Seven Revolutions by Mike Aquilina and James Papendrea

Book Review: Seven Revolutions by Mike Aquilina and James Papendrea

Seven Revolutions by Mike Aquilina and James Papendrea

Seven Revolutions by Mike Aquilina and James Papendrea

What if I told you that the world is not in a hopeless state?

What if I told you that there are many similarities between the state of the world today and the state of the world at the beginning of church history?

What if I told you we’re not living in post-Christian times, but rather we are living in neo-pagan times?

What if I told you that in the early days of the Church there were seven major revolutions in thinking and action that took place? And, we are moving into a period of history where the Church must again revolutionize the world?

In their new book, Seven Revolutions, Mike Aquilina and James Papandrea give us a window into the early days of the Church. They examine the history of the Roman Empire, and the writings of the Church Fathers and highlight seven areas where the Church—through active example—changed the very course of history.

Our Christian faith should change the world around us. That’s what it means to walk out the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now. It means that those things that are not as they should be are brought—through our example—back into the order of creation. Where there is brokenness and hurt and pain and suffering, we are to actively bring wholeness and health and healing and life. We are to speak into every area of society and be bringers of the Kingdom into them.

The authors find that the early church brought revolution into the way the Empire thought about the person, the home, work, religion, community, death, and the state. They show us ways in which the early church was counter-cultural even though being so was to bring persecution and death. The early church stood firm in the face of injustice and unrighteousness, and worked to affect change in these arenas.

For instance, in regards to the revolution of community, the authors conclude:

In affirming selfless giving and affirming the poor as worthy of charity (love), the Church rejected the ancient world’s assumption that poverty was the fault of the poor. The Church corrected that world view, providing new perspectives: that there is no hierarchy of humanity; that some people are not more worthy of respect than others, and that a person’s prosperity (or lack thereof) is not a demonstration of their worth.

The authors make a case for calling the culture of modern-day west (led by the United States) neo-pagan instead of post-christian. They illustrate (carefully and with distinction) that the United States isn’t Rome, but has characteristics that are similar to those of the Roman Empire in the early days of Christianity. From that foundation, they build a case for how the Church could again bring about revolution—a shifting from the Empire of Man to the Kingdom of Heaven. They look to the traditions of the Church—the writings of the Church Fathers and the actions of the early Christians—to define terms:

Therefore, when we speak of traditional Christian values, this is what we mean. We mean the protection of human life, which includes support for marriage and the family (as opposed to the apparent conviction of many of our celebrities that marriage is optional); and we mean the protection of human dignity and freedom, which includes ensuring the safety of those most vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and destitution. And these values, which were built over the centuries via divine revelation and historic Christian consensus, must not be marginalized. Freedom of religion is more than freedom of worship. It is also the freedom of religious expression—the freedom to speak and live the faith.

The Church should not co-opt to the ways of the Empire. We are called to stand in contrast to the Empire. We are called, as were the Old Testament Prophets, to call out those things that are not in-line with the Kingdom of Heaven. We are called to highlight those things that don’t look like God’s perfect creation. And, we are called to disciple everyone into the ways of the Kingdom.

Jesus Christ came and offered an alternative to empire. We call it the Kingdom of God, but that phrase in Greek could just as well be translated “empire of God.” Jesus brought us God’s empire and preached it as the Good News—over against the Roman Empire (or any other empire).


FTC (16 CFR, Part 255) Disclaimer: I received my copy of Mike Aquilina and James Papendrea’s book Seven Revolutions from Blogging for Books for this review.

Journey With Us

Yesterday, we received good news from distant lands.

Our VISA applications for an upcoming trip had been approved!!

I never knew how crazy and nerve-wracking the process of applying to visit another nation could be.

Follow the steps.

Read, re-read, re-re-read every single line of both the instructions and the applications.

Check, double-check, triple-check every page.

Make sure every single ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ is crossed.

Attach a credit card number.


