Short (1 min) video introduction to the mission of Alive and Dangerous from one of our co-founders.
The Story of Thorin
Our mission explained through the story of Thorin from the story of The Hobbitt by J.R.R. Tolkien.
"Alive & Dangerous"?
An explanation of the words "Alive" & "Dangerous" and why we believe them to be important.
Video Introduction to Alive and Dangerous
“We were built to count, as water is made to run downhill. We are placed in a specific context to count in ways no one else does. That is our destiny.”
The Story of Thorin
In the second of the Hobbit films, written by J.R.R. Tolkien, the story starts with the central character Thorin cutting a forlorn figure. He is lost, without hope and searching for meaning. Searching in fact for his father. Thorin is the heir to the dwarf kingdom but he doesn’t look like a king, he is not behaving like a king and he doesn’t feel like a king.
Thorin’s dilemma can often be our dilemma. We can feel lost and an urge to search for a deeper meaning and identity. We can feel without hope and as if everyone is set against us. But yet Genesis 1 describes an original glory to ourselves; that we are created in His image and created to “rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air”. Such claims can feel bogus in a life overwhelmed by busyness and the original glory described can often bear no resemblance to our day-to-day life.
In the story of Thorin, Gandalf shows up unexpected. Gandalf is the God figure in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. He is wise, powerful and true. But yet he doesn’t fight evil alone. He invites others into the mission with him just as God invites us into mission with Him.
Gandalf tells Thorin he is not heading in the right direction, that he is searching for the wrong thing. Gandalf redirects him and shows him the path he should be taking. Then Gandalf offers hope. He speaks to Thorin’s deepest desire; the need for an identity. He reminds Thorin of who he really is; true heir to the Dwarf kingdoms. He calls Thorin to rise-up, to take back his kingdom and to rule as the good king that he was destined to be.
By inviting Thorin on this quest he is also telling Thorin that he believes he can do it. That he has what it takes to become a good king. He is validating Thorin. Gandalf has reminded Thorin that he has a true identity and an inheritance.
And so that is also true of what the Father is saying to us. Through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus we are brought into sonship with the Father. Our true identity is one of sons to a heavenly Father.
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:7, NIV).
We are also created to rule as kings and we are created to be glorious. That was the original design.
“We were built to count, as water is made to run downhill. We are placed in a specific context to count in ways no one else does. That is our destiny.” Dallas Willard
But there is a catch. Gandalf tells Thorin that he will need to go on a journey to become the king he was created to be. Gandalf is saying there is a mission and a journey that is required. But it is not a journey he needs to go on alone.
Gandalf says “what if I were to help you”…… Gandalf is saying to Thorin that he needs to rise up and take up his inheritance but that he will help along the way.
Again, the same is also true to our story. We must go on a journey so that we might become the men that the Father intended us to be. It is a journey in which we must allow the Father to guide us towards and along the right path.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:109, NLT).
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power”
But it isn’t just any journey, it is a journey of danger. Gandalf warns Thorin that there is an enemy that wishes to kill him. Gandalf says “there is a price on your head”. The enemy in Thorin’s story also knows of Thorin’s true identity as rightful heir to the dwarf kingdom and his mission is to stop Thorin form becoming the king he was born to be.
And so this also true of our journey.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8).
The enemy knows our true identity as sons of God, just as the enemy in Thorin’s story knew of his true identity and he will do anything possible to stop us from accepting the truth of who we really are. Where God is trying guide us along our journey towards becoming the man He created us to be, the enemy is trying to thwart us. We are at the centre of the battle between good and evil.
Just like Thorin’s story, we have a true identity as sons and heirs to a heavenly Father. We also, like Thorin, must go on a journey with the Father to become the good king that the Father created us to be and that journey is no Sunday afternoon stroll. For it will be opposed.
Our mission at Alive and Dangerous is to help guide men as best we can on their journey of becoming the good king that God created them to be.
For more teaching on the story of Thorin listen to the following recording from our Forged event “Click Here”.
Why "Alive" and "Dangerous"?
We believe that one of the core tenants of the gospel is the offer of ‘life’ not just in eternity but today. Indeed, Jesus contrasted our journey as a choice between whether we will accept the lies of the enemy which lead to death (John 8:44) or trust in God which leads to life;
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Sadly, this is often misconstrued as ‘only’ an offer of eternal life. Whilst eternal life is part of the offer to those that have faith in Jesus there is much more that is available today. The gospels are full of the many and varied miracles that Jesus performed during His ministry on earth, from casting out demons, to raising Lazarus from the dead, to healing the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda, to forgiving the sins of the prostitute, to healing the leper. The common theme between all these miracles is the life that it brought to the individual in question. That same offer of life (healing, restoration, freedom from sin) is available in this present life.
"Godliness has value for all things, holding promise both for the present life and the life to come" (1 Timothy 4:8)
God also created us with a heart. Our heart is the very essence of who we are and at the core of our heart is our desire. It is what fuels our actions and reveals our truest beliefs.
“We are desire. It is the essence of the human soul, the secret of our existence. Absolutely nothing of human greatness is ever accomplished without it”. (John Eldredge).
Alas, for many men a life of desire has been suffocated by duty and busyness. The duty of working hard to provide for the family and dutiful commitment to church life. But God created us with the ability to desire so that we might change the world. It His plan for us that we would come alive with desire.
“The glory of God is man fully alive” (St. Irenaeus).
Our mission is to help men recover those deep desires of the heart and to be free from all that is not of God so that they may experience life to the full.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (C.S. Lewis)
The story told by the entirety of the bible, both new testament and old, is told against a backdrop of a battle between the goodness of the Holy Trinity and evil (Satan and his emissaries). From Genesis through to Revelation the battle between the Trinity and Satan is a constant theme. It is also incredibly clear that we are not isolated from this battle but rather we are the reason for the battle. For if the desire of God is that we would know Him intimately and trust in Him with all our heart and soul (Luke 10:27) then the desire of the enemy is the exact antithesis. Indeed, if it is God’s desire that we would be restored and that we would be alive for Him then it is the enemies desire and intent to prevent it. As the Apostle Paul warns;
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12).
Battle is the backdrop to the journey that God is calling us along. Put simply, it is opposed. We can also assume that the further we journey with God, the closer we get to the men we were created to be and the more we are called into action by God, the greater the opposition we will experience. Or put another way, what is there for the enemy to fear in us if we are simply living a life of duty with no desire?
Until such time as Christ returns, the enemy will remain “prince of this world” (John 12:31) and hence any journey that we embark on with God will most likely be opposed. It will be a journey of danger.
“we live in enemy occupied territory” (C. S. Lewis).