I was impacted the third day of this new year!
On that day the Lord stirred me to joyful laughter that began with the Holy Spirit’s prompting me with Isaiah 63:4 as His 2009 prophetic promise: “The year of my redeemed has come”! It was as though a well of joy opened as, next, He whispered to my heart, ” … coming with plenteous redemption”!
I recognized both sets of words and, although I didn’t know the references, I knew that “plenteous” was a King James term. Consulting a concordance, I located the Isaiah text first and then found the “plenteous” phrase in Psalm 130:7. Since the Holy Spirit had connected the two phrases together in my mind, I knew I needed to open to all He was saying. I read the context of Isaiah 63 and then searched out the Hebrew word translated “plenteous,” rahvah. Not uncommon in the Old Testament, rahvah conveys the idea of multiplying. In Psalm 130:7 it is rendered a variety of ways by translators: “abundant,” NKJV; “full,” NIV; “plentiful,” ESV; and “overflowing supply,” NLT. As I continued to study, captivated by this word in God’s Word, something special happened.
As I examined instances where the word “rahvah” is used, I came to the touching account in Genesis 43-45 of Joseph’s being reunited with his brothers. When Benjamin arrived with them at the dinner Joseph had arranged, they were all amazed to see that the place settings indicated knowledge of their birth order. But, even more, they were stunned by the quantity of food on Benjamin’s plate; it had five times as much as any of the others. The word used to describe the astonishing amount of food is rahvah! When that understanding struck me, the laughter began to rise in my soul; it was the Spirit’s revelation of “plenteous” in a very practical and relational setting. Hear this, fellow servant of Jesus: The one reason Benjamin’s provision was larger than would normally be expected was the fact that he was a full-blood brother—which is exactly the same relationship you and I have with our Redeemer! The dynamic of the practical and relational nature of plenteous redemption seemed to bring the thunder of a word from heaven to me, and I begin my letter to you with a promise that is yours as well as mine.
As fellow-servants joined in our Foursquare movement, I urge you to receive the Holy Spirit’s announcement contained in the two phrases that were conjoined by the breath of the same Spirit Who gave them in the first place. They frame a single message from God’s heart, and I hear Him announcing it to us—and to all who will receive it:
This is your year, Redeemed Child! It’s the “year” of My action in
Your behalf, bringing My intended abounding for My blood-bought
sons and daughters—”My redeemed!” And know this: as I come into
your lives and circumstances, I will come with a multiplying, abounding
and overwhelming ‘plenty’ of all that is needed to recover, restore,
refresh, renew or release your life, ministry or situation!
(If you welcome that “word” as I did and do, then shout a “Hallelujah!”)
A Time for a Holy Anticipation
The brief word I’ve shared is offered as encouragement—a word I submit as ours to receive together. With that word, I am asking you to weigh my assertion that we are at the doorway of a season worthy to be welcomed with faith and holy anticipation. By that, I mean, let us humble our hearts, prepare them with prayer, cast down anything unworthy of God’s purpose for our souls; with that “holy” preparation, let us rise in faith, lifting our eyes above anything that seeks to steal our joy or hope. Let us look up, and issue a full-hearted welcome to Jesus’ pure and precious working among us at home, in our lives, our churches—in every part of our fellowship of leaders and churches!
That’s the truth and spirit I believe is flowing within the following—which is something more of a “directory” than a letter. Packed in this envelope are two gifts and two sets of pages I ask you to review; the balance of my words is to spark your understanding of the distinct purpose in each. Let me begin with the first two—the “News Flash” and a CD gift with a direct relationship to my first “directory” notice.
Announcing “Connection!”—Another Way to Say “Convention”
First, take in hand the blue and white flyer (forgiving the added picture of me). Please spend the three minutes it takes to capture the spirit of the preview it presents. This same piece is part of a more complete packet you will receive separately, so don’t think of this single page as providing everything you need to know. That will be coming to you about the same time you get this letter. But I want to help us all get a fresh mindset on what to expect at our coming 2009 annual family gathering in Anaheim, May 25-28. (Consider holding the morning of the 29th, too. I’ll explain in a minute!)
- I’m asking your help. Whether you adopt this synonym for convention or not, help me inform others who may need a revived view of “convention.” Calling it “Connection” is not a gimmick—it’s a quest to awaken expectancy that I believe will not be disappointed. “Connection” announces our reason for this event: We intend to “make contact” as we worship, as we fellowship, as we gain equipping (see the new “learning track” possibilities!), as we join in a “youth awakening,” and as we taste the newness of “God with us, His people.” Tune in to the newness: “Convention ’09” is en route to becoming something we’ve never experienced before. Study the packet when it arrives, look at the “fold out” and see the “new” at several points.
