Welcome to 2015...
I have spent the last months incubating a few key markers that will define "urban forward mission". There is a fresh wind blowing - certainly here on the West Coast of the USA. It has been a privilege to have been parts of several divine visitations over the years, but I so dearly want to be part of at least one more. That is my prayer.
Reading about the arrival of John the Baptist as the first New Testament futurist, his bold, courageous proclamation is simple in its profundity: [Matt 3]
1. "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" This gospel laden pronouncement is not just a call to salvation [repent] but also announces that there will be a new kingdom that will invade the lives of the hearers, that will empower and enlarge the responders to a uniquely different life and story. This futurist announcement is about to change their narrative.
2. "Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight." Whenever Jesus visits [either by his incarnation or by his Spirit], he simply does not arrive in a way that we expect - with the voices of the last visitation most often significantly resistant to the new Jesus moment. How will he come this time? Are we desirous of this manager born, donkey riding, fame avoiding messiah ?
3. "Bear fruit in keeping with repentance". This is a simple but very confrontational message. The quest to be culturally correct and contextually relevant has silenced this message. A fragile 'grace' message has erased repentance from her vocabulary whilst the reformed trumpeters have become theological inspectors rather than call folks to transformed, Spirit empowered lives. The futurist calls the church to both.
4. "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire". The futurist points to Jesus - always. The futurist knows that there can be no impact without empowerment. The futurist finds fire. Jeremiah, an Old Covenant futurist said it this way: "there is fire, shut up in my bones, I am weary with holding it in and I cannot" Jer 20:9.
The way forward will be led by the futurist. This is not an age thing [like we need the young or don't forget the old]. It is always led by those who are more captivated by discovering the future than by protecting the past. The futurist is loaded with love, but will not let sentiment stand in the way of the unknown. So many churches who found their story from the last major visitation, may not transition when he visits this next time. They fear they have too much to lose. But, as the disciples learnt, when we leave our boats immediately we will be on a great, grand, global gospel adventure.
Welcome to 2015 - are you ready?