Summary: The Contents and Implications of God’s "mystery revealed" are really rather shocking--though they are meant to really comfort us. To convey this shocking nature the sermon uses a series of "tabloid style" headlines to grab attention.

They [wore] black they are very serious-looking; and they look like they just came from a sculpting competition. tattoos, facial jewelry (hooks, studs, chains "it looked like half of them had fallen into a tackle box, gotten up, and just showed up at church like that".

This two year old church was growing where other churches had "died out."

The service was punctuated with lit candles and indie rock music, "fascinating service . . . But I didn’t enjoy it very much. I didn’t know many of the songs and could not sing along. This setting was definitely not my style."

Yet during the communion service, where half went forward to partake while the other half stayed seated because they were instructed to do so if they hadn’t committed to Christ or experienced unrepented sin, Ed Stetzer noticed that those who went forward came back to those who hadn’t and prayed with them. ""All around me, just a few rows up, people began to weep, praying and crying out to God. They began to sing, and they began to worship with people on their knees." Ed Stetzer, Breaking the Missional Code, pp. 35-36)

Ed reflects:

They were people who dressed differently, people who liked different music, and people who had a different culture than me. But they were all worshipping the same Christ. I did not relate well to the context; it was not my preference. But it was NOT ABOUT ME (emphasis mine) God was there, and this was a holy place because somebody had followed the command of Jesus when he said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you . . . to all different kinds of peoples (john 20:21; Matt 28:18-20)

Ed’s student who had planted this church, Daniel Montomery, had a "few years ago looked and acted a lot like" him (p. 36)

At the end of the day, I have to remember--we all have to remember--that it is not about me, it is not about you. It is about Jesus sending us to peoples to proclaim the gospel in a way that they can understand.. Our churches often struggle because we put our preferences over our call--our preferences over our mission." (Ed Stetzer, David Putman, Breaking the Missional Code, pp 34-36)

Stetzer(pp., 36-37) talks about a church in OK City, where he started noticing it was not like any church he knew: they sang the "victory in Jesus" song punctuated by "yeehaws". Most of the people had an empty chair/space between them which he realized was for their cowboy hats. They yelled "preach it brother" (to which he said "I’m trying-stop yelling at me" and "yee haw in the middle . .

Afterwards at a Ryans Buffet, a man told Ed how he had tried different churches to no avail, either they "dressed too expensive" or they didn’t accept him. Here, he felt at home. "I got radically saved and washed in the blood." ((pl 37)

" I thought to myself, I don’t know if I can handle the culture. but this was a holy place--God was here. And then God convicted me--It was not about me! They were exactly what God wanted them to be to reach theis lower middle class, blue-collar community on the far side of Oklahoma City. Sojourn was exactly what God wanted them to be and I knew that in both places there were empty church buildings all around them who said ""We’ve god our preferences, and we’re here; ya’ll come."


Divine Disclosure Raises Eyebrows Even As it Mends Fences

(or, God’s Mystery Unveiled Reveals More Surprises.)

God had a mystery, kept hidden for thousands of years. A hidden plan for the universe. A secret about which no one knew the full story. And to the shock and amazement of all, at the right time, he let the cat out of the bag.

Reminds me a bit of tabloid headlines: shock, amaze, titillate. I will retell it that way

But of course, tabloids never get it all right, but they sure stick in our brains.

Big Idea: The Revealing of God’s Ancient Secret is as Shocking as it is Soothing.

1. Shocker! God Spills Guts to Two-Faced Turncoat (And Some Misfits)!

vv. 3-5

Ephesians 3:3 He let me know his secret by showing it to me. I have already written a little about this. 4 If you read what I wrote then, you can see that I truly understand the secret about the Christ. 5 People who lived in other times were not told that secret. But now, through the Spirit, God has shown that secret to his holy apostles and prophets. (NCV)

• Paul was a man working against God, yet God let him in on His Secret. The Damascus Road Experience.

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