Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.
Ever see Valkyrie ? It’s a pretty good telling of a true story about the last of some 15 assassination attempts on Adolph Hitler’s life by his own army. The story is a primer on all the planning, all the details, all the “infrastructure” necessary to pull off a revolution. As a student of human dynamics and systems, the movie had me fascinated and frustrated at the same time. You will have to see the movie for yourself to see why.
But for an even better lesson about how to begin and maintain a revolution, check out Matthew 4:12-25. These few verses from near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry provide a beautiful summary of His complete ministry and serve as an excellent picture of just why Christianity is the greatest, the strongest, and the most sustained “revolution” the world has ever known. Moreover, remembering how Jesus began His ministry is a perfect way for every church to periodically review its own vision. It’s a bit of a checklist we can hold up against our ministry and ask, “How are we doing?” After all, the world is still very much in play and the revolution is still very much our game plan.
Jesus’ ministry had three critical aspects (three “strategic fronts”) which have made this revolution successful:
- A clear message – “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near.” What could be clearer than that? “Repent”: turn around, make a change, do things differently in order to bring about a different result. Stop doing what you’ve been doing. Change your perspective, change how you see everything, change how you do everything. Why? Because God is so much closer than you think. There is a very real way to connect to Him and to let Him inform your day-to-day being. But you have to make some changes in how you see some things in order to make that connection. A clear message for all times. Every successful revolution has one. The clarity and simplicity of the gospel have made it unassailable for some 2,000 years now. And the church’s clarion proclamation of that message is a sustaining ingredient to this revolution.
- Development of followers – “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” I love that promise. It gives me hope. I don’t have to already be a great fisher of men, I just have to let Him make me a fisher of men. No promises about how fast I will make the transition (God knows I’ve been one of the slower students on this front)…just that He will change me over time; a promise that, eventually, He will mold my heart to be as broken over the lost as He is and He will equip me to be a fisher of those very men. Incidentally, of all the things He could have promised to make us, I might not have picked this one if I were in charge. I might have said, “Follow me and I will make you great leaders, or great teachers, or great [you fill in the blank]”. But He knew the right ingredients for a revolution, and He has been developing fishers of men from the very beginning until today… and the revolution has never been stronger than it is today.
- Changing lives for the better – Extraordinary physical, emotional and spiritual healing have always been at the forefront of His ministry and remain at the forefront of the church’s continuation of that ministry today. The world is a broken place. We are surrounded by pain and sorrow and dysfunction and incapacitation. Without something to offer in opposition to that pain, without a heart that breaks for hurting people, our mission fails. But He has that ingredient covered nicely, because the closer we draw to Him, the more we become a lover of people. His church really must be a lover of people. When it is not, it is not following Him at all. It is a hallmark of this revolution. It is how we are known.
So, how about the church where you serve? Does it have all the ingredients to be a player in this revolution? It’s not a question of whether or not the revolution will succeed; we have a benefit which the men and women of Valkyrie did not have…we know the outcome before we engage. No, the revolution will continue with your church or without it. The question is, is your church a player or not?
© Blake Coffee
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