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Christians shouldn't be afraid to stir up a little controversy now and them.
Christians shouldn't be afraid to stir up a little controversy now and then. (iStock photo )

Acts Christians are not flowing under the radar, blending in with their culture. They are causing controversies and inciting riots!

"For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no reason we may give to account for this uproar" (Acts 19:40).

It angers me that so many supposed Christians refuse to declare the offensive gospel message out of fear that they may lose friends, offend family or put their financial security at risk!

Did you know that's why there was a riot in Ephesus? People's financial well-being was compromised when Paul and his team of firebrands arrived on the scene!

"About that time great trouble arose about the Way. For a silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines for Artemis, brought much business to the craftsmen. He gathered them together with the workmen of similar trades and said, 'Men, you know that by this trade we have our wealth. And you see and hear, not only at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, that this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that these things made by hands are not gods. Now not only is our trade in danger of coming into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Artemis, whom all Asia and the world worship, may be discredited and her magnificence destroyed.' When they heard this, they were full of anger and cried out, 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!' The city was filled with confusion. And in unison they seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed into the theater" (Acts 19:23-29).

I absolutely love Acts 19 verse 23:

"About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way" (Acts 19:23).

Where is such a disturbance today?

"God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" is not the gospel message! It's a true message, but it's not the gospel message. When we start preaching about man's depravity, our darkness and God's holiness and lordship and His extreme sacrifice on the cross, we will begin preaching the gospel. Anything that does not upset culture as it sets people free is suspect as a true message.


People on the right side of Acts 1 will burn with a mission. Others will live normal, low-impact lives. Sure, they may enjoy God, say their prayers, go to church, worship Him, read their Bibles and be people of great conviction. However, the very reason they were born eludes them. The tears over the lost and the zeal for intercession are absent. An aggressive, unwavering daily pursuit of humanly impossible, God-given projects and assignments is nowhere to be found.

The primary purpose of the promise in the upper room was not to make us feel better as we worship or to help us in our daily lives. The primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to live free from sin (He's the Holy Spirit) and to preach the message of the cross to the world; to expand the kingdom. How different this is than what the disciples presumed in Acts 1!

The Holy Spirit enables us to work and to advance in mission in ways that are not possible via human determination. Jesus is physically gone and we are the ones to do the work!

"Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father(John 14:12).

When on the earth, Jesus was about his Father's business. Now that he is gone we are to be about our Father's business!

"He said to them, 'How is it that you searched for Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?' But they did not understand the word which He spoke to them" (Luke 2:49-50).

I propose there are many post-resurrection/pre-upper room Christians today who also don't understand what it is to be about our Father's business.

Acts 1 where we see disciples of Jesus transition into apostles. In a moment, they went from followers to "sent ones" with a mission.

I want to encourage you, when you wake up each morning, stretch and yawn and get ready for the day that you function as a sent one. Burn with a passion for Jesus and the advance of His kingdom. Embrace the impossible assignments that God has for you. Pray continually with others. Live and walk in the Spirit. Disrupt the culture you live in. Trouble the lukewarm and awaken the sleepers. Live in great power—power that's found on the other side of Acts 1.

John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer- and revival-focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John's mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of kings. He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel and so on) that hinder an extreme, sold-out level of true worship.

 Click here for parts one and two of this series.

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