Annual Leadership Retreat: Forceful Advance
Our Annual Leadership Retreat is in one week. I posted about the theme and content over at zonegathering.com earlier today, and I've re-published it here.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.In Acts 1:8, Jesus left his disciples with an impossible goal- to spread the Gospel to the entire known world. And they did it. They surrendered their reputations, their careers, their comfort, and their lives, but they accomplished the mission. The story of the Bible is a story of God forcefully advancing his Kingdom in the world of his creation, and he has invited us to play a role.
At the 2008 Annual Leadership Retreat, we will talk about the responsibility of our generation to forcefully advance the Kingdom of God in our time by sharing our faith with others here and abroad, living and giving sacrificially, and influencing others for Christ. We will talk about having a dream worth dying for, living like we are playing offense, leaving a legacy, and leading through sacrifice.
What are you living for? Is it worth your life? Would it be worth dying for? For centuries, people have run after the vision of advancing God's kingdom, and it's a vision they've given their entire lives for. The early church was watered by the blood of the martyrs and heroes of the church continue to lay down their lives for the Gospel today.
Are you playing defense or playing offense? In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." Gates are defensive measures; they assume an attack is coming. That means the church is supposed to be on offense, forcefully advancing against the darkness. Too often, we approach our lives like we are playing defense. For too long the church has been ignored and swept away to the margins of society. Many times, we have removed ourselves from the fight for culture, truth, and beauty. When Martin Luther stood up for truth and nailed the 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, he forcefully advanced the Kingdom of God. When missionaries packed their entire lives into a coffin and sailed around the world to live in unknown lands, they forcefully advanced the Kingdom of God. And when NCCers go to Uganda to build an orphanage, they forcefully advance the Kingdom of God.
Is your influence lasting? What lives are you impacting? Are you making a name for yourself in this life, or are you making a name for Christ for eternity? In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul encouraged his young pastor apprentice, "You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others." Paul didn't just have Timothy on his brain; he was also thinking about the trustworthy men that Timothy would influence and the other men that the trustworthy men would influence. The Kingdom of God is advanced by Pauls, Timothys, faithful men, and others who are willing to keep passing their faith down through the generations. When Paul discipled Timothy, he forcefully advanced the Kingdom of God. When John Wesley developed his class meetings to help his ministry partners grow in their faith, he forcefully advanced the Kingdom of God. When NCCers invite others into a journey of spiritual growth in small groups, they forcefully advance the Kingdom of God.
What does your leadership cost you? If we are truly leading, there will be a cost. Just ask Daniel during that long night in the lion's den. Ask Paul in prison. Ask Jesus as he drags his cross up a hill with the hatred of the world spewed on him. In John 15:13, John said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." The Kingdom of God is forcefully advanced through sacrifice and service to others. When the martyrs willingly entered the flames, they forcefully advanced the Kingdom of God. When Mother Teresa gave her life for the lepers and the unloved, she forcefully advanced the Kingdom of God. When NCCers hand a sandwich to a homeless brother or sister, they forcefully advance the Kingdom of God.
Are You In?
We are here today because the generations before us have played offense, left a legacy, and sacrificed for the Kingdom of God. They were captivated by a vision worth their lives.
It's time for our generation to march to the rhythm of God's heartbeat and to advance the Gospel in our day. Are you in?