Revolution is going to turn 5 years old yesterday. Over the last week on the blog, I shared some of the things that drove us to start Revolution and drive us to this day. If you missed them, here they are:
Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.
- Duane Smets on The pruned planter.
- 5 questions every sermon must answer.
- Rich Birch on 7 signs your church is struggling.
- 10 things that should be on your to-do list today.
- Cheryl Edmondson on How to handle it when people talk about your husband, the pastor.
- How to write the bottom line in your next sermon.
- Dan Black on Benefits to breaking your normal routine.
- Tony McCullom on Your first 500 sermons will suck.
- What keeps leaders up at nights.
- J.D. Greear on What’s the deal with the ‘T’ in LGBT?
- Luke Simmons on What I admire about Mormon missions.
- An unknown pastor is not the same thing as an ordinary pastor.
- Aimee Byrd on Women preaching and blogging. Great insights here.
Revolution is going to turn 5 years old this Sunday. It is really hard to believe that the church God birthed in me 13 years ago while living in Chicago actually came to be with 11 people who prayed and dreamed together in Tucson, AZ. Over the coming week as we gear up towards Sunday I thought I’d share some of the dreams that drove us to start Revolution and still drive us to this day.
On Monday, we looked at our dream of helping people become who they were created to be. On Tuesday, we looked at how to help people take their next step with Jesus and why that is so important. On Wednesday, we looked at our target, what we call: Get the men, win the war. Yesterday we looked at how to be simple. To wrap up the 5 things that drive Revolution, we’ll look at our dream of unleashing leaders. Another way of thinking about this drive is to plant churches that plant more churches.
From day one of Revolution Church, we have dreamed of raising up an army of leaders that are unleashed to be on mission, develop other leaders where they work, live and play and out of those leaders, plant churches.
The reason is simple: more evangelism happens in church plants than established church. Also, in Tucson, because of our terrible highway system, people largely stay in their area of the city. To reach a city and see it changed, you have to plant churches.
The way we’ve stated this has been: We want everyone in Tucson to live within 10 minutes of a church we planted.
What does that look like?
It looks like Revolution Churches all over Tucson. Some that have video preaching, some that have live preaching. But all of them carrying the Revolution DNA (helping people live the life God created them to live, taking their next step, being simple, calling men and women to be who God created them to be). This means that all Revolution Churches will do MC’s, preach the same sermon each week, use the same study materials, the same DNA. Our hope is that we become a large extended family, a movement.
Why do it like this?
Church planting is expensive and not predictable. Most church plants fail in the first year because they don’t get traction, run out of finances or don’t have leaders. By planting a Revolution Church, a name that is known in Tucson, there is some weight behind that. It also enables a church in a wealthier part of the city to help a church in a poorer part of the city have the same level of ministry and leadership. It helps people feel part of a larger movement. We have said from day one, our church planting and what each one looks like will depend on the leaders we have at the time at that plant. I think many leaders are unwise when they say, “We will only do it this way.” That’s poor stewardship.
Also, as I’ve talked with pastors who have planted churches, the wise stewardship that comes through sharing finances, missional community materials, devotional questions, kid and student curriculums is wise stewardship. If you have 10 churches, why create 10 different things, 10 different sermons? That’s a poor use of time and resources in my opinion.
As a church, we help to plant autonomous churches in Tucson and other parts of the country (in fact, as we plant we are supporting a church plant that is in the same area of the city that we are hoping to plant in because we believe Tucson needs more gospel-centered church), but our primary means of church planting efforts will go into planting Revolution Churches around Tucson.
One of the things I’m most excited about are the steps we are taking for this to happen. After years of praying and dreaming, we are seeing how God is moving and we are praying that we will plant Revolution Church | Midtown in January 2015.
At the end of each day at the Preach the Word conference they did a panel discussion with the speakers for the day. Here are some things that jumped out at me from the discussion with Justin Holcomb, Alex Early and Leonce Crump:
- You can grow a church through preaching through books of the Bible.
