Monthly Archives: July 2008

Jesus Never Gave A Penny

If there’s one thing that virtually all Christians and non-Christians agree on when it comes to Jesus, it’s that he was deeply concerned about the poor. This is very curious when you consider that in all of the Gospel accounts of his life, there isn’t a single instance where he gives away even one red cent (or shekel) to the poor. There are a couple of oblique references to he and the disciples having a “common purse” that may have been used for charitable giving (JN 12:5 & 13:29), but there are no explicit references to Jesus ever giving money to someone in need.

Why would there be no mention of Jesus, the great advocate for the poor, ever passing out cash? Granted, Jesus made it fairly clear that he had little (if any) money of his own (ref. MT 8:20), but that would make a story of monetary giving seem all the more sacrificial and inspiring – something like, “Jesus gave his last coin to an elderly widow even though he and his disciples hadn’t eaten all day…” It would have been an iron-clad way of making sure that every reader of the Gospels got the clear message that, “Jesus gave money to the poor, so you should go and do likewise.”

While I have no doubt that Jesus was (and is) in favor of sacrificial monetary giving to the poor and oppressed, I think there was a more important principle he was trying to get across in the way he dealt with the poor (and which the Gospel writers faithfully recorded). Instead of getting out the checkbook and giving them a nominal sum and a pat on the head, he gave them Himself. He listened to them. He ate with them. He touched them. He gave them help at the moment he encountered them. By his actions, he was illustrating that the poor and needy are – first and foremost – real people beloved by God, not “statistics” or “problems” to be dealt with via impersonal money transfers.

Too many times, we in the church have missed this message of Jesus and essentially “outsourced” our work with the poor. We simply “cut a check” to pay someone else to deal with the needy. This impersonal arrangement helps neither the recipients to see that they’re beloved by God, nor allows the donors to truly give of themselves as Christ did.

Giving like Jesus – revolutionary giving – isn’t about giving a “tip” to the underclass. It is getting personal with, and working alongside of those in distress. “Revolutionaries” don’t just function as charitable ATM’s. They seize every opportunity to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and give of themselves to help others and honor the King.

by Eron Elswick, Leadership of Revolution

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Mighty Men

1 Chronicles 11 described the mighty men that gathered around King David. So verse ten begins, “Now these are the chiefs of David’s mighty men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.” This is a fascinating introduction on several levels:

(1) It marks out that being a “mighty man” was worthy of documentation. à There was something honorable in the old world mind about being a “mighty man.” In a culture continually encouraging men to be “sensitive” and more feminine, it is a breath of fresh air to read this testosterone filled passage. Mightiness was a quality to be applauded and appreciated, and even documented to pass on that individual’s legacy.

(2) It marks out what a mighty man is. à Mighty men “gave…strong support.” These men had a goal to help King David and they gave him all the support they could muster. There is no half-hearted effort involved, but mighty men give mighty support. Furthermore, to be a “mighty man” in any biblical sense of the word is to be concerned about the “Word of the Lord.” These men were not out to make David king merely because he wanted to be king. They saw in it the fulfillment of the Word of the Lord. They gave David strong support because they saw in it that they were giving God strong support. They were giving all their effort to see accomplished what they knew the almighty sovereign was going to do. Mighty men are men of God!

(3) It marks out why mighty men are needed. à David’s kingship was a promise from God and was, therefore, guaranteed. There was nothing in the universe that could stay God’s plan from coming to fruition. He is the sovereign ruler and controls all and works out, with perfect precision, His eternal plan. Yet David knew too that God worked through means. That is to say that God’s will to make David king would not happen by David’s sitting on his hands. He would have to gather support and claim the throne, and to that end he would need “strong support” from “mighty men.” Mighty men serve God by serving others, and they are needed because God uses the community of the faithful to bring about His eternally purposed plans. Mighty men are needed to help one another accomplish the tasks God has ordained they do.

 

There is, in verse 11, the fascinating description of one particular “mighty man” of David’s entourage. Jashobeam was a MIGHTY man, as mighty as they come. The author of 1 Chronicles gives the following remarkable account of Jahsobeam’s might: This is an account of David’s mighty men: Jashobeam, a Hachmonite, was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against 300 whom he killed at one time.

