Ryan Rufus - "After the Grace Revolution"

James Preston Reply 6:36 AM
James' Note:  What a privilege to have Ryan Rufus, Senior Associate Pastor at City Church International Hong Kong, writing on the blog!  This post is in conjunction with a Podcast I did with Ryan which will be released at the end of May. 

We have included the whole first chapter of his new book in this post, but if you want to download it as a PDF and share it with friends, simply right-click this link: AFTER THE REVOLUTION PDF

Over to Ryan!

Well it’s an honor to write for James Preston’s blog. He’s a man of grace and I really believe in what he’s doing.

James asked me to write anything that’s on my heart, but I felt to give him the first chapter of the new book I have coming out soon called “After the Revolution – What must follow a grace revolution”. The message in this chapter is very close to my heart right now, and I believe it will help people navigate their way through into the next stage of this Gospel revolution. I haven’t written this book to keep everyone happy in order to make lots of sales. I’ve said what’s needed to be said without pulling any punches. I know some will love me while others will hate me for it, but I’m okay with that.

I believe the Church has arrived at the next stage of the grace revolution and there are two ways we could go from here. We could camp around the foundation of grace or we could now begin to build on it and see the Church coming into its finest hour!

Radical pure grace is the only foundation for the Church so to build on this foundation with the Law would be an absolute disaster. To not build on it though would be an even greater disaster! The purpose of a foundation is so that a building can go up. God is not bringing the Church into grace so that we can just do nothing. He’s bringing the Church into grace so that we can do the “great works” He has prepared in advance for us to do through Christ Jesus!

There is opposition to this next stage as I am sure you are already aware. The purpose of this book is to arm you with wisdom and courage to boldly embrace this next season of grace and to stand against the intimidation and crafty schemes of the enemy.

After the Revolution is all about what must happen after there has been a grace revolution in a church and in a person’s life. It was written for pastors and for faithful church members who believe in the local church and desire to see their churches growing unified, strong and effective.

This book will give you courage and strength. It will ignite vision and passion. It will give you wisdom and insight on how to navigate through the ungodly pressures being put on you by the demonic realm through certain people opposing local churches, leadership, divine order, divine purpose and building on the foundation of grace.

I hope this first chapter blesses you…

The Difference between a Grace Rebellion and a Grace Revolution.

What is the difference between a revolution and a rebellion? A rebellion is defined by what it stands against, whereas a revolution is defined by what it stands for. A rebel is just interested in fighting against something, whereas a revolutionist is fighting for something. A rebellion seeks to disrupt, bring down or destroy a bad ideology or system of government. A revolution seeks to transform it into something better. In simple terms, a rebellion seeks to destroy, while a revolution seeks to build something better. If you think you’re a revolutionist but find yourself only destroying and never building, I hate to tell you this, but you’re nothing more than a rebel! This book is not for rebels, it’s for revolutionaries who want to see the Church becoming what Christ intended for her.

What happens after a revolution is even more important than the actual revolution itself! In fact, if people do not go into what the revolution was there to position them for then the revolution could end up being more destructive to them than the bondage they were previously in. If people never move on to rebuild something the right way then they never had a revolution, they only had a rebellion.

If you’re in a prison surrounded by a vast desert and you happen to breakout and gain your “freedom”, you are now worse off than you were when in prison! You will die in the desert. It’s not just about your freedom it’s about going into a better place.

The nation of Libya was recently liberated from an unjust, murderous and oppressive government. A rebel army rose up all over the country and fought against the government. The rest of the world helped the Rebels to bring down the government and gain their freedom. Suddenly, the rebels are now the new government and have the responsibility of taking care of the nation. Their new cause has to be building infrastructure, schools, hospitals, a good judicial system, small business, big business, trade, the economy and a nation founded on better values. If they don’t build a better government but just live to celebrate their freedom and how they brought down the old government, the country will be worse off than it was under the old government. The country will collapse. Infrastructure like clean water, electricity, waste removal, hospitals, the police force, education, transportation and road systems will all break down leading to a collapse in manufacturing, business, agriculture and jobs. Famine will sweep the country. Disease, thirst, violence and anarchy will break out as people fight for survival. Eventually the whole country will become impoverished and destitute leading to mass deaths. You can see the dangers of a rebellion without a proper revolution.

This can also happen in the Church world. Many people and churches are stuck in a religious legalistic structure and theology that’s oppressive, crushing, abusive, slavish and driven by performance to please God. It’s a system of motivating people to live right by guilt and fear and keeping them under a “falling short/never good enough” mentality. Now you can break people out, but breaking out is only half of the revolution! You have to take them into a better place – a Kingdom of God government and intent for His Church. You need to build and establish people on the foundation of Christ and on his divine order and purpose for the Church.