- When you go to minister to people, take someone with you. Don’t hang out with non-Christians on your own. Use that as a chance to mentor and disciple new leaders.
- An indicative in the Bible is not the gospel, it is often the fruit of the gospel. It is describing, “this is the reality.”
- Everyone wants to be a good person. An effective communicator sets up the tension that you can’t be.
- Sometimes guys plant churches because they want to have a crowd to preach to. That’s not a good reason to plant.
- You narrow your approach to preaching if you don’t think about who is in the room.
- You can’t go wrong preaching Jesus because he’s always confrontational but always welcoming.
- To reach your neighbor, you must know your neighbor.
- You are a lazy pastor if you don’t evaluate your preaching.
I’m at the Preach the Word conference through Acts 29 today and as always, posting my notes to the sessions I attend.
One of the speakers is Justin Holcomb. His topic was an incredibly important theological topic when it comes to preaching: preaching God’s 2 words – law and gospel. Justin used Galatians 3:1 – 3, 10 – 14 as his text.
Justin is a pastor at Mars Hill Church, where he serves as Executive Director of The Resurgence and leads the Leadership Development department. He is also Adjunct Professor of Theology and Culture at Reformed Theological Seminary and previously taught at the University of Virginia. Justin holds two masters degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Emory University. He and his wife Lindsey are the authors of Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault, and he his new book is On the Grace of God.
Here are some things that jumped out in his talk:
- It is important to understand how law and gospel relate as both are from God.
- If we mess up the relationship between the law and the gospel, we are corrupting the core of the Christian faith.
- When we miss this, we miss the core of the gospel.
- We know from Scripture that Christ died to set us free.
- Christ fulfilled the law perfectly.
- Christ was raised from the dead for our justification.
- We have been set free from the bondage of sin, the fear of death. We are called what Jesus was, pure and perfect.
- The gospel has no condemnation.
- Thesis 1: the doctrinal contents of the Holy Scripture, both of the Old Testament and the New Testament are made up of two doctrines different fundamentally from each other – the Law and the Gospel.
- The law condemns and the gospel comforts.
- The law is everything that commands, the gospel is everything that promises favor in Christ.
- The problem is not with God’s law, but with us.
- The law directs and the gospel delivers.
- The 10 commandments are the summary of the law.
- The law can’t heal what it diagnosis.
- The law of God is perfect, true and righteous. It is holy, right and good.
- The law can do nothing to create what it commands (Romans 7).
- The function of the law is not to generate obedience, grace is.
- God’s law and God’s gospel are two different words with two different functions.
- The law tells us the truth but fails to convey the power to fulfill what it commands.
- The gospel is the good news is that Jesus’ burden is light and there is no more “no” as that went to Jesus on the cross.
- The gospel reveals God’s goodness, his mercy and his benefits.
- Jesus took the law very seriously. He came to fulfill it, not abolish it.
- Jesus summarizes the law in Matthew 22 by telling us to love God with all of us and love our neighbor as yourself.
- Jesus commands love of God all the time.
- Jesus doesn’t just summarizes the law, he intensifies it. The sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) is a great example of this. “You have heard it said…”
- Jesus goes past the outward evidence of obedience to get to our heart.
- Jesus’ call to be perfect is to give up what we worship so we can worship Jesus.
- Thesis #2: Only he is an orthodox teacher who not only presents all articles of faith in accordance with Scripture, but also rightly distinguishes from each other the Law and the Gospel.
- Law and gospel go together and in that order.
- When we use the law to look good, it isn’t to get what Jesus gives us.
- We can’t have the law without the gospel, but we can’t have the gospel without the law.
- Forgiveness means never bringing it up.
- Don’t replace the ministry of the Holy Spirit with law or exhortations motivating the human spirit.
- Your goal in preaching is not to motivate someone.
- Exhortation is not yelling or shaming.
