Authors: Todd Hudson
Tags: #Religion, #Christian Life, #Spiritual Growth, #book, #ebook
Imagine trying to describe the ocean to someone by carrying a jar of ocean water around. No matter how much we talk about the ocean and carry around a jar full of ocean water, there is no way it could ever be as good as experiencing the ocean firsthand. There is just no substitute for the real thing.
As I read Scripture, I read of healings, demonic deliverance, and even the dead being raised; and I used to wonder, “Why isn’t God doing that today?” I would read about it but it only caused me to want it more! So what do we do? Do we just hope for more? Do we just wish for more? In his book
So Much More!
Todd Hudson helps us move beyond the hope of the kingdom of the future to the power of the kingdom today.
More people need to experience what Jesus meant when He talked about the kingdom of God being at hand. We need to understand that He was speaking of the present age as well as heaven. Imagine if Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is at hand . . . 2000 years from now.” What power or authority would that bring?
Many good, moral, believing, disciplined, Christ followers operate in a simple hope of living this life the best they can, trying to please the Father, and looking forward to the day when they will be in heaven. As Todd Hudson clearly teaches in this book, the kingdom of heaven Christ came to bring is not just a future event. He speaks of a kingdom that is available to us today that should impact our daily living—a kingdom that is filled with Holy Spirit power that allows us to overcome sickness, demonic presence, and even death itself. It is the life God gives to those born of the Spirit!
I am convinced this kingdom life is what is missing in so many good, God-fearing, truth-teaching, disciple-making churches of today. There is so much more than what we are seeing and experiencing. The Book of Acts and the church of today are meant to be so much more alike than what we have settled for.
God is still victorious. God is still active. God is still able. So why do we settle for the powerless lives that litter our sanctuaries and sometimes even our pulpits?
I did for years. But no more! I will no longer settle for less than what Peter and Paul had. I believe there is Holy Spirit power I can live in today that causes demons to flee, health to be restored, and victory proclaimed! I believe the same Holy Spirit power that Jesus said would allow us to do the things He did and even greater things than even He had done (John 14:12) is available to every born-again believer today just as much as it was available to the born-again believers 2000 years ago!
The partial picture we get through Christ’s church today does not do God justice. Christ followers often go through their whole lives without ever seeing and experiencing the power of God. They have seen pictures and heard stories, yet what they hear and what they read in Scripture seems to be very different from their experience. It doesn’t have to be that way. There is so much more! Jesus came to restore the kingdom of God, not just point to it. This is much more than something to hope for after we die. It is a hope we have while we live!
I have known Pastor Todd Hudson for over forty years. We are lifelong friends. While I have read books in the past about the kingdom age in which we live, it has never been explained so logically and systematically as Todd has done in this book. That, in and of itself, is enough for me. But when you add the sincerity of heart and the authentic faith of a man whom I know so well, it only magnifies the message. Todd’s desire is to magnify the message Christ brought to a world that is seeking His truth—a message of hope and power, a message that can change churches and change lives. Are you thinking that something is missing? If you are, then you need to know that there is
So Much More!
ITHOUT ALMOST ANY
notice, my life was suddenly turned upside down. One day I was leading as the senior pastor of a conservative evangelical mega church; and the next day I had clearly been led by God to walk away from the security, the financial provision, and the prestige of leading one of the fastest growing churches in our circle of churches in the entire nation and take my life and ministry down a completely different path. People thought I was crazy; but honestly, I was just being obedient to what God called me to do. To understand how I got to that point, I need to help you understand some of my journey.
I have been around church all of my life. I was born into a pastor’s family and raised in a very conservative evangelical church. I was called to ministry at a young age; and so to prepare for that I attended a very conservative evangelical Bible college, and shortly after graduating began ministering in churches of that persuasion.
One of the things that I was taught in this background was that God doesn’t speak directly to people today, that He usually just speaks through the Bible, or perhaps very occasionally He communicates through an impression He might place on your heart. I was taught that the miracles, signs, and wonders that accompanied believers in the New Testament age were only to give credibility to those establishing the early church; now that the church has been established and we have the Bible in complete form, there was no longer a need for signs, wonders, or miracles. When it came to the Holy Spirit, I was taught much more about what He doesn’t do today than what He does do. I learned that He doesn’t give people supernatural gifts like tongues, words of knowledge, prophecy, or healing any longer. Again, those gifts had died out and were no longer necessary for today’s church. Just like signs and wonders, I was taught that those spiritual gifts were given to add credibility to the apostles’ message and help establish the early church; but after the time of the apostles, these things ceased.
Honestly, this teaching never made a lot of sense to me and I was always left wondering deep down inside why my experience in church didn’t look more like what I read about in the Book of Acts. However, at the end of the day it did not matter that much to me. What I really wanted more than anything was to see people saved and build a fast growing church.
