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Welcome to the Revolution: A Field Guide For New Believers [NOOK Book]

Overview

Felt the pull of God? Answered it? Freaked out about what to do next?

As Brian Tome was talking to a new Christ-follower in his office, he realized that he had nothing on his bookshelf that would give her the "straight talk" on the radical new life she was about to begin. So he penned Welcome to the Revolution a bold, honest, humorous guide to joining the ever-advancing Kingdom of God."The Revolution," as Tome calls the Christian life, is already underway, and while it is both ...

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Welcome to the Revolution: A Field Guide For New Believers

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Overview

Felt the pull of God? Answered it? Freaked out about what to do next?

As Brian Tome was talking to a new Christ-follower in his office, he realized that he had nothing on his bookshelf that would give her the "straight talk" on the radical new life she was about to begin. So he penned Welcome to the Revolution a bold, honest, humorous guide to joining the ever-advancing Kingdom of God."The Revolution," as Tome calls the Christian life, is already underway, and while it is both exhilarating and fulfilling, it's challenging and confusing at times. This book will guide the reader from the basics (navigatingthrough Christian kitsch at the bookstore) to the practical (Bible reading and building community) to the profound (concepts of forgiveness and usingimagination in prayer). To those people who have previously dismissed the "Christian" life, or those who want to learn more about God in an accessible way, this book will be the breath that clears the air and shows them how to follow a Revolutionary God.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Tome pastors a megachurch in Cincinnati that draws a large number of attendees unfamiliar with the Christian faith. As he was counseling new believers, he wanted to give them a guide to explain the Christian life, and decided to write this book when he couldn't find anything appropriate. Tome doesn't get bogged down in difficult questions (e.g., "What happens to people who have never heard about Jesus?"), instead encouraging readers to take the next step in their faith and address those questions over time. Chapters on basics like Bible reading and prayer will probably be most beneficial. As one would expect for this audience, Tome's advice is appealingly honest (i.e., some of the Bible will be boring and you won't like everything you read). Other chapters get a bit off focus, like the one on community, which recommends rating friends and spending more time with those who encourage you (sage advice, perhaps, but not necessarily the heart of Christian community). Letters from church attendees and new believers are a precious addition. (Sept. 9)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781418570873
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,314,220
  • File size: 510 KB

Meet the Author

Brian
Tome leads Crossroads church, a movement of over 12,000 people connecting their seeking friends to a community of growing Christ-followers who are changing the world through combating poverty in Cincinnati, building an HIV/AIDS clinic in
South Africa, and battling child sex slavery in India.
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Read an Excerpt

WELCOME TO THE REVOLUTION

A FIELD GUIDE FOR NEW BELIEVERS
By BRIAN TOME

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2008 Brian Tome
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-7087-3


Chapter One

THE REVOLUTION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Jesus didn't come to start a new religion. He came to start a revolution. He brought a passionate message of change-radical, all-encompassing change-to a world in which every part of life was infiltrated by chaos, despair, pain, and isolation. He brought love.

Jesus wasn't content to give people a new belief system to replace their old one. That stuff doesn't reach the heart; it just layers on rules, breeds guilt, and causes people to rebel because they can't keep up with it or they realize it's all for show. Jesus brought the opposite: an entirely new way to live, a system of totality-and the system the world was initially designed to follow. A system not driven by an iron fist or laws or prestige, but by the transforming power of love.

The Kingdom of God isn't something dreamed up by religious professionals. In the New Testament section of the Bible-the books written shortly after the life of Jesus-the phrases "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of heaven" (they're used interchangeably) occur over 150 times. And when Jesus speaks to a huge crowd, in what's known as "The Sermon on the Mount," He explains how to pray, and that prayer asks for God's Kingdom to be brought to earth just as it exists in heaven. What does that mean to you and me today? God is telling us to bring the Kingdom here, and to bring it now.

No wonder this requires a revolution.

