God's Revolution

God's people doing Kingdom justice in community

Nik Ripken: The Insanity of God

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Nik & Ruth Ripken

Nik & Ruth Ripken

In this episode, we focus on “The Insanity of God,” a popular book that’s now become an inspiring documentary movie about the courage of Christians who keep standing with Jesus in spite of severe persecution, even martyrdom.

Nik Ripken and his wife, Ruth, undertook a global pilgrimage to hear firsthand the stories of persecution and martyrdom our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing. Nik and Ruth interviewed more than 600 believers in 72 countries — and what they learned offers crucial insights for believers who want to be part of God’s revolution.

An estimated 70% of Christians worldwide are practicing their faith in environments of persecution. Nik describes this as “normal Christianity.” These believers are persecuted only because because they have chosen not to keep silent about salvation in Jesus Christ. By the same token, Christians are not persecuted in the West because we don’t try to give Jesus away.

Persecution is Satan’s reaction to those who choose to follow Jesus and be obedient to his command to make disciples. Jesus told us to not be surprised when the world hates us because it hated him first. If the world doesn’t hate us, it’s because we aren’t confronting people with costly Christianity.

Learn more about Nik’s two books:
The Insanity of God
The Insanity of Obedience

See the movie. Get the soundtrack.

Visit Nik’s website.

Jim Gash: A ‘divine collision’ and juvenile justice

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Click play-right-arrow sm above to listen to the interview.
To read Jim and Henry’s story, A Tool in God’s Hands, click here.

Henry with Jim Gash at the Ihungu Remand Home in Masindi, Uganda.

Henry with Jim Gash at the Ihungu Remand Home in Masindi, Uganda.

What most Americans know of the criminal justice system is what they see on TV dramas: a crime is committed, police investigate and gather evidence against a suspect, who then is arrested and brought immediately before a judge, who schedules the “speedy” trial we all are guaranteed by the US Constitution.

We don’t realize how unusual our system is in the larger world. In many places, you can be arrested and thrown into prison while police investigate and gather evidence and decide whether to even charge you. That can take months, even years, because the law doesn’t require those authorities to move quickly.

If you are innocent of a crime, you still may spend many months in jail. And if you’re a teenager, the interruption to your education could easily ruin the rest of your life.

In this episode of God’s Revolution, we talk with Jim Gash, an American lawyer who was headed for a “divine collision” with Henry, a teenager unjustly held in a Ugandan prison. Gash not only helped get that young man out of jail but he also helped change Uganda’s entire legal system to help keep injustices like that from happening in the future.

The subtext of the story is that God can use ordinary Christians – all of us – to accomplish far more than we can even imagine, if we just let him write the story of our lives, instead of always trying to write it ourselves.

Jim Gash is dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law. Learn more about the book he wrote about his “divine collision” with Henry by clicking here.

Alan Cross: Cultural racism and Southern evangelicals

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Alan CrossOur world is full of ethnic and racial tensions that seem to intensify constantly. The sad fact is that most Christians seem to be as susceptible to these tensions as their unregenerate neighbors. Alan Cross’ book, “When Heaven and Earth Collide,” explores how cultural racism took Southern evangelicalism captive. In the process, he helps us all consider how our own attitudes about race and ethnicity are shaped by our culture in ways we don’t even realize.

If God’s people are going to do Kingdom justice in community, we must come to terms with the attitudes in our own hearts that get in the way of reconciliation and Gospel advance.

In this episode, we talk with Alan Cross, who founded an organization in Montgomery, Ala., called Community Development Initiatives in 2007 and served as a pastor of Gateway Baptist Church in Montgomery for more than 15 years.

You can follow Alan at his blog, alancrosswrites.com. Learn more about Community Development Initiatives at cdionline.org. You can find out more about “When Heaven and Earth Collide” at amazon.com.

 

Jeff Christopherson: Multiplying disciplemakers

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Jeff ChristophersonMany believers and congregations simply don’t make disciples, and many that do aren’t experiencing the multiplication of disciples the Lord wants to give them. Jeff Christopherson of the North American Mission Board shares some profound insights on the subject of multiplying disciples who make disciples.

Jeff leads the Send Cities initiative and is co-author of Kingdom First: Starting Churches that Shape Movements.

Reggie McNeal: What hinders the Kingdom?

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Reggie McNealThis discussion with Reggie McNeal, missional leadership specialist for Leadership Network and author of numerous books on church leadership, focuses on perhaps the most fundamental issue facing the church today: How the need to promote our church organization actually keeps us from advancing God’s kingdom in our communities.

Our consumer-oriented society demands services, and churches respond by providing an ever-widening range of programs. Those programs, of course, require church members to provide ever more human resources to support them.

Church leaders find themselves under pressure to constantly innovate programs and recruit church members to staff them. And church members wind up getting the idea that the measure of faithfulness is their level of their participation in the organization’s activities.

If you compound this with a gospel message focused primarily on the afterlife — perhaps even a disavowal that the quality of this life has anything to do with salvation — you have a very serious problem. Even lost people understand that Jesus helped people in need and that his true followers do that too.

We try to mobilize church members to witness to people about eternity, but we don’t help them understand how to be salt in a society that is decaying around them. God’s people don’t understand their role in “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

If we aren’t trying to help people live abundant lives now, why would we be surprised when they discount our message about eternal life hereafter? Why would we be surprised when people lose interest in our organization’s activities? Why would we be surprised when even our members drift away?

God’s Revolution is about a world in captivity — and the Creator’s mission to set us free and bring us full circle back to the peace he created us to enjoy. An essential part of that revolution is showing people how to live life the way God designed us to live. If we are to be part of God’s revolution in this world, God’s people must do God’s justice in their communities.

Related links

See more about Reggie McNeal’s book, Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church–and What We Should Do Instead

Visit Reggie McNeal’s website.

Visit the Leadership Network website.

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