I played football growing up. I was not a great athlete, but I could move down the field fast and was not afraid to hit somebody. I think that about sums up the core of good football anyway. Many memories stand out about playing sports, but one thing I learned still echoes in my mind (probably because coaches would yell and spit while reminding us).
Our coaches constantly reminded us of one thing: never stop moving until the whistle blows.
If you were caught standing, or casually walking, before the referee blew his whistle signally the end of the play, you were immediately pulled from the field.
In fact, and I really like this part, it did not matter if you had fallen down, dropped the ball, ran out of bounds, smashed a finger, lost your helmet, your shoes, or even your pants … you DO NOT STOP MOVING until you hear that whistle blow. The same one hundred percent effort was expected from every player, on every play, at every practice, and in every game, NO EXCEPTION.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1Thess 4:16 NASB).
“For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds” (Matt 16:27 NLT).
“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matt 24:31 NASB).
Until then, Jesus taught us “occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13). The word occupy here simply means “to busy oneself with.” We must busy ourselves with reaching lost souls with the Gospel. Jesus said, “Know ye not that I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). If we have been born again, that makes us the children of God. We too must “be about [our] Father’s business.” Just like Jesus, we should never cease to BE busy about winning souls. His business is our business. It is a people business, a soul business.
There is no ministry without motion. Ministry is doing. Ministry is going. Ministry is not busywork with a Christian spin on it, or one “good” activity after another; it is FOCUSED ACTION based on clear purpose, which is revealed in the Word of God and a personal encounter with God.
The Church was designed from its birth on the day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2, to be in PERPETUAL MOTION. This term “perpetual motion” literally refers to movement that goes on forever. As we look into the book of Acts, we see a church in perpetual motion. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” There should always be in us an aching desire to push forward, move with intensity, to persevere and never quit. Only the sound of that great trumpet of God signals the end. Until then, we move.
The Church is made up of individuals. It follows that it is the personal level of perseverance and determination of each member that gauges the determination of the whole.
We each continue in the faith, striving, straining; we each endure our own trials, carry our own cross; and we each fight a fight of faith, agonizing as the ancient Greek athletes to lay hold on that prize, never slowing down, never looking back, but always in hot pursuit of Jesus Christ. Oh, “That I may know him!” (Phil 3:10)
And just like our analogy with the referee’s whistle, it does not matter if you fell down, dropped the ball, ran out of bounds, or any other thing. If you have not heard the trumpet and the Church has not yet been raptured, it’s not over.
Get up and get moving, because it’s not over.
Apostle Paul understood this concept very well when he said,
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).
The Body of Christ is in perpetual motion – it has not stopped since its inception – and will not stop for all eternity. The Rapture of the Church is a grand transition, from one stage to another, but in many ways the dynamic nature of the Church is seamless.
Perpetual faith produces fruit, season after season.
There are some, however, who started this Christian race, but for whatever reasons (or excuses), they have stopped moving. Their run became a jog, which became a stroll, which slowed to a tired walk, until now they can’t get up off their butts to do anything for the Lord.
Anyone ever involved in sports knows that your muscles become most sore after you stop moving. After long periods of inactivity they eventually become stiff. But even old stiffs can get “back in shape” and BECOME functioning, productive, thriving members of the Lord’s Body. It just takes a little determination combined with the oil of anointing. If you ever feel like giving up, remember why you held on in the first place. Remember how you came to the Lord. Return to your first love.
The True Church is in perpetual motion, and all who want to be in this Church better get moving or get left behind.
Nathaniel Houseman is minister, prolific Bible teacher and appointed missionary to the nation of Cuba. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and bachelor’s in philosophy and religion. Currently, he is pursuing his master’s degree at the Apostolic School of Theology. His wife Candice is a master’s level teacher for the North Carolina public school system. Along with their two year old son Luke, the Houseman family has dedicated their life to the ministry and reaching the lost in the nation of Cuba.