Reflections from Great Britainby Dan Stolebarger Koinonia Institute
Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to England for our first-ever KI European Conference. I arrived at London Gatwick just as news was breaking concerning the plot to bring down ten trans-Atlantic jets. Needless to say, this caused me to pause and reflect.
But first, let me report on the conference. Chuck and I were hosted by Ron Matsen of K-House England, and the conference was held at Calvary Chapel Westminster in central London. We had a full house of hungry believers and the overall response of the folks in England was beyond our expectations! Our family at Calvary was wonderful and all kinds of opportunities for new ministry have been made available. Be sure to keep our new members of the Koinonia fellowship in your prayers!
Now, back to my reflections the new reality is that the world in which we live is changing, and the battle lines are becoming crystal clear. As Christians, we can no longer afford the luxury of resting on the sidelines; our team needs us and they need us NOW! At the conference, one of my sessions had to do with reclaiming our reputation. The following verse in the book of Acts was given to describe the church:
And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also. - Acts 17:6
When I asked the question of whom in this day this Scripture relates to, the answer, sadly, was that it is no longer Christianity turning the world upside down. Voices all over the room ascribed that title to the likes of Hezbollah and Hamas in other words, followers of Islam! Here in the British Isles, do you know what the fastest growing religion is? (Hint: its not Christianity!)
Over the years I have had the opportunity to study the Bible with Chucks tapes, but now Im not limited to audio (or even DVD). I can now watch it all unfold on TV!
For me, when the reality of what took place just hours before my arrival hit me, and I began to think about my trans-Atlantic ride home, I could not avoid the obvious would I be ready if, in the blink of an eye, I left this earth and saw my Lord face to face? If this was it, would I have any regrets? Did I have anything left in my reserve tank that I hadnt given? If so, I think I might have a sense of shame at my face-to-face encounter with the lover of my soul, who died so that I could live and who also called me to live a life for HIM. At that moment, I resolved in my heart to give it my ALL!
Now, I realize that emotions were high and that the real issue has to do with incarnating my new convictions! You know, coming up with real answers to What does it mean to give it my all? I have found that this sort of question is one that the Holy Spirit loves to assist you with"if you ask, He will tell you! But I encourage you to have paper and pen ready. I am making a list of things and am asking God to help me be a doer and a finisher, because in the end, isnt it all about how you finish?
How are you doing? Are you holding anything back? Is your testimony new and fresh and alive, or is it ancient history? Now is the time for the Church to rise up! And in order for that to happen it requires steps like what is found in Hebrews 12:1-2:
Wherefore seeing we also are compasses about with such a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
At KI there are times as a TA that I email my students and ask them to grab the hand of a classmate and make sure they FINISH the course together. Lets do just that as we embrace our future! Grab the hand of a brother or sister in Christ and lets get our reputation back! Lets turn the world upside-down for Jesus!