Your Idols Won’t Carry You

book

I talked this past Sunday about the idols of the heart and what drives us to do what we do. Yesterday after breakfast, Katie pointed something out to me in Isaiah 46.

While our idols drive us and only the gospel can transform our hearts to be driven by Jesus. We also look to our idols to carry us, to give us rest, to complete us.

We look for achievement to give us rest. When we’ve accomplished enough, we’ll have enough. When we have enough school, we’ll be enough. When we’ve taken enough vacations, we’ll have enough experiences.

When we have enough power, we’ll have enough control. We’ll have enough followers, enough employees. We’ll be important and feared because we have power.

When we have enough stuff, we’ll be able to slow down and rest. We’ll be able to sit on our new deck furniture, watch our huge TV from our plush chair.

We’ll finally be able to rest, because our idols will carry us.

Except. We lose employees. This year award becomes next year’s forgotten winner. That degree becomes not enough in 5 years when someone else gets one more degree than you. That vacation next year will be a distant memory when you hear about a new place, a new resort, a new experience. That power will fade as your company gets bought out or a new boss comes in and the game changes. And stuff rots and falls apart and last years most amazing TV becomes next month’s “last season’s model.”

Our idols fail. They do not carry us. They do not give us rest.

Isaiah 46:8-9 says:

Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

Living out the Family Identity

We talk a lot at Revolution about our identity in Christ and what that means. One of the identities we seek to embody in the life of our church and our missional communities is the identity of family. This one can be the toughest to figure out because we simply think of the family we had growing up and either try to be that or the opposite.

One thing I think is easy to do in the name of family or community is in the area of sharing things and how we listen. I think it is easy to listen to someone vent and then be done and say, “Look, we’re being family, they had room to share.” That’s only part of it and I think if we stop there, we fail as family. Family then has a responsibility to appropriately challenge that person with the gospel. To ask why they are reacting that way, what their sin in the situation is, what they are believing about themselves, the other person they vented about and God. What does the gospel have to say about all of those answers?

If we stop at simply listening to someone, we fail them and the rest of our missional community family.

Here’s how. We don’t give them an opportunity to grow, we miss an opportunity to grow in how we talk about the gospel and challenge people with it, our MC misses seeing it happen, they miss hearing the gospel and its implications for someone’s life.

Question: What is the hardest part of living out the family identity in community? I’d love to hear thoughts. 

Decision Making and the Family of God

I was at the Together for Adoption pre-conference with Tim Chester today (you can see my notes here, here, and here). One of the things he said that has been rattling around in my head all day, “Our decision making will be affected by being a part of the family of God.” As Americans, we reject this. We make decisions, big and small, based on what we want and how we feel. Changing jobs, buying houses, the activities of our lives, our kids, how we spend our money, how much we work and how much we play.

Here’s a test. When you think about a promotion, working longer hours, missing a Missional Community or Worship gathering for a kids activity or party, do you ask, “How will this affect the family of God I’m a part of? Will I be missed? Will my input, presence or experience be missed?” or do you just make a decision and move forward?

We often make our choice and move forward.

I talk to countless people who say they are not connected in any community at their church. Yet, their kids are on sports teams that practice 3 times a week, have games during worship gatherings, work 60+ hours a week, want a hobby, etc. and then wonder why they aren’t connected anywhere.

They have made choices without thinking about the family of God.

That doesn’t mean that you go to your missional community and ask what you should do when it comes to living your life and run your decisions by people as if you need their permission for doing something. It does mean that you make choices based on how it affects the family of God. You are part of a family, this means it should impact your life. In the same way that getting married makes an impact on your decision making.

Can you do a sports team and still be a part of the family? How will that promotion affect living in the family of God? The reality is that every time you say yes to something, you say no to something else. That is always the case. If you are saying yes to a promotion, a kids activities, are you willing to say no to the loss of time with the family of God? Sometimes the answer is yes and you can still live within the family, sometimes it will dramatically impact for a long season and it might not be worth it.

The other thing a missional community needs to challenge is why someone is so busy. Often, we are busy because of an idol we are feeding, a desire to be great, reach a certain status. People are often busy so they don’t have to be alone or slow down because in those moments of quiet we hear the things we want to forget.