- Thesis #3: Rightly distinguishing the Law and the Gospel is the most difficult and the highest art of Christians in general and of theologians in particular. It is taught only by the Holy Spirit in the school of experience.
- The only appropriate response to law and gospel is repentance.
Great opening session.
I’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Darrin Patrick founded The Journey in 2002 in the urban core of St. Louis, Missouri. The Journey has six locations and has released seven church plants. Darrin is Vice President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network (which Revolution Church is part of) and has helped start multiple non-profits in St. Louis. Darrin is the author of two books: Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission and For the City.
Here are some things that jumped out from Darrin’s segment:
- The Journey rotates through Old Testament, New Testament and hot-button current topics. This keeps the sermons fresh.
- By moving around like this, it helps the church have a holistic view of Scripture.
- Teaching through books of the Bible you are forced to teach on everything.
- Take chunks of time to prepare during the summer for the rest of the year.
- We need to preach the gospel all the time, not just in one sermon.
- The gospel is this thing that is growing.
- The way we came to Christ is the way we stay in him.
- People have felt needs, but the gospel is the real need of every human being.
- Would your sermon work if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead?
I’m really excited for this week at Revolution Church. Of course, I’m really excited every week!
This week, we will be looking at Ecclesiastes 8 and look at how to know and follow God’s ways. Often, we have no idea what God is doing in our lives or world, or how to partner with him. This can be frustrating when it comes to trusting in God and following him. This week, we’ll look at how to trust God when life doesn’t add up or when you don’t understand what God is doing.
This is definitely a week you don’t want to miss at Revolution Church. So, bring someone with you (you never know when a simple invite will make an eternal difference).
So, get there early. Come ready to worship and give Josh a loud, revolutionary welcome this week!
Remember, we meet at 8300 E. Speedway Blvd. at 10am.
- A look at the Acts 29 Pastor’s retreat. One of my favorite weeks of the year.
- Mark Dever, Matt Chandler & Darrin Patrick discuss Should baptism be spontaneous?
- 7 ways to talk to your neighbors about Jesus. Helpful list.
- Perry Noble on What he says to church planters.
- Ron Edmondson on How a pastor’s wife can truly be a partner to her husband. Great stuff.
- Mark Driscoll on 5 things to ask yourself as you read the Bible.
- It’s been awhile since I did one of these, but thought it would be good to bring the tradition back
- So much has happened
- I’m on my summer preaching break, which has been unbelievably refreshing for me and my family
- We spent a week in San Diego on vacation and last week, Katie and I spent the week in Newport Beach at the Acts 29 Pastor’s retreat
- We got a new child 9 days ago through a local adoption
- I’ll post more about that tomorrow
- For my preaching break this year, we shot 3 sermon videos that we used over the last 3 weeks
- The response to those sermons has been amazing, love hearing how God used those videos in the lives of our church
- If you missed any of them, you can listen or watch them here
- We showed my favorite of the 3 last night, that you can see here
- We are starting a brand new 2 week series this week called Jonah & David, it is going to be a great look at two important people in Scripture and what we can learn from their lives
- Then, on July 14 we are kicking off a brand new series called Fearless on the book of Joshua
- That will also be the night that we look towards the future and our move as a church and what God has in store for us
- The 14th is definitely a night you don’t want to miss as we look to see what God has in store for us
- I am more excited about the future of Revolution than I have ever been about Revolution
- I believe God is preparing us for some incredible things and we as leaders have seen God’s hand over this entire process of looking for a new location
- Been loving all the Euro 2012 games
- I’m one of those guys who gets up at 2am to watch a World Cup match
- So pumped for the semi’s, love that all the powerhouses are left
- I’m not much of an underdog guy
- During my break over the past week, I’ve been reading one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read called The President’s Club, there truly is no better book for a history nerd
- Like me
- The next 3 months at Revolution Church are going to be unlike any other time in the history of our church
- As we move, launch our fall Missional Communities, and some of the other things we have planned are going to set us on a journey where I believe we will see God do some things we’ve never seen him do at our church and through our church