reb•e•lu•tion (reb’el lu shen) n. a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.


The Rebelution, Moving Forward

The Rebelutionary Cause
As we shared last month, we are currently "stationed" in the beautiful state of Alabama, doing some of the hardest things we've ever done. Last time we couldn't give you any details. Thankfully, now we can.

Brett and I are serving on staff as directors of grassroots operations for Justice Tom Parker's campaign for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Besides our responsibilities to oversee volunteer efforts across Alabama, we've also been allowed to recruit fellow rebelutionaries into this historic political battle.

Colton Davie, friend, rebelutionary, and recipient of the Best Young Filmmaker Award at the 2005 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, heads up the campaign's "on the ground" video and photography division.

Über-rebelutionaries, Jake Smith and Alex King of StillThinking and Regenerate Our Culture, are the campaign's web designers. Our website is one the best campaign sites I've seen, and these two guys made it.

This campaign is unique, not only because of the godly character of the candidate, but also because of the likemindedness of the entire team to the message of The Rebelution. Our hope is that it will serve as a model for rebelutionary's involvement in the political arena.

A New Record
The period between our last post and this one marks the longest time between posts since The Rebelution's launch in August 2005.

Since the blog's launch we have interned at the Alabama Supreme Court for two months, traveled to Arlington, VA, for a week of campaign training, completed several large writing projects, and put on a teen conference in Sacramento, CA. Through it all, we found the time to keep the blog running smoothly. The lack of posts recently is a testimony to the amount of time and effort that is being directed into the campaign. We're doing our best to practice what we've talked about on here.

The Rebelution, Moving Forward

The Rebelution need not slow down. On the contrary, it is speeding up. The movement is already having a tangible effect on our culture through the work that is being done in Alabama, Regenerate Our Culture is cementing its position as a source for some of the best, most rebelutionary articles on the web, and the blogs linked on our sidebar are growing and turning out better and better content. It's exciting to watch what God is doing in our generation.

Here's how we'd like to keep that momentum going: The Rebelution is looking for guest writers. Whether you're a big-time blogger or author, just getting started (or don't blog at all), whether you're young or old -- we'd love to feature your work on our blog. Send us an email: info [at] therebelution [dot] com.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. May God bless you all!


Living in Light of Eternity?

"If there be so certain and glorious a rest for the saints, why is there no more industrious seeking after it? One would think, if a man did but once hear of such unspeakable glory to be obtained, and believed what he heard to be true, he should be transported with the vehemency of his desire after it, and should almost forget to eat and drink, and should care for nothing else, and speak of and inquire after nothing else, but how to get this treasure. And yet people who hear of it daily, and profess to believe it as a fundamental article of their faith, do as little mind it, or labor for it, as if they had never heard of any such thing, or did not believe one word they hear."

Richard Baxter, The Saints' Everlasting Rest
I first read this quote in Randy Alcorn's book In Light of Eternity about a year and a half ago. It remains on the short list of quotations that God has used to stop me dead in my tracks and cry out to Him.

We talk a lot about patriotism in America. Where is our patriotism to our true country? What should it look like?


The Bible or the Bullet

Read this story. It could change your life.

The Communist soldiers had discovered their illegal Bible study.

As the pastor was reading from the Bible, men with guns suddenly broke into the home, terrorizing the believers who had gathered there to worship. The Communists shouted insults and threatened to kill the Christians. The leading officer pointed his gun at the pastor’s head. “Hand me your Bible,” he demanded. Reluctantly, the pastor handed over his Bible, his prized possession. With a sneer on his face, the guard threw the Word of God on the floor at his feet.

He glared at the small congregation. “We will let you go, “ he growled, “but first, you must spit on this book of lies. Anyone who refuses will be shot.” The believers had no choice but to obey the officer’s order. A soldier pointed his gun at one of the men. “You first.”

The man slowly got up and knelt down by the Bible. Reluctantly, he spit on it, praying, “Father, please forgive me.” He stood up and walked to the door. The soldiers stood back and allowed him to leave. “Okay, you!” the soldier said, nudging a woman forward. In tears, she could barely do what the soldier demanded. She spit only a little, but it is enough. She too was allowed to leave.

Quietly, a sixteen-year-old girl came forward. Overcome with love for her Lord, she knelt down and picked up the Bible. She wiped off the spit with her dress. “What have they done to Your Word? Please forgive them,” she prayed.

The Communist soldier put his pistol to her head. Then he pulled the trigger.

