Worship led by New Song Christian Worship Team, prayer and a special time of intercession for the cities of our nation marked the opening of today's convention activities. Foursquare President Jack Hayford directed the morning prayer time.
The day's first plenary session at 9:00 a.m. followed the intercession and worship times. Nate Poetzl, senior pastor of New Life Center in Everett, Wash., was the main speaker.
The service began with a vibrant set of praise led by Eric Green and Urban Praise Team, followed by an opening prayer by Foursquare General Supervisor Glenn Burris Jr. Rev. Harriet Mouer then came to the platform and introduced Pastor Nate Poetzl.
Speaking from Isaiah 6 and Mark 14 on the subject "Worship and the Kingdom," Rev. Poetzl noted that the church has always struggled with two aspects of who God is--He is the God who is transcendent (above and beyond what we can understand), and the God who is immanent (up close and personal). Healthy worship, Poetzl said, involves balancing the tension between these two--between the grandeur and the closeness of God.
"When I neglect His vastness," Rev. Poetzl noted, "I worship solely as a response to the tangible actions of God--I become conditioned to worship only when I am blessed; I worship when emotional sensation stimulates me--worship becomes connected to the state of my soul; and third, I develop an unhealthy familiarity with Jesus."
He continued: "When I neglect His closeness, I approach God solely as Monarch--respect without love; I develop rigid formulaic systems--liturgy without inspiration; and third, I develop an obligatory heart--duty without affection."
Discussing what it means to live with a healthy embrace of the tension between God’s grandeur and immanence, Rev. Poetzl made the following points from the passages in Isaiah and Mark. When we balance the transcendence and immanence of God, we are:
- Touched--and realize worship is an interaction between divinity and humanity.
- Humbled--and understand the searing depth human depravity.
- Uncomfortable--because worship is costly.
- Focused--on the bigness of God, with a vision of Jesus.
- Commissioned--worship is a precursor to service, not an end to itself.
The service ended in prayer.
Kimberly Dirmann, co-pastor of The Rock in Anaheim, Calif., was the speaker for the morning's second plenary session at 11:15 a.m.
Following a compelling worship experience facilitated by New Song Christian Worship Team, Glenn Burris Jr. opened in prayer and introduced pastoral couple Dale and Carrie Jenkins, who sang a beautiful, worshipful and emotionally moving duet.
Harriet Mouer then introduced the service's keynote speaker, Rev. Kimberly Dirmann, who addressed the convention body on the subject, "Proclaiming the Kingdom."
"“We are in a timely season right now," she declared. Referring to a prophetic word given some years prior that The Foursquare Church would spearhead the next move of God, she continued: "We started as a movement that made a dramatic difference. The Lord is saying, 'You've been fruitful, but I've called you to bear much fruit.' God has called us to lead in some powerful things. He's waiting on us to receive His word by faith and bring the kingdom of God to this earth."
After leading in a prayer that all those gathered would open their hearts to receive from the Lord, she noted that the gospel is Good News. God comes with Good News--to us as ministers, not just to those we minister to.
Rev. Dirmann noted Colossians 1, where it is noted that God "has qualified us."
"You are qualified to be partakers in the inheritance of the saints," she encouraged the ministers gathered. "He has delivered us from the authority of the enemy. Are you living your life in a way that represents the fact that you are a person who has received His inheritance? Do you walk in confidence? Fatih comes by digging into the Good News. God's Word brings life to our spirit, and you begin to step out and do things you never thought you could."
She then prayed for those who may be dealing with paralyzing fear, that they would be filled with the understanding of God's love.
Her message also referenced Hebrews 4, where we are told to "come boldly to the throne of grace." She exhorted the crowd that we are not to be driven by fear, but "when you feel the least equipped for the work God has called you to, come boldly. This means to come to Him without restriction."
Rev. Dirmann also noted one of the foundational doctrines of The Foursquare Church, that is, Jesus is the Healer. She encouraged us to continue to proclaim this truth, to believe in it, and also shared from her personal life regarding the issue of healing. She then led in a prayer for healing for anyone present who needed and desired to be healed.
The speaker also strongly encouraged pastors to proclaim the full message of Christ in confidence--to have confidence in the truth of the Word and proclaim it with boldness as they minister to and lead people. She closed with John 16, encouraging those present that they can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.
