Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall 2014 Acts 29 Northeast Regional | Faithful

Acts 29 Fall Northeast Regional with Steve Timmis, Doug Logan, and Matt Cruz in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday-Friday, October 2-3, 2014 

These posts are for the Faithful conference that Acts 29 put on in Boston a couple weeks ago.  Instead of breaking this up into three posts, I'm just going to include them all in one post for a quick reading and summary of some of the sessions that occurred during these two days.

Faithful with Steve Timmis | Acts 29 Executive Director and Lead Pastor of The Crowded House in Sheffield, England


Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma 3DM Acts 29 Christian Reformed Church Network of Missional CommunitiesKeep strong and stay long. How can we be faithful in the face of hardship, opposition, and exhaustion? In 1 Timothy, things are hard for both Paul and Timothy, but Paul helps Timothy see that the gospel helps us keep strong and stay long. In 2 Timothy, five years later, things are still hard, and Paul is still saying the same thing ...

"I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life." 1 Timothy 1:12-16 

1) Remember your identity | 1 Timothy 1:15

Paul picks himself up by understanding again that he is the foremost in need of Jesus: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." (1 Timothy 1:15). The more we grow in Christ, the more we understand our sin. We are great sinners and we have a great Savior who has made us sons and daughters of God.

2) Remember God's grace | 1 Timothy 1:14-15

Grace is God giving us Himself in Christ. But do we see the size of this grace? Is it so overwhelming that it is able to handle both our successes and failures? With the church in Ephesus that Paul was writing to Timothy about, they were minimizing mercy, grace, and faith. But Paul knew the only thing that sustains and and helps people keep strong and stay long in gospel ministry is remembering the gospel of grace.

3) Remember the patience of God | 1 Timothy 1:16

We don't need to know more than the gospel, we need to know more of the gospel. And God is patient with us in growing the depth of our understanding of Him. As we wait on the Lord, and His love is patient and kind with us, our prayers need to embody the gospel because our prayers will shape the practice of the gospel.
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

Rudyard Kipling, If
4) As Jesus builds His Church, speak and embody the Gospel

4 Stages of Development for New Communities

1) Forming: When everyone is on their best behavior and first impressions are made

2) Storming: People become more comfortable and more confident in disagreeing and desiring to express their varied individuality | Critical phase: Can you weather the storm while you keep strong and stay long in the power of the gospel?

3) Norming: A culture begins to develop (i.e. key question: "Is it a healthy culture?") and people begin to move forward as a group | Critical focus: Is what is becoming 'normal' healthy?

4) Performing: People turn their confidence from themselves to one another and the group gathers momentum 

Through it all, how will you keep going when there is apathy, inability, hardship, frustration, sin, conflict, pride, trial, loss, failure, etc.?  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. Remember, God has people in your city. You just have to find them. Find your refuge in Jesus and keep your front door open.


Faithful in the City with Doug Logan | Lead Pastor of Epiphany Camden in Camden, New Jersey

Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma 3DM Acts 29 Christian Reformed Church Network of Missional CommunitiesIn the 'hood, there are no neighbors; the neighborhood has lost most if not all of its neighbors in the 'hood. Gospel transformation and gospel restoration are about bringing true, faithful, steadfast neighbors back to the 'hood. It's going to be hard, but you need to keep on moving. Don't stop. Just look at Paul and Barnabas. In Acts 14, every place they landed was a hood because no one wanted to hear the gospel they were sharing. But they kept preaching.

"But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed." Acts 14:19-23

1) We need to keep getting up | Acts 14:20

With everyone who lives in light of the gospel, faithfulness is an imperfect person giving glory to God through active submission to the Word of God by the power of the Spirit. Sometimes God uses failure for fuel in ministry. We are a resurrection people. We get up broken and he uses broken people to reach other broken people.

2) We need to keep preaching | Acts 14:21

Even when you want to turn the resignation letter in, be faithful to the Lord. You may not look like you're bearing fruit, but be faithful. Sometimes it's being faithful to the people who are still with you who may be leading others to Jesus in their lives even in spite of your doubt. God will force intimacy with him so it's no longer "Pastor _____ " in your mind, but a real relationship of Him saying to you, "You are My son." 

3) We need to keep preparing steadfast and resilient leaders for future churches | Acts 14:22

" ... they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:21-22). We need to raise up people who are never underwhelmed by His glorious grace, but consistently overwhelmed, so that when tribulations come, they will continue in the faith and enter the kingdom so that they will go on to strengthen the souls of more disciples. Christians who know their identity is to be missionaries should know that they will be opposed. "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." 


Faithful in Multiplying Leaders with Matt Cruz | Lead Pastor of Seven Mile Road in Melrose, Massachusetts 

1) Basic Gospel Dispositions for Raising Up Leaders

Believe that Jesus intends to give leaders to your church | After His ascension, Jesus gives good gifts the Holy Spirit and Spirit-filled leaders to His church
Risk relational and ministerial investment | Live who you are before your people 

Be humble, but also confident that you have something to offer as your church's leader | Learn how to trust others and learn how to bite your tongue 

Don't hesitate to invest in someone who may be short-term | Let the gospel free you to give freely trust God and His economy

Love people and not the work they can get done for you | What is in it for the good of the person? What is in it for the glory of Jesus?

2) Create Leadership Development Tracks

Intensely relational year-long discipleship communities where future leaders are assessed and trained through spiritual formation, theological instruction, and practical training that apply the gospel to understanding of the Scriptures, hospitality, sexual purity, giving of time and finances, etc.

3) Articulate a Team Mission

Be a holy (i.e. striving in grace and the Spirit to be like Jesus, above reproach, not hypocritical), excellent (i.e. striving for maturity and humble strength), and uncommonly unified (i.e. striving for orthodoxy and orthopraxy together) team for the good of your people and the unbelieving people in your town or city you are sent to.

Next post: 2014 Thriving Frequency Conference | Thee Apprentice "Who Am I?" Poem

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