The Rebel Jesus

(Click here for a video of John reading today’s Catch.)


They call him by the “Prince Of Peace”

And they call him by “The Savior”

And they pray to him upon the sea

And in every bold endeavor

And they fill his churches with their pride and gold

As their faith in him increases

But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in

From a temple to a robber’s den

In the words of the rebel Jesus

             – Jackson Browne from the song The Rebel Jesus

Follow Jesus and you will soon realize you are, and will always be, a rebel.

The early Jesus people were rebels. Truth is rebellious. It upsets the applecart and the status quo. You can look at the Jesus Movement and see when it died. It died when followers of Christ stopped being rebels.

It died at Explo ’72 in Dallas, where “100,000 people couldn’t be wrong.” Oh yeah? There have been a lot more people than that in history all wrong at the same time. (Try Nazi Germany for starters.) With that kind of reasoning, truth is relegated to numbers, not truth.

The Jesus Movement died when the music started to bless rather than convict. It died when everything became worship. (Come on, people, worship is great, but we aren’t in heaven yet!) It died when getting a hit on Christian radio was more important than saving the world with our guitars. It died when we lost our prophetic voices and started making Christians comfortable in America.  It died when “Christian” became an adjective instead of a noun. It died when we tried to fit into the world’s system rather than speak into it. It died when hippies in church became yuppies in church playing yuppie music. It died when everyone was welcome except __________ (fill in the blank).

The Jesus Movement started out great, but “once a rebel, always a rebel” did not stick. Rebellion appeared to be just a phase. It was great to kick things off, but eventually you have to conform. Really? Look at Jesus; did He ever stop rebelling against the establishment? Did He ever conform to anyone or anything? If He had, they wouldn’t have killed Him.

Listen to these words by the late Mark Spoelstra. They are the words of a true follower of Christ fighting to stay true to his convictions to remain a rebel, because that is what he must do to give honor to the one he follows and the truth He represents:

“Life is created by God.  He put me in it, and I believe even saw me in it before I was born, and I think He knew that He was going to write the truth on my heart.  I think that even in my rebellion, He has been a big part of that path I speak of.  So I see myself, on a certain level, continuing to rebel, and to understand it in others, and maybe at times to have a glass of wine over that, because I think I will never entirely grow up in this world.” – Mark Spoelstra

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10 Responses to The Rebel Jesus

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Dear Pastor John Today’s Catch moved me to shed a few tears… As I read the words by the late Mark Spoelstra: “He put me in it, and I believe even saw me in it before I was born, and I think He knew that He was going to write the truth on my heart. I think that even in my rebellion, He has been a big part of that path I speak of. So I see myself, on a certain level, continuing to rebel, and to understand it in others..”

    I guess it caused me to cry b/c (as I told this story a few times here & plz forgive me for going on & on again) Yet, during or @ the End of the Christmas service of 1979 I can clearly remember the Alter Call was (A Mark’s paraphrase) if you want to learn how to get to Heaven & make the 1980’s something different for God. Come down here to the Alter and I can remember thinking Man if the guy knows something I don’t – I’m going to go talk to him!

    Sure enough, gentleman a Deacon (which I simply didn’t know what that meant at the time) @ the Bearan (like out of the book of Acts) Bible Church lead me in a prayer of Salvation in a separate room, and after told me I’m going to Heaven, which I laughed pretty hard to myself, LOL

    And Praise God since than my sister, her husband and older brother & his wife have become believers a few years later and ALL of their Children too and my Father before he passed away made a profession of Faith! (My Mom was a believer or Follower of Christ – She just didn’t call herself that, yet was a member of the Roman Catholic Church..) But I FRIMLY believe our Lord DOESN’T play Denominational games, as what’s the Name of your Church… and see’s hearts…

    And while I was reading the Catch & those Words of Mark Spoelstra hit me maybe jus maybe the Lord knew to first get me to follow Him and I’d get a few others…
    PS Often I used to joke with myself & a favorite Amway Diamond used to say, they’ll come to Church, or get in Amway for the ‘weight loss program’ – to get me off their back, LOL

  2. jwfisch says:

    Dear Mark, You can tell that story as many times and as often as you want. We will never tire of it. Nor will the angels, who rejoice every time they hear it!

