Rainbow Over SixEight

“They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps he has already landed,” [said Beaver].

And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different…. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.

That’s one of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Up until this point, everything had been cold, dark and snowy. But, from this point forward everything changed. There were signs, not only of Aslan, but of Spring. (I was actually writing a musical of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, but then the broadway version came out, so I stopped. Maybe some day I’ll play a song for you…). Aslan was coming, and the dark and cold night was ending.

Today, when I walked out my office door, I was struck with the sight of this big, amazing rainbow. A very powerful rain had just rolled through, and now, there is this amazing reminder of God’s faithfulness arched over the parking lot at SixEight church. And it hit me. Aslan is on the move.

This is true in our church and around the world. Did you know, half of all the Christians that have ever existed are alive right now on the earth? Aslan is on the move. It is projected that by the year 2025, Africa will have the largest population of Christians of any continent. Brazil is exploding with Christian growth. The underground church in China is becoming uncontrollable.

Aslan is on the move in our church too. Two weeks ago we baptized 5 people. This past Sunday, we baptized 3 more. That’s almost 10% of our church attendance. Some churches never experience that. We have baptized 33 people since September 1, 2013. And, Easter is coming. Aslan is on the move at SixEight.

There are other signs that Aslan is on the move too. We have had a few issues arise in the last week. Minor accidents. Bigger accidents. People getting sick. Friends and family struggling in various ways. Our enemy is threatened. The more Aslan moves, the more he would like to get us off track. As I was studying for this coming Sunday’s conclusion to “Bona Fide,” I came across this verse: “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

The ‘evil one’ will do whatever he can to stop the move of God. However, there’s good news. The battle is already over, he has already lost. For those of us who have put our faith in Christ, we are overcomers. We have already overcome the evil one. he has now power.

But, I’m not going to talk about the loser. I’m going to talk about the victor. And I want to stop for a minute and celebrate what we we have celebrated over the past two weeks. 8 baptisms.

One of them was my daughter. And I can’t tell you the joy I experienced as I got to participate in my oldest making a public declaration of her faith. After that we got to baptize two young men who have been coming to our Tuesday evening fellowship. They were invited through a member of our church who had already been sharing and living Christ in front of them. After that, one of our field buddies from our Fathers in the Field ministry got baptized. Next, was a long time member of our church who volunteers in the food pantry.

The next week, we baptized the niece of one of the first people I got to baptize at SixEight. After that, we baptized the son of the member who volunteers in the food pantry that got baptized the week before. And after that, we baptized the father of one of our worship team members and father-in-law to the one who runs our community garden.

Do you see what I see? In virtually all fronts and ministries of SixEight Church, we are making disciples. We baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And we are in the process of teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded.

Isn’t that awesome?! I’m not sure you comprehend just how amazing that is. Why is it so amazing? Let me make the connection. There’s a missing piece. Even though Christianity is spreading like wildfire around the globe, it’s shrinking in America. And in the Northwest, we are in one of the least churched parts of the country. Portland is the least churched city in America. With Seattle and San Francisco also in the top 5. Even in spite of that, God is using HIS church at SixEight, to make new disciples. It’s amazing. It’s humbling to be a part of it. And it’s also incredibly exciting at the same time.

Please, whatever you do:

1.) Don’t stop. Don’t stop chasing the lion. Don’t stop following Jesus and becoming more like him. Don’t stop sharing Jesus with your friends and family. Keep shedding the pursuits of the flesh and this broken world and keep pursuing the Kingdom.

2.) Don’t take it for granted. This thing we are all a part of is a gift. And it’s rare. 4,000 churches close their doors in America each year. 2.7 million church members fall into “inactive” status each year. And yet, we have been blessed to keep our doors open, to experience growth and to experience and ever increasing participation in the work of ministry at SixEight. DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED!!!

3.) Don’t take credit for what God is doing. We have no room for arrogance or pride about what has happened. Yes we have worked hard to do our part. But, so have so many at other churches across the country. I know pastors who have given their whole lives to ministry and not experienced what we have been blessed to be a part of. God is doing a work at our church. God is drawing people to His Kingdom. God is making disciples. God is changing lives. All the credit goes to God for what He has done, is doing and will do. We will not become conceited or compare ourselves to other churches. (Gal. 5:26) Seriously, if you try to take credit for what God is doing, you should just go ahead and find another church. Or start your own, it’s all about you anyway.

So, as we head into Easter, you should know we have much to celebrate. The story of Easter is as real today as it was then. The resurrection is still resurrecting the dead 2,000 years later. You may have been hesitant to invite someone to Easter. You may have even had doubts yourself that this whole God thing was legit. But, you have seen the evidence. You have seen the lives that are being changed in all facets of our church. God is raising the dead at SixEight. The power of the resurrection is just as strong now as it was then.

So, keep listening. Stay on the lookout for the signs. Because everywhere you look, Aslan is on the move. Spring is coming, the ice is thawing, the snow is melting, the temperature is rising. It’s good.