Monthly Archives: September 2008

The Gospel According to “Wipeout”

Every so often something comes along that causes you stop everything you’re doing and burst out in spontaneous praise to God. For me, one such recent event was the night I came across the ABC show “Wipeout”.  I mean, all it took was seeing someone bounce off the “Big Balls” and go hurtling through the air like a drunken leprechaun shot from a cannon and I was hooked. For the remainder of the summer, Tuesdays at 8:00 pm (7:00 central) became an almost sacred time around my house as all work ceased and parents & children alike sat down to watch the parade of spectacular falls and countless contusions. Trust me, there’s nothing more conducive to family bonding than watching someone get their sinus cavity filled with mud.

While “Wipeout” is undoubtedly mere mindless entertainment on one level, I do think it vividly illustrates one of the primary recurring themes in the Bible – the idea that no one gets through life unscathed. “Wipeout” takes the contestants past the “Sucker Punch” (or, sometimes, “Butt Kicker”) where they typically take several blows to the face & body before nose-diving into a mud pit. Then there’s the “Big Balls” which usually sends them “cartwheeling” in mid-air before tumbling into murky water. A dozen survivors then get to face the “Sweeper” where they stand on platforms twenty feet high and try to jump over a large metal arm that “sweeps” around higher & faster each time. A sizeable number of them get their legs knocked out from under them and end up doing a “face plant” on the top of the (lightly padded) concrete platform.

Then it’s usually on to something called the “Dizzy Dummy” (which is like a “Spinning Teacups” ride on steroids) where they’re spun around at a high rate of speed for two minutes (or more) and then let loose to race over some obstacles. At last, the final four contestants get to compete on an obstacle course where they are plunged into ice cold water, mowed over by rolling barrels and whipped around at high velocity on the “Spinner”. The person who completes the course in the fastest time is the “winner”.

Think about it, the “winner” has most likely been punched in the face (or kicked in the butt), flipped head-over-heels on the “Big Balls”, done a swan dive off the “Sweeper”, been spun to the point of projectile vomiting by the “Dizzy Dummy”, and then deluged with cold water on their way to being bombarded with rolling barrels and re-spun on the “Spinner”.

That’s exactly the way the Bible portrays the plight of mankind. Even the “Son of Man” himself – the only winner in the history of the human race – wasn’t spared the brutality of life on earth. That’s why it’s so important for believers to be engaged with a church community rather than act as “Lone Ranger Christians”. When struggles & hardships come – and they most assuredly will – it’s the community of fellow believers who can provide the support and encouragement to get through the difficult times. While none of us may get through life unscathed, as Christians, we enjoy the blessing of having both encouragement from fellow believers and the hope that comes from following Jesus.

Post by: Eron Elswick, Leadership Team


We Experienced Technical Difficulties

No podcast this week.  Something happened to the digital recorder but will try to summarize with a different podcast later.  Stay tuned this week for reminders and announcements!

Grace and peace.

Matt, Revolution Leadership Team.

Image and Fall Sermon Redux

Why Do People Suck? and What is God Doing About It?

It is important to remember that God did not need to make us (Acts 17:24-25 cf. Job 41:11; Ps. 50:10-12).  He has perfect love and fellowship among members of the Trinity for all eternity (John 17:5, 24).

”God created us for His own glory” (Isa. 43:7; cf. Eph. 1:11-12).  Therefore, we are to do all for God’s glory.  (1 Cor. 10:31).   This is our purpose.  This is the meaning of life.

That may sound boring to some because they confuse glorifying God with church, which may bore you to death.  Yet, Jesus states that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly.  (John 10:10). If we align our lives with our created purpose then we discover true happiness (Ps. 16:11; 84:1-2, 10).  This doesn’t mean sitting in a pew, singing old hymns or K-love pop songs and listening to someone go on and on about how you should “stop doing this or stop doing that”, or worse, preach topical sermons that are essentially “How To Succeed In Life Without Really Trying!”  This means being on mission and following Jesus to the storm the very gates of Hell if necessary.

Some of our Emergent church brothers object that life all being about glorifying God  makes God selfish but really this is a selfish objection because WE want to be worshipped, honored and glorified. 

The cool thing is this is a two way street.  We glorify God and find happiness there and, in turn, God rejoices in us. (Isa. 62:5; Zeph. 3:17-18).  This led John Piper to make his classic statement that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” See his book Desiring God…in fact see all of his books!

