Radical Remnant on the Rise

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Synopsis of A Radical Remnant on the Rise

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: Judges 6:11  The Call of Gideon  Judges 6:11   Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash had been threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.  12  The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!”  

This man in the bible named Gideon who was fearful and weak in his own sight, but mighty in the eyes of God. The name Gideon means “Mighty warrior”. Gideon was called to deliver Israel from the Midianites, but one day Gideon was hiding as they were attacking Israel. God had sent an angel to him saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor”. Gideon replied with a question, If the Lord is with us, why did all these terrible things happen? The Lord responded, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” After this encounter with the angel, Gideon went and rescued Israel from the enemy with an army which the Lord had reduced from thirty two thousand, to three hundred. The Lord also allowed Gideon to see into the enemies’ camp. Many of you feel as if an army is rising up against you, but Jesus calls you a mighty man/woman of valor. He is with you to defeat every army and adverse situation that comes against you.

The Lord is saying, today;  I am raising up a remnant as My mighty men and women of valor. They are those who are students of My word, and will see themselves as I have created them to be. I am calling My warriors who are strong and courageous. I am looking for those who will walk in faith and are not moved by adverse circumstances. They are those men and women who are willing to go to the front lines regardless of what they hear and see in the natural. They will take Me at My word as they rescue and deliver others from the grip of the enemy. They are spiritually intuitive, and their lives are transparent before Me. They are not moved by bad reports but will continue to advance into all that I have called them to do. They do not dread the unknown, because they know that I have given them everything that they need to accomplish My purpose. They will not become weary as the enemy seems to be battering and relentless. As they seek My counsel, I will give them clear understanding and keen discernment. They will seek Me for wisdom and direction when they are in doubt.

God has just said to each and every one of you and me that he has an assignment set out for us. After last weeks message on the Church being an old wineskin ready to bust if it allows the new wine the Lord has for us; I thought I’d better talk about the fact that words are meaningless if we don’t act on them.  The way we live our lives likely has a lot more to say about who we think Jesus is than any creed we recite or words we spout.

At this time I have another slice of the Bread of Life: Mark 8:27     Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”  28   “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”  29  Then Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

I believe Jesus is still asking…. “Who do you say that I am.”  Or…. What are you saying about me?

In other words, in your actions, thoughts, text messages, emails, posts and daily conversation; What are you saying about Me? Better yet, not only when you meet others along the road, but, when you are struggling in your own life…. What are you saying about Me? I would like to remind you of last week’s message, The War Over Wineskins that is calling for your “Radical Change.”  Are you willing to be called as a Radical Remnant on the Rise?
So, lets discuss that term, “Radical Remnants on the Rise.”  Lets find more slices of the Bread of Life:

Jeremiah 18:1-4    The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:” Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

The Lord told Jeremiah to go down to the Potters house to give him a prophetic illustration. When he went, he had seen the potter making something at the wheel. The clay vessel that the potter had made was marred in his hands; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.  The potter’s wheel is not to judge us or punish us, but it is to form us into the masterpiece that the Lord has created us to be.

George goes on to also say…. is this not the Lord’s way of saying….. Do not refuse the work on the potter’s wheel but allow Me to transform you as I shape your life and destiny. Trust Me when the process seems too difficult. Don’t say that this is an uncomfortable place, but know that it is for your benefit and necessary to bring you in to the fulfillment of My plans.  

I personally feel that the Lord is saying to us today………  Today I am raising up a remnant as My mighty men and women of valor. They are those who are students of My word, and will see themselves as I have created them to be. I am looking for those who will walk in faith and are not moved by adverse circumstances, willing to go to the front lines regardless of what they hear, see, and think, in the natural.  As they seek My counsel, I will give them clear understanding and keen discernment. They will seek Me for wisdom and direction when they are in doubt.

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A RADICAL REMNANT ON THE RISE

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: Judges 6:11 and Romans 11:5

First, The Call of Gideon Judges 6:11

Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash had been threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!”

And then…. Romans 11:5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

And, the title of today’s message is…. A RADICAL REMNANT ON THE RISE.

