From Domesticated Church to Awakening Church



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 17:5–9

But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.


In Thessalonica, we see a classic confrontation between archenemies. Is it God vs. Satan? Jesus vs. Caesar? Yes and yes, but this is not exactly the rivalry I am referencing. Or maybe I should say, these reference the rivalry behind the rivalry I reference. I would style the conflict in Thessalonica between the following parties: the Domesticated Church vs. the Awakening Movement of the Gospel.

People in the synagogue were waking up to the truth of Jesus. Remember from yesterday: “Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women” (Acts 17:4).

Now notice how the Jews in this case attack the awakening by becoming the defenders of Caesar:

They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.

To be sure, the Jews don’t respect Caesar, but they will do whatever it takes to preserve their place in Caesar’s empire. The empire can tolerate respectable religion, but it can never accommodate the faith of Jesus. Respectable religion, what I call the domesticated church, knows its place and plays the game. The awakening movement of Jesus is a game-changer.

This classic confrontation continues to the present day. Domesticated religion abounds, infecting countless local churches with the sleep of a self-satisfied status quo. Meanwhile, the awakening movement of the gospel ever stands at the door and knocks. And when someone named Jason or Lydia ponies up the courage to open the door and welcomes Paul and Silas in, well . . . better buckle up.

Is there a Jason or Lydia in the house?

And just so we are all clear—there is another king, one called Jesus—and of his kingdom, there will be no end.


Father, we are tired of domesticated church. We are tired of going through the motions of church. We are tired of the church that exists for its members. We are tired of the church that manages the status quo. We want an awakened and awakening church. We feel stuck in the ruts of yesterday or last year or last century. We don’t want change for change’s sake but change for Jesus’s sake. Holy Spirit, start with me. Change me until I am a Holy Spirit change agent. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


How have you observed this classic confrontation between the domesticated church and the awakening movement of the gospel of Jesus?


Today we will sing “Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated” (hymn 586) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here.  

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. There’s another king
    Than Ceasar.
    It’s Jesus.
    There’s another king
    Than politics.
    It’s Jesus.
    There’s another king
    Than pride.
    It’s Jesus.
    There’s another king
    Than nationalism.
    It’s Jesus.
    There’s another king
    Than anger.
    It’s Jesus.
    There’s another king
    Than fear.
    It’s Jesus.
    There’s another king
    Than religion.
    It’s Jesus.
    There’s another king
    Than entertainment,
    Than sexual desire,
    Than social media,
    Than addiction,
    Than self-help,
    Than hobbies,
    Than intellect,
    Than alcohol,
    Than money,
    Than whims,
    Than sports,
    Than drugs,
    Than food,
    Than you,
    Than me.
    It’s Jesus.

    All those other kings
    Get jealous
    Of King Jesus
    And want Christ
    Off the throne
    Of your life.
    So they riot within you
    Creating turmoil
    To keep you under
    Their bondage and control.

    If you want
    To be sane
    Claim your pain
    Until it
    Motivates you
    To allow
    Jesus to reign
    And take control
    As your King.

  2. This is in my opinion, this is a struggle worthy of my participation. I would term the two entities, the establishment or legacy church versus the organically grown church that Jesus is building. The legacy church is highly dependent on a supportive culture, and a reliable, steady cash flow in order to survive. On the other hand, the organic church is fueled and led by the power of the Holy Spirit. The legacy church is bound by “the traditions of man” and for that reason is about as nimble as a fully loaded super-tanker at sea. Conversely the organic church is quite fluid, and can easily adapt to any chaotic economic and political environment it finds itself in. In a struggle that determines survival for these competing entities, there will definitely be jealousy, and conflict, but ultimately the organic version of Christ’s Church will prevail.

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