You Say You Want A Revolution

OK, you guessed it.  I grew up during the 60's.  How do you know?  The song, man...the Beatles singing, “You say you want a revolution, Well, you know...We all want to change the world.”  The downside of making references to old songs in your sermons is that they tend to stick in your mind (is there anyone that can pray for me and cast it out?!). The acceleration of world events that are related to Bible prophecy is pretty intense today.  Jesus said it would be “the beginning of sorrows” or like a woman in labor pains: the closer it comes to giving birth the labor pains come with increasing frequency and intensity.  Right now: turmoil (revolution) in the Middle East, the horrible devastation for the earthquake in Japan and the subsequent tsunami (and the threat of nuclear meltdown).  Oh, and who needs to be reminded of the continued effects of the global economic crisis.  In America our debt is a paltry $14 trillion dollars (not million, or even billion, but trillion).  Jesus said “when you see these things begin to come to pass, then lift up your head (straighten up) and look up, for your redemption draws near.”  It definitely feels like that in our world today!  People are asking and feeling, “what in the world is going on?”
Case in point: the nations in turmoil.  Jesus points to this when He said, “and upon earth distress of nations with perplexity.” (Lk.21:25) It started in January with Tunisia and the toppling of that authoritative regime. Then most notably in February in Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak who had been an autocratic leader for more than three decades was forced to step down.  The fact that it happened is not really surprising, but the speed in which it happened is stunning.  Right now those same shock waves are being felt in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other places.  Much of this is being encouraged and fueled by Iran that seeks the overthrow of the secular or moderate Arab leaders in the region.  It is a very volatile international crisis, perhaps the most volatile since 9/11 and no one know where it is headed or the final outcome.  As Christians, we’re called to look at and view the news of world events through “spiritual eyes,” and not just the quick, sound bite presentation that the mainstream media puts out today.  The threat of a radical Islamic takeover in these countries is a very real possibility, and one that should be of great concern to all of us since it would have global implications.  One of the best and most informative articles that I read in this regard is “Seeking Democracy, Heading for Caliphate” by Shira Sorko-Ram. They also have this ten minute video entitled “Is Egypt The Next Iran” that brilliantly puts things in precise perspective in our confused world.
The events that transpired in Egypt have been dubbed “The Egyptian Revolution.”  In America, since the American Revolution is so much a part of who we are as a people, we often have an unreasoning love affair with the word democracy.  All we have to do is hear the word democracy, and whatever is going on is good.  Democracy does not exist in a vacuum; there must be real spiritual foundations on which it rests.  You are naive to think that you can force feed that to a nation or situation where it isn’t part of their history or culture.  The truth is that no one knows the final or full outcome of these events: whether it will be a true and productive revolution that brings stability, prosperity and the hopes of a better future, or it ends up being a “revolt” that is hijacked by other forces leading to a worse outcome.  This is why we need to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” as well as events happening in many of her neighbors in the Middle East.
The word “revolution” is what captured my thinking in all of this, and specifically the spiritual possibilities for change that are now present (how long that window will be there, no one knows).  Years ago I remember hearing a man preach who said something that’s never left me.  He said, “All truth is parallel” or, events taking place in the natural realm have their spiritual parallel or possibility.  That’s why I was taken with the whole truth and possibility of “Spiritual Revolution” that would move America and the nations of the world!  The reality is, that possibility resides in the DNA of the church and followers of Jesus Christ.  (Acts 17:6b) declared, “these that have turned the world upside down have come here also.”  I believe it was the Berkley translation that said “these world revolutionaries have come here.”  It points to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring true transformation, and to topple from our lives the things that have oppressed and held us in bondage.  Hallelujah, there is another Lord, Jesus Christ!    The Beatles can sing but, we’re not just saying we want to change the world,...we are working to try to redeem, restore and renew the world through our labors, our prayers, our investments, and our availability to God’s purposes.
In Egypt, what we witnessed was the convergence of 3 factors that together made up the “perfect storm” of revolution!  Think about these, and specifically, how they can be harnessed to see the advancing of the kingdom of God today!
   1. The large population of young people.  In the Arab world today, there are over 100 million
    people between the ages of 15-29.
   2. Widespread poverty and unemployment that results in a lack of opportunity and breeds a
    spirit of discontentment.  The status quo is no longer acceptable.
   3. The availability of social media that enabled communication, connection and coordination.   
There were other factors, of course, but these three were very instrumental in the affairs of that nation.  Do you know what I am seeing in all this?  I see the same possibilities for the church and for us to labor together to make a difference.  We have a lot of young people in our churches, and if they will be moved by God and not simply accept and live for the status quo, they can be real difference-makers.  If we will work and have as our primary goal to always communicate the Good News of Jesus, to stay connected to each other, and to coordinate our efforts, I believe that God can help us to see a new wave of revival in our generation.  Here’s the promise I am holding to and praying, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Acts 2:17, 18)
Yours for revival today!