This man in the bible named Gideon who was fearful and weak in his own sight, but mighty in the eyes of God. The name Gideon means “Mighty warrior”. Gideon was called to deliver Israel from the Midianites, but one day Gideon was hiding as they were attacking Israel. God had sent an angel to him saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor”. Gideon replied with a question, If the Lord is with us, why did all these terrible things happen? The Lord responded, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” After this encounter with the angel, Gideon went and rescued Israel from the enemy with an army which the Lord had reduced from thirty two thousand, to three hundred. The Lord also allowed Gideon to see into the enemies’ camp. Many of you feel as if an army is rising up against you, but Jesus calls you a mighty man/woman of valor. He is with you to defeat every army and adverse situation that comes against you.

The Lord is saying, I am raising up a remnant as My mighty men and women of valor. They are those who are students of My word, and will see themselves as I have created them to be. I am calling My warriors who are strong and courageous. I am looking for those who will walk in faith and are not moved by adverse circumstances. They are those men and women who are willing to go to the front lines regardless of what they hear and see in the natural. They will take Me at My word as they rescue and deliver others from the grip of the enemy. They are spiritually intuitive, and their lives are transparent before Me. They are not moved by bad reports but will continue to advance into all that I have called them to do. They do not dread the unknown, because they know that I have given them everything that they need to accomplish My purpose. They will not become weary as the enemy seems to be battering and relentless. As they seek My counsel, I will give them clear understanding and keen discernment. They will seek Me for wisdom and direction when they are in doubt.

The Lord said to them, and now to us, Although the armies seem to be gaining ground, I have already equipped you and made a way of escape. Don’t allow your circumstances to rule your thinking, but align your thoughts with My word. Do not allow discouragement and despair to wear you down. I have created you and called you for such a time as this.   Submit your lives in total surrender to Me, ask Me and I will give you the wisdom, discernment and understanding for the days ahead. Just as I sent the angel to Gideon with a message, I say to you, rise up you mighty man / woman of valor and carry out the assignment that I have for you says the Lord.

God has just said to each and every one of you and me that he has an assignment set out for us

After last weeks message on the Church being an old wineskin ready to bust if it allows the new wine the Lord has for us; I thought I’d better talk about the fact that words are meaningless if we don’t act on them. The way we live our lives likely has a lot more to say about who we think Jesus is than any creed we recite or words we spout.

At this time I have a third slice of the Bread of Life: Mark 8:27     Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28   “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.” 29 Then Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

I believe Jesus is still asking…. “Who do you say that I am.” Or…. What are you saying about me?

In other words, in your actions, thoughts, text messages, emails, posts and daily conversation; What are you saying about Me? Better yet, not only when you meet others along the road, but, when you are struggling in your own life…. What are you saying about Me?

I would like to remind you of last week’s message, The War Over Wineskins that is calling for your
“Radical Change.” Are you willing to be called as a Radical Remnant on the Rise?

At this point I want to say that today’s message comes from my thoughts, but, I use the wordings from the source of my information. My source is The Barna Group.

The Barna Group is widely considered to be the leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture, whose resources help understand the times and know what to do next

George Barna leads seminars for church leaders, speaks at ministry conferences, has taught at seminaries, and has been a pastor. As an author, he has written more than four dozen books on contemporary Christian issues, with topics ranging from worldviews, trends, to church life, spiritual growth and leadership. He is known for providing extensive surveys regarding Christianity and the state of the church. His findings that have generated substantial interest or controversy in recent years include the following thoughts:

  1. Christian churches in the United States have been generally ineffective vessels for evangelism and discipleship;
  2. Many Protestant pastors are neither called to nor competent in leadership.
  3. less than one out of every five born again adults possesses a Biblical world view;
  4. every church engages in marketing, but few do it well;
  5. alternative forms of church life — including house churches — are growing rapidly;
  6. a growing group of spiritually devout Christians, known as Revolutionaries, are embracing a post-congregational narrative that is reshaping spiritual life in the U.S.; Now, I find the term revolutionaries to be a little too strong and prefer to refer to those Christians as “Radical Remnants on the Rise.”
  7. most “church growth” is simply the recycling of church-goers from one congregation to another.

