Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Storm is Coming


This is the preface of Kingdom Disciples: 8 Keys to Life-Transforming Discipleship written by myself and Alan Braun, Senior pastor at Royal Heights Baptist Church.  We just finished this book and we hope to see God use it to help equip the church to know how to disciple people in living as transformed people in Christ who know how to disciple others to maturity in Christ. If you are interested in a copy of this book, feel free to contact us at Celebratinglife@royalhbc.com.
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A storm is coming!
A storm is either a fearful event or a welcomed event. It depends on the perspective of the one anticipating the storm.  If the people are unprepared, a storm creates confusion and fear. Dark clouds spell trouble and damage as they swirl overhead. But if the ground is dry and desperate for life-giving water from years of drought, then a storm is welcomed, celebrated and needed.
I believe the church of the living God is beginning to awake from her sleep. A storm is coming.  The church is moving from a system of attendance to a system which lets her experience her God. She is becoming aroused and alive! The church is getting on mission with her Master, passionately embracing Her King, learning from Him and listening to Him.  She longs to be used by her God, working with Him as He sets up His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I believe God is raising up people totally sold out to their King!  These people are Kingdom disciples.

A storm is coming!
The life-giving rain will pour down through the Holy Spirit, reigning in and through God’s people, Kingdom disciples.  Kingdom disciples are people who know their God. They know how to walk with their God and equip others to do the same. These men and women will not be doing church, they will be the church! They want more than a meeting to attend.  They want God!
When this rain falls, some church leaders will feel uncomfortable and grasp for methods to create order. They will fear they are losing control.  When this rain falls, chaos will be the norm as God sets captives free and binds up those who are broken.  Ministry will get messy and be out of our control, but in the control of the living God. God will be at work in and through His disciples, doing what only He can do, redeeming a lost and dying world and setting them free to proclaim the message of His grace.
Kingdom disciples are people radically abandoned to God. Kingdom disciples walk by faith. They know who they are in Christ and they love being who they are.  When the rain falls, there will be freedom from religious performance and rules; freedom to work and move with God for His glory alone. Baptisms and teaching will be common throughout the week as God calls people to Himself through the gospel proclaimed by His people. 
The leaders will attempt to organize the movement of God to keep it safe and controlled but the movement will be alive and dangerous. Church gatherings will be divided. Many will leave as things get too intense.  
“Church” will no longer be comfortable to just attend. People will be challenged to live beyond mediocrity and to embrace their God, radically obeying Him, even at the cost of their own lives or all they own. Each person will know how to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and lead their friends to Christ.  Evangelism will be the norm as they are on mission with their God, knowing it is God who works within and through them, calling people to Himself. Excuses like, “it’s not my gifting” will be the thing of the past for all will desire to live out the great commission of Christ to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
The experience of the Church will be what it really is:  a vibrant, living system, empowered and driven by the unstoppable and uncontainable God.  Church will be the church, the bride of Christ, redeemed humanity on mission with their God.  The mission and power are His. He flows in and through His people, seeking to save the lost, bringing all things back into alignment with Himself.  When this happens (and it will happen and is happening throughout the world) a movement will come with such force it will turn the world upside down!
This is Kingdom discipleship:  a movement of people who believe God, know who they are and live for His will and glory alone.
The purpose of this book is to produce unreasonable, unorganized, uncompromising, focused spiritual people who will carry out the desire of the Christ to reach a lost and dying world.  It is written for a variety of people:  people who don’t know how to be spiritual; people who are tired of religion and tired of trying to live a Christian life devoid of power. It is written for the church leader, lay or otherwise, who are tired of having zero converts, zero baptisms and zero impact on their communities, year after year!
This book is not a book to be read and shelved. It is a book to equip you as a believer to live out the Kingdom experience with your Lord and Master and to learn how to equip others to do the same. This book is not for cowards or the lukewarm. This book is written to stir you up to live by faith, to passionately love God and those He brings to you to love.
This book is a working textbook so you will have a clear plan on how to be a disciple and how to make Kingdom disciples that truly function as disciples of the great commission. Each person who works through these teachings will know how to walk with the Lord, see others come to Christ and know how to equip the new disciple to reproduce their lives to do the same.
I believe the Lord is tired of our impact-less worship services. He doesn’t need our routine of singing songs without passion or love.  He has angels that sing better than us. He is tired of fellowship that is only a cookie and a cake.  He wants us to grow up in the faith, speak the truth in love to one another, seeing His Kingdom impact the world around us. 
            I believe He is tired of little passion as the norm of Christianity.  He is tired of religious activity and meaningless prayer.  I believe He is tired of passionate, spiritual people being removed from any form of influence in the Body of Christ because they scare people with their faith. He is tired of the church watching the old evil one come down day after day and blaspheme His Name with so few Kingdom disciples to challenge him.  I believe He is ready for us as His church to be who we really are in Christ, believing Him, obeying His voice and speaking His gospel boldly to those He is calling to Himself. 
A storm is coming! The rain will flow in and through Kingdom disciples! God is working. This book has one goal in mind, to equip you to live as a Kingdom disciple, so you can equip others to make disciples who can make disciples to the glory of God.

-- Alan Braun, Pastor