Overnight all the forms and your passport.

Pray again.


Approved VISAs

Approved VISAs

After all that, they tell you it will take ten business days. Then, unexpectedly, you receive your applications back. Four days.

Now, it’s not always–or even often–like that. Most of the time it takes the ten business days–or longer.

I don’t know if the quick turn-around was God’s hand, a lack of VISA applications to this particular nation, plain old hard-working people who really want you to visit their nation, or some combination of the three, but I know it happened and I thank God for His hand in the process.

So, what now?

Following the Christmas Holiday, we will embark on a 3,000 mile tour of the southwest of the US. We’ll visit churches in Colorado and Texas, as well as friends (both new and old) and family in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Arkansas.

We return to Edmond on January 20.

Then, just 10 short days later, we will board a plane bound for a six-month stay in Central Asia. During our six-month stay, we will be primarily in two countries (we might jaunt over to a third country somewhere in the midst of that time) in our six-month (evenly divided largely due to VISA restrictions).

Our first three months will be a combination of further schooling and times of outreach. We will be attending a twelve-week school to help us further understand what life is like “on the field” full-time. This will aid us in working with front-line workers by helping us to understand the realities of “their world.”

In the second half of our trip (the half for which these particular VISAs were needed), we will be focusing on teaming up with some front-line workers who are helping the indigenous church (in both this country and others) to create wholly indigenous expressions of worship.

Throughout the six-months, we will talk with numerous believers (most of whom will be first-generation believers) and hear their stories of redemption. And in keeping with the cultural norms of Central Asia, we will drink copious amounts of tea and eat incredible amounts of Pide and Döner.

Upon our return home in July, we will hit the road again on an estimated 5,000 mile tour of the US telling stories of God’s great works in the nations!

Here’s where you come in.

Our work–taking the Gospel to the least reached–is done on a completely volunteer basis. We do not receive a salary for our work. Thus, we are completely dependent on the faithfulness of God–expressed through His people–to meet our living and travel expenses.

In other words, we need your help. We need you on this journey with us.

Our total expenses for the next six months are roughly $3,000 per month. This covers all of our travel expenses, living expenses (places to stay/food to eat), in-country transportation, insurance, VISAs, etc.

There’s a couple of ways that you can help. First, you could make a tax-deductible, one-time donation. If you’d like to do that, then click here to be taken to our “Partner With Us” page.

The second way is to become one of our ENGAGING THE SPHERES partners. You can get more information by following one of the below links:

Finally, above all, we appreciate your prayers for us as we go.

Thank you for prayerfully considering partnering with us on this journey! We are grateful for you!!


Engaging The Spheres: Arts/Entertainment and Media

For background on the ENGAGING THE SPHERES campaign, please review our earlier post: Engaging The Spheres: Overview.

On Tuesday, we presented a way for the Family to be engaged through prayer and finance with our family in the work of fulfilling the Great Commission.  Wednesday, we showed how Churches and Businesses can be involved.  Yesterday, we talked about the Education and Government sectors. Today, we turn our attention to Arts/Entertainment and Media.



One of the things that God has placed on Stephanie’s heart is to help the indigenous church connect the Word in their heart language with the artistic expression that is at the core of their culture.  In other words, redeeming the culture and turning it into an expression of worship to the Creator.  From a prayer perspective, we are looking for three songwriters, worship leaders or worship teams, who would be a “prayer SWAT Team” for Stephanie.  This team would be “on-call”.  We would send you a schedule of when Stephanie was going to be leading worship, teaching on worship, or recording worship music/expressions, and ask you for specific prayers for those times.


Financially this area has a couple of dimensions.

Stephanie leading worship in Central Asia

Stephanie leading worship in Central Asia

First, Stephanie has written a number of worship songs.  We would like to get into the studio and cut at least one (maybe two) albums of Stephanie’s own “indigenous” worship.  At present there are 21 songs that she has written.  We are looking for 20 people who will sponsor 1 recorded track at $100.

