The lively Evan Rodgers from South Africa and then Dubai led worship which was the usual dancing and clappy songs and then Terry came to speak. He pointed out that a high chair had been set beside him and asked what it was for - he explained that he felt led to "sit and chat to us" for his last session. Here's what he said;
"I was working on the third part of Hebrews and there were some wonderful things there. "You have come to Zion!". But it was dying. So I prayed and God said that this is a historic event and I should chat about things that really matter. So therefore I want to highlight things that really matter to me.
1. God's Initiative.
"The mission of God" - this is God's mission not ours. He chose Jacob not Esau. He has known us before He formed us in the womb. God knew me before time began! God's free grace runs right through who we are. It gives us a sense of destiny. God has initiated some thing in His purpose for me. "Not dependent on who I am or what I have done or deserved - it is a gift of mercy from God". And the greatest thing we can do is align ourselves with Him!
2. God's Enabling.
The coming upon of the Holy Spirit is a matter of life and death! We were useless Christians! This isn't an academic issue. We knew "powerlessness". The Holy Spirit will come "upon" you. The next word in nearly every verse is "and". The Spirit comes upon us to do things. What was the secret of Samson? Not his muscles but the Spirit who came "upon" Him!
It is easy to be cessationist because when you believe in the Spirit's coming upon, you will always be wrestling.
The coming upon of the Spirit will always lead to things! "Already but not yet". God wants to empower us - it can leave us aching because we don't see as much as we want but we must press through because we need more of the Holy Spirit! We need the power of the Holy Spirit to see more of the Kingdom break out! Some would say we are dialling down on the Holy Spirit to become more missional - the Early Church would not see or allow that!
3. God's Commissioning.
We want to be a sent people. It is important to know what theological training does and does not do - it is not the same as being sent! That commissioning from heaven is a commissioning from God. The awareness is that we answer to Him! (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The sense of being called by God should make us almost invincible. "The church stands for divine truth and divine inspiration or it stands for nothing at all" - Matthew Parris - The Times. We do stand for so many truths. God has apprehended and commissioned us. We are answerable to Him alone.
4. Being a servant.
A servant doesn't require explanations. He wants His servants to do what they are told. They got used to doing what they are told and we only need to know that God has told us - not His explanation. God said about David; "A man who will do all My will". Let's have that characteristic - trust His providential overshadowing! Ken Gott prophesied millions of pounds and millions of people! Let that characterise who we are - we are to be the servants of God. Where is the sharp edge and the contrast?
God loves faith! Sometimes we look at groups of churches and question some of their doctrine or practice but you cannot deny that they do great and bold things and God blesses that! He just seems to love faith! Mega churches are growing throughout China, India. We are in little league. The Chinese economy is coming alive and a secular writer commented that Chinese growth is being affected by the back bone of spiritual life. Launch out with faith - not just apportioning! Beware the danger of a passive Calvinism!
Charles Simpson once came and preached at the last Downs Bible Week. Our theme was "World Changer!" and he was initially somewhat cynical. He had been greatly hurt by the controversies affecting the Shepherding Movement in the USA. However in the weekend in between weeks, I had some precious fellowship and was able to share with him. The second week came and he changed his message to one inspired by our theme. 6,000 in a small field in Plumpton!
"Success-victory-winners!". Oh you English - God change us out of our cynicism. Launch us with faith!
"A move of God will last only as long as the spirit of prayer that brought it to birth" - (Arthur Wallis).
Jesus prayed a lot and with faith. Do you want to be like Jesus? He prayed a lot!
7. Gathering a Team.
That means to me, friends and companions. We gain friends! Not co-labourers but true friends. People who make up my areas of lack. Being interviewed helps you find out what you believe. What makes a team? Vulnerability. Have a team because we need a team. Draw from one another - prayer partners and men of the Spirit! Our team often find ourselves in "prophetic conversations" - you pray and then start talking and the whole conversation becomes prophetic! As elders - don't just sit around talking. Get before God! The team are by no means yes men. Go for it but with love!
Submission isn't saying "Yes" every time!
Terry then went on to cite the closest men in his team who have played such key parts in Newfrontiers.
Stephen van Rhyn
and Peter Brookes in the Pacific Rim!
This is a snapshot of "now" we are reminded! And there are young men such as Joel Virgo coming through. Terry then went on to give a lot of detail about changes from now in what is known as Newfrontiers.
The Newfrontiers Magazine will stop - penultimate edition.
The Newfrontiers Brighton office is closing.
Terry will begin to become "less and less" while the team men become "more and more".
On this he mentioned specifically travelling and ministering to non-Newfrontiers groups such as the Pentecostals in France. He mentioned visiting a "group who are struggling very recently in Washington DC" (no prizes for guessing who - but I am SO glad that they have asked Terry to come and have some input, that it isn't just limited to cessationist, Reformed men such as Mark Dever).
He then ended by a very moving and personal tribute to Nigel Ring - the man who has made so many of these conferences and Bible Weeks and so much of Newfrontiers possible. You could tell that Nigel was very moved and touched and surprised. I must admit to leaving the session feeling quite emotional and bittersweet - just like when we left Stoneleigh Bible Week 2001. But boy - am I glad that we went for these key messages of "Together on a Mission 2011"!
History in the making indeed.