#12 The Faith Pendulum: Many Bodies, Perpetually One Part.

My beautiful wife was recently inspired to her own radical revival by the words of a passionate young provocateur. She’s always been a doer and we both embrace the salty message of reform, but I’ve never seen her so engaged, so energized to get her feet moving and hands dirty for Jesus. She had somehow concluded through this popular read that our lifestyle (even after losing our livelihood) was the antithesis of discipleship – Swing!

Realizing the depth of her concern we immediately discussed the idea and its author-prescribed antidote (a biblically defined RADICAL lifestyle). She expressed herself without ever knowing that her already-radical faith was on display. Within the next hour we’d wistfully ruminated through the vanity of wealth and dispatched our remaining possessions. We’d adopted a kid from every nation and hauled them with us to a place requiring mosquito nets. I listened respectfully as she spoke and thought of how much more faith it must take for the anchor to move the boat. (She is my anchor).

Romantic images of my family in safari gear, miming “Jesus loves me” and handing out bowls of food, flooded my visual riverbed. It looks like full steam ahead for the African Queen (Bogart)… count me in!But then something unexpected occurred. She asked me to read the book and give her my opinion. Now I love and live in the big picture. I hate looking at the checkbook, following rules and reading anything that I’ll have to possibly disagree with. But as the leader of my family I reluctantly agreed and God began to speak to me about this entire scenario. Here is what He said:

Fragile faith swings on a pendulum between pride (Peter’s drawn sword) and reproof (the crowing rooster). The harder WE push it one way the further it swings back the other way. Our job is not to be jury by perpetual motion, but to learn to listen to the voice of the judge.

Peter’s example of wildly overcompensating gives us hope that God will intervene if we are willing to listen. So whether He calls us to fight or be still, to stay or to go, only the hand of Jesus is steady enough to stop the swing of fragile faith. For my wife I conclude that we DO need to be radically different than the world, but the mechanism belongs to God alone. Perhaps Jesus was a radical, but I prefer to call Him the standard. Perhaps we need to sell our possessions but I prefer to dedicate their use. Perhaps we need to be missionaries but I prefer to love my neighbor and share with him. If the antidote is becoming a radical then let’s be radically intimate with our God. Let us directly personify the beatitudes before we indirectly characterize their sum total.

If we are called to be radical shouldn’t we define what that is by asking a few questions?
Here are several that I have – what about you?

1.) How would the original disciples of Jesus live and work in our environment? Can you see those people around us currently? Are martyrs and missionaries the only true disciples?

2.)Is there a role for material wealth in the church – what is Acts 4:32-37 saying?

The perpetual motion of flesh

There is a temporary and paradoxical comfort in perpetually overcompensating. We love to pendulum because it allows us to briefly taste and then retreat. We always want something new without losing the comfort of something familiar. We pendulum toward a dream like bobbing for an apple but if we miss we pendulum away from it and pretend that the apples are grapes (sour ones). If we dream too much we forget who God is, but if we bask in reproof we forget who He made us to be. It swings and returns.

Many bodies with only one part – A church filled with Pendulums, defined

Can we really define whether a man is a true disciple by the material things held in his temporary stewardship? The rich young ruler needed revival but Joseph of Arimethea was a revival.
What if Truitt Cathy wanted to be radical more than faithful to what God placed in his heart? Think of the thousands upon thousands of employees who wouldn’t have that Godly environment to work in. We thank you Mr. Cathy for giving us a place to eat where Christ is celebrated and the food is excellent! You are radical! Thank You Steven Curtis & Mary Beth Chapman for great music and a heart for parents called to adopt when they can’t afford it, and Thank you Rick Warren for reminding us that life was meant to be uniquely productive and setting an example in your own radical river of giving. Yes the American dream is perverted, but God’s dream is right on track in those who listen to Him radically.

Final thought:

If your heart is torn up over Africa then go! If you’ve been raked over hot coals for broken marriages don’t go to Africa!! Read and be inspired by the Godly firebrands who challenge us all to reform. They are right! As we pass through this world it cotes us in layers of cynicism and forgetfulness. Just keep in mind that God speaks directly to you about you –just as a good father should. Learn to listen – that is really radical.

Prayer of the warrior:

O lord, how sweet is your name and the sound of your voice in my heart. Speak to me that my Joy would be complete in learning to listen to you. Thank you Father for the fiery prophets, humble teachers, and generous souls, who live as working parts within your body. Cut away from us everything that doesn’t look like you. We ask and believe in the mighty name of Jesus, our Lord, Savior, King and High Priest – Amen.

Meditation verse: John 10:27

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”

On a personal note:

Our faith continues to grow as we walk head-on into it. We have food on the table, and many new friends thanks to our God. We are not going to be foreign missionaries as God has called us to support those who are. My plan for the blog is to find a balance by posting once a week on average. It has been difficult lately but so many have encouraged me to continue that I am scheduling the time to work more frequently (as God provides). My family and marriage are well in this walk of faith – God is so good! Thank you my sisters and brothers for your continued prayers!

