Give Me Scotland

22 07 2010

The Reformer John Knox prayed: “Give me Scotland or I die!” No wonder Mary, Queen of Scots, declared that she was more afraid of the prayers of John Knox than of an army of ten thousand.  She knew that a spiritual revolution is more dangerous than any military or political power.

Our country needs a Jesus revolution.  Our city needs a spiritual revolution.  God loves America.  God loves Colorado Springs.  He is always ready to bring a mighty revolution of love.  He is looking for men and women who have His passion for the poor, the lost, the hurting, and unloved.  For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (2 Chron. 16:9)  The Lord is ready to support and strengthen men and women of prayer and action who long for the kingdom, who pray “Thy kingdom come,” rather than “my will be done.”  The eyes of the Lord are searching our city for such a people.  The eyes of the Lord are searching across our nation for churches made up of people who long for the glory of God.

George Whitefield, the great evangelist of the 18th century, once prayed, “O Lord, give me souls or take my soul.”  This passion led to a great revolution in England that then spilled over into America.  It was said that the Spirit of God so moved during the preaching of Whitefield that hundreds would fall down and weep under conviction of sin.  His was a heart aflame with passion and holy zeal for the glory of God and the name of Jesus.  God used such a man to bring a great spiritual revolution to America.

The Lord is always ready to use like-hearted men and women to transform our cities with the glory and honor of Christ.  It will take regular folks who have an irregular love for Jesus.  It will take normal people who don’t believe in a normal God.  It will take natural men and women who truly have faith in a supernatural Lord.  It will require us to be a people of prayer and action.

I came across an old prayer of a Danish pastor named Kaj Munk.  Rev. Munk was killed by the Nazi Gestapo in January 1944 and these words beside his Bible were found after his death,

What is, therefore our task today?  Shall I answer: ‘faith, hope, and love?’ that sounds beautiful.  But I would say—courage.  No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth.  Our task today is recklessness.  For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature…we lack…the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity.  To rage against complacency.  To restlessly seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the kingdom of God.  And remember the signs of the Christian church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish…but never the chameleon.”1

We need a courageous faith and a reckless love.  In an age of such compromise and complacency, the eyes of the Lord are indeed searching El Paso County for normal people who are being filled with His courage and love and are willing to be His revolutionaries.  Start today.  Give to someone who is in need.  Love someone with an act of kindness.  Pray for someone who is hurting.  Start a revolution.

1 Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution, Zondervan 2006, p. 294-5.

Mao or Jesus

3 05 2010


We just got word this morning that Maoist rebels are forming riot groups in the capitol of Nepal, Kathmandu.  In a large park just a few kilometers from where we are speaking at the International Church Planters Summit, the demonstrators are calling for a nationwide strike. 

In our meeting, pastors from all over Nepal are gathering to learn how to start new churches.  And, despite the civil unrest around them, they are being inspired to plant churches.

Today in the Taiwan News I read, “A senior U.S. official urged leaders of Nepal’s former communist rebels Monday to ensure that a protest against the government planned for later this week is peaceful.”

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leader of the Nepal’s Maoist Communist Party, announced that hundreds of thousands of supporters would come to the capitol, Kathmandu, on Saturday to protest against the government.  The announcement came with threats of indefinitely long strikes and further disruptions to the country if the Maoists’ demands for a new national government are not met immediately (Taiwan New online May 29, 2010).

Here is the fascinating part: the Maoist leaders and students are gathering in the same building that our church planters are gathering, Maoist revolutionaries on the 1st floor and Jesus revolutionaries on the 3rd  floor.

In this interesting historical moment, the small challenges of life still press in. I didn’t sleep well last night, not out of worry about Maoist rebels, but because of the “exotic” foods here in this part of the world—I spent more time in the bathroom than on my bed.  Miserable.  I am missing family and friends, and the familiarity of home (I’ve been gone for almost three weeks).

However, I had a lot of time to think—not very clearly, (that’s not my forte even on a good day!). How humorous and ironic—and symbolic even– that Maoist demonstrators would choose, out of the hundreds of buildings dotting the city, to meet in the same building as our church planters’ conference.

As I walk to and from our venue, UN trucks full of officials and Mao trucks full of students speed by.  In our meeting room, 500 pastors worship the Lord with joy and faith.  The contrast is poignant: two different revolutions, two different allegiances, two different passions.  Mao or Jesus.

I find myself full of excitement as I enter our packed room.  The majority of our pastors, avid and vibrant learners, are in their 20’s– they take notes on everything we teach, they ask insightful questions, and they want to know about Mountain Springs Church, and how to teach the Bible.  What joy!

The majority of these young people are poor.  In some cases they have traveled hundreds of miles by bus to get here.  They are sleeping on floors, gratefully eating the food we provide, and expectant of God showing up. 

Their faith and spirit is contagious.  After lunch yesterday, a group of young men surrounded me and peppered me with questions that ranged from my outfit (my daughter Deborah dressed me for this trip) to my line-by-line teaching style.

Here I am in the spring of 2010, hanging out with the next generation of Nepal’s Jesus revolutionaries.  Young men believing God for spiritual solutions to their country.  Two floors below another group of young people hang their hopes on political solutions.  Two groups full of hope, two groups full of expectations for change. 

30 years ago The Beatles sang about a revolution, capturing people’s longing for a better world, a better future.  The Beatles were right. A better world is only possible through a revolution.  The question is, what kind of revolution brings that better future.

As Jesus followers, we are all revolutionaries.  We are bringing a new future and new hope to everyone with whom we share our faith.  What a privilege.  What an adventure.

Right now I still feel a bit sick in the stomach, but as I meditate on the significance of this summit I am feeling better.  We are fomenting a new revolution in Nepal.  We are one part of a larger story of Christians bringing the greatest news ever told, the greatest revolution ever launched–salvation alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone. 

Now that’s a revolution worth dying for.  And, maybe most importantly, that’s a revolution worth living for. Jesus is worth it.