During the remainder of the afternoon, convention delegates enjoyed free time touring historical sites in the nation's capital, browsed the exhibit hall and gathered at the Internet café.
The evening plenary session began with a special video presentation highlighting the projects funded around the world by the Foursquare Foundation in 2005. The recipients for 2006 grants were also announced.
Pastor Jack Hayford came to the platform and asked everyone to stand and sing the majestic hymn, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name." Well-known Southern Gospel recording artist Sue Dodge then sang a special number in praise of the Lamb of God-Jesus--who gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sin.
Rev. Jim Scott, chief operations officer for The Foursquare Church, introduced a video detailing the powerful story of church planter Shannon Kearney, who recently followed the Lord's call to serve as a senior pastor. The journey she shared was moving and inspirational. Rev. Steve Overman from Eugene, Ore., the church of which Shannon and her husband, Mike, had been a part for many years, led the convention delegates in prayer.
Following the discussion of some matters of business, General Supervisor Glenn Burris Jr. asked Pastor Dale Evrist to come to the platform and introduce Newsboys--the popular Christian band best-known for their amazing live performances, 18 years of touring and hit songs "Shine," "Joy," "He Reigns" and "You Are My King (Amazing Love)."
The popular band led the crowd in an outstanding selection of contemporary praise and worship tunes. Pastor Jack then directed the delegates in a prayer for the members of the younger generation that were present, that they would be released into their divine purpose. A prayer was also given for the Newsboys.
After the praise and worship time, Dr. Hayford introduced Rami Levi, one of the most prominent leaders of the Israeli Department of Tourism. Levi expressed earnest thanks to the evangelical community for its support of Israel and welcomed those who would be coming to Jerusalem for Foursquare's convention in 2007.
Dr. Sterling Brackett, the denomination's secretary-treasurer, then officiated one of the evening's most special events: the presentation of 50- and 60-year Service Awards to ministers who have invested their lives in faithful service to the Foursquare family. They received a long and heartfelt applause from the convention body. Dr. and Mrs. Hayford were also presented with a commemorative coin on behalf of Foursquare's military chaplains in honor of their 50 years of service to the Foursquare movement.
Before introducing the evening's main speaker, Pastor Jack asked Rev. Dick Foth, an Assemblies of God minister, to briefly share about what is going on spiritually behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. A key leader in the events surrounding the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Rev. Foth shared from his personal background as well as stories regarding Christians influencing the halls of power in our nation's capital. Singer Steve Amerson then sang a special number on the theme of calling out for God's grace.
Following these presentations, Pastor Jack introduced the evening's keynote speaker, Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, president of Dunamis Ministries and perhaps most well-known as having served as former Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. Dr. Ogilvie addressed those gathered on the subject, "The Holy Spirit and the Kingdom."
"We are here in a city of power," Dr. Ogilvie stated, "but we are here [at this convention] to receive the power that is beyond any human power, any human device, any human institution."
In an honest, conversational tone, he exhorted the crowd that what we know of the power of Christ is only the beginning; what we've experienced of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of what is to be released in our lives.
"Jesus said, 'The time is at hand--repent, and believe the gospel.' What will be our response?" Ogilvie asked.
Sharing candidly from his personal experience, he told how at crucial times throught his life and ministry, the Lord has confronted him with the words, "Repent--believe the gospel." He shared about the time earlier in his ministry when he came to the realization that he lacked the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. When he said yes to the challenge of Christ--"Repent; believe the gospel"--he was prepared to move in a whole new dimension of life in the Spirit. He noted that throughout his ministry he has been challenged in this way many times, and that in those times of repentance--in those moments of brokenness--he received fresh power.
"The reign and rule of God is at hand--it's now!" Dr. Ogilvie declared. "It's now, in this 'kairos' moment. Repent--which means to change your mind."
Encouraging pastors to "change their minds" about running their own lives, and/or congregations, in their own strength, he said: "You can't do it on your own. [God is saying], 'There is something I want to give you that you cannot achieve in your own strength or cleverness.' Change your mind from your thinking that you can do it yourself."
Dr. Ogilvie closed his message by reminding those gathered that the Lord comes to each one of us, and that the kingdom is at hand. He recited the encouraging words of the famous hymn, "He Giveth More Grace," reminding everyone of the unlimited resources we have in God.
The service concluded in a time of repentant prayer and worship.