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As we start the fast today globally in Every Nation, I read Day Zero in our Prayer and Fasting Guide (download here). But since it’s also Day 1 here in Manila, I will read Day 1 as well.

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I remember in the old house we were in, my wife and I had a problem with the faucet in our bathroom. Because the water flow was so slow, to be able to brush your teeth, we had to wait about a minute for the cup to be filled. We endured this for several weeks until we got a plumber to help us with our faucet. In 10 minutes, he figured out the problem thus a cup could be filled in 3 seconds instead of a minute.

What you tolerate, you will never change.

I’ve heard that many times on different occasions. What you will allow to continue in your life, you will never see changes. God desires to sanctify and change us into the image and likeness of God. But if we stay stuck in our ways, we won’t be able to move forward.

The Bible says in Matthew 22:19 that “you are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Change happens all the time. But genuine and lasting change in the life of a person can only happen when God does it. By His power and the power of His Word, we are transformed.

The starting point is with the gospel. We can try to write 10 steps to change or 7 stages to transformation but if they don’t start with an understanding of what God has been done for us rather than what we can do for God, then we only find ourselves frustrated as with many of our New Year’s resolutions.

Jesus became flesh.
Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life.
Jesus was crucified.
Jesus was buried.
Jesus rose from the dead.
Jesus is coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The Scriptures declare that Jesus is Savior and Lord. (Acts 2:36)
And the power of God is the gospel for through it, many are saved. (Romans 1:16)

 

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Watch Pastor Jim Laffoon as he explains further …

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(This was a message given by Pastor Brett Fuller of Every Nation Virginia at Every Nation World Conference 2016, Day 2.)

Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? Amos 3:3

Walking together has many benefits. It may have challenges but the fruit we produce is so much better. We can do things much better than if we do them all by ourselves.img_3429

Walking together requires CONVICTION, CONSISTENCY and COMMITMENT.

1. CONVICTION

Conviction to walk together in the midst of diversity.
Acts 13 shows us picture of diversity. The leaders were Barnabas who was Jewish, Simeon who was also called Niger (word when translated is black), Menaen who was a friend of Herod, Lucius from Cyrene and Saul who was a Jew who loved Gentiles.

Walking together requires a conviction to walk with each other no matter the differences.

2. CONSISTENCY

Walking together also requires consistency.
There ought to be a rhythm.
We are with one another enough that we have lots of opportunities to offend each other. But that is not the issue. We are walking together in the rhythm of the same beat – to go and make disciples of all nations.

We walk together towards a specific direction.
Direction is necessary to get to where we need to go. Going the same direction means confining myself to a navigable route. One of the highlights being in an Every Nation Conference is being in the sessions. But equally amazing is walking through the lobby meeting with the people we can call family.

“We may not know each other – I don’t know you and you don’t know me but I like being with you because we’re going the same direction.”

3. COMMITMENT

And finally, walking together requires commitment.
We are with each other enough, we will give more than enough reason to stop walking with each other. We will say things that may offend. We will give each other dozens of opportunity to say goodbye. But we are here for the long haul. And it is a privilege to walk together for the long haul for the purposes of God.

This is miraculous.
But while it’s miraculous, it doesn’t happen by serendipitous moments.
It is because we make a commitment.
Coming to a conference like this maybe inconvenient and expensive but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re walking together for the long term purposes of God.

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Day 1 of Every Nation Conference. 

Russ Austin. 52 nations represented.

A fitting opening message to kick off the Every Nation World Conference. Pastor Russ aptly defined who we are as a family of churches the way a realist like Manet or Courbet paints a historical scene or an object.

Three descriptions… BIG FAITH. RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP. SPIRITUAL FAMILY.

BIG FAITH.

We are a global and missional organization that refuses to stop.
We see a red light yet we still go as if it was green.

Relentless would be the word. How come?
It’s not because we have confidence in ourselves.

We just know that we will do something BIG just because we know our God is BIG.

And as a family, we just believe that together.

RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP.

This is just part of the culture in our family. And we do it with passion… radically.

We teach people to obey in obedience to the Great Commission in Matthew 28.

We do it because Jesus is worth it.

We have been misunderstood for doing what we do. But we do what we do because we want to give Him our best because He has given us His best.

SPIRITUAL FAMILY.

We go through ups and downs. We just know we’ll make it through because God is with us and because we are walking together.

We are better together and we are better because we are together.

Spiritual family is a gift. It is such a gift to be in relationship with one another.

Walking with one another for years, some for decades is an absolute gift from God.

But out of the 3, the most fragile is SPIRITUAL FAMILY. And THIS is the very thing we have to guard and protect.

And by His grace, we will not just do life together for 20 years (this year is Every Nation’s 20 year anniversary) but for the next 100 and beyond.

It was a privilege to be sitting in and listening to all the equipping sessions and reports from the different nations in Asia during our Asian Pastors Equipping Conference (APEC).

Here are a few things I got from it:

The most dangerous threat to to a strong successful fruitful mature ministry is pride in our own heart, not division, opposition and attack.  (Steve Murrell)

The goal is that ministry should be taken out of the  hands of the ‘experts’ and ‘pros’ and onto the hands of amateurs and volunteers. (Steve Murrell on Empowering Leadership)

Do you spend more time ministering to people or preparing people to minister? (Steve Murrell)

If you want to empower people to do ministry, mistakes are not optional. They are required!  (Steve Murrell)

Who you are when you gather is who you are when you scatter. (Kevin York on the Church)

The goal in preaching is feed the sheep (John 21) and not give goat food but preach the Word that it makes sense to the unchurched. (Steve Murrell)

Biggest competitor of Lordship over us is finance, not even Satan.  (Timothy Loh)

Without it, we will still go to heaven. But we might get there earlier than planned. (Rachel Ong teaching on the topic of having structures in an organization)

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. (Scott Douma)

“I want those who know me the most to repeat me the best.”  – Rick Warren via Scott Douma

Success without relationships is miserable. (Steve Murrell on Absalom who built a monument to himself because he wasn’t able to build ‘sons’ and the next generation)

Campus ministry is not a department. It is a long-term investment. (Joseph Bonifacio)

(Find audio podcasts of the sessions here – http://apec2012.ph/messages/)

(Pictures here)

APEC 2012 Recap Video from APEC on Vimeo.