If you need encouragement or prayers – if you just need a friend, please contact me.

Wakeupmyfaith@att.net

Connect with me on Facebook

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About Kevin Adams

Kevin Adams is a fresh voice among today’s best Christian writers. What he’s not, however, is a pastor, theologian or pulpit preacher; he doesn’t have a church, a fan club, or a flock. He’s just a regular guy with a powerful story, and a God given gift for sharing it that will challenge the faith of even the most seasoned, veteran believers. His transparency and intentional, elevated writing style has earned him a trusted reputation across the online Christian community. His work escorts readers through his own challenging experiences of loss, betrayal and impossible odds, to just beyond the comfort level of most Christians–the place where absolute faith is required. Kevin takes a genuine approach to modern Christianity that would rather tear away empty pockets than fill them with empty promises. Yet, his story is filled with indisputable proof of our Heavenly Father’s better-than-we-can-imagine desire for each of us, and the delight He takes in our learning to rest in His arms like happy children. Kevin is the author of The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends, due for release May 6th 2014, and founding partner in a new discipleship ministry being developed around the book. He is also the founder of the Wake up My Faith blog, which has garnered a social media following of over 80,000, reflecting varied backgrounds and locales. Kevin’s life verse is Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you”. (NKJV) And his philosophy on life can be summed up in a single thought: “Only when God becomes all that we want do we truly see that He is all we need.” –Kevin Adams 2012 Kevin is husband to Holly, his beautiful partner in faith, father to three wonderful children, and a compelling new author for Zondervan.
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13 Responses to #12 The Faith Pendulum: Many Bodies, Perpetually One Part.

  1. Nan Jones says:

    I loved your take on this subject – bravo! And…the metaphor about the pendulum is wonderful. I’m going to quote you on that one. Don’t you love it when God speaks and gives us instant enlightenment? Give my love to Holly.
    Nan
    PS I’m reposting for you on FB and Twitter 🙂

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Hey sister – thanks again and again for mentioning the blog to others! It really means a lot! And yes…i love it when He speaks – seems to me that He is always speaking. Listening is the hard part. I hope things are going well with you and your speaking / writing. I love morning glory- keep it up!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention #12 The Faith Pendulum: Many Bodies, Perpetually One Part. | Wake Up My Faith -- Topsy.com

  3. Salome Mitchell says:

    I love the metaphor about pendulum too! I totally identify with the “…lets be radically intimate with God … ” Reposting for you on twitter.

  4. Amy says:

    Thanks Kevin for another thought provoking, encouraging, real post! I look forward to the next one!

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thanks my dear friend – God bless you and that awesome family of yours. Thanks for being the hands of God when there was no groceries – you guys are the best. Much love from Holly and I to you both!

  5. anewcreation says:

    You have a beautiful mind focused on the things of God and it is lovely that you share the thoughts that pass through it.

    Thank you.

  6. Toni Nelson says:

    Sounds like you read the book!

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Hi Toni -first let me say congrats on your book. I look forward to getting a copy and absorbing your wisdom. Thanks so much for visiting my blog – i’m honored that you would take time – bless you and your work. And yes – i read enough of Radical to get the perspective. I think it definitley speaks to many complacent christians. I love the fire in this young man’s heart – but for us, I believe that we have to focus more on listening to the voice of God than trying to figure out how to be radical.

  7. Angie Battle says:

    I LOVE this blog post! What I’m understanding you’re saying (and, of course, it goes through the filter of what I’ve been pondering as of late) is that God is wanting us to obey Him in where to go and what to do. That obedience is not defined by how “extreme” the command is. It’s just doing what He tells each of us to do.

    I was sharing with a friend last night how the scripture “My sheep know my voice…” used to be such a frightful thing to me. That is until one day when I heard the Lord tell me (not in audible words), “That is not a test. It’s a reassurance.” Boy, I love Him!

    There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. ~I Corinthians 12:5-6

    How grand is the Kingdom of God…Grander still is the King!

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Angie Battle – a name that i’m ALWAYS excited to see! If i didnt know you were a real person i’d believe that you are a guardian Angel for my family. Thanks for all the kind things you share with Holly and I. And Yes…we are tempted to be extreme very often when our heart is broken for Him. The enemy never ceases to try and keep us unproductive (particularly with good deeds and service). Amen about the sheep and His voice – what great comfort as we mature. I believe with every fiber that His entire plan is to get us to that place where we not only know the sound of His voice but love it and follow it with Joy – and that may or may not viewed as radical to others called to other work. Thanks for your well thought out comments- you always bring the meat to the feast~

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