The family of God is able to challenge those things, speak into those areas because that’s what family does.

T4A Pre-Conference with Tim Chester Session 3

The Together for Adoption conference starts tomorrow, but kicked off today with a pre-conference with Tim Chester. Tim is a church planter with The Crowded House. He is the author of Total ChurchA Meal with Jesus and You can Changethree books that should be required reading for every Christian and church leader.

Much of the material came from his book Delighting in the Trinity.In session 3, Tim covered The story of God’s kingdom. In this session, he unpacked what it means to live out the identity of disciple.

Here are some notes:

How do we know God?

  • What gives shape to the idea of being a disciple is that God is Lord, King, the Word.
  • We know stuff by seeing it in the world around us. God is not like that, we can’t put him in a category or a box.
  • If we are to know God, God must make himself known through faith.
  • Christians are not people who have searched and found faith, they are people who have been found and given faith.
  • God has made himself known by descending from heaven, making himself known through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  • If God is solitary, if he is one God, instead of Trinity, they he cannot be known. In Islam, God is unknowable.
  • Because God is Trinitarian, what he reveals is himself.
  • “God reveals. God reveals himself through himself. God reveals.” -Karl Barth
  • Jesus is the Word of God and the Spirit is who reveals that Word.
  • Genesis 1 is written to declare “God reigns.”
How we reject God by rejecting his Word
  • The rejection of God’s rule in Genesis 3 is a rejection of God’s word.
  • The story of the Bible is the story of God reestablishing his rule.
  • The nation of Israel, after the Exodus are not saved by God’s law. They were already redeemed, the law of God brings life, blessing and peace. Not in the sense of saving us, but in the way of ordering life, in the way that is blessed.
  • The main force that drives the story of God forward is the word of God (see 1 & 2 Kings as prophets of God take on the kings of Israel).
  • The cross and the kingdom is at the heart of the gospel, they are one, they unified.
What we do
  • Mission is the announcing of Jesus.
  • The kingdom grows, as people see, hear and accept the word of God.
  • The mission of the church is God ruling through his word.
Our Identity
  • We are learners.
  • We find life in the Word of God.
  • The Father does his work through the Words of Jesus.
  • The kingdom grows through the proclamation of the Word.
  • Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God as dearly loved children.
  • The goal of Paul’s ministry is that Christians experience joy and growth in the faith (Philippians 1).
  • Don’t tell people they aren’t believing, tell them the truth they need to believe.
The rest of his talk can be found from my notes from last night. This was a really helpful session on the identity of being a disciple and how we learn about God, how to learn of God and how to grow in our relationship with God.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Tonight was by far my favorite night of this series
  • Going into the series, I did not expect that, but over the past month God has been challenging me that if we don’t get this identity of learner right, we will miss a lot of things at Revolution
  • Here is the video that we showed tonight to start my message
  • It was awesome having my parents at church tonight, I think it’s still weird for them to see me preach having raised me
  • I was reminded tonight of what life was like at Revolution before Paul and Mike joined our team
  • Sad to not have them but awesome how our leaders stepped up to make it happen
  • Love reading through Facebook after church and seeing how God is moving in people’s lives through what He’s doing at Revolution
  • So, so, so excited about next Saturday at Revolution
  • Jeff Vanderstelt will be with us, he has been instrumental to me and the other leaders over the past 15 months
  • We handed in all the paperwork and money for our domestic adoption
  • It’s been a long journey, but I’m excited to see what God has planned for us not only with a child but in being able to serve and be the gospel to the birth family
  • For those of you who may have missed it, we are still doing the Ethiopian adoption, we are just waiting on the Ethiopian government (which could take another 18 months), in the meantime we decided to pursue a local infant adoption
  • This week is the Together for Adoption conference in Phoenix
  • If you are thinking about adoption or want to be more involved in solving the orphan crisis in our world, you should be there
  • Spent a good amount of time this week working on my book proposal, nervous and excited to see what God does with it
  • We are introducing our Missional Community next week, excited to share what our vision is
  • I started this book yesterday and so far, love it
  • Excited about a day of watching football with my dad tomorrow
  • And beating my neighbor Justin in fantasy football

This Weekend @ Revolution: The Goal

The last few weeks have been amazing at Revolution. For one, I love whenever we do a vision series and I get to lay out who we are as a church, where we are going and what God is doing in our midst. We have also introduced 4 missional communities and will introduce another this week and two more next week. We also have over 8 leaders in training right now in hopes of launching them at the beginning of 2012. Our goal each year is that each MC will multiply so hopefully this time next year we will have over 14 MC’s. Some of you have asked if you can get into an MC after they launch. Absolutely. In fact, after we introduce all of them, we’ll have information about all of them at the next steps table each week so you can easily figure out how to get into one.