So, lets discuss that term, “Radical Remnants on the Rise.” Lets find more slices of the Bread of Life:

Isaiah 64:8   But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.

Jeremiah 18:1-4   The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:” Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

The Lord told Jeremiah to go down to the Potters house to give him a prophetic illustration. When he went, he had seen the potter making something at the wheel. The clay vessel that the potter had made was marred in his hands; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Many people don’t understand the process of the potter’s wheel. The potter’s wheel is not to judge us or punish us, but it is to form us into the masterpiece that the Lord has created us to be.

George Barna comments that the Lord seems to be saying…..

Just as the potter designs each clay pot in different shapes and sizes, I have designed and created each one of you. Everyone has been born with a unique purpose and plan. Each one of you have been strategically designed for a particular purpose, and I will work with each of you in a specific way. Do not fear the potter’s wheel and do not refuse it, for this is My workmanship. This is the place where I am molding you and conforming you into My image. This is the place where all impurities and defilement will be destroyed and all bruises and blemishes will be erased. This is the place where the rough edges will be smooth out, broken vessels will be restored and old mindsets will be dismantled. Afflictions, traumas and misfortunes from the past will be annihilated and dreams will be birthed and brought forth. This is the place where your mind will be renewed and you will learn to walk in integrity and maturity. This place is necessary for your spiritual growth to bring forth the gifts that I have placed on the inside of you.

George goes on to also say…. is this not the Lord’s way of saying…..

Do not refuse the work on the potter’s wheel but allow Me to transform you as I shape your life and destiny. Trust Me when the process seems too difficult. Don’t say that this is an uncomfortable place, but know that it is for your benefit and necessary to bring you in to the fulfillment of My plans. Do not resist the work that I am doing on the inside of you, but allow Me to accomplish My perfect will through you. Allow Me to work with you and fashion you into My image. I Am the master potter and as you allow Me, I will design your life so that you will become all that I have created you to be. You will become a glorious vessel of honor, and others will see the brilliance of the transformed life that I am creating in you. I desire to make something beautiful out of your life as you allow Me to work in and through you says the Lord

I personally feel that the Lord is saying to us today……

Today I am raising up a remnant as My mighty men and women of valor. They are those who are students of My word, and will see themselves as I have created them to be. I am looking for those who will walk in faith and are not moved by adverse circumstances, willing to go to the front lines regardless of what they hear, see, and think, in the natural. They are not moved by new thoughts, but will continue to advance into all that I call them to do. They do not dread changes, because they know that I have given them everything that they need to accomplish My purpose. As they seek My counsel, I will give them clear understanding and keen discernment. They will seek Me for wisdom and direction when they are in doubt.

They are willing to burn their bridges behind them and forget the actions of their past. This discernment that I give will bring wisdom and direction from My word, and will come through prayer and intimacy with Me. Yet, in the days ahead they will look back and understand that everything that they have done was not in vain. They are not to allow their circumstances to rule their thinking, but align their thoughts with My word. I have created them for such a time as this. Ask Me and I will give them the wisdom, discernment and understanding for the days ahead. Just as I sent the angel to Gideon with a message, I say to them, rise up you mighty men / women of valor and carry out the assignment that I have for you.

Well, I have told you what George Barna thought the Lord has in mind for these days ahead and what his sources were. Then I have shared what I believe what the Lord is saying to us today. May I now tell you why I am pushing these thoughts in my messages these days.

I would have to say that there are actually two things I’d like my messages to accomplish.

First I want to inform my audience of what is already taking place in the world of worship in the form of cell group, or meetings in the homes churches, certainly in other countries but more than you may realize right here in our country.

Years ago, when I pastored a church on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, Fellowship of Joy, I took my entire congregation, one Sunday, to a large Cell Group Church in New Orleans. They did have a Sunday morning service each week in a church building that seated 3000. Entire congregation also met once a week in “cell group meetings” in their homes; rotating where they met. Each week a different member of the cell had a turn at leading their bible study with input from everyone in attendance; sharing their thoughts on the passages in study. Each cell group had their own pet, heart felt, projects to work on during other days of their week. Some chose to prepare food and go eat with homeless under bridges, etc. Another cell might choose go in groups to visit nursing homes or children hospitals, etc.

