Archive for the 'sine9' Category

Mar 15 2007


Published by under sine9

It takes ideas to incite revolutions. It’s been said once and again – ideas have consequences. Take an example from the bible. In Acts, the apostles are brought before the Sanhedrin because they had been preaching Jesus as the Son of God. The Sanhedrin gets crazy mad and is ready to kill the apostles, but Luke records something interesting,

“…a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men [the apostles] be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed them: ‘Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God'” (Acts 5:34-39).

So a man named Gamaliel, “who was honored by all the people,” stands up and says, “Listen guys, if this movement is about emotion and some captivating, charismatic leader, it is going to fail. BUT, if this is from God, you guys should get used to these guys doing what they’re doing because it won’t stop.” And you might be thinking, “Hey, Andy (that’s my name), this is fine and stuff, but their mission was not failing because of God not because of ideas.” But don’t rush to that statement. Yes, it is because of God that they had success, but Jesus brought a whole new way of thinking to the apostles. Proof? The oft-quoted Romans 12:2 says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” And we see something else after this…”then you will be able to test and approve God’s will – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Jesus desires to affect our minds so that it will affect our behavior.

Paul has the same thing in mind in Philippians where he makes this connection between moving toward a new understanding (internally) to affect our life (externally). He says, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12b-13).

I feel what has happened to me over the course of the last 5 years of my life is a similar transformation. I sin horrendously. Even right now in my life. It’s not all lemonade and marshmallows. I mess up a lot. But my thinking has changed over these 5 years as I’ve put myself on the altar. The result is an emerging vision of what I believe to be in line with God’s will – that is, moving to the inner city.

Revolutions take ideas and passion. Ideas without passion is school. Passion without ideas (or with wrong ideas) is dangerous. You end up with people like Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot; or you end up with a Christianity that looks like ours does in America today – a Christianity based on emotion, with people clamoring for experience more than holiness. Sometimes I wonder how many people go on missions trips just for the experience and not because they love people in those countries. After all, if we don’t love the people in our backyard, how can we really love someone half a world away? There’s something strange with that.

We have a Christianity that, for most of us, does not really affect our day-to-day life. Most of us couldn’t care less about the poor. I was there for a long time. We care about possessions. We don’t care about being real disciples of Jesus’ (whatever that looks like). We care about HDTV. We don’t care about the kingdom. We care about being liked. And this is where emotion cripples us. Why? Because we don’t even want to think about the fact that we don’t care about the poor. We don’t want to expend the energy to figure out what a disciple looks like. Why? Because we feel that Jesus loves us and that’s all that matters.

We don’t like to think about the starving or homeless because it makes us feelfeel guilty (read: evokes an emotion in us). And we say, “Boy, I need to give more money to the poor.” We do it for a small period of time, but then stop. Why? Remember? Because revolutions and life change are not fueled by emotion; revolutions are fueled by ideas and emotion/passion. Ideas are like an engine. Passion is the fuel. Notice that emotion/passion is still important. Without emotion, you won’t go anywhere. But without an engine, you just smell bad. And that’s the Church in America (for the most part). Harsh, huh? Maybe. The question isn’t whether it’s harsh. The question is whether it’s accurate. I believe it is. And I’m hoping to do something about it.

Is this our fault that things have ended up this way? Not exactly. The history of this started many years ago. But we are perpetuating it. Our pastors do us a great disservice when they preach sermons that are wholly emotional and lack biblical substance that will renew our hearts, souls, and minds. And it is almost a law of human development – barring an intervention of great proportions, we will conform to our surroundings – that’s why Germans became Nazis, it’s why there is a cycle of poverty and violence in inner cities, it is why I am who I am today. Like I said, there are exceptions, but the rule generally holds true. That’s not to say that there is not a level of personal responsibility involved – there certainly must be or God couldn’t justly hold us responsible for our sin – He would be unjust to do so if it were merely our surroundings that determined how we behaved. My point is that we will continue to be the same exclusively emotional, sorrily shallow, poor examples of Christians unless we change the way we think and admit to ourselves that in spite of hearing sermons talking about purpose in life, in spite of any book that we might read about purpose, our lives really don’t have any. bad (and it should since we do nothing to alleviate it). OR…maybe every once in a while, a pastor preaches on something and makes us

What did you do with your day today? Was your time spent with your eye on some purpose? Or did the day “get away from you.” Maybe you’re not really sure what you did, but the day is over. Many of my days end up that way. Do yours? Unless we change the way we think (with the help of the Spirit), we will never leave our mediocre brand of Christianity we live today. Our days will keep getting away from us until they’ve all vanished. We’ll die and, as Brad Cotter’s old song says, “Wouldn’t it be sad / If all you ever had / Was a granite epitaph that said / ‘I Meant To'”?

My name’s Andy and I’m a visioneer. Presumptuous? No. It’s just who God made me. My vision is huge. I don’t even have parts of it figured out yet. But it involves going to one of the places in America that most people don’t want to be – the inner city. God sends funny people to situations where they really don’t belong – a honky in the inner city is one such instance. It shouldn’t strike any of us as strange, though. Jesus went places He wasn’t supposed to be. He talked to people He wasn’t supposed to. And He loved people others couldn’t. And He commanded us to love our neighbors – every single one of them in the world. So why should it be surprising He’d send His followers to tough places? Over the coming days and weeks I’ll be blogging much more about all of this, so if you have a desire to participate in the conversation and help me refine my ideas or suggest resources, I’d love to hear from you. I plan on writing every single day for 30 days.

One response so far