Saturday, December 23, 2006

Taking the Gospel to the Nations

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing. -Paul

As this Christmas season draws to a close and a new year dawns, we can express the same confidence in the Gospel as Paul had in his letter to the Colossian church. The Gospel continues to bear fruit! The Gospel is growing! We can rejoice as men and women across the world continue to find life and hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel is universal in its scope because it is cosmic in its essence. The message of the Gospel is rooted in a cosmic Christ. As Paul also wrote to the Colossians, Christ is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Further, “He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” In fact, Paul offers an incredible summary statement, “Christ is all.”

Indeed, Christ is all! His glory spans both time and space. History records his human life. In his humanity, Christ gave glimpses of his glory (e.g. the Mount of Transfiguration). The future will reveal His glory in full. The universe is a daily testimony to His majesty.

We can go to the nations with confidence that this message about this Christ will transcend any ethnic, linguistic, social, racial or educational barrier. We can proclaim this truth with confidence that the message will offer hope to any person any where any time.

But, we must go. In spite of the cosmic witness to the cosmic Christ – we must go and tell the nations. Somehow God has chosen to allow us to partner with Him in this grand endeavor. What a privilege! What a responsibility!

May your celebration of Christmas and the rest of this holiday season be filled with glimpses of the glory of Christ. May the year 2007 be filled with our faithful witness to the nations of the cosmic Christ.

- Dennis R Wiles

Christmas greetings . . .

. . . to all of you in our GCPN. I am rejoicing at all of the wonderful gifts God has been preparing that have now been revealed to us in this season! I can hardly contain my excitement over all that God is doing. So let me share a few bits of news with you:

  • Mike Stroope has accepted a contract position as our Missiological Guide to assist our churches in becoming the missional communities God is calling them to be. Mike officially began this commitment on December 1, 2006. He will be consulting with our churches while continuing his teaching position at Truett Seminary.
  • Six missionary candidates from First Baptist Church of Arlington met for the first time this month and committed themselves to live out the process of preparation to be our “sent ones.” They begin this journey of training, mentorship, and practicum in January 2007.
  • Cottonwood Baptist has committed themselves to the process of training a new host of missionary candidates from their church whom Mike Stroope will be guiding through a similar process.
  • GCPN has been given an office suite in the Wade Building (Southwest Bank Building) on the First Baptist Arlington campus.

I have learned much on this journey about the obedience of “waiting.” Mike gave our missionary candidates the assignment of re-studying the book of Acts. Each of us has studied Acts numerous times in our faith journey. However, the command of Christ to “wait until the Holy Spirit has come upon you” has never been quite as convicting as it is to me today.

The last few years have been ones of questions, analyzing, re-analyzing, discussing, laboring and attempting to bring strategy and order to a very chaotic missions world. As ministers and missions leaders we have analyzed our old methods and proposed new methods. We’ve tried to define what being a missional church really means. I suppose I have come down to this: A missional church is a church that waits upon the Spirit of God to reveal His will and then obeys his revealed will no matter what the cost. Hang whatever jargon on that you want. It is the simple and profound truth. God is making a way for churches to do missions and each of us needs to live that out as He reveals. The “living out” may look very different for each of us. The commitment to seeking and obeying is the same for all of us. Let us pray for one another and for our churches as we partner and share the challenge of reaching our world for Christ.

- Cindy Wiles