Every one of us are part of a great Mystery.
For me, as a brand new believer it almost seemed I had been born again by chance or wild twist of fate. Randomly coming across Jesus in my life journey as a young man in the middle of a drug-fuelled journey through the Melbourne music scene. There was really no lineage of what i would describe as strong faith in my family, my Father an atheist and my Mother's christening as a child her deepest symbol of her faith at the time. It would seem that it was solely through a mate I had met in the pub, a young Daniel Hagen who would very soon experience his personal road of redemption through Jesus Christ... that Jesus would also choose to throw a line of His grace out to me.
It was around twelve years ago that I experienced my own redemption. On my way to work one particular day, driving my car 100kph on the Frankston freeway - just approaching the sweeping overpass passing the Frankston-Flinders Road exit - yep right there I would also in that very moment make a decision to lay my life down to Jesus Christ. The radical encounter I had in that moment is one I will never forget. I made a pact with God that I would follow His voice: My brand new, supercharged God-driven conscience.
Well in the weeks that followed I would encounter this other brand new thing to me.
Brethren. Fellowship. Haha, those words are only ever pronounced in my head with an accompanying regal British accent. I honestly still inwardly have a chuckle as i say them to myself even right now. It was such a funny and strange new world, with so many new words to learn.
I would eagerly observe my strange new adopted family of Christian 'brethren' discussing their faith with one another and sharing their faith with others. So much Jesus talk, all the time... Jesus. Bible. Evangelism. Healings. Prayer meetings. More evangelism. Every believer had clearly had some kind of encounter with the Lord and I loved hearing people's hearts. I'll never forget one guy looking me in the eyes and saying "I'm honestly the freest in my mind that I have ever been."
You see, I was also becoming well aware that in Church culture, and sometimes even more so when out with others sharing the Gospel, some Christians could have this strange tendency to 'put it on' a bit... you know, talk up their faith in Jesus maybe a little more than what had actually become real revelation or personal experience in their life. Not that there is anything wrong with that to be fair, i mean we can not exaggerate Jesus. And on top of that it is in my experience usually the expression of faith that comes before the change of our reality. Not the other way around. I suppose what I am saying though is that we can exaggerate our actual personal experience of Him, and we ought not kid ourselves. People sense a pretender. Particularly when you're trying to convince someone to believe in someone who raised from the dead and is seemingly invisible to the eye at present.
The thing is, when this guy looked me in the eye and told me he was the freest he had ever been. Well, I could see it. I could tell he wasn't making it up. I can tell you, I have always appreciated that. I have always appreciated people being honest and real. I suppose when I think about it, this was the central value in what our vision for starting Resound Sounds was all about. The real, non-hyped journey of tangible freedom that is in a life with Jesus. The real thing we feel Him doing in us as a nation and a people.
This great unfolding journey of life and purpose has many a dark unexpected twist and turn. We can wonder why things don't go according to the way we might like them to, and yet something rings true in both the natural and the spiritual: You simply can't sow good seed on good ground and reap nothing. And Australians are good ground.
Australians are noted around the world as a genuine, 'what you see is what you get' kind of people. To our great merit, and something I believe is a particular grace from God as a people group - Australians have great BS detectors. Australians are far enough away from the rest of the world to most of the time get a decent, unadulterated outsider opinion of the way the world functions. We can tend to be a little harsh in those opinions sometimes, but we're not really offended in the same being returned to us because we value one thing highly in the nation.
Scripture says that everything that can be shaken will be shaken. What was passable in other nations in other times will not work here in this hour. Words don't cut it. Slick promotions wont cut it. But integrity of actions will. I say let the already-dying, slick-fronted, imported model of churchianity that Aussies have been trying to impress unimpressed Australians with go through it's final death throes.
And let the beautiful thing that we are all born to be a part of, the real thing that was never of chance but of promise, rise. The mystery of God... in us.