“Our nation is in desperate need of revival!” the cry resounds from Christians in America. Anyone who cares has no trouble seeing the moral condition of this country. An estimated fifty million abortions have been performed since 1973, the porn industry is sky-rocketing, and it becomes clear that a generation is coming forth that has lost its identity, smashed its conscience, and forgotten its Creator. As TheCall web site says, “The world in its rebellion violently pursues the fulfillment of all fleshly desires, yet the church has fallen prey to many of the same sins that plague our society.”
So we hear the battle cry, “Blow the trumpet! Sound an alarm! The church has been asleep and it’s time to wake up.” A sense of hope comes from seeing so many thousands in the strength of their youth wanting to rise up and make a difference. In that hope, we, the communities who put together The Voice freepaper, sincerely applaud what is in the hearts of all who desire to see God get what He deserves.
But as the trumpets are blowing and the assemblies commence, we desire to plant a little seed in the hearts of some of you. We began as you, almost a generation ago. At that time, the love and zeal in our hearts toward God compelled us to pursue revitalization of the church. This was in the hearts of many others at that time — the Jesus Movement was in full swing. Back then, just as today, we made it our highest aim to be doers of our Master’s words, especially: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
But it didn’t take long to realize that as we were heading in a revolutionary direction with great zeal, the church wasn’t going there with us. (You can read the whole story on our website.) We began to understand what our Master meant when he said, “No one puts a piece of new cloth on an old garment. For the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins.”
Early on, we came to understand that if we were faithful to keep His words, He would reveal Himself to us more and more.
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him. (John 14:21)
True to His word, He has taught us many lessons over the last few decades about what it actually means to follow Him. One of the first was that following Him would lead us “outside the camp.” We had to go outside all the camps of modern religion to find a very ancient path. You can read about it in Acts 2 and 4 and in the gospels, for example, Mark 10:29-31 and Luke 14:26-33. These refer to a time when the difference between following the Son of God or not was as drastic as night and day.
Maybe you will be happy to give this part of your life to revitalizing the church. But as you pour out your energies, please keep your eyes open wide and see whether what calls itself the church is a wineskin that can contain new wine. If not, maybe it’s time to look for another wineskin. We discovered a new wineskin back in the ’70s, and it continues to grow and receive the new wine even to this day. If you reach the place where you wonder whether there is any substance behind Christianity’s latest revolution, or if you’re just curious to see the life we speak of, we invite you to visit any of our communities where we live, work, and worship 24/7, outside the camp.