Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Men for Nashville

Why plant churches in Nashville? In addition to the fact that both church attendance and church availability are falling behind our growth in population, there is a deeper reason and a grander opportunity.

Think of a bell curve. At one end are a few people who obviously are not Christians. At the other end are a few people who obviously are Christians. In between are multitudes of people who are hard to read – good people, talented people, Bible-believing people, not living for Christ. They are nice people living nice lives, going to church, going to hell. They do not know how good God is. So Christ is being robbed of his honor, and massive beauty is going uncreated.

That bell curve is our city, and that status quo is firmly established. Any challenge will be criticized. But one thing is clear. Our Savior loves every person in this city, claims every square inch of this city, deserves every dollar in this city, and he has put us here to make his saving power felt, so that Jesus is loved and worshiped and obeyed and gladly lived for and courageously died for more than ever before in our history. Our Redeemer is able to create a new Nashville out of the old Nashville.

We men are the key.

It is time for us men – God created us men to lead – we men must be the first to apply the gospel to the real needs of our hearts, repent, trust God in new ways and live for him so visibly that others around us see hope for themselves. The urgent need of the hour is more men moving together from the middle of that bell curve toward the radically Christian end by the power of God’s grace.

The more men we have living in revival, the more churches we will have living in revival, and the more our city will feel the glory of Christ coming down in revival. Revival is God changing us beyond our power to change ourselves. It is miracle that we choose to embrace without embarrassment. God is calling you to be part of his miracle. God is calling you to be the change our city needs. God is calling you to be a cornerstone in the new Nashville. Will you follow the call?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches, “Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God with full purpose of and endeavor after new obedience.” Let's stop fine-tuning our old obedience. Let's go further with the Lord than we have ever gone before in new obedience. We are more evil than we ever feared and much more loved than we ever dreamed. New obedience flows from that realism about ourselves and that refreshing in God’s love. Let’s go there together, and let’s gather more men together to go there with us, and let’s not be surprised when God raises up new leaders to plant new churches that spread gospel-empowered revival. That is God’s call on us at Immanuel - revival-by-grace.

We are weak. We cannot do this perfectly. If the only choice we see before us is perfection versus nothing, we will get nothing every time. But if we will obey God’s call, even weakly and imperfectly, he will bless us, and our city will be blessed.