Byron Paulus (Executive Director/CEO of Life Action Ministries) interviewed John Avant (President of the Life Action Division) about Life Action’s new vision for the future.
Q: John, we both know that a movement of revival cannot be relegated to a mere formula. Yet you have been seeking the Lord for the “main thing” standing between the church and fuller release of God’s power … something that would propel forward our usefulness. How did you land on a simple “yes” as the essential missing element?
A: Our mission to “inspire your next YES to God” came to us as something of an epiphany. A group of Life Action leaders had spent weeks seeking God together for a simple way to restate our mission.
One day it was like everyone in the room sensed at the same time that the idea of saying yes to God was critical. Though we don’t have the ability to bring revival by our own actions, when people in Scripture heard God and said yes to His call, He moved in power.
We may be making revival and life itself too complicated these days. God calls us with a purpose, and when we say yes, He moves.
Q: Revival is all about vertical connection to God. What keeps us as believers from saying a resounding YES to the conviction of God’s Spirit? What is holding us back from obedience?
A: We feel that the big barrier of our day is fear. Fear is paralyzing the world, and tragically, even the church.
It’s easy to be afraid of almost everything today. School children and entire church congregations have been shot. Terrorism looms in the shadows. Many people fear authorities they once respected. We fear financial collapse and death. Anxiety is now at epidemic levels, even among our children.
We bring this fear into our churches. We are afraid to risk, afraid to change, afraid to move beyond our comfortable Sunday morning seats.
But saying yes to God brings us right into the middle of God’s promise: “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 esv). The gospel is about good news! It frees us to be good news people in an age of fear.
Q: You talk a lot about Isaiah 6 and how seeing God afresh results in serving God wholeheartedly. What is the connection?
A: When Isaiah truly experienced God the great King, he was overwhelmed. But when the angel told him that his sins had been atoned for, something changed. His astonishment overcame his fear, and without even knowing exactly what the triune God wanted, he volunteered, “Yes, God, send me!”
And God has spoken this clearly to me in these days: We must become more astonished by God than we are afraid of the world. At Life Action, we are ready to give our lives to inspire millions to leave fear behind and go with us on this God-astonished journey.
Q: You are deeply passionate about an entire campaign calling millions everywhere to say yes to God. What is your hope and prayer in this endeavor?
A: Movements are simply stories that come to life. We have a true story, the Great Story. We believe that as we say yes to God’s invitation into that story, a contagious passion will grow in us.
These days, it is easier than ever for a story to become a movement. We want to use media, social media, the written word, and the spoken word to see the stories of Jesus at work through Life Action go viral.
Q: How can our Life Action partners participate in this campaign? Why would they want to?
A: Our partners can help in a number of ways. First of all, pray for the fulfillment of our fresh vision through our “say YES to God” mission.
Second, invest financially. We are headed into uncharted territory to do what God has told us to do, and we are trusting Him for finances we don’t yet have.
Third, as we begin this social media campaign in the months ahead, help this go viral by sharing everything we post on your own social media.
Finally, say yes to God yourself. Right now. Spend enough time with Him to hear from Him, and then say yes!
Why should our partners help with this? Someone told the story of Jesus to someone else, who told someone else, who told you. Will we be content to keep all that God has done and is doing through Life Action to ourselves? That would be tragic.
God has used this ministry in your life. He has used it in thousands of others. Now, together, let’s see Him use our story in millions of God-astonished lives!