“Sacrificial living, sustainable change and a spiritual revolution”
That’s the heart of a new project from Relevant Magazine called “Reject Apathy”. The project is going to be a new magazine showing readers issues from five main areas of social justice concerns throughout the world: poverty, preventable disease, violence, defense of innocents, and creation care.
I think that sacrificial living, sustainable change, and spiritual revolution are all important matters and can be fulfilled through each of these characteristics especially today when our culture is in dire need to be united in a common cause, and more importantly, our churches are in an even more dire need of being more united in our common cause of bringing people into relationship with Christ and each other through God’s word, authentic community, and compassionate, faith-filled people.
First, if we are to understand any of these principles of rejecting apathy we must begin with God’s word, the Holy Bible. For too long has it become acceptable for churches to lean on other authorities and principles instead of the Bible. Even Evangelicals who claim they believe in “inerrancy” have made this mistake. For example, where do many conservative parents go to for parenting advice…is it Scripture? No, many people look to “experts” like James Dobson, parenting books, and their local children’s ministry to solve their problems for providing a Christian environment and “education.” We have become apathetic and calloused to the power of the Holy Spirit through the word of God and I believe it’s time for the Church (myself included) to repent of this apathy when it comes to how Word-centered, Word-focused, and Spirit-lead we really live our lives. Only in God’s word do we find the answers to principles to begin to live more sacrificially, change the world for God, and see a spiritual revolution take place in our midst.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!- Romans 10:14-15
Secondly, authentic community…sound like a really “hip” catchy phrase? What does it mean? Does it mean that we need to all live in communes and share the wealth? I don’t think the principles of sharing what we have and honoring each other with our possessions as if they are God’s and not ours are bad, but I don’t think that’s the lesson we are supposed to learn from the church in Acts 4 because it seems like just a bit further (Acts 8 ) they are scattered and finally begin carrying out the Acts 1:8 mandate. In my experience let me tell you what authentic community looks like. My second semester of Bible college our dorm got flooded and so about 20-30 guys (including me) were sent to live in a cheap motel on the not-so-nice part of Northeast Portland. We had all our belongings packed up in boxes and for those three months we did what we could to make life doable for each other. Sometimes that meant carpooling to school and staying late at night so we could do projects, other times it meant listening to each-others frustrations and discomforts because of this experience at the motel. In that we got to know one another and appreciate each other for our strengths and weaknesses and find the joy in the hard moments. When we finally did get back into the dorms we had so much to be thankful for together because God had brought us closer together in relationship. Only by seeing the relationships and the difference in those relationships from that of the world can we change the world for God and see a spiritual revolution. This means that as Christ’s church we need to strive to be intentional about creating and nurturing relationships in families, marriages, and singles (a largely neglected group) that are transparent and glorify God.
Lastly, you may have noticed that I told you the purpose of this new project by Relevant Magazine called “Reject Apathy” is to make people more aware of social justice issues. This goes under rejecting apathy with the solution of compassion. Compassion, not by just giving dollars or being sad for someone else; but real compassion that stretches out and does something that is a sacrifice for someone else in need, is not satisfied by taking a week to go to Mexico and do a short-term trip, and wants to see spiritual transformation become a reality. My heart of compassion is for youth of this generation who are very short-sighted and wandering aimlessly. The person with a heart of compassion must realize that where God has placed them to do ministry is not about finding quick-fix solutions. Acting on the compassion for the “mission field” that God has placed on your heart is going to take a lot of painstaking time, resources, effort, emotion, prayer, blood, sweat, tears, and the whole nine yards and the battle is going to be uphill, but every foot gained is a victory. Let this long-haul feat be what you live for. Let the compassion God has set in your heart be what motivates you when you share the Gospel and help those in need.
For more information on “Reject Apathy” check out: http://t.co/lFi63p4