But let me back up a little and give some historical context-and it won't be as bad as it sounds, I promise. This is actually pretty interesting history.

Palestine, where Jesus lived and died, was an outpost of the Roman Empire. The local population-mostly Jewish-was ruled by foreign oppressors: the Romans. The Romans had incredible power, cunning, and influence. They conquered and ruled with violence. So, as you might imagine, most of the Jews in Palestine hated the Romans, because, basically, the Jews had become Roman slaves. And to top it off, the Romans worshipped false gods-including the Roman emperor himself. This was a huge offense to the Jews, who believed in only one God. You can see why the Jews were looking for a way out.

The Jews had long prayed and hoped for someone to deliver them-to save them. God had promised, after all, to send someone who would set them free. They called this deliverer "the Messiah," and they all thought they knew what to expect: he would lead a rebellion against the Romans, crush the oppressors, and then rule over his people as a mighty yet benevolent leader.

So when John the Baptist (a Paul Revere-type prophet who had earned the respect of the Jews even though he ate bugs and honey) came out from the woods shouting, "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" people noticed. They held their breath. "He who is coming after me is mightier than me," John said, and the Jews, longing for rescue, thought, That's what I'm talking about! Bring it on! I need to get me some Messiah.

And Jesus was the Messiah; He just wasn't the Messiah the Jews were expecting. He came to deliver them from oppression, but that deliverance didn't look the way they thought it would. Jesus brought a Revolution all right, but His Revolution was much more all-encompassingthanamerepoliticalupheavalorbattlefieldslaughter. It was more than just freedom from a cruel government. It was freedom from a selfish and unfulfilling way of life. In other words, it was freedom from sin.

* * *

THE STORY OF MATTHEW, a Jewish tax collector, is one of my favorite stories about how one man rocked the Revolution and lived out the Kingdom. First, let me explain what it meant to be a tax collector in Jesus' time, so you know what a strange beginning Matthew's journey had. These guys weren't IRS agents. Even if IRS agents aren't the most popular guys around, they're at least respectable. You don't cross to the other side of the street when you see the tax man coming. But in Jesus' day, tax collectors were the lowest of the low. It wasn't only that they'd hang around your front porch and then just happen to run into you during your morning jog and remind you that you owed them. They were considered unclean, meaning they couldn't worship with, eat with, or have voluntary contact with other Jews. Why were tax collectors so hated? Because they were collaborators with the Romans. The Romans gave tax collectors a quota, a minimum to collect, but they were free to overcharge and pocket the excess. In other words, they had a well-earned reputation as self-serving traitors.

So picture this: Jesus had already gathered up six disciples-mostly blue-collar guys, fishermen. Then one afternoon as they were walking through town, Jesus noticed a man in the tax office-and that was Matthew. Jesus stopped, looked into the office, and said two words to him: "Follow Me." And I love Matthew's reaction: "He left everything behind, and rose and began to follow Him".

Matthew left everything behind. He began to follow.

Jesus was calling Matthew out of the Roman world. In that world, Matthew was an oppressor, a sellout. Family love, patriotism, the respect of his neighbors, common decency-all of that was trumped by Matthew's love of money and power. You could hardly invent a better example of a person who sold out to the ways of the world.

But I should point out that Matthew was also a victim. Can you imagine how trapped he felt? He must have hated himself. And yet he couldn't quit. First, there would have been some risk in telling the Roman Empire to kiss off. And second-probably more important-how would he support himself if he quit? Was he supposed to go get a job with one of the neighbors he'd been ripping off?

Imagine the relief Matthew felt when Jesus said, "Follow Me." Jesus was saying, in effect, "Leave all this behind. You don't have to live like this. I know it sounds radical, maybe impossible, but I've got something better for you." Matthew didn't even hesitate. He immediately saw the power of God and said, "I want in on that. Let's go."