The Church is at a critical juncture in this Gospel Revolution. The revolution has been breaking the Church out of a mixture of law and grace bondage, but what happens after this is of most importance. It will be the difference between a “dying in the wilderness” or a “walking into inheritance”.

There is undeniably a Gospel Revolution taking place in the Church today that is bringing people out of legalistic bondage and dead religion and back into the glorious inheritance of the New Covenant. This is a wonderful thing that God has instigated and is fully backing.
Because of this we are seeing individuals and churches breaking free from:
  • Guilt, shame and condemnation. 
  • Religious dead works. 
  • Human effort and self-righteous performance to please God. 
  • Trying to earn Gods love and blessings, and avoid his judgment and punishments. 
  • Legalism and law based Christianity. 
  • Abusive, manipulative and controlling style of church government and leadership. 
  • A confusing mixture of the Old Covenant with New Covenant. 
  • Being motivated by fear and manipulation.
I see simultaneously and unfortunately a grace rebellion that is also taking place where “free” people are now casting off all leadership, divine order, godly government and sound doctrine and have failed to go into what the freedom wanted to provide. This has sadly begun to discredit the pure and authentic message of God’s grace. It has caused some leaders and people to view grace as a destructive and rebellious teaching that leads people to reject divine order, sound doctrine and the value of the local church. Unfortunately this is causing some to reject the transformation that God wants to bring them into.

Most revolutions have a fringe fanatic that have lost sight of the true cause and have just become rebels leading a rebellion while thinking they’re leading a revolution. Some people see these “trouble makers” and mistakenly think the whole revolution is nothing more than a rebellion. This is a shame because it’s slowing down churches from coming into the fullness of grace.

It was a revolution that set Israel free from Egyptian bondage in order that they may enter the Promise Land. That “free” generation, however, did not enter their inheritance but stayed and suffered in the wilderness unto utter destruction. One of the most common events you saw occurring with Israel in the wilderness was a continual breaking out of rebellion.

If all you do is break free from bad leadership and bad beliefs but fail to go into what God is building, you get stuck in a rebellion that will continue to manifest unto total destruction. What starts out as something good has the potential to end up in something terrible if you don’t have the next phase in mind! The wilderness is not true freedom, it’s a place, where if you spend too long there, will lead to confusion, disillusionment, rebellion, a returning to bondage, self-destruction and ultimately death.

People who do not sequence with God at this crucial stage will end up just preaching rebellion and helping people to rebel against what God is actually doing.

But this grace revolution must not be mistaken with the grace rebellion or associated with rebels. God is very serious about bringing His church into the fullness of New Covenant life and freedom and is using true revolutionaries who, honor and value leadership to do this. These are people who do more than destroy or just get you free from something. They are people who are invested in building what God is building while destroying the religious trappings that hinder people from true New Covenant life.

It’s great to be free from the wrong things but now we need to build on the right things and let grace empower and lead us into what God now has for the church.

This includes:
  • Kingdom divine order established in the church with grace-filled empowering leadership. 
  • Powerful, influential and fruitful local churches everywhere. 
  • Establishing people in the all round sound doctrine of the Gospel of Grace. 
  • Supernatural fruitfulness, growth, increase and multiplication in individuals and churches. 
  • Victory over bondage, addiction and temptation Living stones being built together in love and empowered in gifting. 
  • A generation of faithful, loyal, church honoring, committed, hard working, servant-hearted, generous, powerful lovers of God arising! 
  • Heaven coming to earth!
So what is the state of the revolution?

Right now we are seeing a divide growing between those that were just with us for the rebellion, and those that are moving forward in the revolution. Perhaps the question is what are you involved in – a revolution or a rebellion? It’s time to get behind what God is doing next on the planet. And what is that? He is raising up influential local churches all over the world that are governed by strong grace-filled leaders who empower the church to display to the world what heaven looks like when it comes to a community of people here on earth! A community of people who walk with God and others in love, joy, peace, liberty, divine order, favor, health, prosperity, honor and purity with victory over sin, curse, fear, condemnation, sickness, poverty and all manner of evil.

This Grace Revolution will not be finished until we are seeing this happening all over the world! If we don’t see this happening then all we had was a grace rebellion! I’ve committed my life to this Grace Revolution and I’m going to see it through until the day I die! I’m a part of an incredible local Church in Hong Kong that is building and establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth through Christ’s plan A for mankind – the Church! I’m also connected in working relationships with other churches, pastors and five fold ministry gifts all over the world that have a passion to see churches planted and established in grace and the Gospel of Christ impacting mankind.



