The voice of Christ for today and tomorrow

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In the only recognized authority on the Jesus Movement, the book, God’s Forever Family, by Larry Eskridge, a great deal of time is spent on a Bible study in the home of Ted and Liz Wise, in Sausalito, California, as the origin of the movement. The story of Ted’s conversion is a perfect illustration of the two characteristics of the Jesus Movement that we are looking at this week: 1) there was a very literal interpretation of the Bible, and 2) the Holy Spirit played a key role in its development.

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We are the Family of God

One aspect of the Jesus Movement that is missing from younger generations today is the realization of the importance of community. In many ways, social media has tried to make up for the loss of community, but it hasn’t done a very good job. Joni Mitchell sang “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Well, it’s also true that you don’t know what you’ve lost if you’ve never had it. And that’s the case with many Millennials and Gen-Z, they’ve never really experienced community so they don’t know what they’re missing.

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‘Everyone, Everywhere’

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“Leadership rose from among the new believers.” – Number 9 of 14 Characteristics of the Jesus Movement

Marti Fischer, my wife, has the spiritual gifts of a leader. To some that is somewhat of an issue in that they believe women should not be in leadership positions in the church. However, the sheer evidence of Marti’s gifts and abilities would indicate that the Holy Spirit must be confused on this issue, to give her obvious gifts and the desire to lead, and then tell her not to use them. And since I can’t imagine the Holy Spirit confused, I must assume it’s us that has this wrong. If she wasn’t supposed to lead, no one told her that. That was the thing about the Jesus Movement, it rewrote the book on a few things.

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The experience of salvation

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I am over talking about the Jesus Movement strictly in the past tense, as if Jesus stopped moving. Of course He didn’t. Never has. The Jesus Movement is wherever Jesus is moving, and one place that is happening is in and through you and me. Wake up.

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An adventure of a Lifetime

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We are providing over the next few weeks a new way of looking at a time and a generation that laid the foundation for today’s Christianity.

As the leader of this Catch community, I am suggesting an adventure of a lifetime for those who witnessed a movement that blew fresh air through the Church and society in general. I am suggesting we create, with a new relevance as older, wiser pioneers peering into a new frontier, relationships with those in their twenties and thirties who are currently undergoing the same societal stresses and asking many of the same questions we asked. Together, young and old, we will offer a Christianity yet to see the light of twenty-first century day.

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Try to catch the wind

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There are two characteristics of the Jesus Movement that set it apart as a legitimate spiritual awakening on the level with other major spiritual movements in the history of western civilization like the Great Awakening and the Reformation. 1) There was no central organization in control; and 2) it happened simultaneously everywhere (U.S., Canada, Europe, South Africa). Taken together, these two characteristics tell us one thing: This was the Holy Spirit’s doing. There is simply no other explanation.

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Jesus brings us all together

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Jesus is the source of unity among believers. He was that fifty years ago in the Jesus Movement and He is that today as the next generations peers into a new frontier. When divisions and denominations exist in the church, it’s because we have made something else more important than Jesus. We have allowed some doctrine or some practice or some particular belief to become a barrier to unity. So we hunker down in our partisan group and cut ourselves off to the Jesus that exists in the lives of those believers who don’t hold to our particular bent.

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Fifty years ago today

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I am gradually learning to listen to my 22-year-old son. I am learning to respect his insights instead of thinking that I am the one who needs to bring him around all the time. It’s a big stretch for me. He says things differently than I would say them so I have to weigh carefully what says lest I miss something important. Ever since he said he had my back in reaching the younger generations I am taking him seriously. Like when he brought up yesterday about knowing the warmth of Jesus in our hearts. I suddenly realized what a beautiful expression that was of what it feels like to have a relationship with God through Jesus.

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Less of everything else

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We need more of Jesus and less of everything else. 

By “everything else” I mean just about everything one could think of in relation to Christianity or religion that has little or nothing to do with Jesus, or that takes away from attention upon Him. We are seeing a lot of these things today, just like we did back when the Jesus Movement got everything focused back on Jesus. Today we are  focusing on things that lead us away from Jesus like celebrity, morality, political power, empire-building, worship music (that worships itself or its performer(s), social action (not done in the name or the power of Jesus), Bible study (for its own sake), numbers (for the sake of success), and success (for the sake of numbers). 

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Jesus is still moving

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We need more of Jesus and less of everything else.

The Jesus Movement happened because it was all about Jesus. It would not have happened any other way. Jesus united Christians everywhere, and labels fell away. It didn’t matter your background, your denomination, your worship style, your age — if you loved Jesus, that was all that mattered. Often people’s hang-ups about Christianity are because of bad experiences with the church or with other Christians, but this movement circumvented that by simply being about Jesus, and most people are at least curious about Jesus.

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