Second, we want to purchase equipment which will allow us to do professional recordings in live indigenous settings.  We have the technological backbone we need, yet we need sound equipment.  We have found an ALESIS set-up that will work with the iPad and allow us to record up-to 4-tracks in real-time.  This set-up will be about $550.

The beauty of this is that we will be able to provide to you recordings of indigenous worship from around the world!



One of my big desires is to write a book.  What I envision this to be is a combination of Scripture, prayer, and stories from around the world of how God is changing live, communities, and nations.  We also want to publish some of these stories here on the blog, and use video/audio where appropriate and safe.  We would like to find three people who are published authors who would be willing to pray specifically for relationships with indigenous believers who would be willing to be interviewed and have their stories safely told.


As with the Arts/Entertainment financial needs, we have a financial need to make this all work.  We need to be able to record the conversations that we have with people (obviously with their permission) so that we capture their story.  We would then use that audio/video to put podcasts together, presentations, and serve as source material for blogs and books.  This equipment is a microphone/app set-up that costs about $250.

Finally, we would  like to purchase a projector that we can carry with us everywhere.  The particular projector is a 3M ultra-portable and runs (with the connection kit) about $325.

How to say “Yes”

If you would like to be involved with the aforementioned items, then here’s how to say “Yes.”

If you are a songwriter, worship leader, or member of a worship team, or you are an author and would like to commit to interceding for us, then you can email us at  We will make sure we add you to our prayer alert and will keep you up-to-date with our schedule.

If you would like to sponsor a track for recording, or would like to help us purchase equipment, then simply email us at

Engaging The Spheres: Education and Government

For background on the ENGAGING THE SPHERES campaign, please review our earlier post: Engaging The Spheres: Overview.

On Tuesday, we presented a way for the Family to be engaged through prayer and finance with our family in the work of fulfilling the Great Commission.  Yesterday, we showed how Churches and Businesses can be involved.  Today, we turn our attention to Education and Government.



We are looking for people who work in the field of education–public or private–that will be willing to pray for the education of Emily and Caleb.  We homeschool, and it is going well.  Yet, it is hard to find consistency when your school room is a different room, building, country each day.  We ask that you would take a couple of minutes each day and pray for our kids to learn well.

We would also like to find a couple of school classes that would be willing to take a couple of minutes each day to pray for us.  We will provide you with prayer updates as well as make time available to Skype your class/send video/etc.

Emily leading prayer at Community Night

Emily leading prayer at Community Night

We are also looking for a couple of homeschool students who would like to be “pen pals” with Emily and Caleb.  We would want to facilitate this through email due to our travel and need to secure the communications.  Yet, this would help them stay connected to a friend.


We are looking for two options of financial engagement in the Education arena.  First, we are looking for a school (we understand this will likely be a Christian school) who is willing to partner with us during the school year.  Second, we are looking for three school/Sunday School/homeschool co-op classes who would be willing to partner.

With either grouping this looks the same.  We are looking for each person in the school/school group to bring $1 each month.  The school/group would write one check each month for the total donation amount.

We would keep each group involved in our ministry through regular updates and when we are in your area would make ourselves available to be face-to-face with your group.



What a huge opportunity we have with this one.  We are looking for three to five government employees (local, state, or federal) who are willing to commit to pray for government related issues as they arise.  For instance, we are working through the process of VISAs for an upcoming trip.  If you were one of these people, we would engage you through this process.  While we are in other nations, we would simply ask that you pray for favor from governmental officials.


When I saw the part of the white board that was headed “Government” in my dream, I couldn’t image what would be on it.  But, then it was very clear.  We pay taxes on every dime that is donated to our work, and we pay governmental fees in the form of VISAs, passport renewals, etc.  For 2013, we anticipate these taxes and fees to be about 25% of our total budget.  What we are looking for in this area is one person who will commit to paying these taxes and fees.

