by Paul Duggan for the Global Outreach Commission
A Kingdom on the Move. It often goes overlooked, but a small detail of the creation story is that Adam is first created by God, and then God places him in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17). It seems to be the case that before he gave Adam the task of tending the wonderful garden, God took Adam from the soil of his creation and moved him to a new place.
This fall Tenth’s Global Outreach Festival will consider how Christ’s Kingdom moves, and how we engage a world where mass migrations extend and challenge the reach of Christians with the gospel of Jesus.
The Gospel Moves from Place to Place. When Jesus called his disciples, he called them to leave their old lives behind and follow him, and they followed him everywhere he went. When he needed to go through Samaria for the purposes of God’s Kingdom, his disciples went with him, as bewildering as it was for them. Only once did Jesus tell them to stop following: when he approached his atoning work on the cross. This was his movement toward their salvation, his “exodus” that he was accomplishing for a people who could not face death and the weight of their own sin.
After the resurrection, his disciples asked Jesus if he was going to now deal with Israel. Jesus didn’t answer that question, instead saying they would be his witnesses there, but also in the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:6–8). Jesus now rules from heaven, and his kingdom transcends any locality: wherever those who are ruled by him are, his kingdom is manifest. Earthly kingdoms can suffer internal upheavals or invasions from outside, but the heavenly citizenship of God’s kingdom and the heavenly rule of Christ are immune to those crises.
The Lausanne Movement. Michael Oh, founder of Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya, Japan, since 2013 has been the Global Executive Director for the Lausanne Movement. Founded by such notables as Billy Graham and John Stott, the Lausanne Movement began with its first congress in 1974, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Lausanne gathered evangelical Christians around the conviction that evangelism was the primary mission of the church’s sacrificial service in the world. There were many peoples still unreached, and Christians more than ever before needed to work together to meet the new opportunities of a changing world. Lausanne connected Christians of many backgrounds to bring the message of the gospel and the deeds of gospel-followers to individuals and societies that are in need of both. Lausanne hasn’t rested since 1974. It has held two more global congresses since then: Manila in 1989 and Cape Town in 2010.
The Spirit Moves Hearts. The Holy Spirit moves secretly and invisibly: this much Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:8. Each week, we come out of our daily lives to worship in Spirit. Tenth is holding a fall missions festival to give room for the Spirit to move us; hearing not only of the Word for us, but the effect the Word produces around the globe. Sunday, November 13, Michael Oh and Phil Kirkland will preach to us, Michael in the morning and Phil in the evening. Phil Kirkland is a former Tenth International Fellowship director. He now ministers with local pastors in Greece as a Tenth global partner bringing the gospel and relief in the middle of the refugee crisis. There will also be opportunities to connect with Tenth partners at local Bible studies, and our fall festival will be an exciting celebration of God’s work in East Asia.
Moving toward the Uprooted. When God took Adam and placed him newly in the Garden of Eden, of course all was well; there was as yet no sin or curse. When Jesus commissioned his church to “go into all the world” and make disciples, he had already received all authority in heaven and earth. Our sins and the curse are no great obstacle to the movement of his kingdom from person to person and from place to place. Even the curse of war, in the providence of God, is a route for the purposes of Christ’s Kingdom. God places new opportunities for Christians in Philadelphia by moving refugees here to us. It’s an opportunity for us to “move” toward them with the gifts the Spirit has given us.
This fall as we worship together in the unity of the Spirit in a place we consider “home,” we anticipate God’s movement of us toward the heavenly dwellings all believers from every tongue and nation will call home together.