The final day of Foursquare Convention 2006 began with the day’s first plenary session at 9:00 a.m. with speaker John Mazariegos, senior pastor of Iglesia de Gracia in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
The service commenced with Eric Green and Urban Praise Team leading praise and worship. The crowd was expectant as they focused their attention on exalting the Lord. Highlights included moving renditions of “We Exalt Thee,” the classic hymn “Amazing Grace” and an energetic anthem about the blessings of God, to which many delegates danced in praise.
General Supervisor Glenn Burris Jr. introduced Pastor Elaine Chi, who led in prayer for unity, that the Lord would teach us to love and accept one another’s differences as well as empower us to reach the people of all cultures around us.
Pastor and District Supervisor Steve Smith from Chesapeake, Va., introduced the morning’s keynote speaker, John Mazariegos, who spoke on the subject, “The People and the Kingdom.”
“I love the theme I was asked to speak on because I love people,” he began. “There’s a lot of imagery the Lord has given us in the Bible that describes the people of the kingdom–I want to talk about the Bride of Christ.”
Speaking from Genesis 2, Pastor Mazariegos emphasized that Moses wrote Genesis, partly, as a manual to teach people how to conquer, how to live in the Promised Land. Through the Genesis account, we see how creation proves that God is good. And, through the creation of Adam and Eve and their relationship, we see how God used the marriage covenant as an example of His goodness; the relationship of Adam and Eve speaks of God unselfishly giving man what he needed.
Rev. Mazariegos made three general points from text:
- The image of marriage symbolizes perfect vulnerability without shame–this reflects the freedom and intimacy we should have with God.
- The story in Genesis reveals the kind of relationship God wants with humanity–He did not want man to be alone, so He created a “helpmate.” God relates to us as a “helpmate” as well (the word is used in reference to Him throughout the Bible). The word “helpmate” has to do with “protection.” We, as the Bride of Christ, are protected by God.
- The account in Genesis reveals the “theology of naming.” Adam gave identity to creation as well as bestowed identity on Eve. God does this–He changes a person’s name, and names are attached to purpose and promise. God has the right to define someone’s identity. God takes our image and gives us a new identity.
The morning’s second plenary session started at 11:30 a.m. Robert Stearns, founder of Eagles’ Wings Ministries International–a dynamic relational ministry involved in a variety of outreaches and strategic projects around the world–was the keynote speaker. Stearns is also well-known for being the visionary behind the worldwide prayer initiative, “The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem,” which takes place on the first Sunday of each October.
New Song Christian Worship Team launched the 11:30 a.m. session in a powerful time of praise. Highlights included the prophetic number, “Days of Elijah” and the majestic “How Great Is Our God,” to which those gathered broke out in spontaneous songs of praise.
Foursquare President Jack Hayford then introduced a special video on the spiritual legacy of the nation of Israel, encouraging everyone who is able to take advantage of the opportunity to attend The Foursquare Church’s convention in Jerusalem in July 2007.
A presentation was also made highlighting Foursquare Media, the denomination’s newly formed publishing ministry. The first four books soon to be released were presented to the convention body as excellent resources for discipleship and Christian growth. Four books are expected to be published each year.
Next Rev. Steve Smith introduced Rev. Robert Stearns, who addressed the convention body with great passion on the subject “Israel and the Kingdom.” Speaking from various passages of Scripture, the minister shared perspectives on God’s heart and plan for the nation of Israel.
“Consider the moment of time in which God has called you and I to minister in His kingdom,” he proposed. “We are living in a desperate time. A moment that demands a response from the church. A time when men’s hearts are failing them for fear.”
“Throughout history, there have been generations that are what I would call ”ransitional generations’ upon which things hinge and turn,” he continued. “You and I have been given the privilege and the responsibility of being born in a generation where the hand of God extends an invitation to partner with the Holy Spirit… an hour of divine invitation to receive His strategy.”
He noted that God is sparking the church to alertness and understanding to move forth and advance the kingdom of God like never before.
In his theme, “The House That God is Building,” Rev. Stearns made the following key points:
- Israel is a testimony to the earth that the God we serve is a God of covenant. He is the same God who will keep His covenant with you and I.
- There are three houses in this hour that are aggressively working for domination: the house of secular humanism and moral relativism; the house of radical Islam; and the house of the Lord–God is building His house–“My house will be a house of prayer.”
- How do we respond to the moment we are in? God is calling us to support His chosen people because: (a) we owe the Jewish people a debt of gratitude; (b) we owe the Jewish people a debt of repentance; (c) we share a common value system; and (d) we face a common enemy.
“There is a city to whom our King will return,” Stearns declared. “Our hearts must be knit with His heart and burden for that city. Jerusalem is not [only] a Jewish issue–the Word directs all who call upon the Lord to support Israel. The Holy Spirit says, ‘What will you do? I brought you to this place for such a time as this.’ There is a moment of divine opportunity upon us.”
The service ended in a rousing applause in support of Stearns’ prophetic message.
