Back to that meeting where the Holy Spirit had me pinned and Jesus counting to ten. As I was sitting there, once again convicted to the core, this guy who had asked the question that started this whole brew-ha-ha was waving a book in the air called “Movements that Change the World” by Steve Addison. He gave the book to one of our leaders sitting next to him and then we went on break. I followed my colleague into the restroom with full intentions of mugging him and stealing the book. But it didn’t have to come to that because when I politely asked him if he was going to read it, he simply gave it to me. I was resolved to do three things; 1) Repent 2) Read the book and 3) Start sharing the gospel more! I set a goal; “I will share the gospel every day for seven days.” I would go down to the street corner in Highland Falls, New York and share the gospel with the druggies, prostitutes, and pimps. I became known as the “Old Crippled Religious Guy” and I really became friends with those folks. I loved them and they loved me. Seven days turned into two weeks, turned into months, turn into six months, turned into a year, which turned into a lifestyle. And you know, I didn’t personally see many people come to Christ but I did see one major conversion. It was me! I was radically transformed by the gospel. I’m not saying I wasn’t a true disciple of Jesus before but I had gone through an incredible transformation personally. Often we view sharing the gospel as an exercise that will benefit the hearer and most certainly that is our great desire. But we should never underestimate the benefit to the proclaimer as well. And Steve’s book was just pouring gas on the fire. I was starting to see things through a different lens and my eyes were being opened to kingdom principles I hadn’t unlocked before.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. (Luke 5.37-38)
And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13.52)
I had become a new wineskin again. I was open, pliable, flexible, teachable to new things. All of a sudden I was sucking down milk like a newborn and I couldn’t get enough. And it wasn’t like the things I had learned before were all wrong. Nope! It was a 30-year foundation in THE BOOK, reading and studying every day that connected some dots for me that I had never seen before. The book that changed my world wasn’t Steve’s book, it was the Bible. But Steve’s book was certainly challenging my thinking and motivating me to go back to the “Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Act 17.11) Are you reading the Scriptures daily to align your thinking with the Father’s? Are you exposing yourself to new ideas that challenge you and force you to go back to the Word of God? Are you still pliable, flexible, and teachable? If you are not reading the Bible daily, DO NOT read other books until you have developed that crucial discipline. If you are reading your Bible daily, I would recommend the following books by Steve Addison;
Movements that Change the World
What Jesus Started
The Rise and Fall of Movements