2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So let me offer a bit of a more personal welcome to the Seedbed Daily Text and the Second Half Challenge. Because I know at least ten thousand of you sowers out there invited a friend to join us for this month, here is your official welcome:
WAKE UP SLEEPER AND RISE FROM THE DEAD, AND CHRIST WILL SHINE ON YOU! (Ephesians 5:14)
I’m John David Walt, Jr.. I grew up in Dumas, Arkansas, in a farming family, in a sleepy church and with a heart to change the world. Church was o.k., but it didn’t seem much connected with my ambition. Early on I set my sights on our nation’s capitol with grandiose ambitions to become the President of the United States. After a brief tour of duty in the D.C. and passing the bar exam, Jesus Christ awakened me to his plan to change the world through his Church. I quickly realized he would first need to change me. That’s when I first stumbled into the second half of the gospel. For the past thirty-one years he has been sowing all kinds of challenging goodness in the soil of my life and training me to sow the same into others. So for those of you doing the math—here I am at the tender age of 54—looking ahead to whatever remains of the rest of my life with three things about which I have come to profound clarity:
1. Jesus Christ, and his on-earth-as-it-is-in-Heaven Kingdom, through his Church is the answer, the solution, the hope of every living person on the planet, and the planet too.
2. Things here aren’t going to gradually get better. It is going to take a great awakening—not a passing revival or a spiritual refreshing, but a comprehensive, multi-faceted, every-sector of society, inter-generational, intercultural, decades long, Holy Spirit tidal-shifting awakening.
3. I am prepared to sow for said awakening for whatever remains of the rest of my life. I have reaped where I have not sown. It is time to sow where I may not reap.
The greatest obstacles to great awakening will not come from the world. They will come from the church. They always do. It’s why real unity matters so much. According to Jesus, our relationships are the mission. (See also John 17:20-21) This is why second-half-of-the gospel-discipleship is so mission critical. Remember the big premise:
The world will awaken to the first half of the gospel when the church awakens to the second half of the gospel.
We’ve got some remedial work to do, though. We need to get clear and on the same page with the first half of first half of the gospel. We’ve got to get beyond the four step process to unlock heaven approach. That’s coming first thing tomorrow.
So for today, we don’t need more information. We need Revelation.
And here’s the Revelation:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.
I know. You are thinking. . . I’ve seen that somewhere before. And you get it, but trust me—at least if you are anything like me—you don’t get it.
It’s why I’m shouting. . .
THE OLD HAS PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD! THE NEW HAS COME!
It’s why I want you to shout it. You can’t awaken yourself, BUT THE WORD OF GOD CAN.
This is the Word of God, people! It holds the power to wake us up, if we will yield our full attention. This Revelation has made its way all the way through thousands of years right to this very day and onto this very page you are reading (or podcast you are hearing). I want you to reckon with this word—deeply. I know, you believe it in theory. You believe it in fact. And to some degree it may be your actual reality. But it goes deeper than any of us can fathom or imagine.
Now, there are five little words tucked into this atom bomb of a text you likely passed right over (and this is the third day running I have repeated it). They could be the most critical ones of all. I’ll go ALL CAPS again, as they bear shouting too.
“ALL THIS IS FROM GOD.”
Translation: This is amazing grace.
Translation: None of this is from us.
We don’t deserve it. We can’t earn it. We can’t buy it. We can only receive it as a free gift.
First Half of the Gospel: Free Gift.
Second Half of the Gospel: Free Gift.
This whole project is about learning to receive something. That’s mostly what’s broken about us—our receivers.
Lord Jesus, All of this is from you. Everything. I can’t fathom it. In exchange for my nothing, you will give me your everything. Wake me up to this unfathomable exchange. I get it and yet I don’t. Come Holy Spirit and heal my ability to receive. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Is receiving hard for you? Why or why not?
For the Awakening,