During the remainder of the day, convention delegates browsed the exhibit hall and enjoyed times of fellowship as well as the surrounding sights of Washington, D.C. The convention’s business session was also held in the afternoon.
New Song Christian Worship Team facilitated a celebratory time of worship at 6:30 p.m., this last night of Foursquare Convention 2006. Pastor Jack Hayford then asked the delegates to join hands as he led in an opening prayer for the Holy Spirit’s presence.
Everyone greeting one another, after which U.S. Senator John Ensign from Nevada addressed the convention body via video. Pastor Jack reminded those gathered of the importance of praying for our nation, and also referenced the first-ever Foursquare national day of prayer that will take place via satellite link at hundreds of locations across the United States this coming fall.
Rev. Dan Stewart, president of Life Pacific College (formerly called LIFE Bible College), came to the platform and excitedly announced that the entirety of the college’s debt will be paid off as of October 2006. The president also referenced the school’s accreditation and remarked that the recent graduating class was the largest since 1979.
Following Rev. Stewart’s presentation, the members of the board of directors of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel who are retiring from the board came to the platform and were honored for their years of service.
Rev. Mike Larkin, director of global operations and Foursquare Missions, announced that official representatives of 51 nations attended this year’s convention in Washington, D.C. These influential leaders were honored with a rousing applause.
Revs. Amos and Sue Dodge came to the platform and were thanked for their service given to the 2006 convention. The local host committee and all of those involved with the logistical work behind the convention were then thanked and honored with a heartfelt applause.
An emotionally moving video compilation recapping the week’s convention activities was shown and followed by a thankful ovation for the Lord’s work since the gathering’s commencement service on May 29.
Pastor Jack and the convention body thanked Lee Mimms, whose creativity was influential in the platform staging of Foursquare Convention 2006, which was particularly striking and beautifully executed to reflect regality, patriotism and spirituality.
Rev. Arthur J. Gray II, Foursquare’s director of urban and multicultural ministries, came to the platform and introduced Foursquare ministers Juan Galloway, Eric Green and Russell Schlecht, who each shared about the churches they pastor, their vision for reaching people, and the ways in which their congregations reach their surrounding communities. Rev. Gray asked them each to share their prayer needs and led the convention body in prayer over them and their ministries.
A video compilation of the activities the children at convention were involved with during the week was presented. The Konvention Kidz program during this year’s annual gathering was a stellar success. The volunteers who worked with the kids during the week came to the platform and were honored with a rousing ovation. A special blessing was also pronounced over them.
Members of the board of directors then came to the platform to confer Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees in recognition of consistent, exemplary and significant ministry service to the Foursquare family and the kingdom of God at large. Recipients of the degree were Rev. Glenn C. Burris Jr., Rev. Raymundo Diaz, Dr. James W. Hayford Sr., and Chaplain Colonel Daniel A. Miller.
Senate Chaplain Barry Black came to the platform and briefly addressed the convention body on ministry happenings in the nation’s capital that include requests from senators for prayer and biblical guidance, Bible studies for senators, Bible studies for their spouses, and plenary Bible studies open to everyone that often include as many as 200 people.
Bishop Ken Ulmer, pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, Calif., addressed the convention body as the evening’s keynote speaker following a powerful rendition of the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Rev. Lydia Ranger and an introduction by Dr. Hayford.
The world-influential leader spoke on the subject, “Forecast: More Rain,” using Acts 2 and Joel 2 as his primary biblical texts regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
“On the day of Pentecost God took a ‘snapshot’ [of the church, depicting] us as a corporate body infused with His presence and power,” Bishop Ulmer stated. “The world is looking for something. And day after day, they pass by the church. And often in frustration, they can’t find God because we don’t look like the ‘picture’ [the Word, which is a picture of His church]. How many pass us by because we don’t look like [the Word]?”
He continued, referencing the apostle Peter’s statement (“This is that”) in Acts regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: “As we come to this annual session of the spiritual progeny of [the day of Pentecost], allow me to suggest that it did rain on that day–but there is more rain to come.”
He noted that the passage in Joel says that God “poured out of His Spirit” (not just “poured out” His Spirit but “poured out of” His Spirit)–meaning He has more to come. Declared Ulmer to a cheering crowd: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! You’ve seen what God did at Pentecost… at Azusa Street… but that is not all [that there is] to come!”
Noting the Scripture’s prophetic references to God bringing the “former rain” and “latter rain” in the same season, Ulmer declared that “God will bring sowing time [the time of the former rain] and harvest time [the time of the latter rain] together in the same quick time–He is doing a quick work.”
He encouraged pastors to be expectant of the fact that there will be a great harvest as God pours out His Spirit. “It rained at Pentecost, but it will rain again! It rained at Azusa Street, but it will rain again! Get ready for it, Foursquare–you are on the front lines! God is going to use you! Where you are going is better than where you have been!”
The service, officially marking the close of Foursquare Convention 2006, ended in a celebratory time of prayer and praise.