A Divine Shift: Treasures Old and New

A Divine Shift: Treasures Old and New

Original Post: January 1st, 2019

When I handed the baton to Emily in 2013, I knew we had already entered into a new era in the church and there was a reformation upon us. God had spoken to me about this a few years earlier, but it still had no real language or look to it. What I heard the Lord say is that it would be marked by a deeper understanding of the grace of God and the cross of Christ. As far as any changes in structure, I only had these words to go by: “creativity plus divine order”. All this is still being played out, but there is a definable shift that is happening in the church.
Jesus said,  Mat 13:52
“Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Reformation is not throwing out the baby with the bath water. Most new wine skins were actually “renewed” wine-skins. The point is this. While we will see new structures, the foundation remains intact because the original message is timeless. Each generation wrestles to find their own faith and its reality. Those who feel they have “new truth” need to remember it is God’s treasure not man’s. There will always be some mystery in the gospel and men will always find reason to avoid the truth of it, arguing about doctrine, transcription of the bible, or someone’s latest revelation.

But the simple gospel remains the same even if we in the church only enter into the parts and not the whole. If reformation is about anything, it is about getting back to what Jesus died for and being true to the apostolic mission that carried it on. So, while some focus on still trying to predict every facet of the end times or redefining what grace and the cross means, those who are truly reformational will be about the Father’s business of advancing the good news, making disciples, and bringing transformation to cities and nations in the process.

Some will not think this is new at all. But in the western church it is to a large degree. While we in the western church have spent much of our time drawing people, sometimes in mega numbers, to how you can be the best you, other saints in less privileged nations have been advancing the gospel and making disciples, some dying for the cause while doing so. The big shift is away from focusing on the parts to focusing on the whole gospel. It is also away from simply trying to fill buildings and draw crowds to family, community, and discipleship. That’s not new to everyone, but it just may be too many in the present generations of the church in the western world.
In the first church we served as senior leaders, I set out to do what I described above with zero mentors or experience. Our experience at Providence Vineyard is too long of a story to go into here. I thought we would take a similar path here in Albany. But what was called the renewal of the 1990’s, hit us and much of the church, world -wide. During my tenure as a leader and founder of what we now call Jesus Pursuit church, we tried to go with what God was doing at the time with renewal. The Albany Vineyard, now JPC, was birthed by that renewal. Those were amazing times of being overwhelmed by God’s Spirit. The gifts flowed in a fresh way, prophecy and a movement of prophets arose. Missions were launched, and churches grew and were multiplied with the energy of that outpouring. We became a regional influence for the church, equipping many with conferences and launching people into their calling and ministry. It was an incredible time marked by several in breaking visitations of the Holy Spirit, with healing and salvation. But only a few became disciples while many simply enjoyed what was happening and looked for the next conference or moved on.

Things began to change for me and us as a community of faith, after a startling revelation by God’s audible voice while I was in Brazil in 2006. What I heard went deep inside and began to change the way I looked at our history and our future. “The key to revival is the restoration of family”. This word from God shook me and demanded change in the way we operated. I could go on and on about the great things we experienced at Jesus Pursuit up to that point, but it is not God’s point today. That word shifted not only us but began a shift in the western church. Instead of looking mostly inward, we began to focus outward. It naturally refocused us from expecting people to come to our good stuff, and instead focused us back on reaching out with the good news and now making disciples.

As Emily stated recently, “We have never gone this way before as Jesus Pursuit Church”. And neither has most of the Western Church. So, while we don’t know what structures will support this shift, as we continue to seek God’s face and direction, we will get on board with what God is doing to empower us to make disciples and bring heaven to Albany and beyond. Personally, I am not looking over my shoulder to what we did in the past. I am looking forward and fully support the direction Emily is leading out in for Jesus Pursuit Church. I couldn’t be more excited at what God has ahead for us.

~Denny Cline