Matthew was so pumped about this new life that he threw a party. He invited all his friends to come hang out with Jesus. He wanted them to get a taste of what he had just begun to experience. And who do you expect the friends of a tax collector would be? Other tax collectors and sinners, of course. Certainly not "polite society." Yet Jesus went to the party, and He took along His other disciples. They ate with people whom no good Jew would be caught dead with.

The religious professionals were scandalized. They rolled their eyes to heaven and wagged their self-righteous fingers, because they had no idea what it meant to love.

Here's the irony of Matthew's story, and here's why I like it so much. The Kingdom of God was a more obvious threat to the religious establishment than it was to the political establishment. Did Jesus come to overthrow the "Roman" way of doing things? Yes. Absolutely yes. But that doesn't mean He came to put the religious establishment on top and in its place. Jesus was leading a revolution against the religious professionals' system too. He showed that the powerful would not stay powerful, and the weak would not stay weak.

And guess what happened to Matthew, the old tax collector, the outcast, the thief? He wrote the first account of Jesus' life, and that's the first book in the New Testament of the Bible. Because just as Matthew's life was revolutionized, he knew he could help others see the big picture of the ever-advancing Kingdom.

This is how Matthew's book starts:

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

If you just read every name in that list, you're pretty impressive. (Or pretty anal.) Why did Matthew trot out this many names? Is it the old tax man, the detail jockey, coming back to haunt us?

Actually, Matthew told an interesting story with this boring list. He was giving Jesus' revolutionary credentials. From Abraham-who, like Matthew himself, was called to leave behind everything he knew-through David, Israel's greatest human king and deliverer, and through Mary, the pregnant virgin teenager, the entire sweep of history was leading to this moment of Revolution.

But it's not the "great ones" in Jesus' genealogy that I find most interesting. I wonder if Matthew, the great sinner, smiled as he recorded the other sinners and victims and losers in Jesus' family tree. For instance, Rahab, the prostitute who sold out her countrymen. Tamar, who was raped by her own brother. Solomon, who was blessed with great wisdom but traded it in due to his sexual appetite for concubines and multiple wives from different countries and religions. Even King David was an adulterer and murderer. Abraham was a liar and occasionally a coward.

I'm just saying that God had a plan from the beginning to bring about a Revolution in the most unusual ways-ways you would never imagine, and through people you'd never imagine. And, yes, that's how it still happens.

* * *

THE AMAZING THING ABOUT this Revolution Jesus started is that it's still going on. It's still growing, gobbling up more and more territory all the time. I know it might not look that way here in America. It looks like the Kingdom of God is losing ground. Porn is increasing. Church attendance is decreasing. But in the rest of the world, there are visible signs that the Kingdom of God is growing like crazy.

You may have heard that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Not true. In his book The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, Philip Jenkins shows that when you look at the entire world, the big story is "Southern Christianity"-that is, Christianity in the "developing" nations of Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. If current trends continue, by 2050 there will be five nations besides the United States with 100 million or more Christians: Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, and the Congo.

So if it looks to "religious" American Christians as if the Kingdom of God is losing ground, maybe it's because we're still trying to work an irrelevant religious system here in America. Religion and the Kingdom of God aren't the same thing, by the way. Not even close. I define religion as any system that says, "Do this and don't do that in order to please God and find satisfaction." People in that kind of system might know the official beliefs of Christianity, but either they don't really know Jesus or they're blinded to His power-not in spite of their religious beliefs, but because of them.

When people find religion, they tend to act like they have all the answers and no doubts. I certainly fell prey to this when I found religion. My parents were taking me home from a weekend camp, and I sat in the backseat wondering how to explain what had just happened to me. I said, "Guess what, Mom and Dad! I know Jesus. I'm going to heaven, and you're not." That wasn't the right thing to say, and it wasn't accurate. I'm still amazed by their relative restraint. It's a little embarrassing to tell that story. Obviously, when I "came out of the world," I leaped wholeheartedly into that smug, self-righteous, Christian subculture that most people don't trust (even when they're in it). But many of us instinctively know something that the adolescent version of me didn't know: the Kingdom of God is a Revolution in regard to the world, but it's also a Revolution in regard to any religious system based on rules, on guilt, on power, on judgment, on shame, on good works-on anything other than love.

