My friend and co-worker Pete has written an excellent post called, "The Power and Empire of Christ". I was going to leave a comment on what is to follow but as usual my thoughts grew and grew. My attention was grabbed by an awesome quote that he closed the post with from Iain Murray's "The Puritan Hope". The exact
quote was this:
"Let the Church be in earnest after greater holiness in her own members, and in faith and love undertake the conquest of the world, and she will soon settle the question whether her resources are competent to change the face of the earth."
But I found myself asking the question, yes - ARE the church's resources even close to being competent to changing the face of the earth? We are praying fervently for God to come and visit us in power this year and we are believing hopefully that the signs are good. The tide, it seems, is turning. But I find myself faced with the question again - if the tide is turning, are we actually prepared for what is coming? Is our wineskin adequately flexible enough to cope with the flood of new wine that is coming?
Terry Virgo preached an outstanding message on Gideon at the Brighton Leadership Conference and he commented on Gideon's question to the Lord; "If the Lord is with us, where are the signs and wonders?". In Terry's eyes - this is a good question because the following verse said that the Lord turned and "looked at him". Terry urged us to ask similar faith-demanding questions. While many churches dread and fear these questions, Terry promised that within Newfrontiers - such questions would be welcome. So here is my question - "Are the Church's Resources competent to change the face of the earth?".
As I said I really do think that the signs are hopeful but thinking about the context of Newfrontiers, if the tide did turn and the tidal wave did hit and each Newfrontiers church experienced an awesome revival of the Holy Spirit and each church saw at least 500 new converts come into their ranks, are there enough Alpha courses set up with experienced leaders to disciple the new converts and get them into the church family? Is the eldership team open enough and secure enough in their authority to begin allocating new roles and responsibilities and delegating to allow the church to mobilise sufficiently to cope with the doubled or trebled membership?
I really do believe that Greg Haslam's prophecy that he gave at Brighton 2003 is key. Greg prophecied:
"A large hemispherical crucible over a flame and in it the Lord is pouring quantities of filings of metal which are evidently Newfrontiers people and ministries into this crucible. But strangely other filings are being poured in alongside it in heaps ... What are we doing in such close proximity to these people and what they stand for and represent? ... I believe the Lord is saying by this that Newfrontiers particularly is to expect a divine action – a corporate divine action in the life and experience of us all with unforeseen and unpredictable elements being brought by the Lord in very close proximity and in large numbers to us".
In the monumental, prophetically strategic series, "The King and His Army", Dr Ern Baxter pleaded against becoming exclusive as the "Heart Man" of the coming Kingdom of God. I think Ern Baxter's plea fits in with Greg Haslam's prophecy. If the Church is to gain sufficient resources to change the face of the earth then we absolutely must welcome into our ranks and among us like-minded visionaries (such as Rob Rufus or George Kouri). Men who share the passion that the world is actually meant to be affected by the Church! A commitment to the ascension gifts - apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/teachers is vital. These men - these gifts - are the resources that we need, the catalyst for mobility to get about our great task of changing the face of the earth.
Just a closing thought ... "Changing the Face of the Earth" ... it sounds very familiar to "Changing the Expression of Christianity around the World" doesn't it?