Sent

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Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

“Therefore, go.” Okay, we got that down. That means we don’t just sit around and wait. Nor do we leave it to someone else to do. If you go, you’re not going away from the action; you’re going into it. This is purposeful. You’ve been sent. Sent to do what? To make disciples. Great, how do you do that? Is there a discipleship manual? Is there a notebook for this? “Ten Things Every Disciple of Mine Should Know,” by Jesus Christ. 

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Pioneering in the 21st Century

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Just what is pioneering in the 21st Century? Hasn’t everything already been mapped and charted? What frontiers are left? 

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Pioneers, then and now

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At the beginning of the ‘70s, a group of us shook Christianity to its base. We burst on the scene seemingly unknown to each other yet all with the same message. The message was about Jesus and how His gospel related to the deep, unresolved needs of our generation for love, meaning, community, peace and justice. We were, most of us, in our early twenties at a time when we were looking for what we were going to do with our lives. Finding Jesus and the fact that He had a mission we could join that would change the world was a huge boost to our motivation. Though there was a great deal of social disorder at the time over things like civil rights and the war in Vietnam, there was an underlying hope that as young people, we could make a difference. We marched and we sang and we ran into Jesus just when we were losing faith and hope in the system. Here was the Prince of Peace, Love from the highest order (God), Forgiveness for wrongs done, and a place to belong in the Family of God. It turned into a movement. 

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No resting on your laurels

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)

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11. Young people showed up gifted and ready to go.

In the early 1970s I was working with high school kids at a church in Palo Alto, California when the Jesus Movement started. In a matter of weeks, our attendance went from 30 to 300. And they didn’t come to youth group to socialize or play volleyball. They came with their Bibles and wanted to study the word. There was a huge hunger for spiritual things. 

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For the love of the Word

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)

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Series: Characteristics of the Jesus Movement for Today

10. There was a very literal interpretation of Scripture.

 

I have hidden your word in my heart

    that I might not sin against you. (Psalms 119:11)

Stop and think about this. God has communicated with us. Have you ever stopped to consider how remarkable this is? That the God of the universe has had His words written down, and ensured that they would be passed on down to us today? That you and I can hold in our hands the very words of God? Now whether we hold them on our phone or as a book called the Holy Bible, it’s the same thing. 

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Give them what we had

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.

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Series: Characteristics of the Jesus Movement for Today

10. There was a very literal interpretation of Scripture

It was a beautiful spring day in Palo Alto, California in 1970, and the First Annual Sweet Jesus Roll Away the Stone or Rock Concert was underway. An audience of around 4,000 filled the outdoor Frost Amphitheater at Stanford University with an air of celebration and a little bit of curiosity as to what these Jesus Freaks had cooked up. The smell of pot in the air and the bras flying as flags of feminine freedom indicated this was far from what you would call a Christian audience. After some music from Love Song, Wilson McKinley, and the Salt Company, Ron Ritchie, one of the pastors at the nearby Peninsula Bible Church got up and taught the Bible from 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality …” 

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Playing it forward

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)

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Series: Characteristics of the Jesus Movement for Today

9. It shook Christianity to its roots (which is the meaning of “radical”).

At the beginning of the 1970s, a small group of musicians shook Christianity to its roots. They burst on the scene seemingly unknown to each other yet all with the same message. The message was about Jesus and how His gospel related to the deep, unresolved needs of their generation for love, meaning, community, peace and justice. These “Jesus Freaks” melded the freedom of the 60s and the Jesus of the Gospels into a new way of looking at Christianity. 

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Urgent

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)

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Series: Characteristics of the Jesus Movement for today

8. It was urgent.

For whatever the reason, be it the soon-expected return of Christ, or simply the passion of getting the gospel out to as many people as possible, there was an overall sense of urgency during the Jesus Movement that filled the air and colored everything. Maybe it was a sense that we were experiencing a wave of the Spirit and we had to make the most of it while the opportunity was there. I think everyone knew this newfound popularity of Jesus and openness to the gospel wasn’t going to last. For a couple of years there, it almost seemed like everything was on hold. We were suspended in time and space. For a while, the world stopped spinning and the only thing that mattered was the state of your soul. Time to get right with God.

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Posted in gospel of welcome, grace turned outward, Jesus Movement | Tagged , , | 3 Comments