If you feel compelled to be a part of this yet don’t feel that you can commit to the full amount, then maybe you can afford to help us with VISA expenses.  For 2013, we anticipate these being $180 each for the four of us (total of $720).  Or, maybe you want to take one month worth of taxes.  We’re open to any/all of the above.

How to say “Yes”

If you’re in the education or governmental arena and wish to be involved then here’s how to say “Yes.”

To commit to interceding for us as a educator, school group, school, or a government employee, you can email us at  We will make sure we add you to our prayer alert and will keep you up-to-date with our schedule.

If you want to partner with us financially, then simply email us at  If you are a school or school group, then please let us know the amount to which you are committing monthly.  If you are committing to covering governmental fees and taxes, then please let us know if you’re signing up for all of it or a smaller amount.

Engaging The Spheres: Churches and Business

For background on the ENGAGING THE SPHERES campaign, please review our earlier post: Engaging The Spheres: Overview.

Yesterday, we presented a way for the Family to be engaged through prayer and finance with our family in the work of fulfilling the Great Commission.  Today, we want to share the vision for churches and businesses.



We are looking for five churches who will partner with us at $250 per month and 5 churches who will partner with us at $100 per month.  These church partners can be congregations or small groups within congregations (life groups, cell groups, prayer groups, men’s groups, women’s groups, etc).


From a prayer perspective, we will provide regular updates (video and/or text) to keep you up-to-date on what we are doing, where we are, etc.  Additionally, we will be conducting a tour around the US in the fall of 2013.  During this tour, we will schedule to be with your church or group and share with you–in person–what God is doing around the globe.

Additionally, if you have (or are involved in) a group focused on praying for the nations, praying for missionaries, or studying Operation World, then we want to talk with you.  We would love to provide you information from around the world with how you can be praying for the work going on.

Praying with a small business owner in Central Asia

Praying with a small business owner in Central Asia



We are looking for a group of business-people (like an FCCI group) who will commit to praying for us as a group in each of their meetings.  We will provide you with regular updates and prayer needs.  During our fall 2013 tour, we will schedule a time to be with you face-to-face and share with you how your prayers are impacting businesses and communities around the world for the Kingdom.


We believe that businesses are ordained by God to be lights within their community and beyond.  We cannot achieve the commission of Christ to take the Gospel into all of the world without business.  It’s critical both as a means to serve, and to support those who serve.  All are called.

Part of the ministry that God has called us to is to support work in areas that pastors and traditional missionaries cannot get in.  So, business people are going and establishing businesses.  They are hiring people.  They are running ethical, legal businesses for the purpose of profit.  Yet, they are furthering the kingdom as they run their business.  God has called us to come alongside these businesspeople and support them in prayer, counsel, and finance.

To that end, we are seeking three businesses who are willing to take 2% of the monthly gross profit from their business and use it to partner with us to achieve the objective to which God has called all of us.

How to say “Yes”

If your church or business is one of the ones that God is asking to join us, then here’s how you say “Yes.”

To commit to praying for our family email us at  We will make sure we add you to our prayer alert and will keep you up-to-date with our schedule.

To join us financially, then simply email us at  If you are a church or church group, then please let us know the amount to which you are committing monthly.  If you are a business, then give us a rough idea of how much you would be committing monthly.

Engaging The Spheres: Family

For background on the ENGAGING THE SPHERES campaign, please review our earlier post: Engaging The Spheres: Overview.

The first of the seven spheres we’d like to engage is Family.  We believe that when God calls us to do something, He calls the entire family.  That’s the reason that Emily and Caleb are a part of this work that we do around the world.  God has called the entire family.

Our family inside the AyaSofya

Our family inside the AyaSofya

We also believe that when God calls us to provide prayer or financial support to a church, missionary, missions agency, or another place, He calls our entire family to be a part of that work.  Each of us are responsible to pray, raise funds, etc. for that call.