~ Jesus Freaks, by dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs ~
I have a question for you: was this girl’s sacrifice worth it? I mean, it’s one thing to lay your life down for a family member or friend or instead of denying Christ, but all she was asked to do was spit on the Bible for goodness sake! If I were in her shoes, with Communist soldier’s invading my Bible study, I’d be praising God that they came up with such an insignificant requirement! I don’t intend to be crude, but if you’ve ever sneezed or coughed when you were doing devotions, you’ve probably already gotten spittle on there. So what’s the big deal?

If you are inclined to agree with the last paragraph, I beg you to realize that her decision was one of extraordinary significance. She chose the precious Word of God over her own comfort and safety; a decision you and I make every single day, but almost always in the opposite direction.

Her sacrifice was worth it because it symbolized something much greater than simply a leather-bound Bible and a quarter-teaspoon of spit. It was a choice between her earthly home and her Heavenly Home, between her persecutor’s threats and her Savior’s promises. She had nothing to lose and everything to gain by choosing God’s Word over earthly comfort. Are we ready to make the same choice?

The answer is that we do make that choice, and we almost always choose comfort. We choose to “spit” on rather than sit under the perfect instruction of Scripture. You and I are constantly “spitting” on the Holy Word of God when we aren’t willing to sacrifice our meaningless comforts for some truly meaningful guidance. And I don’t care if that offends somebody. We offend God, my friends.

A sixteen-year-old girl in Asia laid down her life rather than neglect God’s Word. Are you willing to lay down your magazine? Pray to God that He will grant you the grace to be faithful to His Word. Because, honestly, most of us are too weak to shut-off our computer in order to have some distraction-free devotional time. It won’t get easier till we work harder.

The Bible feeds our spiritual well-being and our strength of character. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word.” (Psa. 119:9) We will leave our souls starved and our character unguarded if we fail to make the Bible top priority.

Do you want to impact this world for Christ? Do you want to be a Godly young man or woman? Sidney Howard said, “One-half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” What are you willing to sacrifice? When will you stop offending God by neglecting one of His primary means of grace in your life, His written Word?

Do not let the opinions of your friends or the customs of your family get in the way. Make the change today.

Start asking yourself the questions, "What does priority mean to me?" "What does it look like when something is top priority in my life?" "What does neglect look like?" "What other means of grace am I neglecting?" and most importantly, "What does the Bible have to say about all this?" Start with Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:1-2. Ask yourself, "What are these verses saying? What do they mean for me?"

Was that girl’s sacrifice worth it? You can bet the world it was.
Originally posted on August 22nd, 2005


Rebelutionary, Meet Your Commander N' Chief

How do we strengthen our character? What methods should we utilize in order to be men and women of integrity? There are few answers as fitting as this: become acquainted with Jesus Christ.

It is wonderful for us to understand and embrace doctrines of faith, grace, justification, and sanctification. They all provide strength to resist sin and a steady arm to help us back up when we fall. But it is much, much better to be familiar with Jesus Christ Himself, to see His face, and to catch a glimpse of His splendor. This, according the J.C. Ryle, “is one secret of eminent holiness.” If we wish to become stronger in resisting sin, what better way than to study Him “who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15)?

Here we are, lacking in strength, courage, and patience. Lacking the power to stand, to move forward, and to make a difference in our evil world. We find it so easy to conform to this world and so very difficult to go against the flow. We seem to fall back two steps for every one step we take forward and all our “firm” resolutions turn out short-lived and useless.

This is the beauty of Christ’s sufficiency! In Christ alone “all fullness dwells” (Col. 1:19)—in Him alone do we find all that we need to successfully combat sin. We are strong Christians only in proportion as we lean on Him. It is only when we stop hoping in our own strength and place all our confidence in Christ that we will accomplish great things.

To know Christ and the power of His resurrection is the true secret of spiritual strength. Then only are we armed for life’s battles. Then only are we ready to journey through life, and move forward. Then only will we overcome the world and cause change. “I can do all things,” says Paul, “through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

Our own weakness highlights the power of Christ to strengthen our will! He promises “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Let us, as the Apostle Paul did, boast all the more gladly in our weaknesses so that the power of Christ might rest on us.