This now reminds me to say that I usually use the Three Little Words from the book by the same title; at the beginning or at the end of my messages. Today I believe the thoughts of these cell group’s heart felt projects lead me to do so at this time….

Today’s Three Little Words are “Share With Others.” And the three verses that go with them are:  1Timothy 6:18   Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.     and    Galatians 6:6    Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches    and Hebrews 13:16    Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Now back to the Cell Group Church in New Orleans:

Also there were cell group leaders who had a number of cells under their guidance. They visited a different one of the cell group’s home meetings each week.

The last I heard it has spread throughout the New Orleans Metropolitan Area to the point that groups of these “cell group leaders” operate under the guidance of “associate pastors.” Some of the “associate pastors” have their own church building for Sunday morning services, due to their distance from the main church building.

One week Sue and I spent the week in New Orleans so that we had the opportunity of visiting four or five of the cell group meetings in their homes. Most of them, by the way, had a children’s school class in another room of the home.

This led us, Fellowship of Joy, to having Sunday morning services in our church building and then, each week, we met in one of the congregation’s homes. We chose to use our church building for having the children’s school class. Parent’s left their children at the church building with a paid teacher.

That explains the first reason for this message; informing you of what is already taking place in the world of worship in the form of cell group, or meetings

The second reason for this message is simply introducing the Radical Remnant idea. We learned that often those we invited to our “cell group” method of “chruchin” would at first feel like the odd person out. This can cause conflicting feelings until they are able to consider the spiritual awakening as a viable alternative to what they have experienced. May this message provide my listeners with the permission they need to reach their next level of spiritual maturity.

Whether you want to or not, you will eventually have to take a stand in regard to the already coming Reveloution, as George Barna calls it, or as I prefer to call it, a Radical Remnant on the Rise; the thought I’m planting is that the most significant recalibration of the American Christian body in more than a century is just ahead.

You might feel relieved and excited by the context of today’s message or you might respond with anger or disapproval. Whatever you feel, I ask that you hear the entire message before you pass judgment on it.

George Barna loves to tell a story about a couple of guysnamedDavid and Michael. They were men in their mid thirties who both enjoyed a sport they loved. They had known each other for years, and had many similarities. Both had been driven out of their longtime church by boredom and the inability to serve in ways that made use of their skills and knowledge. They had both spent time examining other churches in the area. David developed his own regimen of spiritual practice to retain his spiritual life. Michael, on the other hand totally disheartened chose to call truce with God, dropping it all.

They both gave money to worthy causes in lieu of tithing to a church building. They prayed before meals. They spent time with the Lord on their own.

During one of their excursions on the golf course David asked Michael. “Have you read anything revealing in the Bible recently.” Michael answered, “…. been too busy lately. How about you?” David replied, “The big insight this week came from Roman chapter 11; the part that says we have nothing to lose by living in flagrant opposition to the world. I guess I felt a new sense of release to passionately seek holiness amidst the opposition of the world and I can only lose only if I abandon my focus on God.”

You may know people like David and Michael. David, you see, is what George Barna calls a Revolutionary, and I would call a Radical Christian. His life reflects the ideals and principles that characterized the life and purpose of our Lord Jesus and which advanced the Kingdom of God. He is one of the new breed of disciples of Christ. They are people who actually want more of God in their lives and are doing what it takes to get it.

My friends, the United States is becoming a home to the increasing number of Radical Christians, worshipping and interacting with God and are centered on their belief in Christ. Some of them are aligned with a church, and some are not. But, they are making life’s decisions based on Biblical principles.