 

Whoa! The man was a warrior! He killed 300 men with a spear, at one time! There is something right, honorable, and manly about this description. I do not mean to sound as though I am encouraging us to go out and kill 300 men with a spear, nor do I suppose any man today could do it. And, of course, murder is wrong, God himself says so. But there is something right about a man being mighty. There is something right about a man being a defender of his home, his country, his church (in whatever form that takes). We need men today who will rise up and be warriors! And raise up young warriors in their homes! NOT murderers, or violent crusaders for Christ, or something ridiculous like that. But men who understand what it means to be “manly!” Men who aren’t afraid to be tough, and hard, and who boldly resist the feminization of our culture and our manhood! We need men who will work hard for their families, lead them spiritually to see the fulfillment of the “Word of the Lord,” and yes even men who are strong enough to grapple with evil (physical and spiritual). What we need today is a recovery of “Mighty MEN!”

 

 

Church That Doesn’t Suck?

Some people see our shirts, fliers and blog and say, “church that doesn’t suck? About time!” Others get offended and
want to know if we are saying that their church sucks.  Well, frankly, most do.
 
If you pick up the book ‘Unchristian’ then you will discover that the overwhelming majority of people just in the 16-36 age
bracket when asked what they think of the church respond that it is ‘irrelevant’, ‘judgmental’, ‘hypocritical’ and ‘boring.’
 
One study found that while more than 2/3 of Americans born before 1945 identify themselves as Christian only 1/3 of
those born between 1945 and 1964 identified themselves as such and only 15% of those born between ’64 and ’79 are willing to wear the badge ‘Christian’ but only 3% of those born after 1979 will do so. 
 
Notice a trend? See a problem?
 
Those polled in these surveys state that they are very interested in Jesus just not the church.
 
The leadership of Revolution believes that Jesus is not the problem…the church is! 
 
We believe deeply that the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not change but has in fact been once and for all delivered to the church (Jude 3) but we also believe that the way the Gospel is proclaimed has and always will change (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
 
So why will Revolution not suck? We will preach the Gospel with all of its rough edges as we work through the Bible
verse-by-verse.  We will worship with loud music that ranges from alt. indie to hard rock to whatever (Psalm 144:9).
We will move from worship to groups where, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will train our fellow insurgents through
spiritual disciplines and social justice as we hit the streets of Portsmouth to care for the least among us (Matt. 25:31-46).
 
We kick off August 31st at a location soon to be disclosed.  Stay tuned.

by Matt Rawlings, Pastor of Revolution

What Revolution is and What Revolution is Not…

 What Revolution is…
 
a missional community dedicated to carrying out our King’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) through evangelism, loud worship, verse-by-verse study of scripture, prayer, fasting and social justice.
 
What Revolution is not…
 
a bunch of torqued off former evangelicals and fundamentalists who just want to do their own thing.
 
What Revolution is…
 
a group of men and women from every conceivable demographic whose values are anchored in their loyalty to King Jesus, the rightful ruler of all creation (Col. 1:15; Phil. 2:6-11).
 
What Revolution is not…
 
another church where everyone wears khakis, drives SUVs and earn six figure salaries.
 
What Revolution is…
 
a training center for those who have the guts to storm the gates of hell!
 
Revolution, a church that doesn’t suck…coming August 31st to Portsmouth, Ohio…check back for more details

by Matt Rawlings, Pastor of Revolution

Big Name!

“Revolution” is defined as:

 an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established organization.

The word, then, simply put, is a pretty big word to use in relationship to an institution, such as the Christian church, which has been around for centuries. It isn’t as though we think we are really “overthrowing” the church, in fact we love the church. So why use a name like “revolution,” then? The answer is that we aren’t trying to “overthrow” the church, but rather the “idea of church” that some people have.

For ages it seems now the Church has been thought of as a building where people who wear suits, drive nice cars, make a certain amount of money, and avoid certain activities and cultural elements gather. This unfortunate stereotype has nestled itself alongside the word “church” and become synonymous with it. In contrast to this “idea,” however, the Bible views the church as a group of Christians who love one another, and strive to follow Jesus (even if imperfectly). While this definition of the church isn’t really new or revolutionary, in fact it’s thoroughly old, it will appear revolutionary to many in the modern culture.

We are the church gathered together to love one another, love our cities, and follow Jesus. In a day and age where being a Christians can sometimes be confused with hating Harry Potter and owning a rack full of ties, this is revolutionary. We are a church that tries not to confuse those things. If you want to be a “Revolutionary” too, then be sure to join us this fall in Portsmouth for our first official church launch (more details forthcoming)!

Welcome to Revolution

This is the new blog for the Church that doesn’t suck! Hope you’ll check back soon for more information!