Welcome and thanks for participating in day 19 of the ARISE fast and devotional blog. If you haven’t read the previous days, please go back and read them before reading todays, as these thoughts will build off of one another. 

Any time you sincerely want to change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. – Tony Robbins

 Since I can remember I’ve always loved Florida State Seminole football. I grew up watching Charlie Ward, Deion Sanders, Peter Warrick, and Warrick Dunn. In most of my teen pictures I have an FSU hat on. I met Bobbly Bowden a few years ago at a charity event and haven’t washed my hand since shaking his hand… not really. But you get the idea. 

 Florida State has never had a losing season in my lifetime… well… not until this year. For 40 years, 1977 to 2017, FSU always won more games than they lost… then 2018 happened…

 While listening to a podcast about the troubling season, the expert said, “the minimum standard of athlete has been lowered at FSU.” He went on to explain that while FSU still had a great deal of extremely talented players on the team, the minimum standard had gone down. This minimum standard actually drives a higher standard. On a scale of 1-10, if the minimum standard has become a 2, then 5 look amazing… even though they are average. But when the 2’s rise up and become 4’s, it also pushes the 5’s to become 7’s. So when the floor rises, every one else rises.

 Here’s the question: What is the minimum standard of Christianity? 

 When the minimum standard is simply church attendance, people who give and serve seem radical, and missionaries seem like superstars.

 What if the minimum standard of Christianity is to come and die? Die to yourself. Die to selfishness. Live for Christ. Live for others.

 Perhaps the most significant ingredient to rediscovering the movement of Christianity is establishing a radical minimum standard. But… what if it’s not a radical minimum standard. What if it’s simply getting back to the New Testament standard? What if the heroes of the book of Acts aren’t superstars of the faith? What if they were just fulfilling the minimum standard of Christianity? What if they were just dying to themselves, and trusting and obeying Jesus within their culture? We tend to see the book of Acts as extraordinary acts performed through extraordinary people. But what if they were extraordinary acts performed through ordinary people? 

 Our account of the early church movement tells us that the disciples were normal people – uneducated and ordinary – who had an encounter with God and then helped others encounter God (Acts 4:13). Sounds a lot like us.  Paul was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). James reminds us that Elijah was a man just like us (James 5:17).

 We have made these apostles heroes, when they were really just living out the same call that we have been given. Are the great pastors, missionaries, evangelists, etc. really extraordinary, or do they just appear extraordinary because of our low standard? 

 It’s so easy to confuse the minimum with the extraordinary when the minimum standard has been lowered. 

 What if there are atrophied muscles within our spiritual body? Muscles that are present, but not used… and therefore we are not aware of them. Gifts that lay dormant. Untapped potential. Undeveloped strengths. 

 A sleeping giant… waiting to be awakened.

 A movement… waiting to move. 

 It’s painful when atrophied muscles are first exercised. There are whole fields of therapy based on re-awakening atrophied muscles. The first stages of movement are agonizing. They seem forced and unnatural. But that movement is actually more natural than what seems normal.

 It’s been 19 days since we began this devotional journey. If you’ve exercised new muscles, it’s probably been painful, and it’s probably felt unnatural. But keep stretching. It’s worth it. 

 Remember, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you (Romans 8:11). The same Spirit that empowered Paul empowers you. The same Spirit that caused John to love his enemies lives in you. The same Spirit that healed a crippled beggar through Peter lives in you. The same Spirit that gave courage, boldness and strength amidst difficulty and pain lives in you.

 The same Spirit that created a movement that changed the world through normal people surrendered to Christ, is the same Spirit that desires to re-establish a movement through you. 

 It’s time to BE THE MOVEMENT!

 Esse Quam Videri,

 Pastor Brent

 Meditate and reflect on this verse and questions: 

 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 5:42

1. What is your spiritual status quo? What’s your minimum standard?

2. Is God calling you to raise your minimum standard? (in giving, serving, witnessing, loving, etc.)

3. If you raise your minimum standard, how will that affect your friends, family and church? 

 Pray: 

 – Pray that God allows you to raise your minimum standard. 

 – Pray that as you raise your standard it creates momentum toward a movement. 

 – Pray The Holy Spirit has freedom to use you however He desires.