Why We Must Band Together or Fall Apart

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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.

CONSIDER THIS

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.

THE PRAYER

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.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Had you ever thought of Paul as working from the context of a band before? What do you think about it?
  2. Have you ever considered that starting a band might be as much for others as it is for you and your band?
  3. Are you open to joining the great band together to sow for a great awakening campaign? What hesitations do you have?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. A band of people connected heart-to-heart with one another and with the risen Jesus, while functioning together under His direct and active leadership, is a powerful demonstration of the body of Christ obeying the Head. A band of Christ-following brothers and sisters is never a passive group of spectators. It’s people actively and passionately engaged in and sharing a common mission–to be led by the Spirit as they focus on, follow, and obey the living Jesus.

    The people I have the deepest, Christ-focused heart-connection with are my band. My wife and I pray together every day and minister to people as a team numerous times every week. We pray with another couple every Sunday morning and on Sunday night (together with another brother) co-lead a band of students at a tech school. We have several other couples and individuals who we pray with in person and sometimes on phone or Zoom.

    I regularly Zoom with a band of brothers and meet with and or talk-pray on the phone with other brothers one on one. We are bound together in love and mutual accountability (not in formality). The brothers and sisters I’m bound to are also bound to other believers (many of whom I don’t know) thus creating an ever expanding web of Christ-followers. Even social media has expanded my band to people with a shared vision whom I’ve never physically met, but encourage me and read my writings. Reading the Daily Text (and the comments) for the past few months is binding my heart to several new people who are influencing me to keep pursuing Jesus.

  2. JD, first of all welcome to the neighborhood. Thank God that you’ve arrived here safely. When reading about how Epaphras’s prayer life being compared to doing battle it reminded me of the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. Here was a band of brothers on a rescue mission.
    I’m all for growing past the weekly gathering with a group of strangers and calling that church, then thinking, is that all there is? My greatest challenge would be finding other brothers who are willing to participate in a uniquely Methodist structure. Where I’ll wind up serving in a local church this time next year is up in the air right now. One thing is for certain; it won’t be with the one that I currently serve now if it votes to remain UMC.
    How would an ecumenical group of brothers go about setting up a band as long as they shared a common high view of scriptures?

  3. I am looking for a band in the Hannibal , MO area that is hoping to stat a congregation of the GMC .

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