Pastor Jack Hayford wrote the following powerfully prophetic words in a well-known greeting a few years ago. They are profoundly relevant today.
The greeting was titled, “I Wish You a ‘Mary’ Christmas.” Pastor Jack wrote: “In the midst of chaos and confusion, His Word brings life. Into the darkness of slavery in Egypt, God worked out deliverance. In the darkness of this present world, the Son of Righteousness is going to come and take His church. The Lord will come and meet you in the darkness of your situation, and He will work His glory there.”
Wow. He concluded by basically saying that this miracle of life wasn’t only then, but it is now.
As I write to you about our Foursquare Connection 2017 in Washington, D.C., May 29–June 1, I could not have imagined a more important time for leaders of influence to gather together to discern the Lord’s direction, as we face unparalleled issues in ministry and in our world.
We’ve just navigated the most polarizing political vote of our lifetime. The threat of terrorism, racism and global upheaval have become everyday realities. One could despair, or one could view this as the greatest opportunity the church has seen to bring light into the darkness. Light is most needed and most effective when there is darkness.
Sitting in an airport recently, I opened the USA TODAY app on my iPhone. An article popped up about the January issue of National Geographic. It featured a 9-year-old named Avery Jackson on the cover, calling it a special issue and titling it “Gender Revolution.” The quote from Avery read, “The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”
Like it or not, the church is being thrust into a world that is experiencing radical cultural shifts that demand we navigate them with discernment and prayer. Engage your world. Don’t shrink back. National Geographic said they are forcing the conversations out in the open. In some ways, they are doing us a favor.
As the representative voice of the Lord, the church can’t hide in the corner; we need to be front and center, and helping to lead the conversations. We are His redemptive voice in a world of brokenness and pain.
These issues are not going away, and I realize that no training in seminary or Bible college quite prepared us for this. On the other hand, these days are not surprising to the Holy Spirit, and in ways that we are probably not even aware of, He has been preparing us for this moment. I think The Foursquare Church is uniquely wired for these potentially treacherous and perilous times. We need to be engaged, equipped and empowered by the Word and the Spirit.
Luke 4:18 is a pivotal verse in the public ministry launch of Jesus. He clearly enunciated the mission He was on. It included hope to the poor, miracles for the blind, freedom for the oppressed, and liberty for the imprisoned. His ministry reflected a social justice component before it became a popular subject.
Israel even championed His efforts until they realized that His intentions were to go beyond them and bring deliverance to all people, Jew and Gentile, young and old, rich and poor, men and women, believers and unbelievers. He lifted the restraints of religion and confronted their motives. He didn’t wait for their approval. He defied the limitations they attempted to impose.
Jesus was a revolutionary kind of leader in a world that had become oppressive and hostile, especially if you were an outsider to the norms set by politics or the religious authority. And yet, it wasn’t Jesus’ intentions to simply accept people the way they were; His mission was to transform them.
We will never be able to make a dent in the pain of our world if we function primarily inside the doors of our houses of worship. Ministry requires an active faith, and an engagement with a world that has been soiled by sin’s devastation and degradation.
We must integrate the message of Jesus—as Savior, Healer, Baptizer and King—into our world and into the fray. Our journey in mission is to bring this truth, as His sent ones, commissioned by Jesus, into the enormous complexities of the world in which we live. We must become active and bring His transformative power to those in desperate need of redemption.
Let’s engage our present world. Let’s engage with intercessory prayer. Let’s engage with real compassion that feeds, clothes and heals. Let’s engage with a defense of those being marginalized and forgotten. Let’s engage with a message that incarnates Christ into every situation and brings transformation. Let’s engage is a confused world with the clarity of God’s Word and the power of His love. And in doing so, we will see the dismantling of the enemy’s strongholds and the exposure of his schemes.
Our time in Washington, D.C., will be a kairos moment for us. It is not by chance that we will be in a city of political power where the embassies of the world are located. We plan to offer an opportunity for prayer walks, some guided and others self-guided, that will allow us to engage this seat of political power and infuse spiritual power.
We have prayed over and invited speakers who will help us unpack this present moment, and together we will seek His face, pray for one another, contend for prophetic words, fellowship and encourage one another, better discern His global plan, and experience a renewed call and commission to lead.
The number is staggering: 3.1 billion people have never heard the Good News. We must contend for a breakthrough for these last days. The enemy is throwing every obstacle that he can muster. All the while, the forces of righteousness are aligning to take down his strongholds and cover the earth with God’s truth and love. The fields are ripe; the laborers are few. Join with me in prayer for an abundant new labor force to be thrust into the harvest!
I can’t imagine a more important time, a more important place, and a more important people to gather together, than our Foursquare tribe, face-to-face in Washington, D.C., May 29–June 1, 2017. Many more details will follow in future communications.