The problem that the Radical Christians see is the fact that we have become a country of everything must be supersized. Even the religious community have surrendered to the world’s infatuation with size. The highpoint of the church’s success is to become a mega church. And what makes the Radical Christian so startling is that they are returning to a first-century lifestyle based on faith, goodness, love generosity, kindness, simplicity and values deemed to be “quaint” by today’s uncontrolled and morally unleashed standards. They have no use for the churches that play religious games that bear no spiritual fruit. They reject those in ministry positions who seek popularity rather than the proclamation of truth and build monuments to their own achievements. They wish to replace such with a spiritual journey that prioritizes transformation at every turn that will zealously pursue an intimate relationship with God, which Jesus Christ promised we could have only through Him. Today’s Radical Christian believe in not “going-along- to-get-along.”

 

The Barna Group has learned about this under-the-radar but ground-breaking reawakening of faith that will remake the religious silhouettes of this country over the coming years.

 

Yes, these Radical Christians are just like the prophets of old, unwelcomed in their own hometown, and are looked at skeptically by friends and family. But, remember, growth always comes with a price tag.

 

The real question here is just what does God expect? So keep in mind God’s words to Peter in Acts 11:9; “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” This says to me: we must critique someone’s course even though it may stray from church traditions, cultural expectations, or our comfort zone.

 

Let’s let the Bible teach us here:

MATTHEW 15:2  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

MARK 7:11    But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Let’s look at what made the early church, designed by God, to be our model, being compelling and life changing? What was it’s attributes?

One was “intimate worship,” not requiring “a worship service,” but requiring commitment to feel the awesome magnificence of God. The evangelistic effort of the first believers were carried out through low-key / high-impact conversations about truth and purpose, plus prayer and miracles. They planted their faith at the center of their lives, not the center of a place. This caused the church, the people, to be all about relationships. The very real sense was that the ‘church’ was in the home.

Jesus did not die on the cross to fill auditoriums, build campuses, or cause people to implement programs. He died because he wants everlasting relationships, both hear-and-now for eternity.

This mission demands single-minded commitment and a dirregard for the criticisms of those who lack the same dedication to the cause of Christ. You answer only one Commander in Chief, and only you will give an explanation for your choices. What matters is not whom you associate with, like a local church, but who you are. I have spent most of my 77 year, especially the last forty, belonging to, or visiting, or preaching at, a wide variety of churches. Some were large, small, theologically liberal and conservative, Caucasian and non white, Protestant and Catholic and in several different states.

One of the frustration has been the disconnection between of what our research consistently shows about churched Christians and what the Bible calls us to be.

Let’s examine what the millions of American adults who are churched, born-again Christians, who have confessed their sins, asked God for forgiveness, and accepted Jesus as their Savior, and regularly participate in the life of a Christian. The following is the information the Barna Group’s surveys have produced.

Regarding Worship:

  1. The biweekly attendance at worship services is, by believers’ own admission, generally the only time they worship God.
  2. 8 out of every 10 do not feel they have entered into the presence of God, during the worship service.
  3. Half of all them say they do not feel they have experienced a genuine connection with Him during the past year.
  4. Only 1 out of every 4 churched say they when they worship God, they expect Him to be the primary beneficiary of their worship.

Regarding Faith-Based conversations:

  1. Typically, at any given time, a majority of them do now have specific person in mind for whom they are praying to see that persons saved.
  2. Most believed that they are not gifted enough in evangelism, and that is not their responsibility.

     Regarding spiritual growth:

  1. When given the opportunity to make a statement as to how they want to be known by others…. Fewer than 1 out ot 10 mentioned a description that reflect their relationship with God.

Regarding their resources:

  1. Fewer than 1 in 19 churched going Christians tithe 10 percent of their income. Interestingly, 1/3 claim to do so.

Regarding family Faith:

  1. In an average month, fewer then 10% of churched families worship together outside of a church service, other than mealtimes.

 The point here is not to bash the local church. The point is simply to recognize that if we place  all      our   hope    in the local church, it may be a misplaced hope.

As the clock tells me so, my time is running short, so let me end with this thought

The Bible does not rigidly define the corporate practices, rituals, or structsures tat muyst be embraced in order to have a  proper church. Remember…. you…. me…. us…. are the church.

So   until next Sunday

Remember;     America Bless God           and             God Bless America.

 

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