2 Timothy 1:6-7 Fan into flame the gift
God does not give us fear, does not encourage sloth, does not allow retreat. We must fan into flame the gift, the power of the Spirit. We must take the initiative to fan the flame.
To Timothy, this was not a rebuke but a reminder. The flame had not gone out, but Timothy needed to continually fan the gift of the Spirit into full flame, because the Spirit is the only one who can replace fear with faith and restore the work of God. It is the Holy Spirit in us who empowers the work of God in us. Do not neglect your spiritual life as a minister of the gospel. Keep the Spirit of God blazing with a full flame endlessly.
1. Prioritize your Spiritual life.
This must be a constant passion.
2. Prioritize the Spirit of God in ministry.
We must never be content dooing the ministry without the power of God. When God’s people pray, fast, walk in purity and share Christ in power, God works through us.
Our ministry flows from thelife of God within. Our structure and systems do not create the work of God, but they flow from it. Spiritual renewal leads to strategic recreation.
It is NOT about wise men brainstorming their brilliant ideas. It is about seeking God and his ideas. When God renews his people, things change. Attitudes and methods change.
When Jacob returned from Bethel, things changed among God’s people. When God met Jacob at Bethel, things changed in God’s people. This pattern repeated throughout biblical history. Ronnie went through several examples of OT stories in which men of God came into renewal with God and changed the course of the people of God, as well as the work of God at Pentecost and thereafter.
Structures and systems must flow from the work of God, they do not create the work of God.
Jesus – you don’t put new win in old wineskins.
Old wineskins become inflexible and brittle. The new wine would break it. If I’m going to pour out new wine, I’ve got to have new wineskins.
People often fight more for their old traditions than they would ever fight for biblilcal truth.
This work of God in us needs to happen within us. Incremental change is probably not acceptable. It requires revolutionary change.
We must become fresh wineskins to be able to hold the fresh wine of God’s glory. (NOTE: this may be at the root of many of our problems – we are such traditionalists that we hold on to the old wineskins so dearly instead of becoming new wineskins to accept God’s new wine.)
Ronnie says – I am not someone who has been on the sidelines of Southern Baptist life. I do not think we should demonize those who ask questions. Theere are questions we need to ask.
Challenging Questions for this generation of Baptists
1. When conversing on this topic, is the real questions what is best for the SBC, or what is best for the advancement of the gospel through the SBC?
We must be more about the gospel than about the institutions
2. Do we exist to preserve our present brand, structure, and sustems, or de we exist to advance teh gospel together regionally, statewide, nationally, and internationally?
We exist for the church.
3. For the sake of Gospel advancement, should IMB and NAMB become one mission board, the Global Mission Board?
Should this be doen? How should it be done?
Why have we not done it before?
- 1. Unique roles in days gone by. But with newer global culture and technology is this still a problem?
- 2. CP $ held by 1 board – almost 75%
- 3. Timing has never been right. Is the timing right now?
4. Do state conventions and associations have a future in Southern Baptist life?
If we started with a clean slate in 2015, would we have state conventions and associations?
- Clarify their mission. They exist to serve the churches to reach their God assigned tasks.
- Simplify their responsibilities. Do what is best and necessary. Don’t duplicate and triplicate other entities.
- Be agile in response to churches. Weighty, needless structure inhibits response to churches.
- Sustain their work financially. If a ministry cannot sustain itself finanacially, then it should be looked at. Regionalization may be necessary.
The goal CANNOT be to preserve the old wineskins, but to develop new wineskins to hold new wine.
Refuse to be held hostage by the present!
5. How will we finance our work together in the future in the most effective way?
If our forebears had not asked this question, we would not have the CP. We must ask what we must do so that when we enter 2025, the CP centennial, with the CP helathy and viable.
- We need a renewal in teaching biblical stewardship.
- We need our churches to give more generously through the CP.
- We need our state conventions to consider going 50-50 by 2020 or before.
Stop talking about what we can’t do and start thinking about what we CAN do.
- We need to develop an intentional strategy to enlist other churches in America to join our convention.
“Join the Southern Baptist Convention” website.
- Create online giving for our churchesand help our churches to set this up.
- We need to consider a place for affinity groups or networks of churches to participate with us in various ways for the advancement of the gospel.
6. Is there anything new we need to create for today and for the future that will help our churches in their mission of gooing, baptizing, and making disciples of all the nations?
And if the first question is “How much does it cost?” then we have a problem!
Here’s how we start: Knowing what we know about our past and present, aw well as having the resources of churches, people, influence, reach, and dollars, how can leverage all for the purpose of advancing the gospel in an unprecendented manner into places where the gospel has never been before regionally, statewide nationally, and globally?
Isaiah 52:7 “Your God reigns.”
Because our God reigns, we are called into action. We act because we know our god is powerful and he works through us.