Walk Away From Normal
I have been around church for a long time and I have seen many things that are considered “normal” in the church. It is normal for some to carry the name Christian while they have obvious sin in their life and no plan to deal with it. It is normal for people to carry a Bible that they never read. It is normal for Christians to take the same vacations, tell the same jokes, have the same racial views, get divorced at the same rate and listen to the same music as everyone else. It is normal to see more passion expressed concerning the color of the carpet or the style of music in a church than lost people. It is normal in most churches that people arrive 10 minutes late and sit in the back row. Normal is getting enough Jesus to get into heaven but not enough to shake up life. Normal is safe, predictable, nice and nonconfrontational religion. Normal is people getting upset at one church only to attend another where they eventually get upset as well.
The book of Acts knows nothing about these “normal” Christians. In Acts 5 the heat of persecution is turned up on high toward the fledgling Jesus movement of the day. The disciples encountered the full wrath of the Jewish leadership who demanded that they stop speaking in the name of Jesus. The disciples vowed to follow God and not man which enraged the authorities. Then it is reported in Acts 5:40, “They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.” The disciples were beaten. Severely beaten. All 12 disciples. One by one each disciple witnessed their friends being flogged and not one of them ran. Not one of them quit. In fact, a few days later, they were right back doing the very same thing that got them beaten. That is not normal.
Once there was a version of Christianity that was powerful and dynamic. Once upon a time there was a version of Christianity that was worth being beaten for. Once upon a time there was a version of Christianity that people gave everything to. There was a version of Christianity that went for broke.
We need to leave what is considered normal in our religious circles and rediscover this Jesus that changed the world. What we see in the book of Acts is normal.