Archives For Ministry

In the series introduction, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”  we saw how the central message of the bible, the gospel, is best understood as a story or a four-act drama that displays the historic unfolding of God’s creative and redemptive work in the world. And how you can never fully understand the meaning of your personal life story until you understand how your story fits with God’s story.

In Act One, “Creation: The Way Things are Supposed to Be” we learned that the essence of salvation in Christ (the gospel) is the outworking of God’s love by restoring his creation from all the horrible consequences of sin (the fall). And how you cannot fully know the riches of Christ’s salvation until you more fully grasp God’s original intent for mankind to be in perfect relationship with God, self, others and creation.

In Act Two, “The Fall: The Way Things Are Not Supposed To Be,” we learned that our understanding of the severity of the problem is directly proportionate to our understanding of the significance of the solution. And as a result of sin, all of mankind’s perfect relationships (with God, themselves, others and creation) were broken and marked by alienation. We now turn to Act 3, Scene 1, the redemption of mankind and the world through the coming kingdom of Israel and the promised King.

Act Three (Scene 1): Redemption Through the Coming Kingdom (Israel)

From immediately after the Fall, God’s intention was to restore his loving rule over mankind and creation (Gen 3:15). At first God worked his redemptive purposes through individuals like Enoch and Noah. Then God chose to re-establish his kingdom on earth through Abraham by promising him a land and a multitude of descendants through whom God would bless all the nations of the world (Gen 12:1-3).

Through Moses and the exodus from Egypt, God makes Abraham’s descendants his own people. God then gives them his law at Mount Sinai so they might live under his loving rule, as Adam and Eve had done before they sinned. God blesses them with his presence in the tabernacle and he gives them elaborate sacrificial ceremonies through which they can approach him. Through Joshua the people of God enter the land of Canaan and under Kings David and Solomon they build the temple of God and enjoy the rule and blessings of God.

But because of the disobedience of the kings and the people of Israel the promises to Abraham were only partially fulfilled. As a consequence of their disobedience the nation of Israel came under God’s judgment. Civil war broke out and the kingdom of Israel was divided into two parts—Israel in the north and Judah in the south. The pagan nation of Assyria destroyed the northern kingdom. The pagan nation of Babylon later conquered the southern kingdom and took its people into exile in Babylon.

During this dark period, God spoke to the people of Israel and Judah through the prophets. He told them they were being punished for their sin but that there was still hope. They foretold the day when a great Messiah King would come and deliver them from all their oppression. He would be “the offspring of David whose kingdom would be established forever” (2 Sam 7), “the Son of Man whom the Ancient of Days gives all dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and languages will serve him. His dominion will be an everlasting dominion (Dan. 7).” And he “will create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind (Isaiah 65:17).” And the lion will lie down with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6).

lion-and-the-lamb

When the people of Judah were allowed to return from exile they must have thought that the time had come. But God made it clear that the coming of the Messiah and his kingdom on earth, when all things will be made new, was still in future.

Four hundred years after the completion of the Old Testament, Jesus began his public ministry with these words, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel”. To his original Jewish listeners this was an especially meaningful announcement. When Jesus made this announcement, the Jews had been scattered throughout the Mediterranean world and greatly oppressed by the Roman government for many years. They longed for the Messiah to come, set up His kingdom, and save them from their political oppression (Ridderbos 1975:48).

However, the Jews soon learned that the kingdom Jesus was announcing and inaugurating was not what they expected. The nature of Jesus’ kingdom more spiritual than political, as was the oppression from which Jesus came to deliver his people. The Jewish people would learn that the enemies this king came to engage in battle were not political enemies but spiritual enemies. The Bible calls these enemies the world, the flesh, the devil, and death itself. As king, Jesus came to wage war with these spiritual enemies in order to set his people free from their captivity to sin and all its effects: personal guilt, moral corruption and world corruption.

Although Jesus as king was fully present at this time, Mark 1:14 shows us that the kingdom “was near.” This means the kingdom was not yet fully in their midst. Jesus was beginning to set in motion all that would eventually bring about the universal rule and reign of God over not just Rome, but over all the nations of the earth and the entire world.

