A quick note:
So yesterday, the Day of the Ascension of Jesus Messiah, many of us were together on a zoom celebration at noon when another car crashed into my parked Uhaul. Yes, I moved to Texas today (The Woodlands)— part of Seedbed’s Westward expansion. Anyway, I wanted to assure everyone that all is well. No one was hurt— the driver was forgiven, and the truck got us the rest of the way to Texas. Praise Jesus— our risen and ascended and reigning Lord of Heaven and Earth!!! I’ll treasure your prayers for my children and I in this important transition. -jdw
Colossians 4:12–13 ESV
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.
I’m seeing it today for the first time. Paul is in a band. Not a band as in Aerosmith or The Beatles, but a band of a few people who have allied themselves with Jesus to advance his purposes in the world. They are helping one another to mature in their faith and character; to become the kind of disciples they aspire to make of others; those who “stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God” (v. 12 ESV).
It’s a prison band. We have been talking about them over the past few days—Tychicus, Aristarchus, John Mark, Epaphrus, Luke and Demas.
You’ve heard of infamous gangsters running organized crime rings from prison. Well, Paul and his band are running the kingdom of Jesus from prison. They are “in Christ,” and “in chains,” and the more in chains they are, the more in Christ they become. That’s what happens in a band. This is how the power of the gospel works best—banded together.
Can’t you see the map they’re etching into the stone wall of the cell? There’s Laodicea and Hierapolis, Ephesus, Colossae and Philippi, Thessonalica and Corinth. And they don’t have any idea of France or England yet, or Arkansas!
Banding is about weaving a net through tying unbreakable knots forged by the love of God in human relationships. These knots become the nets that save the lives of countless others, rescuing them from drowning in the punishing seas of the world.
A band is not another domesticated small group filling a slot in the sociological structures of church belonging. A band is a missional outpost on the front lines of the war on darkness. Note how Paul describes the work of Epaphras in their band as, “always struggling on your behalf in his prayers” (v. 12b ESV). The Greek term there is agonizomai, and it means something like “doing battle.”
Are you ready to band together like this? A lot of people quietly dismiss this calling, thinking it’s not something they need. Here’s my question: What if it’s not about you? What if it’s about the world around you? What if it’s your town or neighborhood or kids’ schools or the heroin situation in your county that cries out for you to band together? Don’t get me wrong. You need it for sure, whether you know it or now, but the world needs it even more. This is how the kingdom of God advances, not through singing songs in anonymous crowds on Sunday mornings, but the unbreakable bonds of our prison bands as we link up arms and hearts and walk together into the captivity of the culture around us. This is how we sow for a great awakening.
My Daily Text dream is to sow a band in every county in America. This is why you like Seedbed and the Daily Text. It’s not just another morning devotion. We are going somewhere together. We aren’t servicing a domesticated church. No, we are resourcing an awakening movement. We are sowing for a great awakening. There’s no time to waste.
Getting the band back together. That’s how we will think of Domino #4|12.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who started the first band. Thank you for the way he is ever banding his disciples together to sow for a great awakening. Awaken me to this high and holy calling to band with a few for the sake of the many around me. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Had you ever thought of Paul as working from the context of a band before? What do you think about it?
- Have you ever considered that starting a band might be as much for others as it is for you and your band?
- Are you open to joining the great band together to sow for a great awakening campaign? What hesitations do you have?
For the Awakening,