National Directors Year End Reflection 2021

Tina-Marie Axenty, Dec 02, 2021, 12:03 AM
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One of the ways the Lord has been speaking to us over this past year has been through his encouragement that He is the one who holds the "open door." Whatever He holds open, no one can shut. As we reflect on this truth in our times of prayer, dialogue and waiting together, our thoughts have often turned to Isaiah 22:22, a text that has been very meaningful to several on our National Team over the years in different settings and for various reasons. Most often it has tapped into a place of discernment that speaks of imminent change or shift. Honestly, it always seemed to feel like, "Oh no, not again," or "What now Lord?".

Recently however, we have had an "aha" moment, reminded that this is how Jesus describes himself when addressing the Church of Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13. Perhaps this was the text, and context, with which the Lord was getting our attention this time around.  As we have pondered this particular letter in Revelation, we are astonished to discover that many of the themes we have sensed the Lord speaking to us in 2021 are woven into the words of Jesus here. It has been so encouraging to see how much this not only pulls the pieces together of what we'd been hearing but also gives us hope and encouragement as we head into 2022.

"Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True—David's key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:
"I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn't deny me when times were rough.
"Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.
"I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown. Then I'll write names on you, the pillars: the Name of my God, the Name of God's City—the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven—and my new Name."
"Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches."
Revelation 3:7,8,10,11-13

The Message

1. Jesus is the one who holds the keys, "opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open." There is no need to panic as we trust in the leadership and enabling of the Holy Spirit on this  journey. Our theme for our National Celebration in Calgary this coming summer is "Just Jesus." So fitting for us to be re-centering our movement on simplicity. Discernment.Trust. Obedience.

2. In our weakness He is strong. "You don't have much strength," Jesus says here. It is not by our might nor by our power but by his Spirit that we stay in step with his purposes for us. What a relief, especially in our Canadian context. Recently we were able to physically gather our Foundations Team together for the first time in almost two years. So much to get done. A list of agenda items that were as long as your arm. We were so ready to get to it and plan for next year. Before we could get down into what we needed to work on, the Spirit literally arrested us in the midst of worship and waiting. We were profoundly - tangibly - touched by the Spirit with a fresh sense of his filling, His voice and His peace. And what did we hear together, over and over? "Not in your own strength" Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord!

3. "You've kept my word in passionate patience." These last couple of years have really caused us to slow down and take time for reflection, study and discernment. We have turned our face towards the humility of knowing that we have so much to learn and need to be deeply anchored in our understanding of the Word of God. We've committed ourselves to not fearing the hard questions nor shying away from the difficult discussions. And to repent. To pivot. To adjust where the Lord asks us to, again, trusting that He alone is the One who holds the door for us. As Alan Kreider says, a "patient ferment."

4. "I'm on my way." This truth has been, and is essential to, bringing clarity of thought and practice to our understanding of Kingdom Theology. Our reach is for the return of Jesus as we pray and make space for the reviving, renewing and healing work of the Spirit among us. Our hope however is not in a "great end time revival" but in the return of Jesus. Our understanding of the Kingdom "come" is that of the glorious future of the Kingdom breaking into our present circumstance and need, rather than something that we're contending for and "pulling down" from the sky. This posture is critical and impacts the way we do ministry and facilitate community. We also see justice as shaped by this longing and eschatological arch. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:8, the crown of justice awaits all those who long for the appearing of King Jesus and the fullness of His Kingdom as Jesus brings forth the New Jerusalem, the "new heaven and earth." Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.

5. "Are your ears awake? Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches." The clearest word we have heard from the Lord is the invitation to wait. To listen. Our desire is to anchor here. Our ears must be awake. Leading up to our Celebration next summer we will be hosting times throughout the country where we will "worship, wait and weigh" together. Our commitment is to press into regaining what this means for us in the VIneyard. Dial down. Wait. Come Holy Spirit.

We are so thankful for the way the Lord has kept us throughout 2021 and are looking forward to leaning in to His faithfulness to us in 2022

Peace and Grace
David & Anita