I woke up this morning and stared at the clock, trying to remember what day it is. It is Sunday, March 20, 2011, 6:48 a.m. Got it. My second thought began to flood my mind so intensely that I had to get up right away. (Warning: this post will offend some of you, so bear with me if you choose to read through its entirety.)
My mind began to think about all of the people that I have known throughout my younger years, particularly those whom I met and began a friendship during the days of Calvary Church of Santa Ana in the 1980s. A lot of them are still my friends, and I thank God everyday that I have been able to reconnect with so many of them. But, I also began to think of how many of them are no longer going to church, or that they have chosen to live their lives separate from their former faith.
For a little history lesson I’ll back up and share what I remember. In 1982 I was ten years old. I was attending a church that boasted a whopping 1000 people. That is a big attendance number for a church, even back then. Then a new sheriff (pastor) came to town. He preached and taught the Word like no one else I have ever heard. He could tear apart the Scriptures and put them back together again in such a way that there was no doubt it was truth. In a few short years that little church of 1000 people grew to 7000 people. We were bursting at the seams. We couldn’t build the new buildings fast enough to house all of the growth. But just as we were starting to get too big for our britches, God did an amazing thing. He burst that bubble: people left the church in droves, scattered like seeds in the wind. Some of the die-hards stayed put. But most of the people I knew decided to leave. And, yes, I was one of them.
But, that’s not a bad thing to leave a church after a big bubble burst like that. At first, I was devastated because I felt like a goldfish that had been thrown out of its bowl of water. At 20 years old I was grasping for anything that I could to save me. I stumbled a lot. I fell into some serious sin. But, God, in his everlasting faithfulness, remembered me. He spared my life to keep moving forward and share with you today.
I think a lot of my old friends did the same thing. We all moved and went our separate ways. We started our own lives after the “post” Calvary bubble. Some of us strayed for a long time. Others just found new soil and planted their roots there. But, now is the time to not stray anymore. I see a new revival happening, and we need some shakers and movers to make it happen. Personally, I had been unable to write for a while. My voice had been silent for a couple of months. But, not now. I’m ready to shake things up a bit. Are you with me?
I began to see why I have been so silent for a while. I’d been praying for God to reveal something to me to write about; something that would stir my loins with fervor. Then, about a week ago, a huge earthquake and tsunami hit the shores of Japan. The world has been watching in horror as the photos and videos pour through the media to show the world the devastating power of Mother Nature. Some people are blaming God for this disaster. Others are in disbelief that such horrible things can happen to innocent people.
So, why am I connecting these two separate issues? Why is my little mind trying to associate the disaster of Japan with the thoughts of my wayward friends? I believe that the signs of the Earth are signals to each of us to get ready. We’ve been shaken by the news, so now it is time to move.
“Move where?” you ask. Just move. Get off your bottom and move. Let me ask a second question, “Have you had any crisis of significant portion recently affect your life?” If you can answer with a resounding yes, then I believe that Someone is trying to get your attention. That someone is not me. I’m just one person who is listening to the call. If you are reading this far, that Someone is God. He is talking to you. If you are feeling awkward at this point, that feeling is called conviction. Find out if it is true conviction. Put God to the test.
People, I am not taking this lightly. Just as each of us are individuals, I am only one seed. According to the Bible this one seed is going to die. When our time on earth is up, our bodies will be laid into the ground. The good news is: it’s that our lives can make a difference. Just as the people of Calvary scattered after the bubble burst, God allowed that so His seed (YOU) could scatter. You are one seed, but when you finally decide to “die” to yourself and surrender your whole life back to the Lord, you will produce many seeds. There is a verse that says it so perfectly. In John 12: 24 Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
I finally understand what it means to be a seed and to be scattered. I left my comfort zone of moist California air and moved to the desert. I have been uprooted and replanted in hot, dry soil. But, guess what… the desert is blooming, and it is alive!! I am doing everything I can to nourish and grow, so that when my time is up, and my seed goes into the ground, many seeds will sprout because of this one. It is not arrogant to say this for I know that this is truth, and it is purpose, and it is God’s will for me.
What about you, the one who has read all the way to the end? Will you join me in becoming a shaker and mover where you have been scattered? Will you come back with a new revival and zest for living for God? The disaster in Japan is just one sign that we don’t have a lot of time left here on Earth. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. If you have been called by God to step up and live for Him, then it’s time to come back. Stop living for yourself and start living for God. I know I am not alone in this adventure. Will you be bold, step up, and be on board? Just think… we are scattered across the nation now, we are not just in Santa Ana anymore. There is a reason for this, I’m sure of it. Anyone agreed?