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Philippians 2:14-16

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 

CONSIDER THIS

Why do people go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

Because they are struggling with alcohol? Obviously. There’s a better answer. People go to alcoholics anonymous because it works. AA meetings end with the group joining hands and saying to one another, “Keep coming back. It works if you work it.”

AA works because people there are working out their salvation with fear and trembling, because they know God is working in them to bring about his purposes in their lives.

Recovering the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus requires something akin to AA to bring about. Did you notice the term I used there—recovery? AA is about recovery. So is the Christian faith. The Christian life is about recovering the image of God in our every day lives. This process takes the Word of God, the Spirit of God and the People of God. It will not happen in isolation as a fruit of our cloistered quiet times.

What we need is Sinners Anonymous. Hang on! Isn’t that what Church is supposed to be? If I were in charge of church across the whole country one day here’s what I would do. I would cancel our regularly scheduled programs and require everyone to go visit an AA meeting that week instead. Why? Because I want the followers of Jesus to witness what happens when people show up in a room together and get honest and real with one another.

These people start to shine like stars in the sky in the midst of a crooked and warped generation. People go to AA  and they keep going for one reason. There is an ever growing group of people who are growing in freedom, staying sober, and otherwise living lives that work. It is compelling and even irresistible.

For the past five years, I meet every Friday morning with two other men in a kind of Sinners Anonymous group. We call it a Discipleship Band. Throughout the week we read together. Once a week we meet together. We live in different states so we link up on a call. We spend a little over an hour together asking one another five questions. While together and throughout the whole process we pray together. We are working out our salvation in fear in trembling because we are coming to learn together that God is working in us to bring about his purposes in our lives. Banding together is the most inglorious glorious work I do all week.

Daily Text Nation, my holy ambition is to get you banded together into a Discipleship Band. It’s not enough to write about all this. It’s not enough to read it. I consider you my parish and as your pastor I’m not going to rest until we are all working out our salvation together and getting on with the Gospel’s glorious work in our lives and worlds.

Then I will say with Paul. . . .

“And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, whose first act of ministry was to band together with twelve other people. I want to be about the real work of the Gospel in my life and in the world. I have wasted so much time on so much religious activity that hasn’t gone anywhere. Lead me to real people to work through the real stuff. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever been to an AA meeting or other kind of recovery group? What was that like?
  2. If you are not working out your salvation in fear and trembling in community with a few other people, how are you doing it? How is that going?
  3. Are you ready to go to the next level. . . knowing that level will be downward? What is holding you back?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt, Sower-in-Chief, seedbed.com

P.S. We’re coming up on what’s arguably the most important yet least celebrated day in the history of history. What day, you ask? THE ASCENSION OF JESUS CHRIST. And why exactly is it so important? For that answer, you’ll want to join me for our Unseen Real Mini-Course led by Dr. Steve Seamands. It’s on May 13th (you guessed it—the Day of Ascension) and it’s going to be a game-changer. Sign up here.

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The Answers
    1: No
    2: I am in fellowship with a group of like-minded believers who together are seeking the Spirit’s direction towards the next step. We can all easily see the effects of a warped and crooked generation. The challenge we experience is trying to determine; where do we go from here? It appears that at least from my perspective, the local church is analogous to a structure being consumed by termites and the primary concern is to clean up the dead swarms trapped in the building. These are indeed dark times for committed believers who feel trapped in a crumbling structure. We do pray for the enlightenment of the Spirit of Christ.
    3: I personally am ready and willing to advance forward. My hesitation comes from a concern about causing further injury to the body of Christ. But I know that sooner or later some forms of disease will require surgery to bring about healing.

  2. A Weight Watchers group under an exceptionally practical leader opened my eyes to the strength of a variety of people banding together with a common goal of recovering a reasonable relationship with food but we all had our own paths to get there. It is where I finally understood that the problem is not that we sin, it is the guilt that we need to learn to shake off and keep on going.

  3. I was a pastor who succumbed to drug addiction. No, I wasn’t on the streets procuring illicit drugs. I was abusing prescription drugs. I exacerbated my small pain issues into getting more drugs. I left the ministry and even after surgeries that corrected any problems, I still used “pain” to keep my addiction alive and connived ways to get more. Until I entered treatment at the behest of family, I did not believe I had a problem. There, I was introduced to Narcotics Anonymous and my life changed. True salvation came to my heart and soul and life. I no longer needed to lie, put on a front and try to be somebody I wasn’t. Now I am free! I go to NA meetings because, there, I am not judged for my frustrations with life, struggles with temptation, among other things. I get encouraged by others like me, and I get to encourage others. “I am Rob and I’m an addict in recovery.”

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