Over forty years ago I took Jesus at His word, believed in Him and received eternal life. He is everything to me because He rescued me. I don't know where I would be today if He didn't love me. The day I believed in Him everything changed. The only explanation for my life, for every insight and victory you will read in this blog is Him, Jesus Christ--His power and presence in my heart.
I'm too old, too sick, and too tired to keep doing stuff that doesn't matter. I want to see revival again before I go to heaven. I'm convinced that I'm not alone. Since I actually lived a revival--the Jesus Movement of the 60's and 70's--I know that it's not that complicated. The simple, radical words of Jesus are our guide. The simple, radical life and faith communities of the first century believers are our model.
WARNING: My Radical Heart
God has re-radicalized my heart over the past few years so that I live with a deep dissatisfaction for the ordinary, everyday expectations of modern Christianity. I'm a shameless recipient of grace begging Jesus to use me.
If words like radical, revolutionary, and revival scare you, you probably should navigate away from this site. If you're satisfied with your Christian life, you won't like my writing. If you don't trust grace, you won't like my teaching. If you're afraid of losing control, you won't like my challenges.
But if your heart is pulled by the possibility of a life that counts forever, the sold-out life of a spiritual revolutionary, read on.
I didn't grow up in a Christian home. I met Jesus Christ as a student during the Jesus Movement Revival of the 60's and 70's. God used us to start a revolution within a revolution. While our brothers were burning their draft cards and our sisters were burning their bras, we hit the streets and campuses of America with a burning desire to serve the Lord Jesus.
It all started in Southern California, but spread quickly throughout the United States and Europe. Opponents called us Jesus freaks and the mainline church didn't know what to do with us. But we didn't care. We were about Jesus. We were about the Bible. We were about revival.
We baptized new converts in the Pacific Ocean and mountain rivers. We gathered in large Jesus Festivals where some of the greatest Bible teachers of our day tolerated our Christian Rock to worship and study with us. We met in coffeehouses, handed out Jesus tracts, plastered One-Way stickers on campus, and prayed with the naive idealism of young radicals.
God answered our prayers by using us to reach the most angry and confused generation in American history and launch some of the greatest ministries in the world today. Sadly, we let the institutional church domesticate us, and we, like it, became irrelevant.
But thousands of us are remembering those days, and we want to relive them. Not as a bunch of old guys singing Maranatha songs, but as a newly awakened army of revolutionaries for Jesus Christ.
We want to take our culture by storm again--an unstoppable force for Jesus. We want to see it again before we die.
My Radical Hope
Speaking of dying. I live with a chronic leukemia that viciously attacks my skin with disfiguring and debilitating pain. It almost killed me in 2000.
As a dedicated Christian, it broke my heart to think that God didn't care for me enough to remove this deadly disease from my life. When I decided it wasn't worth it to follow Jesus anymore, the story of Lazarus' family in John 11 changed my mind. God used that familiar account to bring me back to Him.
You can read that journey in my book, When God Breaks Your Heart. Since then, I've realized that the only difference between me and most other Christians is that I know my time is short.
You may not have leukemia like me, but I guarantee that you're terminal! Someday and probably sooner than you think, your life here on earth will be over.
My question is simple, "What then?" What difference did your years in this earthly container make? If you're a Christian, what impact did you have for Him? If you were a part of my revival, the Jesus Movement, do you want to go to heaven knowing that the most significant years of your Christian life were the first few?
I am a follower of Christ, and Senior Pastor of the historic Church of the Open Door in Southern California. I have served at the church for over thirteen years.
I married my Jesus Movement Sweetheart, Judy, in 1971.
As first-generation Christians, we stumbled forward walking with Jesus as He prepared our hearts to serve Him. He saw us through the years I was a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service and through my tour of duty as an officer in the U.S. Army. He taught us lessons of faith when I resigned my commission to attend Dallas Theological Seminary. And He allowed us to serve together as pastor and wife of churches in Michigan, Oregon, and since 1996, at Church of the Open Door in Southern California.
We have three children who now walk with Him as adults, and seven grandchildren we spoil intentionally at every opportunity—Dodger games, Disneyland days, USC football games (my apologies to Bruin fans), In-N-Out in Southern California and every candy store and ice cream parlor in Cannon Beach, Oregon!
Judy and I love good movies, the mountains, the beach, and each other. I enjoy good books, backpacking, and working with my best-dog friend, Annie the English Cocker.
I'm also into fitness, but you'll have to take that by faith.
Thousands pray a simple prayer for me every day: "Please let Ed live and serve." As long as God continues to say yes to that prayer, I'll keep writing and begging Him for revival.
It's just a conversation between friends who aren't buying the sanitized, institutionalized version of Christianity being marketed today. We're not going to always talk about heavy, eternal matters. Some of the conversation will be about everyday life: like loving our families and friends, building real communities of faith, locking arms with fellow revolutionaries, and living the best life on earth--the life of a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
My Radical Book
I just finished my second book, Reborn to Be Wild: Reviving Our Radical Pursuit of Jesus. It tells the story of our revival, the Jesus Movement, from the inside, and wonders why so many of us settled for the tame Christianity of the suburbs.