No Distinction Other Than Jesus
But in a sense you are a movement.
You think so? I mean, if Jesus is a movement then we are.
Well, He is.
I know but nobody thinks of it that way. They think in terms of their own little flavor. “We’re the ‘whatever’ movement.” I don’t know that we need any distinctions other than Jesus, and then His Movement is His Movement.
So everybody joining you will leave their church, and then will be without the church, joining a group like you?
Well, no. If there are people in Indianapolis that are converted to Christ, they’ll be part of our lives on a daily basis right away. I just mean somebody in Albuquerque, New Mexico or New Delhi, India that says, “Can we move to Indianapolis, because there’s something really cool happening there.” Our response to them is, “You’ve got friends and you’ve got family, and you have religious acquaintances and true brothers and sisters there where you live. Don’t go chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Pursue Jesus. The things you’ve learned, the things you’ve seen and heard you can’t help but share with other people. Unless of course, you want to sneak out the back door because you’re in this for yourself rather than for Him.”
If God determines the exact times and places where men should live and somebody happens to end up in Indianapolis, fine. But it’s so like men to try to draw people to themselves. John said, “I must decrease. If You are going to increase, I’ve got to decrease.” That’s not the makings of a very good movement is it? One where everybody is trying to decrease, know what I mean?
But it’s Jesus getting His way with the most people in the most places. The Good News of the Kingdom shall go into every nation and then the end shall come. If people decide they want to gather people to themselves, then the Good News begins and stops here, because people are trying to promote themselves and their reputation and nickels and noses.
I think it’s God’s heart that men come to know Him and that they’re contagious to those around them rather than trying to find a crutch for themselves; they should be faithful to serve Him in the relationships that they already have. And again that doesn’t mean God can’t cause people to move and all that. That’s fine. Aquila and Priscilla moved around. Paul was two years here and a year-and-a-half there.
The thing I actually have in mind is—the group that you’re merging with or working with, do they leave everything that’s called church and join this? I’m just trying to get a picture.
Okay, I understand. In Indianapolis there are 1,200 different religious bodies.
Christian religious bodies…
Yes, Christian religious bodies… You multiply that when you start getting into the other ones. :) But I’m not sure all the ones that call themselves Christians really are Christian religious bodies. But if you check the yellow pages in the telephone directory, you’ll see there are about 1,200 in our city.
We try to relate to those folks whether they’re pastors, leaders, elders or just members. We relate to them. Let’s say you’re in a restaurant and you see someone bow their head to pray. My inclination would be, and I wouldn’t always do this, but my inclination would be to go thank them for caring enough and having the courage to do that publicly. In some countries that’s easy, but in the United States that’s not easy because you can be made fun of. It can be a true irritant to the atheists around them.
For them, “somebody might see me” so I might thank them for having the courage to do that and encourage them as best I can in a two minute conversation we have. I might give them a booklet to read that I assume will probably fry their understanding of what Christianity is. It wouldn’t always be doing that, but I don’t mind encouraging people to go way past where they’re at spiritually. Paul went first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. Jesus went first to the House of Israel and He became the Light to the Gentiles. So I don’t mind starting with somebody that already considers himself a Bible-believing Christian and encourage him to go further, because he’s already got a head start.
The 3,000 that were baptized in a single day on Pentecost—those were God-fearing Jews from so many nations. I don’t know that I’ve ever stopped to count all the ones that were listed there (somebody has I’m sure). But they had a head start because they were not only Bible-believing Jews from the Bible that they had, but they were dedicated enough to be there on the Feast which not every Jew was.
In our conversations with Jews in Israel, often times we have to start by describing who Moses and Abraham are, because they don’t even know. They were born in a kibbutz and lived in Israel their whole life, and they have no idea what Judaism even is. So if we’re going to talk about the Messiah we have to first tell them that they should be expecting one. And, “By the way, He already came.” :) You don’t even know where to start.
I’m sure times haven’t changed that much. Probably in Israel at that time there were a lot of people that would’ve never made the effort to be in Jerusalem for the Feast. They weren’t God-fearing. They were just Jewish by culture, not by devotion. So the 3,120 had a huge head start. They already believed “The Lord thy God is One God” and He’s to be obeyed. He’s to be worshipped. There’s a Messiah coming. There’s a lot of stuff they already had a grasp of.
If we meet somebody in a restaurant that bows their head to pray, our assumption would be that there’s a great head start here so why not go ahead and jumpstart them into considering something they hadn’t previously thought of? And that is, Christianity is supposed to be something that is your whole life, not something you attend. A hundred mothers, brothers and sisters is Jesus’ promise to those who forsake their lives.
And most people would call themselves Christian and you say, “So show me your hundred mothers, brothers and sisters.” And the answer is it’s all just hypothetical. “Well, I have them. They’re in a faraway country and speak a different language.” That’s not a mother. That’s like a third cousin or a brief acquaintance.
A mother is somebody you have intimate interaction with that is helping to mold your life and protect you and teach you how to talk and walk and feed you. A hundred mothers means we have intimate relationship. That’s God’s promise. That’s His definition of what Church is supposed to be. And most people don’t realize that that’s His promise. If I promised you a million dollars—a million rands, seven million rands :) that’s pretty good huh? On the fly :)
As long as you pay up that’s ok :)
What if that was my promise to you, but I never told you? It would be hard for you to have any anticipation or expectation or to track me down so that I would pay up if I never told you. I promised you, but I never told you. Well, that’s how most people are with the Scriptures. They don’t really understand the promises of God—they really don’t. It’s not that they mean poorly or that they don’t desire the right things. It’s just that there’s a famine in hearing the Word. They just don’t know that God’s promise to them if they forsake their life, is a hundred mothers, brothers and sisters. They don’t have any expectation of something that has been withheld from them.
How popular do you think that would be if someone stood in a pulpit on Sunday morning and said, “You need to demand a hundred mothers, brothers and sisters—intimate daily relationships because God said if you forsake your life you could have that.” They wouldn’t tend to do that because that would make them look bad, right?
If the average guy standing behind a pulpit took a poll amongst all of his members, whether there was a hundred, or seven thousand or twenty-seven thousand. If he asked them, “How many mothers, brothers and sisters do you have that are intimate spiritually to you because of the second birth? They are daily intertwined in your life. You have koinonia, all things in common with them. Name them—how many?” The average member in the average congregation wouldn’t be able to name three people that they have daily communion with.
That means somebody’s messing up some place, right? The leader is going to have to take some responsibility for the fact that the thing that he’s building is actually violating a promise of Jesus. Something that he and they are doing is actually interfering with Jesus’ promise. Jesus said, “I’ll build my church the gates of hell won’t prevail against.”
Check your youth group, and you’ll see that’s a lie! The gates of hell are prevailing! Check the roster of your marriages and watch half of them fail right before your eyes. Year in and year out is disastrous sin going on. What happened to the promise of Jesus that the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail? Something we are doing is interfering with what God wants to do. “The traditions of men nullify the very Word of God,” Jesus said. There are things that we can do that sabotage God’s heart and intent for our lives. So to maximize our understanding of His promises and then to consecrate our lives so that God can work these promises out—that’s a very beautiful thing and I think we owe it to each other. “Without vision the people cast off restraint.”
So where do mentors come in?
I think that’s part of the hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters. I have mentors. Everybody I know has mentors. They change though. They’re not assigned.