November 24, 2017
I’m seeing it today for the first time. Paul is in a band. Not a band as in Aerosmith or the Beetles, but a band of a few people who have allied themselves with Jesus to advance his purposes in the world. They are helping one another to mature in their faith and character; to become the kind of disciples they aspire to make of others; those who “stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
It’s a prison band. We have been talking about them over the past few days—Tychicus, Aristarchus, John Mark, Epaphrus, Luke and Demas.
You’ve heard of infamous gangsters running organized crime rings from prison. Well, Paul and his band are running the Kingdom of Jesus from prison. They are “in Christ,” and “in chains,” and the more in chains they are the more in Christ they become. That’s what happens in a band. This is how the power of the Gospel works best—banded together.
Can’t you see the map they’re etching into the stone wall of the cell? There’s Laodicea and Hierapolis, Ephesus, Colossae and Philippi, Thessonalica and Corinth. And they don’t have any idea of France or England yet or Arkansas!
Banding is about weaving a net through tying unbreakable knots forged by the love of God in human relationships. These knots become the nets that save the lives of countless others, rescuing them from drowning in the punishing seas of the world.
A band is not another domesticated “small group” filling a slot in the sociological structures of church “belonging.” A band is a missional outpost on the front lines of the war on darkness. Note how Paul describes the work of Epaphras in their band: “He is always wrestling in prayer for you.” The term there is “agonizomai,” and it means something like, “to do battle.”
Are you ready to band together like this? A lot of people quietly dismiss this calling, thinking it’s not something they need. Here’s my question: what if it’s not about you? What if it’s about the world around you? What if it’s your town or neighborhood or kids’ schools or the heroin situation in your county that cries out for you to band together. Don’t get me wrong. You need it for sure, whether you know it or now, but the world needs it even more. This is how the Kingdom of God advances—not through singing songs in anonymous crowds on Sunday mornings—but the unbreakable bonds of our prison bands as we link up arms and hearts and walk together into the captivity of the culture around us. This is how we sow for a great awakening.
My Daily Text dream for 2018 is to sow a band in every county in America, all 3,142 of them. We will give ourselves until 2023 to get it done. This will be a long play but we need a strong start. Start praying about this now. You will be hearing more about it in the new year.
This is why you like Seedbed and the Daily Text. It’s not just another morning devotion. We are going somewhere together. We aren’t servicing a domesticated church. No, we are resourcing an awakening movement. We are sowing for a Great Awakening. There’s no time to waste.
If you want to be an earliest adopter and claim your county today, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who started the first band. Thank you for the way he is ever banding his disciples together to sow for a great awakening. Awaken me to this high and holy calling to band with a few for the sake of the many around me. We pray in Jesus name, amen.
- Had you ever thought of Paul as working from the context of a “band” before? What do you think about it?
- Have you ever considered that starting a band might be as much for others as it is for you and your band?
- Are you open to joining the great 2018 band together to sow for a great awakening campaign? What hesitations do you have?
Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. email@example.com.