Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 3 - Movement Dynamics (2014 Timothy Keller Conference in Hong Kong)

Personal revival, church renewal, to the whole city movement. Let't dive into the last speech by seeing what is movement, what is gospel movement, and how to promote the movement.

What is movement?

There are 2 different organizations (not 2 entirely different, like an spectrum)

Movement Institution
Core Common Visions Hold by rules and traditions
New ideas From all over (collaboratively) From top to down
Format Constantly changed (innovated, creative, always moving) Hard to change, resist to change, Job to conserve things, refuse to change, rules and bylaws
Power Willing to share Is guarded

Question: a church is a movement or an institution? Both! Acts 7, a great persecution, Steven murdered. Acts 8, apostles stayed, else scattered. All results are not planned. It's a movement. At the same time, in Samaria, they called the apostles from Jerusalem. Why approval from them needed? They have authorities give by Church, and followed Jesus. They knew what is the core of Christianity.

Problem: too institution, not movement enough.

1st: Occupied by clergy. New lay people can start a new ministry easily. Afraid of maturity, right doctrine, fear of loss power, face issue, and etc. Just remember in Acts 2, tongues as of flame fall onto everyone. Apostles didn't get a bigger one.

2nd: We do things by tradition or by culture. Don't add traditions to the Bible. For examples, we're asked to preach to word of God. But the Bible didn't set up how long it should be. In the States, main speaker in large conference only has 18 minutes while in China you will be asked delivering as least 2 hrs.

We do need apostolic doctrines (Apostle Creed, Nicene Creed). We also need revivals, and they appeared differently in Church history. Revivals are encouraging because God can break through any city at any time. 1859 Northern Ireland, 1/3 converted. 1858-1859 Fullerton St., 10% converted. 20th early, Korea, now grow to over 30% Christians. 20th middle, Africa and South America.

What is gospel movement?

Let's rediscovery the gospel itself. In Mark 1, prophets revealed to us. In 1 Pet 1:12, Angels longed to look. The angels are infinitely wise and smart. They never get tired of the gospel. It's like looking at a beautiful diamond. We need to constantly love the beauty and greatness of the gospel. Justification showed how we're brought by Jesus Christ. Sanctification shows how much we live in Jesus Christ. Our sanctification is based on justification, not vice versa. It's more I'm in so I live a better life. Not I live a better life so I get accepted, which is the elder brother in Luke 15. The result of elder brother is either superiority or self-pittiness. We should know that we're perfect sinners and loved by God.

Secondly, there are nominal christians in the church, no power or vitality. It's not our job telling them you're not a real christian, no fruit in you life. The point is, you preach the gospel clearly. Then, we will realize it and wake up one day.

Thirdly, skeptics with Christian background may go to the church. We have to show them clearly with the beauty of the gospel, without self-righteousness. We need courageous gospel in confidence. When that happened, church grows.

On the other hand, we need to know that every revival is different than others. In John Wesley's era, the innovative part was out-door opening preaching. In 20th New York, it was lay-led mid-days prayer meeting. The only constant thing in gospel movement is nothing is constant. Tim believed, innovation is the crucial key of the growth in China. It must be true in creed, and conserve what needs to be conserved but not too much. And separate the tradition, God will lead us and we will see the movement.

We also have to be careful on balanced church practices. Different churches are strong in different ways, and often look down on what we're good at. In gospel movement, new organizations grow up, special kind of ministry reaching divergent people. Church planting is the result of the gospel movement. Planting a new church forces you to be innovative and tries to reach unbelievers. New church planting reinforce the movement.

How to promote the movement?

Extraordinary prayer

It's the element that always appear in every revival. Nothing over there all the time, except extraordinary prayer.

Spending 10-15% your time outside your church ministry

Don't pur all your time building your church. This isn't directly helping your own church. If you focus too much, your church is your identity instead of Jesus alone. Building bridges between different churches brings unity. It's a sacrifice. But you will new have a revival if you build your own.

Less-self when it comes to your church success.

Ex.: a newly planted draws 20 of your 200 congregations. And it grows to 100 members. Are you happy in Jesus' kingdom, or sad of 20 lost in your own kingdom? Logically, we know what we should be happy about. We know the correct answer, but feel difficult in our hearts.

Friendship

informed friendship with different organizations or denominations with common vision of the movement.

God is the only One making these happened

Taking what happened to Redeemer Presbyterian Church as an example. Tim did all the research. But other things happened outside what he can imagine and control. Starting from 1970, the immigrants to NY City switches from eastern and southern Europe to Asia, Latin America, and south Africa, where Christianity grew at the same time in these areas. Most missionaries in NY city are not from western, but are non-western people. 2nd generations moved to Manhattan, who are more professional and well-educated. After 911, it changed Americans heart toward NY city. Originally it's notorious for its economic and financial success. After 911, people started throwing human and resources in. David Lloyd-Jones said, "try to bring a revival is like what Elijah did on the altar." You can do everything, but only God can send the fire. God can't send fire if there is no altar. Only God can ignite the altar.

Tim closed his talks in this conference with a Palm Monday story (see http://royshaff.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/palm-monday/

Palm Monday…. 
The donkey awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride. 
He walked into town and found a group of people by the well. “I’ll show myself to them,” he thought. 
But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and paid him no mind. 
“Throw your garments down,” he said crossly. “Don’t you know who I am?” They just looked at him in amazement. 
Someone slapped him across the tail and ordered him to move. “Miserable heathens!” he muttered to himself. “I’ll just go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me.” 
But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted down the main street in front of the marketplace. 
“The palm branches! Where are the palm branches!” he shouted. “Yesterday, you threw palm branches!” 
Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother. 
“Foolish child,” she said gently. “Don’t you realize that without him, you are just an ordinary donkey?” 
— Author Unknown
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