With this in mind what better way is there to fortify our character than to dwell on Jesus Christ? Yet how do we do that? Here are two ways:

1.) Read the Gospels: It would be so beneficial if Christians studied the four Gospels more than they do. Of course, all Scripture is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16), and I don’t mean to esteem the Gospels at the expense of other sections of Scripture. But it would be good for those who are very familiar with the Epistles to become more acquainted with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Why do I say this? Simply, because the Gospels were written that we might familiarize ourselves with Christ. Think about it for a minute, the Holy Spirit has told and retold the story of His life and death, the things that He said and the things that He did, four times over. Four different witnesses have drawn a picture of our Savior and our Helper. Four different inspired hands have communicated to us His ways, His manners, His feelings, His grace, His patience, His wisdom, His love, and His power. How can we ignore such an open invitation to study and internalize these attributes and qualities?

2.) Talk With Him: How many of us wonder that our relationship with Christ isn’t strong when we neglect to invest the time and effort necessary to any friendship? I would challenge you, pick your closest human friend and then imagine what would happen if you invested the same amount of time and effort into that relationship as you do in your relationship with Christ. Would you be just as close? Closer? Or would you barely see each other, barely talk to each other, and barely care that you weren’t? Think of it this way: closeness with Christ will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from getting close to Christ. You decide.

I would encourage you, don't hesitate to run to Christ this day. He is “a friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24), who understands your weaknesses and turns them into strengths. We must be consumed with Christ or we will be consumed with this world and by this world.

J.C. Ryle, “Holiness”

“Ought not the patient to be familiar with the Physician? Ought not the bride to be familiar with the Bridegroom? Ought not the sinner to be familiar with the Savior? Beyond doubt it ought to be so. Surely we cannot know this Christ too well! Surely there is not a word, nor a deed, nor a day, nor a step, nor a thought in the record of His life, which ought not to be precious to us.”
Note: I have kidnapped J.C. Ryle. By force I took him as my co-author, and together we wrote this post. I cannot more heartily recommend his writings—especially “Thoughts For Young Men” and “Holiness.” Furthermore, I’m probably not going to release him until we finish this section on Character. Finally, if you see Kris Lundgaard, author of “The Enemy Within,” please warn him that I plan to kidnap him as well. Ransom notes will be coming soon.
Originally posted on August 19th, 2005.


Building a Character House

I had never heard Mother’s voice like that, and I had never heard her call Father “Charles.” I thought my heart would pound itself to pieces while she was telling him what I had done. Hard as Father could spank, he never hurt me so much with a stick as he did when Mother stopped talking. He cleared his throat, and then he didn’t make a sound for at least two full minutes.

When he spoke, his voice was deep and dry, and I knew he must have been coughing a lot on the way home. “Son, there is no question but what the thing you have done today deserves severe punishment. You might have killed yourself or the horse, but much worse than that, you have injured your own character. A man’s character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.”

As I read that excerpt, I can’t help but thinking that we are building today the character houses we’ll live in tomorrow; that what each of us will become later in life largely depends on what we are now. J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) wrote in his book, Thoughts For Young Men, “Youth is the seed-time of full age, the molding season in the little space of human life, the turning-point in the history of man’s mind.” Are we taking that seriously?

We must understand that there’s a tsunami of “advances” coming that will profoundly damage all but the sturdiest character houses. We’ve got to be working now so that when the wave comes, we’re ready for it. Robert Freeman once said, “Character is not made in a crisis—it is only exhibited.” The crisis is coming, what we need to ask ourselves is, “What kind of character will this crisis reveal? Am I strong enough to resist sin? Am I consistent in saying no to temptation? Or do I only get by when there is nothing there to tempt me?”

Remember, the time is coming where it will become more and more difficult to avoid sin and more and more necessary to develop the strength of character to resist it, fight it, and conquer it.

The landscape is changing rapidly. We must turn to God and plead with Him to grant us the grace to strengthen our character now, before it’s too late. What would you think of a soldier who decided to learn to operate his AK-47 on the battlefield? Or of the parents that wanted to teach their baby to walk on a tightrope? You’d think they were crazy, right? But are you hoping to do something equally extraordinary by putting off the development of your character until you’re in the middle of the storm?

It is now that we must become acquainted with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is now that we must make the Bible our intimate guide and adviser. It is now that we must get a clear picture of the evil of sin. If we don't get serious about these things today it won't happen. Do not underestimate the power of habit—especially the habits of youth.

J.C. Ryle put it well when he said, “Habits are like stones rolling downhill, the further they roll, the faster and more uncontrollable is their course. Habits, like trees, are strengthened by age. A boy may bend an oak, when it is a sapling. A hundred men cannot root it up, when it is a full-grown tree.”