Over the last 3 weeks, we’ve been looking at the 4 gospel identities that describe who we are to be as individuals, MC’s and as a church. We’ve looked at family, missionary, and servant. This week, we’ll look at the 4th and final identity: learner.

Often, when we think of learners, we think of school or a classroom. That is part of it, but only a part of it. What if I told you, this identity of learner is the final goal that Jesus laid out for his followers, the goal that is to define each and every church? This identity is the last thing Jesus told his followers to do, the thing that was to be more important than anything else.

What I’ll lay out this week is how someone moves from a not-yet Christian to being a fully devoted follower of Jesus. What the path is and how someone will get there at Revolution. If you’ve ever wondered, how do I grow in my relationship with Jesus, how do I become more like Jesus, what is my next step, then you don’t want to miss this week at Revolution.

Also, there are a few things coming up that I don’t want you to miss.

On October 22nd, we will be having one gathering at 5pm. We will be wrapping up ourUprising series and Jeff Vanderstelt will be with us. Jeff is the Pastor of Teaching and Vision at Soma Communities. Soma has been instrumental in our transition to Missional Communities and it will be great to have Jeff here to vision cast about where Revolution is headed. Soma is 8 years old and in that time God has multiplied their movement to include churches in San Francisco, Reno, Los Angeles, Boise, Austin, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

We are also having a child dedication on October 29th. This is an opportunity for parents to dedicate their children. This is about the parents and their desire to raise their children in a gospel centered way. It also gives us as a church family the opportunity to celebrate with these parents, pray for them and be a part of helping children find their way back to God. It is a special time. We will also be kicking off our new series Manifest on the book of Titus that night.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy way to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

This Weekend @ Revolution: How Lives are Changed


This series
has been incredible as I have been preaching through who we are as a church, what defines us, where we are going and what our place in that is individually.

Last week, we started to introduce our Missional Communities and we will continue that this week by introducing three more. With more to come on October 15th & 22nd.

One of the goals of every church, whether they live it out or just state it is to share the gospel and change the world they live in. Our prayer and it is a big prayer is to see the city of Tucson changed by the power of the gospel. That will not happen simply by being a bigger church, putting on a great weekend service, having great leaders. One of the primary ways that happens is through our lives, getting dirty in the world around us.

By serving.

While people love to sit around and argue the gospel, faith, belief systems. What one can’t argue with is when someone who has been changed by the gospel serves those who have less than they do. When someone takes a vacation day to serve someone who doesn’t have a job. When a neighbor serves their fellow neighbors because there is a need.

This week, I will be preaching from Matthew 25:31 – 46 on the identity of being a servant. Our hope is that our church, our missional communities and our lives would be defined as people who do whatever needs doing, whenever it’s needed, and wherever it leads.

There are a few things coming up that I don’t want you to miss.

On October 22nd, we will be having one gathering at 5pm. We will be wrapping up our Uprising series and Jeff Vanderstelt will be with us. Jeff is the Pastor of Teaching and Vision at Soma Communities. Soma has been instrumental in our transition to Missional Communities and it will be great to have Jeff here to vision cast about where Revolution is headed. Soma is 8 years old and in that time God has multiplied their movement to include churches in San Francisco, Reno, Los Angeles, Boise, Austin, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

We are also having a child dedication on October 29th. This is an opportunity for parents to dedicate their children. This is about the parents and their desire to raise their children in a gospel centered way. It also gives us as a church family the opportunity to celebrate with these parents, pray for them and be a part of helping children find their way back to God. It is a special time. We will also be kicking off our new series Manifest on the book of Titus that night.

As I said, a ton of exciting things are happening that you don’t want to miss.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy way to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.