7

What I love about Nehemiah and its message to the church is obvious… it’s not about your church, people. The purpose of the church isn’t to build a little empire. It’s to bring life to a dead and dying city. It’s to see the gospel bring renewal.

When I look out over the landscape of church culture I can’t help but see that we’re missing step one.

We need to deal with our own hearts. And we need to focus on the city and not our fiefdom.

This next passage absolutely wrecked my view of the local church. At the end, when Jesus comes to judge the church, Revelation 2-3 gives us a glimpse of how he judges the church… it should change how you and I do business.

v. 1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write”

v. 8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write”

v. 12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write”

v. 18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write”

3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write”

v. 7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write”

v. 14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write”

In case you missed it. Jesus isn’t judging the work of a single, local church. He’s judging the work of His body in each city.

Can I get an Amen?