Today, The Foursquare Church continued Foursquare Connection 2010 in Atlanta. In addition to the fellowship, inspirational messages and dynamic worship, The Foursquare Church elected Dr. Glenn C. Burris Jr. as the sixth president of The Foursquare Church.
Earlier in the day, Pastor Burt Smith of The Church of Living Water, a Foursquare church in Olympia, Wash., led the morning devotional. He called Foursquare leaders to faithful living and leading. He spoke passionately about the need for unity and faithfulness, especially during this week and in the coming season of The Foursquare Church. Foursquare missionaries to Cambodia Ted and Sou Olbrich led the congregation in prayer, and Dean and Keren Heath brought the delegates into the presence of the Lord with praise and worship.
Leslie Keegel, national leader of Foursquare Sri Lanka, then offered a prophetic word that he felt compeled to share with the voting body:
"I hear the Lord calling The Foursquare Church, from Babel to Pentecost, from confusion, disunity, disjointedness to a true Pentecost, where we shed our differences and embrace one another in unity to be one. We are called to cease from pulling apart in our own various directions, which is bringing brokenness and deep hurt to the family.
"The Lord is calling us to teach and preach repentance, where we would seek God through humility, contriteness and brokenness. As we draw close to Him in true repentance, God will breathe His Spirit, releasing seasons of refreshing from His holy presence. His presence will fill our lives, our homes and our neighborhood, dispelling gross darkness. As we tear our hearts in sincere and heartfelt repentance, God will tear open the heavens over us.
"The Lord is calling us to return to simplicity, and Spirit-filled living and proclamation of the word. He calls us to refrain from the compromise of pursuing human wisdom, excellence of speech and persuasive words and ideology. We are reminded that we are not called to entertain or to please man but to obey and glorify God by preaching His word in the power and demonstration of His Spirit.
"The Lord is calling us to return to our first love, where we seek out one another in brotherly love and embrace. He calls us to celebrate one another's gifting and fruitfulness, and refrain from envy and jealousy. We are called to complement one another and not to compete with each other.
"We are called to return to our Pentecostal heritage of dependence on the Holy Spirit, with great thirst and hunger for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our gatherings. God desires to manifest Himself with great power among us, for 'it is neither by might nor by power but My Spirit,' says the Lord."
Foursquare Corporate Secretary Sterling Brackett introduced the moderator of the business session, board of directors member Steve Schell, who is also the senior pastor of Northwest Church, the Federal Way Foursquare Church in Washington. After a quorum was established, Steve and Foursquare Foundation Executive Director Greg Campbell, along with Foursquare Chief Financial Officer Ron Thigpenn, offered an overview of the current financial and corporate affairs of The Foursquare Church. Board member Bill Chaney fielded questions from the delegates following the presentation.
Two presidential candidates had previously been presented to the convention body as a result of a thorough vetting process over the past 12 months. The process involved input from credentialed ministers, the Foursquare executive council, the cabinet, and the Foursquare board of directors.
Each of the two candidates—Dennis Easter, senior pastor of Portland Foursquare Church in Oregon and Foursquare Interim President Glenn C. Burris Jr.—spoke to the voting body about his vision and perspective about this next season of The Foursquare Church and how he would lead the movement into the future. Delegates were given time to ask specific questions of each candidate.
Well-known author Francis Chan, former senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., delivered the keynote address, and spoke candidly about what it means for a person to "deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Jesus." He said that God has called each person to do something unique and that God intends for Christians to live with the type of confidence that allows us to do with our lives what God had in mind. He cited Jeremiah 1:4-5, which says: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (NKJV).
People tend to live as though Bible characters such as Jeremiah or Elijah were bigger than life, noted Francis. He said the Bible dispels this way of thinking: "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours" (James 5:17). In the church, Francis said, it is easy for people to live as though comfort is the most important thing. He said this type of thinking sometimes prevents people from stepping out in obedience to God's direction for their lives.
Francis emotionally illustrated his family's very recent decision to leave behind his large Simi Valley church in order to move to Taiwan and serve for several months. Their intention when they return to the U.S. is to plant a ministry in the inner city. He talked about what it means for his family to give up the comforts of living in the San Fernando Valley and follow Jesus in this way. But, according to Francis, Christians need to do what Jesus calls them to and not just talk about Him.
Francis bluntly noted that often people simply memorize information about Jesus and God's Word, but they don't live out the meaning of what they have memorized. Francis said he would not like it very much if he asked his 14-year-old daughter to clean up her messy room and she came back later and said, "Dad, I memorized what you said!" If she hadn't cleaned her room, it wouldn't matter how well she had memorized his words or in how many languages she could repeat the command. He said it wouldn't matter if she had learned his words "clean your room" in Greek or Hebrew. The important thing is whether she obeyed his words and did what he said.
Francis concluded his message by quoting 1 John 2:6: "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." The heart of his message was that each person should be like Jesus, and that each person should obey, with confidence, what God has made each one to be.
Art and Pamela Gray, Greater Los Angeles district supervisors, offered a prayer of blessing for Francis and his family. Then, Pamela gave a word of the Lord for The Foursquare Church to humbly return to the Lord, as individuals, as ministers, and as a church. A refreshing time of prayer and worship brought to a close day two of Foursquare Connection 2010 in Atlanta.
Foursquare Connection 2010 continues through Thursday, June 3. Written summaries will be posted each night, following the main evening session. All evening and morning sessions, Power of One videos and workshops may be purchased in the Power of One Experience Kit.
By: Rod Light, a Foursquare credentialed minister
To read the daily convention wrap-ups, click below.
Day One: The Power of One to Reach
Day Two: The Power of One to Reach and Train
Day Three: The Power of One to Train
Day Four: The Power of One to Send
Overview: The Power of One to Reach, Train and Send