By grace, we are all made in the image and likeness of God which means that we are like God and represent God (See how Adam speaks of his son Seth in Gen. 5:3).

But what does this mean? Theologians have identified the following possibilities: (1) moral aspects (i.e., accountability, an inner sense of right and wrong, etc.); (2) Spiritual aspects; (3) mental aspects; and (4) relational aspects.  We derive our true dignity and worth from this fact not from our bodies or bank accounts but from how we were created.

Sin entered the world and distorted the image but did not destroy it (see Gen. 9:6 or James 3:9 and note that these are post-fall assertions).

It is important to remember that sin is not just “breaking rules” but a direct offense against God Himself (note King David’s words to the prophet Nathan (2 Sam. 12:13)).  Thus, because God is the greatest good (i.e., pure, good, right, just, etc.) and sin is an offense against this good God then any sin is the greatest evil imaginable and justice demands the most severe punishment imaginable, which is death.

The bad news is that all of us have both an inherited guilt and an inherited sinful nature from Adam and Eve (Rom. 1:18-3:23; 5:12-21).  All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:11-18) and all sin demands death as punishment (Rom. 6:23).  Thus, all of us stands condemned before God

What are we to do? By ourselves we can do nothing. Because of the sinful nature we inherited, we do not have the power to earn God’s favor and save ourselves.

But the good news is that Jesus, our God, priest, prophet, judge and King, lived the life we could not live and died the death we deserved to die.  When we place our faith in Jesus, He grant us His very own standing before God (2 Cor. 5:21). And when we place our faith in Jesus, He in turn grants us a progressive restoration of the original image (2 Cor. 3:18) and will completely restore God image upon His return (1 John 3:2).   This is truly good news…this is the Gospel.

Image and Fall

Tonight at Revolution we cover the creation and fall of humankind.  We kick off at 7:00 p.m. with music by Ryan Rolfe and the World’s Most Dangerous Praise Band and then we tackle Genesis 2-11.  Bring your Bible to the old PHS gym on 8th and Waller. 

Grace and Peace.

Matt, member of the Revolution Leadership Team.

Biblical Culture v. Christian Culture

Revolution has taken a lot of criticism for my (Matt) comment that we don’t care if a member drinks (in moderation), smokes (legal substances) or watches R-rated movies.  So, on my personal blog (, I’ve laid out my reasons for that statement.  Feel free to take a look and shoot me a comment or email.  We may simply agree to disagree but hopefully you will see that where I’m coming from if nothing else.

Grace and peace.

Serve God, Save the Planet.

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Giving: One Chili-Cheese Burrito At A Time

Since I used last week’s blog post to talk about Revolution’s attendance trends, I thought it would be fitting to spend this week detailing our financial trends. The “good news” is that the numbers we’re dealing with are so small that we haven’t had to purchase expensive computer software (or even a calculator, for that matter) to keep track of our income. Obviously, that also happens to be the bad news.

For the first four weeks of Revolution, the average amount each person (not including children) has contributed is $1.27 per week [no, that’s not a misprint or misplaced decimal point]. Actually, that’s a fairly impressive amount compared to this past weekend’s average contribution of $0.51 per person.

Obviously, setting up shop in one of the poorest areas of the state in the midst of a recession and devoting most of your energies to reaching out to college students who have large student loans and no jobs isn’t the greatest way to establish a financially prosperous church. However, we didn’t put Revolution where we did because we think it has favorable financial prospects. We put it where we did because we believe it has favorable Kingdom of God prospects – where the good news about Jesus most desperately needs heard. After all, when Jesus came to earth, he didn’t select prosperous, triumphant Rome as his headquarters; he chose impoverished, beaten-down Galilee. From the beginning, we wanted Revolution to be centered in the place where the spiritual conditions are the gloomiest, not where the financial conditions are the brightest.

Now, having said that, we certainly wouldn’t turn down a Brinks truck full of cash – in fact, we would put it to good use helping the neediest in our community and proclaiming the message of Jesus. However, for now, I’d just be satisfied if the people who call Revolution “home” would buy one less chili-cheese burrito the next time they drive through Taco Bell and use the extra change to help us double our weekly income!


Post By: Eron Elswick, Leadership Team