Centuries earlier, God made clear through the prophets that the goal of this coming kingdom would be to invade this fallen and broken world, drive back the forces of evil, and bring the restoration of everything lost in the fall. However, there were certain critical events that had to take place during this time in history for God’s kingdom to come in greater fullness. And those epoch, world-changing events could only happen through one person-the coming King.

Coming soon: Act 3 (Scene 2): Redemption Through the Coming King (Jesus)

Adapted from the upcoming book © 2015 All Things New, Steven L. Childers

Join with church leaders from networks and denominations across the country and overseas—for 2-5 days of inspiration, networking, encouragement, and training at the GCA conference being held this year at the beautiful Canterbury Retreat Center.

Canterbury Retreat Center

Canterbury is located on 48 acres surrounding serene Lake Gem in the greater Orlando area (Oviedo)—only 25 minutes from the nearby Orlando airports (shuttles available) and 45 minutes from world famous beaches and amusement parks.

This conference is a combination of workshops and seminars designed to equip church planters, pastors, missionaries, and lay leaders to start, grow, and multiply gospel-centered churches. Come and learn why Christian leaders from more than 50 countries, representing over 300 denominations, have taken this training.

 

2014 WORKSHOPS & SEMINARS

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Again, we’ve prepared an excellent line-up trainers for you—all veteran church planters, pastors, coaches and church planting leaders, representing hundreds of years of collective, in-the-trenches church planting experience. For a quick video peek at the trainers in action at last year’s conference, Click Here.

Two-Day Workshops (Mon Aft – Tues Noon)

  • Missional Discipleship Workshop
    Learn to develop missional discipleship pathways that lead people from being unbelievers to mature leaders in your church.

 Four-Day Seminars (Tues Aft – Fri Noon)

NOTE: The GCA Essentials for Church Growth & Renewal Seminar is scheduled for July 21-25, 2014, in Orlando.

 

EXPERIENCE A NEW KIND OF TRAINING CONFERENCE

Canterbury Hike Trail Cropped

Experience a new kind of training conference that is intentionally limited in size (to the first 150 people who register) so that the focus is not on just hearing trainers make presentations, but also on providing you with multiple opportunities for transformational learning in community, such as:

On-Site Meals & Limited On-Site Lodging

Build Relationships, Network, and Learn in Community

  • Over delicious meals (breakfast, lunch, & dinner) made from scratch and served at the retreat dining hall (see Pricing section for meal prices).
  • While staying at a limited number of rooms (25) available (first-come, first-served basis) at the retreat center (see Pricing section for room prices).
  • If you’re staying off-site there are 10 very reasonably priced hotels within 2-5 miles (see Logistics section for more information).

VERY IMPORTANT: If you’re staying off-site, you’re still strongly encouraged to have all or most of your meals at the retreat center. Sharing meal times with trainers, coaches, mentors and other leaders is a VITAL part of this community learning experience–and well worth the extra cost.

Group Meetings with Trainers & One-on-One Coaching*

Meet with Seasoned Trainers and Coaches for Personal Applications

  • Meet with trainers in small groups over meals, and Wednesday & Thursday after 3:00pm
  • Meet One-on-One with certified coaches/mentors over meals, and Wednesday & Thursday after 3:00pm

*Limited availability on a first-come, first-served basis with a sign-up sheet at registration table (no extra charge).

Special Opportunities for Learning, Replenishment, & Fun

Canoes

Enjoy Special Opportunities on Wednesday & Thursday After 3:00PM

  • Enjoy the refreshing 1-mile hiking trail (a “Fit-Trail”) around scenic Lake Gem
  • Spend time canoeing or kayaking by yourself or with others on beautiful Lake Gem (no charge)
  • Debrief, apply what you’re learning, and pray with your leaders in private meeting rooms at Canterbury
  • Experience teambuilding by taking a ropes course led by a professional ropes team (TiesThatBind) after 3:00pm Wed-Fri (extra charge)
  • Start and end your day with a brief Morning and Evening Prayer Service (15 minutes) in a small prayer chapel using an historic prayer liturgy
  • Hang out, relax, and enjoy 24/7 refreshments in the cozy retreat center “living room” and on the patios overlooking Lake Gem

Pricing

Schedule

Registration

Seminary Credit

Logistics

What Leaders Are Saying