I was granted success on both fronts. Many people received Jesus as their Savior, and the churches I pastored consistently grew. The first church I pastored was in a small town in Indiana. During the four years I served there, God blessed us with growth from an average attendance of 100 people to about 250. We saw many people receive Christ and be baptized, and it was exciting to watch how God blessed us with growth.
That led to a call from a bigger church in a larger community on the north side of Indianapolis. Again, over the next eight and a half years, God blessed us with growth from an average attendance of 350 people to about 1,000, when I was suddenly and supernaturally called away. My experience of being called away from that church to a new ministry was one of my first encounters with God clearly speaking and leading today in a supernatural and personal way. It seems strange to say, but even after being in church all of my life and having already served for many years as a pastor, I honestly had never experienced God speaking that clearly or leading that supernaturally before.
I loved the church and the community I found myself serving and living in. We had been there for the better part of a decade, and many significant events had happened in our lives during our years there that caused us to become particularly attached to both the people in the church and the community in which we lived. During our years there our family grew, as we welcomed three boys into our family. My mother and father-in-law as well as my wife’s two sisters and their families had all moved into the community and were attending our church. My parents were also within a couple of hours, and so our kids had the privilege of seeing their grandparents often. The community and church were filled with young families just like us, and we developed many close friendships. I also had the incredible opportunity to hire my lifelong best friend on our church staff, and we were fulfilling our dream of living in the same community and working together. Additionally, the church was busting at the seams and we were just about ready to put the finishing touches on a brand-new worship center. If you had asked my wife or me, we would have both told you that we were at home in that place and didn’t have any desire to move. We saw ourselves raising our children in this community and someday in the future retiring from this church. Life was good and we were enjoying a comfortable ministry, but that was when God stepped in and rocked our world.
In early 2002 I received a phone call from a church in Colorado. Their senior pastor and founder of the church would soon be retiring after leading the church for thirty years, and I had been recommended to them as a potential candidate to take his place. I laughed and told them I wasn’t really interested in moving, but they asked if I would at least look at their information and pray about the possibility. I agreed that I would at least do that.
Shortly, I received the material and looked it over. It was a larger church already running about 1,400 in attendance, and the community was one of the fastest growing in the country. It looked like a fantastic opportunity to reach people for Christ and grow a church. But for us to consider moving across the country away from our family, friends, and very comfortable lives, God would have to change our hearts. I prayed a simple prayer, “God, if this is You calling us to this church, then have them keep pursuing me. I won’t pursue it because You know my heart and my desire is to stay where I am.” Having prayed as I had promised, I confided in my best friend about the opportunity and put the material in a drawer. My wife and I didn’t really talk much about it, and I barely gave it another thought.
Three months passed by and I didn’t hear anything else from the church. My friend walked in my office one day and asked, “Did you ever send a résumé to that church in Colorado?” I said, “No. I just prayed about it and asked that if this something God is leading in that they would continue to pursue me, but it has been three months and I have not heard another word. I am sure they have moved on to someone else by now; and honestly, I’m relieved because I really want to stay here anyway.”
I had barely gotten those words out of my mouth when my assistant buzzed me on the phone to let me know there was a gentleman from Colorado on the phone for me. I recognized his name as being the person who had called me before from the church and I was a little freaked out at the timing, so I told my assistant, “I’m not available right now. Put him into voice mail.” I curiously listened to the message later. The voice on the other end said that God had continued to highlight me, and they would really like me to submit a résumé for the position.
I called him back and we talked for a while. I told him I would go ahead and send a résumé but that he need to understand I was not really interested in moving. He said he understood but that they would still like to talk to me. So I sent the résumé and a week later they called back to say they would like to do a phone interview. I told them if they really wanted me to I would agree to the phone interview; however, I again reminded him that I really wasn’t interested in moving and didn’t want to waste their time. He said, “We understand but we would still like to talk to you.”
We did the phone interview and days later they called back asking for a face-to-face interview. They wanted my wife and me to come to Colorado to meet with them. I responded, “I am not sure we should do that because we really aren’t interested in moving.” Again he assured me they understood but really wanted us to come out and meet with them. Well, at this point I thought it couldn’t hurt. We had never been to Colorado before and it might be a fun place to visit if nothing else, and so we agreed to come. The date was set and we would travel to Colorado a few weeks later, which was mid June.
Before we went for that interview, I prayed two things specifically. I asked God if He was, indeed, calling us to move our family across the country and join Him in this ministry, that He would show me two specific signs that weekend of the interview. The first sign I asked for was that I would know that weekend whether or not they believed I was the one God was calling as their new senior pastor. I figured that was a pretty safe prayer, and it really would take a miracle for that to happen. They had, in fact, already told me they had search team members leaving for vacation and would not be able to reconvene to even discuss the interview until after the first part of July so not to be surprised if I didn’t hear anything for several weeks following our interview. I also knew this church was already very large and growing rapidly and were replacing their founding pastor who had been there for thirty years. Unless God did something supernatural, there was no way they would make a decision on a new pastor that quickly.