The Science of Productivity

James Preston Reply 12:28 PM
Every week I like to have a cup of coffee (or a few) and devote some time going through popular articles on the internet.  I find most of these articles primarily through my Twitter feed, which is the great thing about Twitter; you choose the accounts that suit your interests.  I love to read about politics, philosophy, productivity, entrepreneurial stuff, theology, etc.  So when a good article (or video) pops up, I bookmark it for that personal coffee time.

This week I came across a fantastic post, just a simple video that summarises in 3 mins how to be more productive.  It is by no means exhaustive and comprehensive, but it is good enough for me to devote a blog post to it.  I wanted to share this with you on the blog, because it really is one of the best summaries of becoming productive that I have ever seen.

So give it a watch, and let me know what you think...

Do you feel like you need to get more done?  Why do you think so many people don't have enough time to get things done, these days?

Life Is A Series of Moments to be Savoured

James Preston Reply 7:09 AM
372 days ago today my life changed forever.  1 year 1 week the craziest thing happened to us.  And not just my wife and I, everyone who is intimately connected to us.  Their lives took a significant change as well.

That's the change a new human life can bring to this world.  It turns everything upside down in so many far-reaching places.  It is not something to be taken lightly!  (Be warned, teenagers)

Joel Preston was born at 8:20am on Wednesday 4 April 2012 and it remains the most emotional moment I have ever lived.  And I've been blessed to have a few.  I don't think I realised such spontaneous and involuntary joy was even possible for humans!

Such moments must be savoured.  Such grand experiences must be remembered.  That's why cameras have become so popular, invading every electronic device man can make.  But are photos enough?

Familiarity breeds contempt.  And it seems the more photos we have, the less we seem to savour them as we eagerly "side swipe" to see the next one.  (It is for this reason I am realising more and more the value of physically printing out my photos).  With such floods of repeating images, do we really stop to consider the moment that was captured?

It is with this in mind that I like to add to my collection of imagery a few physical reminders of great moments.  Sentimental ornaments that help me stop and think about what actually transpired.  Those times of stopping invigorate me with inspiration and help me remember what life is all about.

For the 4th of April 2012, the day Joel James Preston entered this world, I had the perfect reminder that demanded my attention every day, even when I was away from my precious boy.  My hospital tag.

The amount of times I have been asked about it are countless, but the amount of times it has helped me stop for a moment and remind myself of what I experienced that day are equally numerous.

I figured many creatives today wear all kinds of strange bangles, from animal skin to copper rings to rubber bands.  If someone can wear a rubber band "telling the world" that they're in support of anti-rhino poaching, I think it's only fair I can wear a band that reminds me of the greatest day of my life!

Some people think it's crazy and silly.  But most of those people live conventionally in the box of conformity, so I refuse to bow to their expectations.  I think it's the perfect way for me to maximise my mind's ability to recall great history.

The band snapped yesterday.  Exactly 1 year and 1 week from the day it was placed on my wrist by the maternity ward's Matron.  And I thought it would be a good opportunity to remind you to make the most of every opportunity.  Savour the great moments life presents us.  Squeeze every last drop out of them.

Life is a gift to be savoured.  Don't take its grand moments for granted.

May you savour life's grand moments every day!

What are the some unconventional ways you savour life's great moments?

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Are You Too Busy? Some advice in half a tweet.

James Preston Reply 9:26 AM
Are you too busy?  Maybe it's because you don't really care.

I was "squizzing" through twitter recently when literally a third of a tweet hit me straight in the chest.  You know?  Where it counts.

"Too busy doesn’t exist if you really care."

The culprit was Farrah Gray.  One of America's nicest CEOs and one of the world's youngest self-made millionaires (he became a millionaire at 14!)

This man has a lot on his plate.  He is a CEO of a few companies, he continues to think up new strategies as an entrepreneur, he is a fully-booked-up Motivational Speaker, he is an author, he is a columnist, he is actively involved in social upliftment, and to top it all off he is firmly rooted in His Faith in God (something that takes time and focus!)  Oh, and he's only 28 (at the time of writing).

We all complain about not having enough time.  We all wish it was the one thing that we could multiply.  But it is the one thing we cannot control.  We cannot control time, we can only control ourselves.

And Farrah's tweet, seven simple words, sums up exactly how we should spend our lives.  Because time is the most precious commodity we have.

What do you care about?  And how much do you care about it?

Do you care about living in a good home with the "finer things in life"?  That may well be your reason for working long hours for a big corporation that pays you a good salary.

Do you care about your children, your family or your friends enough to make space for them?  Because that's the greatest gift you can give any of them.

How about the mark you leave on this world?  Do you care about the impact you can have on this life enough to give time to contributing to change?

Do you give time to equipping yourself to contributing to change?  Do you care about your health and well-being enough to make time for you?

It doesn't matter how much is on your plate.  If you care enough about something, you'll make time for it.

What do you care most about that you'll do anything to make time for?

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