"Just the facts, ma'am!" Joe Friday used to stay on the old Dragnet TV series. So, here are the facts:

One hundred people.
Two guns.
One man shot and killed.
Cell phone video of part of the incident.
No one willing to speak to authorities about what happened.

While this is one specific documented event, there are hundreds of similar kinds of things that have happened in recent years. People are hurt in accidents, muggings, bombings, and fires, and we get to see it all. Why? Because rather than helping, several someones took time to shoot cell phone videos to gain a name for themselves. No wonder John Legend wrote his song, "Preach":

I can't sit and hope, I
Can't just sit and pray, that
I can find love, when
All I see is pain
I try to do the things, I
Say that I believe (I do believe)
I can't just preach, baby, preach
Whoa, oh
I can't just preach, baby, preach
Whoa, oh
I can't just preach, baby, preach
Fallin' to my knees
And though I do believe
I can't just preach, baby, preach
(Check out the YouTube video with lyrics and music.)

In cornbread English, Legend says, "I can't just stand there and do nothing, then say I'm concerned. I've got to live what I believe. I have to go do and be what I preach."

An English phrase is sometimes used to urge us to get involved: "Don't just stand there; do something!" As our world sinks ever deeper into the abyss of division, evil, hatred, and violence, those who are Jesus' followers must do more than offer platitudes. We've got to do more than post, blame, argue, go to church, pray, and preach. We've got to enter the world and do something redemptive. That's what Jesus did, isn't it?

You didn't want heaven without us
So Jesus, you brought heaven down
My sin was great
Your love was greater

From "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong United. (See the YouTube video. Also, see Philippians 2:5-11!)

Most of us have not realized that the phrase, "Don't just stand there," goes back to the Bible. Jesus ascended into the clouds to return to the Father, and two angels told them:

"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Awe, amazement, and emotion from uplifting worship isn't the goal; it's the motivation to go, to live like Jesus, and to share his grace with our broken world. "Don't just stand there!" heaven commands us.

Yes, Jesus did tell his apostles to go back to Jerusalem and wait:

"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:4).

This wait was a prayerful wait (Acts 1:12-14). This wait was a worshipful wait. However, the goal was not inaction. This wait was an anticipatory wait. This wait was praying for the Holy Spirit to come with power (Luke 24:49). Jesus called his disciples to go as witnesses to the world, not for them to stand and look into the sky or sit in a private room and worship (Luke 24:45-48). They would receive power and then act on the command of Jesus to change the world with his message of grace for all people. Jesus told them:

[Y]ou will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" Acts (Acts 1:8; cf. Luke 24:47).

Years ago, we took our kids to Cape Canaveral to see the Space Shuttle launch complex. Little did we know that the shuttle was already making its way up the 5% grade on the "crawler" at its one mph maximum speed approach to the launch site. After its journey, people didn't cheer for the crawler getting the shuttle to the launch pad. They applauded the launch and the landing on its return. The goal of the shuttle wasn't the launching pad but the launch into its mission!

For us as believers, our prayers and worship can be our time on the "crawler" — our waiting to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-21) — so that we can be launched on our mission to bless, redeem, and turn our "world upside down" (Acts 17:6 ESV).

Don't just stand there, do something! Pray and believe. Wait for the Spirit. But, please, we must get off our emotional shuttle crawlers. We must leave our comfortable worship centers. We must get out of our boats and enter the world as Jesus' witnesses. And as we go, our message of grace must be backed by authentic lives of love and service.

I can't sit and hope, I
Can't just sit and pray, that
I can't find love, when
All I see is pain
I try to do the things, I
Say that I believe (I do believe)
I can't just preach, baby, preach

Will it be hard? Yes!

Will it be challenging? Certainly!

We must get off our emotional shuttle crawler, out of our comfortable worship centers, and step out of our boats to enter the world as witnesses with a message of grace!
Will it be overwhelming? At times, definitely!

Will it be dangerous? Quite possibly!

However, those aren't the important questions, are they? The issue for you and me is straightforward. Do we have the courage to obey while keeping our eyes on Jesus and above the challenges, the hardships, the fears, and the waves? We must keep our lives focused on Jesus and our mission tuned to his example. Anything else is just pretending to be concerned. The angels of heaven are still speaking to us today and saying: "Don't just stand there looking into the sky!"

Today's message is part one of an eight-part series called 8GHT — Eight Truths that Turned the World Upside Down!

  1. Jesus Isn't Finished with Us Yet!
  2. Its All About Jesus
  3. All Seekers Are Welcome Here
  4. What Time Is It?
  5. The Revolutionary Power of Witnesses
  6. A Family Without Borders
  7. Jesus' Power to Get It Done
  8. Don't Just Stand There!

Special thanks for the use of the Jesus related images in this series to Free Bible Images and The Lumo Project. Those pictures associated with the ministry of the apostle Paul are courtesy of Boettcher+Trinklein Television Inc. © All rights reserved, from ToTheEndsofTheEarthMovie.com.