From my office on Sunset Boulevard, I continually see a series of contrasts. Toward the east, I see the expansive buildings that make up L.A.’s famous cityscape. Toward the north is the old Queen of Angels Hospital building, now the Dream Center, where thousands of hapless people have had their lives altered and their dreams restored.
Right around us are hopeful young adults who live in bungalows as they attempt to break into the entertainment industry; immigrants who constantly face the challenges of living in a foreign culture; homeless people who push shopping carts that contain all their possessions; and retired people who simply want to enjoy their golden years. All the dynamics of various people groups come into play when we think about the church’s commission to present the gospel to the world.
As I read through the Gospels, I’m challenged to respond more as Jesus did when He encountered those around Him. He was flexible, caring and optimistic. He was authentic. He both confronted and consoled.
When Jesus encountered the woman at the well (see John 4), in just a few short sentences He addressed her past, present and future. He was not cynical, judgmental or patronizing as He opened the book on her storied past. He unapologetically called her to account for her present situation, and then He graciously helped her envision a future that far exceeded anything for which she could have hoped.
I think that story presents a healthy view of how to lead and love those around us. If we honestly acknowledge the past and are candid about the present, then the possibilities concerning the future hold few limitations. As I consider The Foursquare Church, I’m constrained to examine the following:
- Our Unvarnished History: We must be able to evaluate our past with clarity and honesty. We can celebrate the amazing things God has done even as we admit we have made mistakes. We need to be intentional about both. The future depends on our being neither enamored of our past nor bound by it.
- Our Current Realities: We must be honest about both our successes and our failures. Accurate assessments can help us determine the changes we must make if we are to maximize the opportunities with which we are presented. Speaking the truth in love must be the dynamic that defines our life together.
- Our Preferred Future: We must be hopeful of that which God has spoken over us. While we cannot control the timing, we must position ourselves for the Lord’s will to be done in and through us. The Lord has a plan and a purpose for which we have been created and destined.
During this season, I intend to share a vision I believe has been planted by the Lord and that will accelerate the mission He has given us. Our time in Columbus (May 31–June 2) will afford us of an opportunity to celebrate this together and link arms toward a promising future. We are being called to “Accelerate—The Whole Gospel to the Whole World.”
JOIN US >> There’s still time to join us for Connection 2011 as we join together to look at the prophetic future of The Foursquare Church. Visit the Connection 2011 website for more information and to register.
By: Glenn Burris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church