  3. J. D. Woods says:

    Holy Cow, that was powerful… and convicting!!

  4. Toni Petrella says:

    Mark had so much wisdom and I remember years ago in politics the phrase moral majority and I am wondering who came up with that and why. We all are sinners and need Christ. Even when we find salvation we still will make mistakes and need Christ even more. I hope many folks read mark’s message and learn as much as one can from this message. Take care, God Bless.

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      Toni, to help you & answer: “… the phrase moral majority… wondering who came up with that and why.” I believe it was Rev. Jerry Farwell, the Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church had came up with that name & Political activation group.

      PS It’s kind of funny too in how a few years ago I saw on a Sunday night C-Span (I believe it was Book notes) an interview w/ his son and he talked about that he, his father Jerry Farewell often thought it was one of the worst and most Pharisaical things he did b/c how it was one of the most miss understood things he done, yet was thankful it did help get Ronald Regan elected….

  5. Sandie says:

    A few Catches ago, I made the comment that I always felt I was way out in left field and wearing the wrong uniform, when it came to church and trying to work with other believers. Maybe it’s because I am a child of the 60s/70s. Maybe it’s because I grew up right on the Bronx line, But the ‘uniform’ of REBEL always just felt ‘right.’ I attended a high school where I was blessed with teachers who taught me to THINK and ask the hard questions in pursuit of truth. I know now it was the Lord preparing me long before I knew Him. And…perish the thought…using the secular system to do it! Years later, as a new believer, I tried hard to fit the “Christian” mold, but that uniform never fit quite right, and my ‘New York’ kept busting seams. Then, John, I discovered Real Christians Dance, and realized there were others on the same team I had been assigned! I have to admit that, initially, I reveled in my rebellion, and, as a result, had a lot of cleanup work to do. Time passed, and He called me into serious ministry…at a high school, in a local Christian band, as a worship leader, as a youth leader, as a CMA chaplain…and in all of them, I always posed the hard question to force critical thinking. I was loved and hated. I hung on to the affirmation as proof I was on the right track. In truth, the hate was better proof of that. Somewhere in the middle of all this the Lord led me to scripture that gave me comfort and hope. Ezekiel 2:3-5. I have planted it firmly in my heart and mind. I guess you could call it a battle standard as I try to find myself, and my purpose again. Bless you for providing this forum and sharing your heart.

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      Dear Sandie, let me please make a suggestion 4 you to consider: (I used to do jus what u did above, in that tell of a Bible book, chapter & verses) Until a very kind & elderly Deacon suggest to consider not just doing that, yet also quote the Scripture, so to use some sort of People Skills and this way it shows your knowledge of God’s Holy Word & others are not forced to go look it up…

      I wish you God’s speed & His peace upon you & your loved ones…

  6. Sandie says:

    Thank you Mark for your blessing and I certainly pray the same for you. Please allow me to explain why I present ideas the way I do.
    One of the reasons I don’t quote chapter and verse is to spark the desire to look it up for yourself. When I taught Youth groups and led adult study groups, each attendee was asked to find the verse(s) in their bible as we went through the study material. If they needed help, I provided it, with encouragement and tips on how to find it the next time. I also encouraged them to highlight passages that touched them, also making it easier to find next time. It is proven that these methods help your brain retain knowledge. I’m guilty of stepping into the role of teacher; teaching the way I was taught, so they could find their own way. I wanted them to discover their own answers, and not just parrot mine. Here is Ezekiel 2:3-5
    “Son of man”, He said, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a nation that is rebelling against me. Their ancestors have rebelled against me from the beginning, and they are still in revolt to this very day. They are a hard-hearted and stubborn people. But I am sending you to say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ And whether they listen or not – for remember, they are rebels – at least they will know they have had a prophet among them.” (NLT)

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      You’re welcome Sandie and TY 4 replying, appreciate it & you for doing so…. May I plz add what the elderly Deacon that had suggested the advice of telling someone what the Scripture say’s as opposed to given the Book, Chapter & verse, b/c thinking they’ll go look it up sometimes can be a bit Pharisaical & plus now they don’t have to be concerned about either remembering the book, chapter & verse, or writing it down, yet can listen to you testify about it…

      PS Also, TY for quoting it, I did look it up… 🙂

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