Isaiah 54:1 – 8, Theology of Enlargement,
Acts 14:19 – 30 Ecclesiology of Impact,
It is my conviction we are going through a time in the history of the church that historians will view at least as a REFORMATION, or possibly as a revolution. These last two or so years have endorsed this over and over. Yet sadly, it is also a time when some will be left behind nurturing yesterday’s memories and stories. It is a T JUNCTION in the road… the right turn goes down the manicured paddocks of the known, predictable and repeated. The white picket fences belie the sweet waters of surrender… the known is preferred to the unknown... the certain for the uncertain.
The left turn soon disappears into the uncertainty of divine order, namely the jungle. It creates both the exhilaration of its sheer immensity as well as the breathlessness of the unknown. Cutting the pathway through these murky waters of unpredictability requires the humility of uncertainty. It is not for the proud, nor is it for the arrogant.
Jesus’ teaching around fasting soon disappears into the seeming distraction of wineskins and garments. That is not due to a geriatric moment. It is an intentional pronouncement that fasting is pivotal to the anticipation of new wine. When the Spirit is on the move, we MUST relinquish all rights to control of two pivotal Lordship matters namely;
o How we do church at this time?
o What is our job description shifting into?
As challenging and changing as the 60’s were, as heady and intoxicating as the 80’s were, as we explored the pioneering father apostolic men, through the 90’s, so revolutionary these days are.
I believe God is offering and acting out of:
· Mercy – because he loves us,
· Redemption. – Because he saves us from our errors and defaults and desires to enlarge not reduce us,
· Restored inheritances – because he wants to return what the enemy has stolen, what we have dropped, what has been missed in divine nuance moments.
THIS IS WHO WE ARE:
It is the time for redefining ourselves with a passionate and conviction filled vision, without apology but in full humility:
o Gospel centered, reformed, Christfollowers,
o Transformational Christllike impact players [leadership],
o Missional, charismata, multi site communities filled with grace,
o Global, urban, creative, thinking, for the un or exchurched,
THIS IS WHO WE ARE!
“There is a fundamental schism in American cultural, political and economic life. There’s the quicker – growing, economically vibrant… morally relativist, urban-oriented, culturally adventuresome, sexually polymorphous and ethically diverse nation… and there’s the small-town, nuclear-family, religiously oriented. White-centric, other America…[with its diminishing cultural and economic…two countries…” Michael Wolff “The Party Line” Feb 26, 2001
“Mission is the mother of theology” Martin Kahler
“Today, one in ten Americans was born in another country” Stetzer “PMC pg 19
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” Matt 24:14
Jonah 4:11 “Should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left…?”
“While the small town was ideal for the premodern and the suburb was ideal for the modern people, the big city is loved by the postmodern people with all its diversity, creativity and unmanageability” Tim Keller pg 114 The Supremacy…
“We are facing… a truth problem… the guilt problem…a meaning problem…” Tim Keller Pg 108 The Supremacy of Christ…
“This is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, whereby the knowledge of all goodness consistheth. Most necessary it is therefore, that we should know this artlcle well, teach it also to others and beat it into their heads continually” Martin Luther
CHALLENGE: finding ourselves living in the tension of –
- Contending for the faith Jude 3
- Contextualizing our message Acts 17,
But who am I? – Each one of us must ask…
Peter Drucker said something like this:
“I do not know a successful man who is good at three things”
Paul said of himself: “Of this gospel. I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher” 2Tim 1:11.
I believe that God has required all of us to be delivered from the curse of generalism and submit to the freedom of “what does the Lord require of you?” At the end of our lives we will be required to give an account to the Father for his “good works he has prepared in advance for us” not the pressure, distortion, expectations of those around us who are simply trying to impose their selfish means of subtle control onto us.
Therefore we must now fully and completely accept and embrace the role that we are to play as strong, key, strategic BASE CHURCH. This is a very sacrificial and weighty mandate that we need all hands on deck to achieve:
· Harbor - a safe place to gather cargo, deliver cargo, get built or rebuilt but always sent back out to sea – always missional, always generous,
· Boot camp – recognize, train and equip then release to war advancing the Kingdom and its gospel,
· Seedbed of leaders – to send them into every area of society and the world,
· City set on a hill – a visible example and source of inspiration and faith for others around,
What are our greatest strengths?
· Communitas – we have learnt to fight and friend together,
· Scripture – passionate love affair with His Word,
· Entrepreneurial – ready to experiment and risk in obedience,
· Charismata – we know we cannot do it by ourselves,
· Presence – we long to be at His feet, worship and prayer,
· Passion – zeal for his house consumes us,
· Sacrificial – growing to lay down our lives,
· Humility – we are amazed that He would chose us,
· Partnership – we desire to journey with others,
· Diversity – our strength is our width,
· DNA – we are comfortable with our distinctives,
· Honor – an ever increasing virtue,
What are our weaknesses?
· Battle weary – the war has been long,
· Replanting – has been costly esp. in relationships,
· Replacing – great, wonderful people / leaders sowed into plants,
· Credibility – needing to be established in the new city,
· Excellence – poor and inconsistent,
· Missional – not yet an impacting revelation, still too reliant on the attractional mindset,
· Process – follow through with consistency…
What are the next steps?
· Be found in prayer and fasting,
· Each person to know and do what the Father requires of them,
· Be intentionally missional, as well as attractional,
· Mobilize your world of influence,
. Partnerships, allies, friends - we cannot do it alone,
· Go to the nations… receive an apostolic reward,
· Love… lead…feed…