With that in mind, and understanding that at the center of the Seven Spheres of Influence is Family, we would like to ask your family to be a part of our work.


We are building an intercession team for our family.  Each of us are finding five individuals that will cover us in prayer on a daily basis.  Stephanie and I are identifying five married couples to cover our marriage in prayer.  We are also looking for five families who will commit that they will cover our family in prayer.

We will support you in this commitment, by adding you to a regular prayer alert that will come in your email box.  This email will highlight the areas in which we individually need prayer, and in which we need prayer as a family.  All we ask is that each day (meal time, bed time, on the way to school, etc) you spend a few minutes praying–as a family–for our family.   If God gives you a word, verse, picture, image, feeling, etc. during that time of prayer, let us know.  It’s really that simple.  We give you specific prayer needs, and you cover us in prayer.

We should also say that this is reciprocal.  You will be prayed for by our family.  So bubble your prayer concerns back to us.


We are also looking for at least five families who will commit to supporting us financially.  Yet, we don’t want this to just be that Mom and Dad write a check each month.  We want your whole family engaged!

So, here’s what we would like to see.  Each person in the family is responsible for raising $10 each month.  For the kids, this could look like doing chores for mom and dad, raking the neighbors yard, etc.  For a family of 4, you would send a donation each month of $40.  Each member of the family will be contributing $10 each month.

How to say “Yes”

If your family is one of the families that God is asking to join us, then here’s how you say “Yes.”

To become a family committed to praying for our family email us at  We will make sure we add you to our prayer alert and will keep you up-to-date with our schedule.

If your family would like to join us financially, then simply email us at  As a means of making sure our contact information is up-to-date, let us know the names, ages, and birthdates of each of your family members.  Unless you state otherwise, we will assume that you intend to commit to $10 per month per family member.  If you want or need to do more or less, then let us know what that amount will be so we can budget accordingly.

One last thing.  If you are not married, or you are and don’t have kids (or they’ve flown the nest), then you can still be a part of this.  Same rules apply!  We’d love to have you be a part of our ministry.


Engaging the Spheres: Overview

The other night, I had a dream.

We have been praying for several weeks that God would give us clear strategies for building our intercessory and financial support teams. He has given us a good intercessory team strategy, but we were still waiting for clarity on the fundraising piece.

Well, I had a dream.

In this dream, I saw a giant white-board (for those of you who knew me in my “business-days” you know how important the white board is to me). On this white-board, I saw seven boxes. In each of these boxes, there was a fundraising and prayer strategy. At the very top of the white board there was the phrase in all caps: ENGAGING THE SPHERES.

Every society can be divided into seven main areas (spheres of influence): Religion, Business, Family, Government, Education, Arts and Entertainment, and Media. The strategy on the white board engaged all seven of these spheres. For the past year or so, we have been learning more and more about how to impact a culture–societal transformation–for Christ requires touching every sphere of influence within the society.

I recently came across a video (see below) from the Lausanne Conference. In it, Mark Green, outlines two main strategies that the church has for reaching the unreached. These two strategies are:

  • Recruit the people of God to use some of their leisure time to join the missionary initiatives of church-paid workers.
  • Equip the people of God for fruitful mission in every area of their life.

Our goal as a ministry is to do the latter. How do we equip the people of God to understand, as our friend Bevin Ginder (@globalcast) puts it, that “Missions is not a task, but a story–epic even–that we have all been called into.”

So, when I saw the white board in my dream, I knew that God was giving us a strategy to equip–Engage–the whole body of Christ in every sphere of societal influence.

Over the next few days, we will be publishing a series of blogs and targeted emails for each one of the seven pieces of the strategy. In short, there is a way for everyone–regardless of their individual calling–to help propel the mission of fulfilling the Great Commission into all the world.

We invite you to be a part of this work.

Updated with links to each of the Seven Spheres (just click the link related to the field in which you work):