Here's the deal. Seventy percent of Americans don't go to church regularly. They-and maybe you-have given up on church. But most haven't given up on God. I know America is supposed to be a "Christian" nation, but most people in America don't know God. They don't understand the uniqueness of Jesus. They have this vague sense that, in the end, all religions are the same. But where are they going to get the truth? Oprah? Good Morning America? They might even have a hard time getting the story at a lot of churches. (But 70 percent of Americans aren't there anyway. They don't like church.)

* * *

WHEN I WAS THIRTY years old, my wife Libby and our two kids moved to Cincinnati to start a church for people who don't like church. Eleven revolutionary people invited us to leave our lifelong hometown of Pittsburgh, all of our immediate family and friends, and (most wrenchingly) the Pittsburgh Steelers to go after a dream-the dream of helping people like us who hadn't given up on God but had given up on the kind of religion that the typical church practiced.

The church took off from day one. We grew and grew and grew. It wasn't because we were the new, cool church. It was because our church is a place where our friends who have normal questions and objections can challenge and be challenged in an honest and loving way.

We are speaking a language that people who don't know Jesus can understand, even if in the early stages they disagree. People like Rick. He was a smart guy who thought that believing and following Jesus was naïve. With an undergrad degree from Notre Dame and an MBA from Duke, he wasn't going to just check his brain at the door. Years ago he walked up to me after a church service, handed me his business card and boldly said, "I disagree with what you said today." Now he's been able to wrap his brain around the validity of having faith in Jesus. And then there are people like Paula. She was dealing with an addiction, and she found a place where she and her family could come bruised and battered and still be accepted. Then there were the hundreds of people who were just average Joes and Jills who didn't have major problems but did have an inner longing for something more.

As these people came to our church and interacted with people who knew Jesus, they were exposed to things they could never get on CNN or SportsCenter. And they started to come alive. It thrills me still that the majority of people who come to Crossroads for a weekend service tell us either that they're not Christ-followers or that they've become Christ-followers since being a part of our community because we don't need another church that only pulls people from other churches. We're after people who might not even like church-people seeking something authentic and bold, people with questions, and people who desire to find something bigger than themselves.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from WELCOME TO THE REVOLUTION by BRIAN TOME Copyright © 2008 by Brian Tome. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

NOWHERE TO TURN....................ix
CHAPTER 1 THE REVOLUTION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD....................1
CHAPTER 2 THE REVOLUTION IS ABOUT YOUR FREEDOM....................16
CHAPTER 3 A NEW MOVEMENT....................35
CHAPTER 4 THE BIBLE....................45
PART II: PRAYING WITH YOUR IMAGINATION....................71
PART II: EXAMINE YOUR INDIVIDUAL RELATIONSHIPS....................102
CHAPTER 7 MISSION....................135
CHAPTER 8 THE BEGINNING....................165
APPENDIX: QUESTIONS YOU MAY BE ASKING....................168
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2008

    A great gift idea¿

    Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 09/08 A Beginning Christian can find their new life confusing. They are not sure what they are supposed to believe or how they are supposed to act. Too many Beginning Christians are afraid they will lose their freedom. Brian Tome realized that there were no books to meet the needs of Beginning Christians. He wrote Welcome to the Revolution to meet that need, for in his own words the Christian life is one of Revolution. What we call freedom is many times bondage. Freedom to make our own choices, freedom to smoke what we want, drink what we want, and spend what we want can put us in bondage to addiction, illness, and debts. Our freedom comes only when we fully submit our will to the Lord. We can try choosing things we will do for him by praying: I will give, I will serve, I will¿..etc., but what we should be saying is I will submit. Tome writes in a simple, easy-to-understand style. Welcome to the Revolution would make a great gift for any ¿new Christian.¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2008

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