The prophet Jeremiah made the same point when he asked, “Can the Ethopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.”

If you can get anything out of this post, please, come away believing that you will become what you are and that you will live in the character house you build today. It will never be easier to serve God than it is right now.
Originally posted August 17th, 2005


The Special Challenges of the 21st Century

On August 19th, 2005, Brett posted the first part of a four-part series on character. Over the next week, we'll be going through that series, both for the many who have not read it, and for the others who cannot be reminded enough about the critical importance of biblical, principled character.
On August 9th, 1995, Netscape, the first mainstream web-browser, went public; and the world has never been the same. But the incredible benefits provided by the Internet are accompanied by lethal dangers. It took three years for the Internet to even begin to take off, but there were already 14 million pornographic Web pages. From 1998 to 2003 that number jumped to 260 million; a 2,000% increase in just five years.

This post is not about pornography; but it is all about how technology presents tremendous new challenges to Christian character; and about what we need to do about it. I strongly believe that it is foolish for my generation to assume that the next ten years will treat them the same way the last ten have. If we think technology has peaked and that things will remain largely the same with just a few added “conveniences,” we are gravely mistaken. Think of any ten-year-olds you know. The Internet is ten years old.
Technology itself and the challenges it presents are in their nascent form.
Over the next 5-10 years advances in technology will allow pornography and the sex industry to push so far into mainstream culture that they will no longer be generally considered dirty or taboo. Yet this is only one of the challenges our generation faces. According to Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies from the World Futures Society, medical knowledge and development are currently doubling every eight years. The speed of change in the medical field is outpacing the public’s opinion on the ethics of things such as stem cell research, genetic engineering, cloning, DNA mapping, surrogate motherhood, infertility solutions, selection of a child’s sex, use of fetal tissue, artificial organs, organ cloning, and life support.

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, writes: “Technology will continue to reshape people in such a way that their attention spans will be shorter and they will have difficulty distinguishing truth and lies, and the deluge of information will become so great that separating the useful from the trivial will be laborious. [Furthermore] the tsunami of information and services customized to please individual people will create a culture of self-absorbed, narcissistic people consumed with themselves and unconcerned about serving other people.”

These are barely the tip of the iceberg; but their magnitude and scope are unique to our generation. Which is why you must be aware of them. In a world that continues to celebrate debauchery and advance technologically the moral challenges facing our generation will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

I am convinced that as our world continues to change it will become more and more difficult to actually avoid exposure to sin and will become more and more necessary to develop the strength of character to resist it, fight it, and conquer it.

I’m calling you to be the kind of young men and women who are willing to fight the fight against sin. I’m calling you to cut off your hand or gouge out your eye rather than lose your soul (Matthew 5:29-30). Character is a victory, not a gift. It requires war, not diplomacy.

The time for lukewarm Christianity is behind us. This country will not survive another generation of Christians that fit in.


If Christ Was Not There...

The title of this post is taken from one by über-blogger Tim Challies about two weeks ago. Mr. Challies was at the time reading a book that I was also reading, God Is the Gospel by John Piper. Both of us were struck by the following passage:

The critical question for our generation--and for every generation--is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?
I'm ashamed to admit that far too often I find myself at a place where I feel that I could be completely satisfied with a beautiful, bountiful, sinless, sorrowless, and Christless heaven — a heaven that, as Mr. Challies writes, "[does] not include the one who purchased my redemption so that I could be there in the first place."

As Piper says, "The best and final gift of the gospel is that we gain Christ!" And yet "in place of this, we have turned the love of God and the gospel of Christ into a divine endorsement of our delights in many lesser things."

To quote Mr. Challies again:
And so we return to the question: If I could have a heaven that was built around all I wanted and all I loved and all I desired at my weaker moments, would this satisfy me? I know in my heart of hearts that it would not, for I know that it would not be heaven if Christ were not present. But in my day-to-day life, I know that I often consider heaven as being a place where what is most important to me is what is most important to me here on earth. This would be true, if only Christ were always foremost in my thoughts here and now.

Do I wish to be a man of character and competence? Do I long to be ready and able to accomplish all that God has called me to do? Then let me treasure Christ above all else.

As Piper writes, "Nothing fits a person to be more useful on earth than to be more ready for heaven. This is true because readiness for heaven means taking pleasure in beholding the Lord Jesus, and beholding the glory of the Lord means being changed into His likeness."