- The “Connection at Convention” in 2009 offers access to a new, certifiable training resource, the “Connection Learning Track.” Besides our usual offering of quality workshops with single-session exposure to practical input by experienced leaders, the Learning Track is designed to allow conventioneers free access to several hours of training presented by accomplished and acknowledged leaders in specialized fields of church ministry. These courses will offer seven hours of involvement with fellow leaders involved in the same area of church leadership as you. Instruction, interaction, information and inspiration—all connecting—will fill the three 75-minute sessions (Tuesday-Thursday), and on Friday morning (May 29) the compact module will conclude with a 3-hour session. Catch a Friday afternoon flight home instead of the morning, and make this gathering a time of rich addition to your equipping for ministry. This creative opportunity is just one of the reasons to see “Connection ’09” as unprecedented!
Second, enjoy the enclosed CD, A Thankful People. This quality praise-and-worship collection is aptly titled and also defines the congregation at The Rock, Anaheim Foursquare Church, pastored by Jerry and Kimberly Dirmann. Their response to our request that Jerry and Kimberly serve as convention chairpersons this year was met with this generous response. We look forward to the Dirmanns’ leadership as we gather, and this CD is a good way to tune our hearts for that special time!
Informing You of God’s Grace Within Our District Realignment
First, please, take in hand the colored U.S. map and attached sheets. These pages are only a beginning point—introducing you to the geography of our forthcoming 14-district structure, which will be effective this May. You will also find a list of the newly appointed supervisors. If you would like the information online, “click” Foursquare.org to catch a biographical sketch on each supervisor.
Second, please note: We are seeking to provide a continuing, broad base of information to assist your understanding and comfort as we transition forward. For example, Glenn Burris and I have already posted the first of several videos you can download. Watch for FNS announcements that will indicate when new information is available, February through May. As noted, January’s video is already online for you.
- I pray that every credentialed Foursquare minister will grasp the God-honoring tone and the patient timing of these developments. The present announcements take us through a gateway, but there is an extended pathway for us to walk together—a path that has been very sensitively pursued since January 2008. The video summarizes the process to date, and I want to express my gratitude to the numerous pastors who, prior to the new supervisor appointments, helped us define duties and accountability expectations and also submitted nominations for candidates. More than 1,000 Foursquare ministers offered input, comments and nominations. This is a new step in providing “voice” to our complete leadership body. Thank you for believing and responding, for caring and for assisting us.
- I want to repeat what the January video asserts: I praise God for the humility, the prayerful integrity and the meek-spirited, responsibly patient and righteous way the board of directors proceeded with the task of nominating final candidates for our new supervisory appointments. This was definitely not a political process; neither was it a process driven by us, the executive leaders. It is a holy task to seek God’s face and discern wisely when there are so many nominees broadly available and so many outstanding leaders among us. I believe that you, had you been present, would confirm the virtually tangible sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence among us as these matters were moved toward resolution. Fasting and prayer and unpresumptuous patience have borne us along. Thank you for sharing the spiritual burden and for your participation in the intercessory prayer and sacrificial fasting that have been exercised over the past three months.
Receiving a “Heads Up” About New Foursquare Communications
First, beginning the end of January, I will be posting the “Disciple’s Prophetic Newsletter,” a once-monthly “insight unto incarnation” communiqué I have waited four years to begin. It will be a shepherd-hearted means of inviting you to reflect with me on pivotal issues spiritual leaders face. I invite you to join me as these pieces appear, and I also welcome your feedback as we “think on our world and His Word.”
Second, watch for this: Word will be coming of a “multiplication in our publications.” As you will discover, we will provide a more personal focus on our churches and leaders (i.e., more “family news”), and will also provide a more useful resource, downloadable for local printing; and a more timely means, via a newly expanded website with Foursquare news, information and stories. This cluster of tools will expand the mission ADVANCE magazine has served in the past, as that publication is superseded by this trio of communication approaches. While this strategy has not been framed as an economic measure, it will reduce costs and provide a larger, broader and more complete palette of communication pathways. I believe you’ll agree that we will all be better served, more in touch and more completely aware and resourced.
“Finally Brethren … Pray!” (Note the gift: 21-Day Prayer Guide)
The Awakening America Alliance has provided us with an inspirational and practical prayer guide they used to launch 2009. We were not able to place the guide in your hands before the beginning of the year, but include it now for two reasons.
- It is useful at any time you choose to pursue the three-week “call to prayer.”
- It is a summons to unite around this common realization: We need the Lord’s strong arm of power and guiding hand of wisdom—for our nation’s wellbeing and for our Foursquare family’s health and fruitfulness.
That is a good place to conclude … because any circumstance that draws us to prayer is a circumstance that will be filled with hope and visited by God’s grace and power!
Thank you for your trust, your faithfulness, your devotion to Jesus and your flock and your commitment to your family and your community. As we move forward together, please know that Anna and I pray for you; we are humbled to serve you, and we constantly feel the support of your prayers for us.
- “Connection,” A News Flash from the President (PDF, 636 KB)
- Map of new districts (PDF, 596 KB)
- Foursquare News Service #355 (PDF, 72 KB)
Note: The “Disciple’s Prophetic Newsletter” will be available soon.