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July, 2005

Spirit of the Revolution: The Risks Of Following Jesus

By Brenda Matthews

On July 4, I will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to the Mennonite Church Youth Convention, where I will discuss the risks involved in following Christ. My message to these young people is simply that we take many risks in our lives, so how much more is it to risk our lives in sharing the gospel for Christ?

I don't think we need to fear anything. The bible says "I HAVE NOT GIVEN YOU A SPIRIT OF FEAR BUT OF PEACE, LOVE, AND SOUND MIND." For such a time as this, the time has come to reach out to humanity and share the message of Christ. The eye of the revolution will come from our youth. And, like Christ, we must prepare our youth to share the gospel with the world. They are the future kingdom builders and world changers. I like that scripture that says no weapon formed against you shall prosper. So our youth can go boldly and fear no man or nothing, because God will guide and protect them.

When we look at what the risks are in being a follower of Jesus Christ, in my mind I think of the many risks that he himself faced. Jesus was a stone to the bone revolutionary, and a sure fire radical. What he faced daily was not an issue to him. Jesus was the finder of lost souls, and in his heart he felt compassion for the common people, and was determined to spread the Gospel at any cost. Wherever he went, there were continuous plots to have him killed, all because he wanted to give people something that would change their life forever with eternal benefits.

Jesus spent most of his time in the community sharing the gospel and giving leadership to the disciples, whose job was to make more people like themselves. The disciples were kingdom builders, and Jesus gave them the same abilities that he had. They had on-the-job training, so while working in the community, they could teach the community how to organize and strategize, and how to work as a team and use the Gospel as a tool or a roadmap to get the job done.

As Jesus ministered in the community, part of his ministry was healing the sick, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, and so much more. Meaning Jesus took the time to make sure people had proper medical care. He made sure there was food so that low-income families had sufficient meals; he gave life lessons, economic strategies; he talked about investment plans and quality of life, especially for those who lived below poverty.

Jesus loved all people. His revolution was for humanity. He loved children and invested in families. Death threats, plots to kill him and all the lies and deceit were of no concern to him. Jesus had a mission and by any means necessary his mission would be completed. Even as we look at him on the cross, he gave his life as a ransom. He died so that all mankind would be free.

My question today is, are we too concerned about the consequences of spreading the gospel? Are we so afraid that we are willing to see humanity lose? Are we to afraid to say boldly, stop the war and send our troops home? Will we continue to see children exploited, starved and abused around this world, as we keep our eyes closed and our mouths shut? I FEEL LIKE JESUS WHEN HE SAYS, "WHEN YOU DO IT TO THE LEAST OF THESE YE HAVE ALSO DONE IT UNTO ME".

In closing I'm reminded of a phrase I heard while in Africa over ten years ago: "I'D RATHER DIE ON MY FEET THAN LIVE ON MY KNEES." People, wake up, it's time to do the work of Christ. We are kingdom builders and world changers. Christ feared no one and my question is, so why do you?

Brenda Matthews is an actress, poet, playwright, and social activist from Chicago, Illinois. Her performances inspire a commitment to build a society that cherishes all. She travels to communities around the country that have been assaulted by poverty, and through her art of poetry and expression leaves her audience with a new outlook. She has two CDs out: "Tapestry of the Heart" and "Somebody Better Say Something."


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